Federal Register Vol. 80, No.98,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 98 (May 21, 2015)

Page Range29203-29527
FR Document

80_FR_98
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 29527 - Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to the Stabilization of IraqPDF
80 FR 29525 - 50th Anniversary of Head StartPDF
80 FR 29379 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World” and “Pergamon and the Art of the Hellenistic Kingdom” ExhibitionsPDF
80 FR 29380 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter's Eye”PDF
80 FR 29381 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Van Gogh and Nature” ExhibitionPDF
80 FR 29322 - Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Cooperative Agreement to the American Public Human Services Association for the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC) in Washington, DCPDF
80 FR 29390 - Tri-City Railroad Company-Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
80 FR 29299 - Reporting for Calendar Year 2014 on Offsets Agreements Related to Sales of Defense Articles or Defense Services to Foreign Countries or Foreign FirmsPDF
80 FR 29317 - Sunshine Act NoticePDF
80 FR 29203 - Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; Subrogation and Reimbursement RecoveryPDF
80 FR 29348 - Emergency Planning Exemption Requests for Decommissioning Nuclear Power PlantsPDF
80 FR 29335 - Record of Decision for General Management Plan, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CaliforniaPDF
80 FR 29382 - Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment on Surplus Property Release at Lewistown Municipal Airport, in Lewistown, MTPDF
80 FR 29378 - West Virginia Disaster #WV-00038PDF
80 FR 29389 - LEWPAC, LLC-Lease and Operation Exemption-Mount Vernon Terminal Railway LLCPDF
80 FR 29379 - Alabama Disaster #AL-00057PDF
80 FR 29378 - Administrator's Line of Succession Designation, No. 1-A, Revision 35PDF
80 FR 29331 - Notice of Intent To Amend the Resource Management Plan for the California Coastal Monument for the Inclusion of the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit and Prepare an Associated Environmental AssessmentPDF
80 FR 29332 - 2015 Second Call for Nominations for Resource Advisory CouncilsPDF
80 FR 29220 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; St. Croix River, Stillwater, MNPDF
80 FR 29250 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans and Designation of Areas; North Carolina; Redesignation of the Charlotte-Rock Hill, 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to AttainmentPDF
80 FR 29230 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; North Carolina: Non-Interference Demonstration for Federal Low-Reid Vapor Pressure Requirement for the Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties in North CarolinaPDF
80 FR 29237 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans and Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes; Tennessee; Redesignation of the Knoxville 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to AttainmentPDF
80 FR 29490 - Notice of Proposed Order and Request for Comment on an Application for an Exemptive Order From Southwest Power Pool, Inc. From Certain Provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act Pursuant to the Authority Provided in Section 4(c)(6) of the ActPDF
80 FR 29314 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29300 - Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Notice of Amended Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2010-2011PDF
80 FR 29320 - Receipt of Test Data Under the Toxic Substances Control ActPDF
80 FR 29312 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 29380 - Exchange Visitor Program-Establishment of a Private Sector U.S.-Mexico Intern ProgramPDF
80 FR 29383 - Notice of Intent to Grant a Buy America Waiver to the Long Island Rail Road for the Purchase of Seven U.S.-Made Turnouts Containing Four Non-Domestic ComponentsPDF
80 FR 29227 - Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Acetyl Fentanyl into Schedule IPDF
80 FR 29336 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: PCAS-NANOSYN, LLCPDF
80 FR 29336 - Importer of Controlled Substances Registration: MyodermPDF
80 FR 29338 - Importer of Controlled Substances Registration: Fisher Clinical Services, Inc.PDF
80 FR 29337 - Importer of Controlled Substances Registration: Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.PDF
80 FR 29348 - NASA Advisory Council; Science Committee; Planetary Protection Subcommittee; MeetingPDF
80 FR 29338 - Importer of Controlled Substances Registration: Mallinckrodt, LLCPDF
80 FR 29315 - Privacy Act of 1974; System of RecordsPDF
80 FR 29337 - Importer of Controlled Substances Registration: Noramco, Inc.PDF
80 FR 29299 - Notice of Intent To Request Revision and Extension of a Currently Approved Information CollectionPDF
80 FR 29296 - Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual SpecificationsPDF
80 FR 29317 - National Board for Education Sciences; Announcement of an Open MeetingPDF
80 FR 29321 - Notice of Proposals To Engage in or To Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking ActivitiesPDF
80 FR 29322 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
80 FR 29322 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
80 FR 29286 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revisions to the Regulations for PetitionsPDF
80 FR 29390 - R.J. Corman Railroad Company/Allentown Lines, Inc.-Abandonment Exemption-in Lehigh County, PAPDF
80 FR 29340 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection; eComments Requested; Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices Complaint FormPDF
80 FR 29325 - Notice of Intent To Award a Single Source Non-competing Continuation Cooperative Agreement for Eight Grant Projects Under the “Part A: The Enhanced ADRC Options Counseling Program” Funded in 2012PDF
80 FR 29326 - Applications for New Awards; National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)-Rehabilitation Research and Training CentersPDF
80 FR 29339 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration CourtPDF
80 FR 29338 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Identification of Imported Explosive MaterialsPDF
80 FR 29323 - Final Priority. National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research-Rehabilitation Research and Training CentersPDF
80 FR 29391 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29334 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Cape Lookout National Seashore Cultural Resource Values and Vulnerabilities AssessmentPDF
80 FR 29381 - Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From the Bull Run Fossil PlantPDF
80 FR 29336 - Certain Snowmobiles With Engines Having Exhaust Temperature-Controlled Engine Technology and Components Thereof; Termination of an Investigation on the Basis of Withdrawal of the ComplaintPDF
80 FR 29333 - Notice of Public Meeting for the John Day-Snake Resource Advisory CouncilPDF
80 FR 29319 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 29364 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change To Establish Procedures Regarding the Monthly Resizing of Its Clearing Fund and the Addition of Financial ResourcesPDF
80 FR 29367 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of No Objection to an Advance Notice, as Modified by Amendment No. 1 and Amendment No. 2, To Establish Procedures Regarding the Monthly Resizing of Its Clearing Fund and the Addition of Financial ResourcesPDF
80 FR 29350 - Nonmetallic Thermal Insulation for Austenitic Stainless SteelPDF
80 FR 29391 - Notice of Intent To Release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for Facility Management Services; for Immediate ReleasePDF
80 FR 29344 - The Asbestos in Shipyards Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29346 - The Cadmium in Construction Standard; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Collection of Information (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29342 - Curtis-Straus LLC: Application for Expansion of RecognitionPDF
80 FR 29220 - International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2015PDF
80 FR 29376 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29359 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Listing and Trading of the Shares of the PowerShares DB Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy Portfolio, PowerShares Agriculture Commodity Strategy Portfolio, PowerShares Precious Metals Commodity Strategy Portfolio, PowerShares Energy Commodity Strategy Portfolio, PowerShares Base Metals Commodity Strategy Portfolio and PowerShares Bloomberg Commodity Strategy Portfolio, Each a Series of PowerShares Actively Managed Exchange-Traded Commodity Fund TrustPDF
80 FR 29358 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; International Securities Exchange, LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Schedule of FeesPDF
80 FR 29357 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change Related to Settlement FinalityPDF
80 FR 29352 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Fixed Income Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change to the Government Securities Division Rules in Connection With the Extension of the GCF Repo Service Pilot ProgramPDF
80 FR 29370 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Regarding NASDAQ Last Sale PlusPDF
80 FR 29382 - WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding Certain Measures Providing Export-Contingent Subsidies to Enterprises in Several Industrial Sectors in China; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 29302 - Request for Information Regarding Student Loan ServicingPDF
80 FR 29330 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to OMB for Review and Approval; Public Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29351 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 29352 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 29345 - Preparations for the 29th Session of the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UNSCEGHS)PDF
80 FR 29318 - Announcement of an Open Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 29205 - Special Conditions: Cirrus Design Corporation Model SF50 airplane; Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) System; WithdrawalPDF
80 FR 29301 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scoping ProcessPDF
80 FR 29331 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Amended; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29341 - Marine Terminals and Longshoring Standards; Extension of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Approval of Information Collection (Paperwork) RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29208 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 29263 - Pipeline Safety: Plastic Pipe RulePDF
80 FR 29209 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 29217 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 29211 - Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous AmendmentsPDF
80 FR 29226 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace; Tekamah, NebraskaPDF
80 FR 29277 - Refuge-Specific Regulations; Public Use; Kenai National Wildlife RefugePDF
80 FR 29384 - Policy Announcement; Merchant Marine Awards and Flags ProgramPDF
80 FR 29224 - Airworthiness Directives; Turbomeca S.A. Turboshaft EnginesPDF
80 FR 29205 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France) HelicoptersPDF
80 FR 29388 - Hazardous Materials: Actions on Special Permit ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 29387 - Hazardous Materials: Delayed ApplicationsPDF
80 FR 29458 - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Motorcycle HelmetsPDF
80 FR 29394 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black BearPDF
80 FR 29432 - Wassenaar Arrangement 2014 Plenary Agreements Implementation and Country Policy AmendmentsPDF

Issue

80 98 Thursday, May 21, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

National Agricultural Statistics Service

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection NOTICES Requests for Information: Student Loan Servicing, 29302-29312 2015-12276 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Awards of Single-Source Cooperative Agreements: American Public Human Services Association for the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, 29322-29323 2015-12418 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: St. Croix River, Stillwater, MN, 29220 2015-12353 Commerce Commerce Department See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Orders: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.; Application for Exemption From Certain Provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act, 29490-29522 2015-12346 Community Living Administration Community Living Administration NOTICES Applications for New Awards: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research; Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, 29326-29330 2015-12311 Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research; Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, 29323-29325 2015-12308 Single Source Non-Competing Continuation Cooperative Agreements: Eight Grant Projects Under the Part A--The Enhanced ADRC Options Counseling Program, 29325-29326 2015-12312 Defense Department Defense Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29314-29315 2015-12345 Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 29312-29317 2015-12334 2015-12324 Defense Nuclear Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 29317 2015-12393 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration PROPOSED RULES Schedules of Controlled Substances: Acetyl Fentanyl; Temporary Placement into Schedule I, 29227-29230 2015-12331 NOTICES Importers of Controlled Substances; Registrations: Fisher Clinical Services, Inc., 29338 2015-12328 Mallinckrodt, LLC, 29338 2015-12325 Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 29337 2015-12327 Myoderm, 29336-29337 2015-12329 Noramco, Inc., 29337-29338 2015-12323 Manufacturers of Controlled Substances; Applications: PCAS-NANOSYN, LLC, 29336 2015-12330 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Meetings: National Advisory Council on Indian Education, 29318-29319 2015-12265 National Board for Education Sciences, 29317-29318 2015-12320 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: North Carolina; Non-interference Demonstration for Federal Low-Reid Vapor Pressure Requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties, 29230-29237 2015-12348 North Carolina; Redesignation of the Charlotte-Rock Hill, 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment, 29250-29262 2015-12352 Tennessee; Redesignation of the Knoxville 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment; Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes, 29237-29250 2015-12347 NOTICES Test Data Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, 29320-29321 2015-12336 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France) Helicopters, 29205-29208 2015-12004 Special Conditions: Cirrus Design Corporation Model SF50 Airplane; Full Authority Digital Engine Control System; Withdrawal, 29205 2015-12262 Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures: Miscellaneous Amendments, 29208-29220 2015-12108 2015-12110 2015-12111 2015-12123 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Turbomeca S.A. Turboshaft Engines, 29224-29226 2015-12039 Amendments of Class E Airspace: Tekamah, NE, 29226-29227 2015-12105 NOTICES Release of Airport Property: Lewistown Municipal Airport, Lewistown, MT, 29382-29383 2015-12373 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 29319-29320 2015-12297 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Buy America Waivers: Long Island Rail Road; Purchase of Seven U.S.-Made Turnouts Containing Four Non-Domestic Components, 29383-29384 2015-12332 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 29322 2015-12317 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 29322 2015-12318 Proposals To Engage in or To Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking Activities, 29321 2015-12319 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Louisiana Black Bear; Removal From List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for American Black Bear, 29394-29429 2015-11748 Revisions to Regulations for Petitions, 29286-29296 2015-12316 Refuge-Specific Regulations; Public Use: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, 29277-29286 2015-12099 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Community Living Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29330-29331 2015-12274
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Wassenaar Arrangement Plenary Agreements Implementation and Country Policy Amendments, 29432-29456 2015-10579 NOTICES Reporting on Offsets Agreements Related to Sales of Defense Articles or Defense Services to Foreign Countries or Foreign Firms, 29299-29300 2015-12394 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Lined Paper Products From India, 29300-29301 2015-12337 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Snowmobiles With Engines Having Exhaust Temperature-Controlled Engine Technology and Components Thereof, 29336 2015-12301 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative Before the Immigration Court, 29339-29340 2015-12310 Identification of Imported Explosive Materials, 29338-29339 2015-12309 Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices Complaint Form, 29340 2015-12313
Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: John Day—Snake Resource Advisory Council, 29333-29334 2015-12299 Requests for Nominations: Resource Advisory Councils, 29332-29333 2015-12358 Resource Management Plans: Coastal Monument; Inclusion of the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit, CA, 29331-29332 2015-12360 Maritime Maritime Administration NOTICES Guidance for Industry and Staff: Merchant Marine Awards and Flags Program; Policy Announcements, 29384-29387 2015-12088 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Meetings: NASA Advisory Council; Science Committee; Planetary Protection Subcommittee, 29348 2015-12326 National Agricultural National Agricultural Statistics Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29299 2015-12322 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Motorcycle Helmets, 29458-29487 2015-11756 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 29331 2015-12251 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES International Fisheries: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2015, 29220-29223 2015-12286 PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Revisions to Regulations for Petitions, 29286-29296 2015-12316 Fisheries Off West Coast States: Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications, 29296-29298 2015-12321 NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scoping Process, 29301-29302 2015-12261 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Cape Lookout National Seashore Cultural Resource Values and Vulnerabilities Assessment, 29334-29335 2015-12306 Records of Decisions: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California, 29335-29336 2015-12376 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Emergency Planning Exemption Requests: Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants, 29348-29350 2015-12377 Guidance: Nonmetallic Thermal Insulation for Austenitic Stainless Steel, 29350-29351 2015-12292 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Asbestos in Shipyards Standard, 29344-29345 2015-12289 Cadmium in Construction Standard, 29346-29348 2015-12288 Marine Terminals and Longshoring Standards, 29341-29342 2015-12245 Expansions of Recognition: Curtis-Straus, LLC, 29342-29344 2015-12287 Meetings: Preparations for the UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, 29345-29346 2015-12268 Personnel Personnel Management Office RULES Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; Subrogation and Reimbursement Recovery, 29203-29205 2015-12378 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Pipeline Safety: Plastic Pipe, 29263-29277 2015-12113 NOTICES Special Permit Applications: Delayed Applications, 29387-29388 2015-11815 Hazardous Materials, 29388-29389 2015-11827 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 29351-29352 2015-12269 2015-12270 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Special Observances: Head Start, 50th Anniversary (Proc. 9284), 29523-29526 2015-12574 ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS Iraq; Continuation of National Emergency (Notice of May 19, 2015), 29527 2015-12575 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29376-29378 2015-12285 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Fixed Income Clearing Corp., 29352-29357 2015-12281 ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 29357 2015-12282 International Securities Exchange, LLC, 29358-29359 2015-12283 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 29359-29364, 29370-29376 2015-12280 2015-12284 Options Clearing Corp., 29364-29370 2015-12293 2015-12294 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Administrator's Line of Succession Designation, 29378-29379 2015-12362 Disaster Declarations: Alabama, 29379 2015-12366 West Virginia, 29378 2015-12372 State Department State Department NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Gustave Caillebotte—The Painter's Eye, 29380-29381 2015-12481 Power and Pathos—Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World; Pergamon and the Art of the Hellenistic Kingdom, 29379-29380 2015-12482 Van Gogh and Nature, 29381 2015-12480 Exchange Visitor Program: Establishment of a Private Sector U.S.-Mexico Intern Program, 29380 2015-12333 Surface Transportation Surface Transportation Board NOTICES Abandonment Exemptions: R.J. Corman Railroad Co./Allentown Lines, Inc., Lehigh County, PA, 29390 2015-12314 Lease and Operation Exemptions: LEWPAC, LLC; Mount Vernon Terminal Railway, LLC, 29389-29390 2015-12368 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: Tri-City Railroad Co., 29390-29391 2015-12409 Tennessee Tennessee Valley Authority NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals From the Bull Run Fossil Plant, 29381-29382 2015-12305 Trade Representative Trade Representative, Office of United States NOTICES WTO Dispute Settlement Proceeding Regarding Certain Measures Providing Export-Contingent Subsidies to Enterprises in Several Industrial Sectors in China; Correction, 29382 2015-12279 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

Maritime Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

See

Surface Transportation Board

Treasury Treasury Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29391 2015-12307 U.S. Institute United States Institute of Peace NOTICES Facility Management Services, 29391-29392 2015-12291 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Interior Department, Fish and Wildlife Service, 29394-29429 2015-11748 Part III Commerce Department, Industry and Security Bureau, 29432-29456 2015-10579 Part IV Transportation Department, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29458-29487 2015-11756 Part V Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 29490-29522 2015-12346 Part VI Presidential Documents, 29523-29527 2015-12574 2015-12575 Reader Aids

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80 98 Thursday, May 21, 2015 Rules and Regulations OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT 5 CFR Part 890 RIN 3206-AN14 Federal Employees Health Benefits Program; Subrogation and Reimbursement Recovery AGENCY:

Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is issuing a final rule to amend the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program regulations to reaffirm the conditional nature of FEHB Program benefits and benefit payments under the plan's coverage as subject to a carrier's entitlement to subrogation and reimbursement recovery, and therefore, that such entitlement falls within the preemptive scope of the FEHA Act. FEHB contracts and brochures must include, and in practice already include, a provision incorporating the carrier's subrogation and reimbursement rights, and FEHB plan brochures must contain an explanation of the carrier's subrogation and reimbursement policy.

DATES:

This final rule is effective June 22, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Marguerite Martel, Senior Policy Analyst at (202) 606-0004.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The FEHB Act, as codified at 5 U.S.C. 8902(m)(1), provides: “The terms of any contract under this chapter which relate to the nature, provision, or extent of coverage or benefits (including payments with respect to benefits) shall supersede and preempt any State or local law, or any regulation issued thereunder, which relates to health insurance or plans.” This final regulation reaffirms that a covered individual's entitlement to FEHB benefits and benefit payments is conditioned upon, and limited by, a carrier's entitlement to subrogation and reimbursement recoveries pursuant to a subrogation or reimbursement clause in the FEHB contract. This final regulation also reaffirms that a FEHB carrier's rights and responsibilities pertaining to subrogation and reimbursement relate to the nature, provision and extent of coverage or benefits and benefit payments provided under title 5, United States Code Chapter 89, and therefore are effective notwithstanding any state or local law or regulation relating to health insurance or plans. Some state courts have interpreted ambiguity in Section 8902(m)(1) to reach a contrary result and thereby to allow state laws to prevent or limit subrogation or reimbursement rights under FEHB contracts. In this final rule, OPM is exercising its rulemaking authority under 5 U.S.C. 8913 to ensure that carriers enjoy the full subrogation and reimbursement rights provided for under their contracts.

The interpretation of Section 8902(m)(1) promulgated herein comports with longstanding Federal policy and furthers Congress's goals of reducing health care costs and enabling uniform, nationwide application of FEHB contracts. The FEHB program insures approximately 8.2 million federal employees, annuitants, and their families, a significant proportion of whom are covered through nationwide fee-for-service plans with uniform rates. The government pays on average approximately 70% of Federal employees' plan premiums. 5 U.S.C. 8906(b), (f). The government's share of FEHB premiums in 2014 was approximately $33 billion, a figure that tends to increase each year. OPM estimates that FEHB carriers were reimbursed by approximately $126 million in subrogation recoveries in that year. Subrogation recoveries translate to premium cost savings for the federal government and FEHB enrollees.

OPM proposed this amendment in a notice of proposed rulemaking on January 7, 2015 (80 FR 931). The proposed rule had a 30 day comment period during which OPM received 3 comments.

Responses to comments on the proposed rule:

OPM received comments from an association of FEHB carriers, a trade association serving subrogation and recovery professionals, and a provider of subrogation and recovery services. The comments all expressed support for the regulation and suggested some changes to clarify the language in the proposed rule.

All commenters suggested edits to the proposed definitions of “subrogation” and “reimbursement” at 5 CFR 890.101 to more completely reflect the universe of FEHB Program plan recoveries. All three commenters expressed concern with the reference to “a responsible third party” in the definitions, indicating that the use of this phrase has been interpreted to foreclose “first party” claims for subrogation and recoveries, such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and recommended adding other insurance including workers' compensation insurance, to the definition to be consistent with entitlements listed in the proposed § 890.106(c)(2) and (f). OPM agrees that the definitions of subrogation and reimbursement should include first party claims. In addition, commenters noted that § 890.106(b) and (f) should be updated to reflect this change. The definitions at § 890.101 and other corresponding sections have been updated accordingly as necessary.

The commenters also suggested additional specific changes to the proposed definition of “reimbursement.” Two of the commenters noted that the definition of reimbursement should address the situation of both illness and injury. OPM has revised the definition of reimbursement to accept this change. One commenter suggested that the final rule clarify that the right of reimbursement is cumulative with and not exclusive of the right of subrogation. OPM has incorporated this clarification. Two commenters suggested that the definition should reflect that a covered individual need not have actually received a recovery payment so long as the covered individual is entitled to receive a payment. OPM does not agree that the right of reimbursement is sufficiently broad to require an individual to reimburse the carrier in a circumstance where the individual has not actually received a recovery, and rejects this change. One commenter indicated that the right of reimbursement is specific to a recovery from an individual who has received a third party payment while the right of subrogation permits a carrier to recover directly from other sources. OPM agrees with this comment and has clarified the definition of “subrogation” accordingly.

One commenter suggested that § 890.106(b) be amended to align the regulation and FEHB carrier contract requirements. OPM has revised this section to refer to contractual requirements.

One commenter noted that § 890.106(f) should be clarified to ensure that the carrier has a subrogation right to recover directly from a responsible insurer all amounts available to or on behalf of the covered individual. We have clarified the provision accordingly.

Two commenters noted that proposed § 890.106(b) and (h) did not clearly reflect OPM's intention for this regulation to apply to existing contracts. We agree and are slightly revising the language of paragraphs (b) and (h) to be clearer. Paragraph (h) formalizes OPM's longstanding interpretation of what Section 8902(m)(1) has meant since Congress enacted it in 1978. This interpretation applies to all FEHBA contracts. Paragraph (b)(1) in the final rule likewise formalizes OPM's longstanding interpretation of subrogation and reimbursement clauses in carrier contracts as constituting a condition of and a limitation on the nature of benefits or benefits payments and on the provision of benefit payments. See Carrier Letter 2012-18. FEHBA contracts that contain subrogation and reimbursement clauses condition benefits and benefit payments on giving the carrier a right to pursue subrogation and reimbursement and therefore are directly related to benefits, benefit payments, and coverage within the meaning of Section 8902(m)(1). The interpretations in paragraphs (b)(1) and (h) together clarify and ensure that carriers enjoy full subrogation and reimbursement rights notwithstanding any state law to the contrary, and they apply in any pending or future case.

To clarify further the relationship among subrogation, reimbursement, benefits, and coverage, we are also in paragraph (b)(2) requiring carrier contracts that contain subrogation and reimbursement clauses to contain language specifying that benefits and benefit payments are extended to a covered individual on the condition that the carrier may pursue and receive subrogation and reimbursement. This substantive requirement, unlike the interpretation discussed above, will govern any benefit payment made under any carrier contract entered into after this regulation goes into effect.

OPM is issuing this final rule with changes to §§ 890.101(a) and 890.106(b) and (f) as described above.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because the regulation because the regulation only affects health insurance benefits of Federal employees and annuitants. Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Review

This rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with Executive Orders 13563 and 12866.

Federalism

We have examined this rule in accordance with Executive Order 13132, Federalism, and have determined that this rule restates existing rights, roles and responsibilities of State, local, or tribal governments.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Parts 890

Administrative practice and procedure, Government employees, Health facilities, Health insurance, Health professions, Hostages, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Military personnel, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Retirement.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Katherine Archuleta, Director. PART 890—FEDERAL EMPLOYEES HEALTH BENEFITS PROGRAM 1. The authority citation for part 890 continues to read as follows: Authority:

5 U.S.C. 8913. Sec. 890.301 also issued under sec. 311 of Pub. L. 111-03, 123 Stat. 64; Sec. 890.111 also issued under section 1622(b) of Pub. L. 104-106, 110 Stat. 521; Sec. 890.112 also issued under section 1 of Pub. L. 110-279, 122 Stat. 2604; 5 U.S.C. 8913; Sec. 890.803 also issued under 50 U.S.C. 403p, 22 U.S.C. 4069c and 4069c-1; subpart L also issued under sec. 599C of Pub. L. 101-513, 104 Stat. 2064, as amended; Sec. 890.102 also issued under sections 11202(f), 11232(e), 11246 (b) and (c) of Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 251; and section 721 of Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 2061.

2. In § 890.101, in paragraph (a), add definitions in alphabetical order for “reimbursement” and “subrogation” to read as follows:
§ 890.101 Definitions; time computations.

(a) * * *

Reimbursement means a carrier's pursuit of a recovery if a covered individual has suffered an illness or injury and has received, in connection with that illness or injury, a payment from any party that may be liable, any applicable insurance policy, or a workers' compensation program or insurance policy, and the terms of the carrier's health benefits plan require the covered individual, as a result of such payment, to reimburse the carrier out of the payment to the extent of the benefits initially paid or provided. The right of reimbursement is cumulative with and not exclusive of the right of subrogation.

Subrogation means a carrier's pursuit of a recovery from any party that may be liable, any applicable insurance policy, or a workers' compensation program or insurance policy, as successor to the rights of a covered individual who suffered an illness or injury and has obtained benefits from that carrier's health benefits plan.

3. Section 890.106 is revised to read as follows:
§ 890.106 Carrier entitlement to pursue subrogation and reimbursement recoveries.

(a) All health benefit plan contracts shall provide that the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) carrier is entitled to pursue subrogation and reimbursement recoveries, and shall have a policy to pursue such recoveries in accordance with the terms of this section.

(b)(1) Any FEHB carriers' right to pursue and receive subrogation and reimbursement recoveries constitutes a condition of and a limitation on the nature of benefits or benefit payments and on the provision of benefits under the plan's coverage.

(2) Any health benefits plan contract that contains a subrogation or reimbursement clause shall provide that benefits and benefit payments are extended to a covered individual on the condition that the FEHB carrier may pursue and receive subrogation and reimbursement recoveries pursuant to the contract.

(c) Contracts shall provide that the FEHB carriers' rights to pursue and receive subrogation or reimbursement recoveries arise upon the occurrence of the following:

(1) The covered individual has received benefits or benefit payments as a result of an illness or injury; and

(2) The covered individual has accrued a right of action against a third party for causing that illness or injury; or has received a judgment, settlement or other recovery on the basis of that illness or injury; or is entitled to receive compensation or recovery on the basis of the illness or injury, including from insurers of individual (non-group) policies of liability insurance that are issued to and in the name of the enrollee or a covered family member.

(d) A FEHB carrier's exercise of its right to pursue and receive subrogation or reimbursement recoveries does not give rise to a claim within the meaning of 5 CFR 890.101 and is therefore not subject to the disputed claims process set forth at 5 CFR 890.105.

(e) Any subrogation or reimbursement recovery on the part of a FEHB carrier shall be effectuated against the recovery first (before any of the rights of any other parties are effectuated) and is not impacted by how the judgment, settlement, or other recovery is characterized, designated, or apportioned.

(f) Pursuant to a subrogation or reimbursement clause, the FEHB carrier may recover directly from any party that may be liable, or from the covered individual, or from any applicable insurance policy, or a workers' compensation program or insurance policy, all amounts available to or received by or on behalf of the covered individual by judgment, settlement, or other recovery, to the extent of the amount of benefits that have been paid or provided by the carrier.

(g) Any contract must contain a provision incorporating the carrier's subrogation and reimbursement rights as a condition of and a limitation on the nature of benefits or benefit payments and on the provision of benefits under the plan's coverage. The corresponding health benefits plan brochure must contain an explanation of the carrier's subrogation and reimbursement policy.

(h) A carrier's rights and responsibilities pertaining to subrogation and reimbursement under any FEHB contract relate to the nature, provision, and extent of coverage or benefits (including payments with respect to benefits) within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 8902(m)(1). These rights and responsibilities are therefore effective notwithstanding any state or local law, or any regulation issued thereunder, which relates to health insurance or plans.

[FR Doc. 2015-12378 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6325-63-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 23 [Docket No. CE306; Special Conditions No. 23-246-SC] Special Conditions: Cirrus Design Corporation Model SF50 airplane; Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) System; Withdrawal AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final special conditions; withdrawal.

SUMMARY:

The FAA is withdrawing a previously published document granting special conditions for the Cirrus Design Corporation model SF50 airplane. We are withdrawing Special Condition No. 23-246-SC through mutual agreement with Cirrus Design Corporation.

DATES:

Effective May 21, 2015, the special condition published on April 20, 2010 (75 FR 20518) is withdrawn.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeff Pretz, Federal Aviation Administration, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, MO 64106; telephone (816) 329-3239; facsimile (816) 329-4090, email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

On September 9, 2008, Cirrus Design Corporation applied for a type certificate for their new model SF50 aircraft. Under the provisions of 14 CFR part 21, § 21.17, Cirrus Design Corporation must show that the model SF50 meets the applicable provisions of part 23, as amended by amendments 23-1 through 23-59.

On April 20, 2010, the FAA published Special Condition No. 23-246-SC for the Cirrus Design Corporation model SF50 airplane. The Cirrus SF50 is a low-wing, five-plus-two-place (2 children), single-engine turbofan-powered aircraft. The airplane engine is controlled by an Electronic Engine Control (EEC), also known as a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).

On December 11, 2012 Cirrus Design Corporation elected to adjust the certification basis of the SF50 to include 14 CFR part 23 through amendment 62. Special Condition No. 23-246-SC is therefore being withdrawn. It no longer reflects the appropriate part 23 amendment level of the aircraft and the basic Special Condition requirement for EEC equipped aircraft has been revised.

Reason for Withdrawal

The FAA is withdrawing Special Condition No. 23-246-SC because Cirrus Design Corporation elected to revise the model SF50 certification basis to amendment 23-62.

The authority citation for this Special Condition withdrawal is 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40113 and 44701; 14 CFR 21.16 and 21.17; and 14 CFR 11.38 and 11.19.

Conclusion

Withdrawal of this special condition does not preclude the FAA from issuing another document on the subject matter in the future or committing the agency to any future course of action.

Issued in Kansas City, Missouri on May 11, 2015. Earl Lawrence, Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-12262 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1570; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-054-AD; Amendment 39-18161; AD 2015-10-05] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters (Previously Eurocopter France) Helicopters AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) Model AS365N3, EC155B, and EC155B1 helicopters with an external life raft in the footsteps with certain part-numbered junction units. This AD requires inspecting the junction units of the external life raft deployment system for corrosion, removing any corrosion, and performing certain measurements to determine whether the junction unit must be replaced. This AD is prompted by failure of a life raft deployment test and corrosion damage inside the left-hand junction unit. These actions are intended to prevent failure of an external life raft to deploy preventing evacuation of passengers during an emergency.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective June 5, 2015.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain documents listed in this AD as of June 5, 2015.

We must receive comments on this AD by July 20, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Docket: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

Hand Delivery: Deliver to the “Mail” address between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any incorporated by reference service information, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2015-1570.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Martin R. Crane, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5112; email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety, and we did not provide you with notice and an opportunity to provide your comments prior to it becoming effective. However, we invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that resulted from adopting this AD. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the AD, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit them only one time. We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this rulemaking during the comment period. We will consider all the comments we receive and may conduct additional rulemaking based on those comments.

Discussion

We are adopting a new AD for Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France) Model AS365N3, EC155B, and EC155B1 helicopters with an external life raft in the footsteps with a junction unit, manufacturer part number (P/N) 200197 or P/N 200188 (Airbus Helicopters P/N 704A341302.48 or P/N 704A341302.30), installed. This AD requires inspecting the external life raft deployment system junction unit for corrosion, removing any corrosion, and measuring the clearance between the internal and external pulleys and the junction unit cover. If the clearance exceeds a certain threshold, this AD requires replacing the junction unit. This AD is prompted by failure of the external life raft deployment test and corrosion damage inside the left-hand junction unit, which blocked the deployment handle. These actions are intended to prevent corrosion damage inside a junction unit, which can prevent a deployment handle from functioning correctly and cause failure of an external life raft to deploy, preventing evacuation of passengers during an emergency.

EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued AD No. 2014-0214, dated September 24, 2014, to correct an unsafe condition for Airbus Helicopters Model AS365N3, EC155B, and EC155B1 helicopters with external life rafts in the footsteps with certain part-numbered junction units installed. EASA advises that failure of the external life raft deployment test was reported by a Model AS365 helicopter operator when the affected external life raft underwent a scheduled maintenance. The failure occurred during an attempt to release the life raft by pulling the left-hand internal deployment handle. Subsequent investigations revealed corrosion damage inside the left-hand junction unit, which blocked the deployment handle. The EASA AD requires an inspection of the tensile loads during a functional test of the life-raft system, the junction unit cover for drainage holes, and the junction unit cover for corrosion. The EASA AD also requires measuring operational clearance of the right-hand and the left-hand junction units of the external life raft deployment system and, depending on the findings, corrective action and reporting the results to Airbus.

FAA's Determination

These helicopters have been approved by the aviation authority of France and are approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with France, EASA, its technical representative, has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the EASA AD. We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by the EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other helicopters of these same type designs.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus Helicopters issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. EC155-05A027 for the Model EC155B and B1 helicopter and ASB No. AS365-05.00.67 for the Model AS365N3 helicopter. Both ASBs are Revision 1 and dated September 1, 2014. The ASBs specify checking the tensile load during a functional test of the life-raft system, checking that the drainage hole blank is correctly positioned, inspecting the junction units for corrosion, and measuring the operational clearance between the junction unit pulleys and the cover. If necessary, the ASBs call for removing the corrosion from the cover surface or pulleys and replacing the junction unit.

The ASBs state that the life raft deployment test on a Model AS365 helicopter failed when the left-hand internal deployment handle did not function correctly because the handle was blocked by corrosion inside the junction unit. ASB No. EC155-05A027 further states that Model EC155B and B1 helicopters are equipped with similar junction units.

This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this AD.

AD Requirements

This AD requires, before further flight:

• Inspecting each external life raft deployment system unit for corrosion, and if there is corrosion, either removing the corrosion and applying a protective coating, primer, and paint to the surface or replacing the junction unit with an airworthy junction unit.

• Measuring the diameter of the junction unit cover and of each (internal and external) junction unit pulley for operational clearance. If the clearance is greater than 0.029 inch (0.75 mm), replacing the junction unit with an airworthy junction unit.

• Inspecting the drainage holes on the upper face and the lower surface of the junction unit cover to determine whether they are plugged. This AD requires plugging the drainage hole on the upper face if it is not plugged and removing the plug in the drainage hole on the lower surface if it is plugged.

Differences Between This AD and the EASA AD

The EASA AD requires a tensile load inspection and, depending on the results of the inspection, may allow a longer compliance time for the remaining required actions. This AD does not require the tensile load inspection and requires all required actions before further flight. The EASA AD allows the operational clearance measurements to be taken before any corrosion is removed, while this AD requires removing any corrosion before taking measurements. The EASA AD requires reporting the inspection results to the manufacturer; this AD does not.

Costs of Compliance

There are no costs of compliance with this AD because there are no helicopters equipped with the life raft deployment system that is the subject of this AD.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

There are no helicopters with the affected life raft deployment system; therefore, we believe it is unlikely that we will receive any adverse comments or useful information about this AD from U.S. Operators.

Since an unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD, we determined that notice and opportunity for public comment before issuing this AD are unnecessary because there are no helicopters with the affected life raft deployment system and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

Regulatory Findings

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

For the reasons discussed, I certify that this AD:

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

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

3. Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction; and

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2015-10-05 Airbus Helicopters (previously Eurocopter France): Amendment 39-18161; Docket No. FAA-2015-1570; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-054-AD. (a) Applicability

This AD applies to Model AS365N3, EC155B, and EC155B1 helicopters with an external life raft in the footstep installed with a junction unit, manufacturer part number (P/N) 200197 or P/N 200188 (Airbus Helicopters P/N 704A341302.48 or 704A341302.30), certificated in any category.

(b) Unsafe Condition

This AD defines the unsafe condition as corrosion damage inside a junction unit, which can prevent a deployment handle from functioning correctly. This condition could result in failure of an external life raft to deploy, preventing evacuation of passengers during an emergency.

(c) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective June 5, 2015.

(d) Compliance

You are responsible for performing each action required by this AD within the specified compliance time unless it has already been accomplished prior to that time.

(e) Required Actions

Before further flight:

(1) Inspect each external life raft deployment system left-hand and right-hand junction unit for corrosion in the areas shown in Figure 3 of Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. EC155-05A027, Revision 1, dated September 1, 2014 (ASB No. EC155-05A027), or ASB No. AS365-05.00.67, Revision 1, dated September 1, 2014, (ASB No. AS365-05.00.67), as applicable to your helicopter model.

(2) If there is corrosion, either remove the corrosion and apply a protective coating, primer, and paint to the surface or replace the junction unit with an airworthy junction unit.

(3) Measure the diameter of the junction unit cover and of each (internal and external) junction unit pulley for operational clearance. If the clearance is greater than 0.029 inch (0.75 mm) as depicted in Figure 4 of ASB No. EC155-05A027 or Figure 5 of ASB No. AS365-05.00.67, as applicable to your helicopter model, replace the junction unit with an airworthy junction unit.

(4) Inspect the drainage hole on the upper face of the junction unit cover, and if it is unplugged, plug it.

(5) Inspect the drainage hole on the lower surface of the junction unit cover, and if it is plugged, remove the plug.

(f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Martin R. Crane, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76137; telephone (817) 222-5112; email [email protected]

(2) For operations conducted under a 14 CFR part 119 operating certificate or under 14 CFR part 91, subpart K, we suggest that you notify your principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office or certificate holding district office, before operating any aircraft complying with this AD through an AMOC.

(g) Additional Information

The subject of this AD is addressed in European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2014-0214, dated September 24, 2014. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FAA-2015-1570.

(h) Subject

Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 2564 Equipment/Furnishing.

(i) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

(i) Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. EC155-05A027, Revision 1, dated September 1, 2014.

(ii) Airbus Helicopters ASB No. AS365-05.00.67, Revision 1, dated September 1, 2014.

(3) For Airbus Helicopters service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub.

(4) You may view this service information at FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 2601 Meacham Blvd., Room 663, Fort Worth, Texas 76137. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110.

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

Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on May 11, 2015. Lance T. Gant, Acting Directorate Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-12004 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31015; Amdt. No. 3641] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

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

DATES:

This rule is effective May 21, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of May 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

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

For Examination

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

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

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

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

Availability

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

The Rule

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

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

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

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

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

Issued in Washington, DC on April 24, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows: Effective 28 May 2015 Glencoe, MN, Glencoe Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig Glencoe, MN, Glencoe Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1 Rutherfordton, NC, Rutherford Co—Marchman Field, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 3 Houston, TX, Lone Star Executive, RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 1A Boscobel, WI, Boscobel, RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Amdt 1 Effective 25 June 2015 Gary, IN, Gary/Chicago Intl, RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 12, Amdt 1 Gary, IN, Gary/Chicago Intl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 12, Amdt 1 Portland, OR, Portland Intl, RNAV (RNP) Y RWY 28L, Amdt 2 Portland, OR, Portland Intl, RNAV (RNP) Y RWY 28R, Amdt 2 Johnstown, PA, John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County, VOR/DME RWY 15, Amdt 7 Johnstown, PA, John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County, VOR/DME RWY 23, Amdt 4 Greenville, SC, Greenville Downtown, ILS Y OR LOC Y RWY 1, Orig Greenville, SC, Greenville Downtown, ILS Z OR LOC Z RWY 1, Amdt 30 Greenville, SC, Greenville Downtown, RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Amdt 1 Greenville, SC, Greenville Downtown, RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Amdt 1 Greenville, SC, Greenville Downtown, RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Orig Richland/Ashland, VA, Hanover County Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig Buffalo, WY, Johnson County, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 2 Sheridan, WY, Sheridan County, ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 33, Amdt 2 Sheridan, WY, Sheridan County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1 Sheridan, WY, Sheridan County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1 Sheridan, WY, Sheridan County, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 4 Sheridan, WY, Sheridan County, VOR RWY 15, Amdt 2
[FR Doc. 2015-12123 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31017; Amdt. No. 3643] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

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

DATES:

This rule is effective May 21, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of May 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

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

For Examination

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

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

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

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

Availability

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

The Rule

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

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

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

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

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

Issued in Washington, DC on May 8, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows: Effective 25 JUNE 2015 Forrest City, AR, Forrest City Muni, GPS RWY 36, Orig-B, CANCELED Forrest City, AR, Forrest City Muni, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 2, CANCELED Washington, DC, Manassas Rgnl/Harry P Davis Field, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 4A Homerville, GA, Homerville, NDB RWY 14, Amdt 3 Homerville, GA, Homerville, RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 1 Homerville, GA, Homerville, RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 1 Homerville, GA, Homerville, VOR/DME-A, Amdt 5 Boise, ID, Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Fld, ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 28R, Orig Boise, ID, Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Fld, RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 28R, Amdt 5 Gary, IN, Gary/Chicago Intl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 8 Detroit, MI, Willow Run, RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 1, CANCELED Camdenton, MO, Camdenton Memorial-Lake Rgnl, RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1A Camdenton, MO, Camdenton Memorial-Lake Rgnl, RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1A Camdenton, MO, Camdenton Memorial-Lake Rgnl, VOR-A, Amdt 5B Deming, NM, Deming Muni, RNAV (GPS) RWY 26, Orig, CANCELED Deming, NM, Deming Muni, RNAV (GPS)-A, Orig Kingston, NY, Kingston-Ulster, RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1 Kingston, NY, Kingston-Ulster, RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1 Millersburg, OH, Holmes County, GPS RWY 27, Orig, CANCELED Millersburg, OH, Holmes County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig Millersburg, OH, Holmes County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Orig Millersburg, OH, Holmes County, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 2 Millersburg, OH, Holmes County, VOR-A, Amdt 7 Corvallis, OR, Corvallis Muni, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 6 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, COPTER ILS OR LOC RWY 4, Amdt 1 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, ILS OR LOC RWY 4, Amdt 8 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, NDB RWY 4, Amdt 6 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 4, Amdt 1 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, RNAV (RNP) Z RWY 4, Amdt 1 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 6 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, VOR-A, Amdt 6 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, VOR/DME RWY 4, Amdt 11 North Bend, OR, Southwest Oregon Rgnl, VOR/DME-B, Amdt 5 Tillamook, OR, Tillamook, RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Orig-A Bedford, PA, Bedford County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 2 Bedford, PA, Bedford County, RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Amdt 2 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Intl, ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 22, Amdt 9 Brookings, SD, Brookings Rgnl, ILS OR LOC RWY 12, Orig Brookings, SD, Brookings Rgnl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 2 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, Dallas Fort/Worth Intl, ILS OR LOC RWY 36L, ILS RWY 36L (SA CAT II), Amdt 3 Mesquite, TX, Mesquite Metro, ILS OR LOC RWY 18, Amdt 1D Mesquite, TX, Mesquite Metro, LOC/DME BC RWY 36, Amdt 4 Mesquite, TX, Mesquite Metro, RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1A Mesquite, TX, Mesquite Metro, RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 2 Mesquite, TX, Mesquite Metro, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 4A New Braunfels, TX, New Braunfels Rgnl, Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle DP, Amdt 1 Sturgeon Bay, WI, Door County Cherryland, SDF RWY 2, Amdt 8A, CANCELED
[FR Doc. 2015-12111 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31016; Amdt. No. 3642] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

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

DATES:

This rule is effective May 21, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of May 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

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

For Examination

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

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

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

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

Availability

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

The Rule

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

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

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

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

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 97

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

Issued in Washington, DC on April 24, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows:

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

* * * Effective Upon Publication AIRAC Date State City Airport FDC No. FDC Date Subject 28-May-15 AL Gadsden Northeast Alabama Rgnl 5/4765 03/24/15 This NOTAM, published in TL 15-11, is hereby rescinded in its entirety. 28-May-15 AL Gadsden Northeast Alabama Rgnl 5/4766 03/24/15 This NOTAM, published in TL 15-11, is hereby rescinded in its entirety. 28-May-15 AL Gadsden Northeast Alabama Rgnl 5/4767 03/24/15 This NOTAM, published in TL 15-11, is hereby rescinded in its entirety. 28-May-15 AL Gadsden Northeast Alabama Rgnl 5/4768 03/24/15 This NOTAM, published in TL 15-11, is hereby rescinded in its entirety. 28-May-15 AL Gadsden Northeast Alabama Rgnl 5/4769 03/24/15 This NOTAM, published in TL 15-11, is hereby rescinded in its entirety. 28-May-15 HI Honolulu Honolulu Intl 5/6631 03/27/15 This NOTAM, published in TL 15-11, is hereby rescinded in its entirety. 28-May-15 MO Marshall Marshall Memorial Muni 4/0075 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36, Amdt 3 28-May-15 MO Marshall Marshall Memorial Muni 4/0084 04/14/15 NDB Rwy 36, Amdt 4 28-May-15 MO Kansas City Charles B Wheeler Downtown 4/0091 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 21, Amdt 1B 28-May-15 MO Kansas City Charles B Wheeler Downtown 4/0094 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 21, Amdt 14A 28-May-15 MO Kansas City Charles B Wheeler Downtown 4/0102 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 3, Amdt 2 28-May-15 MN Two Harbors Richard B Helgeson 4/0103 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 24, Orig-A 28-May-15 MO Kansas City Charles B Wheeler Downtown 4/0105 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 3, Amdt 19 28-May-15 MO Kansas City Charles B Wheeler Downtown 4/0108 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 3, Amdt 4 28-May-15 MN Rochester Rochester Intl 4/0114 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 2, Amdt 3 28-May-15 MN Rochester Rochester Intl 4/0115 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 20, Amdt 2 28-May-15 MN Staples Staples Muni 4/0119 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Orig 28-May-15 MN Marshall Southwest Minnesota Rgnl Marshall/Ryan Fld 4/0189 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 12, Amdt 1 28-May-15 IN Tell City Perry County Muni 4/0203 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Orig 28-May-15 MN Red Wing Red Wing Rgnl 4/0205 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 9, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MN Red Wing Red Wing Rgnl 4/0207 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MO Eldon Eldon Model Airpark 4/0211 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 18, Orig 28-May-15 MN Marshall Southwest Minnesota Rgnl Marshall/Ryan Fld 4/0353 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30, Orig-A 28-May-15 MO Mountain View Mountain View 4/0364 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 28, Orig-A 28-May-15 MI Boyne City Boyne City Muni 4/0365 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27, Orig 28-May-15 MI Boyne City Boyne City Muni 4/0371 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Orig 28-May-15 MN Minneapolis Airlake 4/0394 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30, Orig 28-May-15 MO Moberly Omar N Bradley 4/0395 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 13, Orig 28-May-15 MO Moberly Omar N Bradley 4/0404 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Orig 28-May-15 MI Clare Clare Muni 4/0406 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 4, Orig 28-May-15 MO Aurora Jerry Sumners Sr Aurora Muni 4/0416 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36, Orig 28-May-15 MN Moose Lake Moose Lake Carlton County 4/0420 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 4, Orig 28-May-15 MO Branson West Branson West Muni-Emerson Field 4/0427 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 3, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MI Hillsdale Hillsdale Muni 4/0428 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 10, Orig 28-May-15 MN Worthington Worthington Muni 4/0454 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 11, Amdt 3 28-May-15 MN Worthington Worthington Muni 4/0470 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 36, Amdt 6 28-May-15 MN Worthington Worthington Muni 4/0471 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 11, Orig 28-May-15 MN Winona Winona Muni-Max Conrad Fld 4/0475 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MO Houston Houston Memorial 4/0489 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 34, Orig 28-May-15 MN Staples Staples Muni 4/0492 04/14/15 NDB Rwy 14, Amdt 3 28-May-15 MN Staples Staples Muni 4/0493 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Orig 28-May-15 MN St Paul St Paul Downtown Holman Fld 4/0498 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MO Gideon Gideon Memorial 4/0499 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 15, Orig 28-May-15 MO Gideon Gideon Memorial 4/0500 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 15, Amdt 3 28-May-15 MN Elbow Lake Elbow Lake Muni-Pride Of The Prairie 4/0505 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Orig 28-May-15 MN Elbow Lake Elbow Lake Muni-Pride Of The Prairie 4/0506 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Orig 28-May-15 MO Eldon Eldon Model Airpark 4/0507 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36, Orig 28-May-15 MO Cuba Cuba Muni 4/0508 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36, Orig-A 28-May-15 MN St Paul Lake Elmo 4/0509 04/14/15 NDB Rwy 4, Amdt 5 28-May-15 ND Carrington Carrington Muni 4/0535 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Orig 28-May-15 MN Morris Morris Muni-Charlie Schmidt Fld 4/0561 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MN Morris Morris Muni-Charlie Schmidt Fld 4/0562 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 14, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 MN Fosston Fosston Muni 4/0683 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 16, Orig-A 28-May-15 MN Morris Morris Muni-Charlie Schmidt Fld 4/0684 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MN Morris Morris Muni-Charlie Schmidt Fld 4/0685 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 32, Amdt 5A 28-May-15 MI Marquette Sawyer Intl 4/0695 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 1, Orig 28-May-15 MN Hibbing Range Rgnl 4/0696 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Amdt 1 28-May-15 IA Albia Albia Muni 4/0699 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 13, Orig 28-May-15 IA Albia Albia Muni 4/0702 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MN Owatonna Owatonna Degner Rgnl 4/0703 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 12, Amdt 10 28-May-15 MN Owatonna Owatonna Degner Rgnl 4/0704 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 12, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MN Park Rapids Park Rapids Muni-Konshok Field 4/0705 04/14/15 VOR/DME Rwy 13, Amdt 9 28-May-15 MN Park Rapids Park Rapids Muni-Konshok Field 4/0718 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 13, Orig 28-May-15 MN Rochester Rochester Intl 4/0805 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MN St Paul Lake Elmo 4/0806 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MO Springfield Springfield-Branson National 4/0807 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 14, Orig-B 28-May-15 MO Springfield Springfield-Branson National 4/0808 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 MN Two Harbors Richard B Helgeson 4/0856 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 6, Orig 28-May-15 IL Springfield Abraham Lincoln Capital 4/0948 04/14/15 VOR/DME Rwy 4, Orig 28-May-15 IL Springfield Abraham Lincoln Capital 4/0953 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 4, Orig-B 28-May-15 IL Springfield Abraham Lincoln Capital 4/0955 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 4, Amdt 25E 28-May-15 IL Mount Vernon Mount Vernon 4/0985 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 23, Amdt 11B 28-May-15 IN Indianapolis Indianapolis Metropolitan 4/0995 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 33, Amdt 10 28-May-15 MN Owatonna Owatonna Degner Rgnl 4/0998 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 30, Amdt 2B 28-May-15 MN Owatonna Owatonna Degner Rgnl 4/1000 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30, Orig-A 28-May-15 IL Macomb Macomb Muni 4/1090 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Amdt 1 28-May-15 IL Belleville Scott AFB/MidAmerica 4/5880 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC/DME Rwy 14L, Orig-E 28-May-15 IL Belleville Scott AFB/MidAmerica 4/5973 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 32R, Orig-E 28-May-15 CA Little River Little River 5/1337 04/08/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 29, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX Dallas Dallas Love Field 5/1799 04/07/15 ILS OR LOC Y Rwy 13L, Amdt 32B 28-May-15 TX Fredericksburg Gillespie County 5/1828 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 TX Fredericksburg Gillespie County 5/1829 04/09/15 VOR/DME A, Amdt 3A 28-May-15 TX Fredericksburg Gillespie County 5/1874 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2002 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 4, Amdt 2 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2003 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 14, Amdt 6 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2004 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 14, Amdt 18 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2005 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2006 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 32, Amdt 8 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2007 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2008 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 32, Amdt 10 28-May-15 FL Sarasota/Bradenton Sarasota/Bradenton Intl 5/2009 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 22, Amdt 2 28-May-15 MN St Paul Lake Elmo 5/2091 04/13/15 Takeoff Minimums and (Obstacle) DP, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2720 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 36R, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2721 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9R, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2722 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 18R, Orig 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2723 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27L, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2724 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36L, Orig-A 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2725 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36R, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2726 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 9R, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2727 04/14/15 TACAN Rwy 9R, Orig 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2728 04/14/15 TACAN Rwy 27L, Orig 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Cecil 5/2729 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 18L, Amdt 1 28-May-15 DC Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National 5/2831 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 33, Orig-A 28-May-15 DC Washington Ronald Reagan Washington National 5/2837 04/09/15 VOR/DME OR GPS Rwy 15, Amdt 1C 28-May-15 NC Washington Warren Field 5/2889 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 5, Amdt 1 28-May-15 NC Washington Warren Field 5/2891 04/09/15 LOC Rwy 5, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 FL Orlando Kissimmee Gateway 5/2892 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 6, Orig-A 28-May-15 FL Orlando Kissimmee Gateway 5/2893 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 33, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 MI Houghton Lake Roscommon County-Blodgett Memorial 5/2922 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 MI Houghton Lake Roscommon County-Blodgett Memorial 5/2924 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Amdt 2B 28-May-15 MI Houghton Lake Roscommon County-Blodgett Memorial 5/2925 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 9, Amdt 5A 28-May-15 MI Houghton Lake Roscommon County-Blodgett Memorial 5/2927 04/14/15 VOR Rwy 27, Amdt 4 28-May-15 AL Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa Rgnl 5/3441 04/07/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 4, Amdt 14E 28-May-15 FL Lakeland Lakeland Linder Rgnl 5/3447 04/08/15 VOR Rwy 27, Amdt 7E 28-May-15 FL Lakeland Lakeland Linder Rgnl 5/3448 04/08/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 5, Orig-C 28-May-15 WI New Richmond New Richmond Rgnl 5/3758 03/20/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 WI New Richmond New Richmond Rgnl 5/3759 03/20/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 2 28-May-15 WI Wautoma Wautoma Muni 5/3771 03/23/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Orig 28-May-15 WI Wautoma Wautoma Muni 5/3772 03/23/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 13, Orig 28-May-15 WA Spokane Felts Field 5/5453 04/13/15 ILS OR LOC/DME Rwy 22R, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 CA Hawthorne Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Muni 5/5466 04/13/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 25, Orig-A 28-May-15 CA Tracy Tracy Muni 5/5467 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 12, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 AZ Prescott Ernest A Love Field 5/5468 04/13/15 ILS OR LOC/DME Rwy 21L, Amdt 4 28-May-15 MO Springfield Springfield-Branson National 5/5490 04/13/15 VOR OR TACAN Rwy 20, Amdt 18D 28-May-15 MO Springfield Springfield-Branson National 5/5497 04/13/15 VOR/DME OR TACAN Rwy 2, Orig-C 28-May-15 NE Fairbury Fairbury Muni 5/5672 04/13/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 17, Orig-A 28-May-15 NE Fairbury Fairbury Muni 5/5673 04/13/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 35, Orig 28-May-15 NE Fairbury Fairbury Muni 5/5674 04/13/15 NDB-A, Amdt 3A 28-May-15 IL Salem Salem-Leckrone 5/5778 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX College Station Easterwood Field 5/5781 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 34, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5798 04/14/15 RNAV (RNP) Z Rwy 30L, Orig 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5802 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Y Rwy 22, Amdt 2 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5805 04/14/15 RNAV (RNP) Z Rwy 22, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5807 04/14/15 RNAV (RNP) Z Rwy 12R, Orig-A 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5809 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Y Rwy 4, Amdt 3 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5810 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 4, Amdt 22 28-May-15 TX San Antonio San Antonio Intl 5/5813 04/14/15 RNAV (RNP) Z Rwy 4, Orig-A 28-May-15 IL Moline Quad City Intl 5/6045 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 IL Moline Quad City Intl 5/6046 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 TX Pecos Pecos Muni 5/6047 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Orig 28-May-15 TX Plains Yoakum County 5/6048 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 3, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX Houston George Bush Intercontinental/Houston 5/6196 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 26R, Amdt 4 28-May-15 WY Jackson Jackson Hole 5/6481 04/14/15 VOR/DME Rwy 19, Orig 28-May-15 TX Gruver Gruver Muni 5/6739 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 20, Orig 28-May-15 IL Marion Williamson County Rgnl 5/6745 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 2, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 IL Marion Williamson County Rgnl 5/6746 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 20, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 FL Destin Destin-Fort Walton Beach 5/6986 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 FL Destin Destin-Fort Walton Beach 5/6987 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 FL Destin Destin-Fort Walton Beach 5/6988 04/15/15 Takeoff Minimums and (Obstacle) DP, Orig-A 28-May-15 WV Petersburg Grant County 5/7047 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Y Rwy 31, Orig 28-May-15 VA Quinton New Kent County 5/7048 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 29, Amdt 2 28-May-15 VA Quinton New Kent County 5/7049 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 11, Amdt 2 28-May-15 WV Martinsburg Eastern WV Rgnl/Shepherd Fld 5/7050 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 8, Amdt 1 28-May-15 MI Detroit Coleman A Young Muni 5/7057 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 33, Amdt 14A 28-May-15 MI Detroit Coleman A Young Muni 5/7058 04/15/15 NDB Rwy 15, Amdt 23 28-May-15 MI Detroit Coleman A Young Muni 5/7059 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 15, Orig 28-May-15 MI Detroit Coleman A Young Muni 5/7061 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 33, Orig-A 28-May-15 MI Detroit Coleman A Young Muni 5/7065 04/15/15 VOR Rwy 33, Amdt 28 28-May-15 MI Detroit Coleman A Young Muni 5/7066 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 15, Amdt 10A 28-May-15 WV Beckley Raleigh County Memorial 5/7069 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 28, Amdt 1 28-May-15 WV Beckley Raleigh County Memorial 5/7070 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 19, Amdt 1 28-May-15 WV Beckley Raleigh County Memorial 5/7071 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 19, Amdt 6 28-May-15 WV Beckley Raleigh County Memorial 5/7072 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 10, Amdt 1 28-May-15 WV Beckley Raleigh County Memorial 5/7073 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 1, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX Perryton Perryton Ochiltree County 5/7080 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 35, Amdt 1 28-May-15 TX Perryton Perryton Ochiltree County 5/7081 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 17, Orig 28-May-15 NC Lumberton Lumberton Rgnl 5/7124 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 5, Amdt 1B 28-May-15 NC Oak Island Cape Fear Rgnl Jetport/Howie Franklin Fld 5/7130 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 23, Orig-B 28-May-15 NC Oak Island Cape Fear Rgnl Jetport/Howie Franklin Fld 5/7131 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 5, Amdt 1C 28-May-15 KY Mount Sterling Mount Sterling-Montgomery County 5/7151 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 3, Orig-A 28-May-15 KY Mount Sterling Mount Sterling-Montgomery County 5/7152 04/15/15 NDB Rwy 3, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7153 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 2, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7154 04/15/15 RNAV (RNP) Y Rwy 34, Orig-A 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7155 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 34, ILS Rwy 34 (SA CAT I), ILS Rwy 34 (CAT II & III), Amdt 14 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7156 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 25, Amdt 1 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7158 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 20, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7159 04/15/15 RNAV (RNP) Y Rwy 20, Orig 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7160 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 16, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7161 04/15/15 RNAV (RNP) Y Rwy 16, Orig-A 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7162 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 16, Amdt 9 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7163 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 7, Amdt 1 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7164 04/15/15 VOR Rwy 2, Amdt 6 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7165 04/15/15 RNAV (RNP) Y Rwy 2, Orig 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7166 04/15/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 2, Amdt 2 28-May-15 VA Richmond Richmond Intl 5/7167 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 34, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 PA Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Intl 5/7174 04/15/15 RNAV (GPS) Y Rwy 28L, Amdt 4B 28-May-15 FL St Petersburg-Clearwater St Pete-Clearwater Intl 5/7193 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 18L, ILS Rwy 18L (SA CAT I), ILS Rwy 18L (CAT II), Amdt 22A 28-May-15 FL St Petersburg-Clearwater St Pete-Clearwater Intl 5/7194 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 18L, Amdt 1B 28-May-15 KS Goodland Renner Fld/Goodland Muni/ 5/7230 04/15/15 VOR/DME Rwy 30, Amdt 8A 28-May-15 RJ Mayaguez Eugenio Maria De Hostos 5/7540 04/03/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Orig-A 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Executive At Craig 5/7624 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Executive At Craig 5/7625 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Executive At Craig 5/7626 04/09/15 VOR/DME Rwy 32, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Executive At Craig 5/7627 04/09/15 VOR Rwy 14, Amdt 5 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Intl 5/7629 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 14, Amdt 7A 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Executive At Craig 5/7739 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 32, Amdt 5 28-May-15 FL Defuniak Springs Defuniak Springs 5/7741 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL St Petersburg-Clearwater St Pete-Clearwater Intl 5/7814 04/09/15 VOR Rwy 4, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 FL Miami Opa-Locka Executive 5/7822 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 12, Amdt 2 28-May-15 FL Miami Opa-Locka Executive 5/7824 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27R, Orig-A 28-May-15 FL Miami Opa-Locka Executive 5/7830 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 9L, Amdt 5 28-May-15 FL Miami Opa-Locka Executive 5/7831 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9L, Orig 28-May-15 FL Miami Opa-Locka Executive 5/8188 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 12, Orig 28-May-15 FL Miami Opa-Locka Executive 5/8189 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 27R, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 FL Fort Pierce St Lucie County Intl 5/8203 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 28L, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Fort Pierce St Lucie County Intl 5/8204 04/09/15 NDB Rwy 28L, Amdt 2 28-May-15 FL Orlando Executive 5/8205 04/07/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 7, Amdt 23 28-May-15 FL Orlando Executive 5/8206 04/07/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 7, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Orlando Executive 5/8207 04/07/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 25, Amdt 2 28-May-15 FL St Petersburg-Clearwater St Pete-Clearwater Intl 5/8219 04/09/15 VOR/DME Rwy 18L, Amdt 1B 28-May-15 FL St Petersburg-Clearwater St Pete-Clearwater Intl 5/8220 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 36R, Amdt 2B 28-May-15 DE Dover/Cheswold Delaware Airpark 5/8222 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Amdt 2 28-May-15 DE Dover/Cheswold Delaware Airpark 5/8223 04/09/15 VOR Rwy 27, Amdt 6B 28-May-15 DE Dover/Cheswold Delaware Airpark 5/8224 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 CT Hartford Hartford-Brainard 5/8226 04/09/15 LDA Rwy 2, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 CT Hartford Hartford-Brainard 5/8227 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 2, Orig-A 28-May-15 FL Plant City Plant City 5/8230 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 10, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 DC Washington Manassas Rgnl/Harry P Davis Field 5/8232 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 34R, Amdt 2 28-May-15 DC Washington Manassas Rgnl/Harry P Davis Field 5/8235 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 16R, Amdt 1A 28-May-15 AL Jasper Walker County-Bevill Field 5/8332 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9, Orig 28-May-15 FL Fort Myers Southwest Florida Intl 5/8345 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC/DME Rwy 6, Amdt 7 28-May-15 FL Sebring Sebring Rgnl 5/8366 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 32, Orig 28-May-15 FL Sebring Sebring Rgnl 5/8367 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 14, Orig-A 28-May-15 FL Sebring Sebring Rgnl 5/8368 04/09/15 RNAV (RNP) Rwy 19, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Sebring Sebring Rgnl 5/8369 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 1, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Fort Myers Southwest Florida Intl 5/8383 04/09/15 VOR/DME OR TACAN Rwy 24, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 FL Orlando Executive 5/8413 04/07/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 25, Orig 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8425 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 18, Orig-B 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8426 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9L, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8427 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 9R, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8428 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 9R, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8430 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27L, Orig 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8431 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 27R, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL Orlando Orlando Sanford Intl 5/8432 04/14/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 27R, Amdt 3 28-May-15 FL St Augustine Northeast Florida Rgnl 5/8435 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 31, Amdt 1B 28-May-15 TN Crossville Crossville Memorial-Whitson Field 5/8436 04/09/15 ILS Y OR LOC Y Rwy 26, Orig 28-May-15 TN Crossville Crossville Memorial-Whitson Field 5/8437 04/09/15 ILS Z OR LOC Z Rwy 26, Amdt 14 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Intl 5/8449 04/09/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 8, ILS Rwy 8 (SA CAT I), ILS Rwy 8 (CAT II & III), Amdt 13 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Intl 5/8450 04/09/15 RNAV (RNP) Y Rwy 32, Amdt 1 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Intl 5/8451 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 32, Amdt 2B 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Intl 5/8452 04/09/15 VOR/DME Rwy 32, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 FL Jacksonville Jacksonville Intl 5/8453 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 14, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 AZ Safford Safford Rgnl 5/8728 04/06/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30, Orig-A 28-May-15 AZ Safford Safford Rgnl 5/8731 04/06/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 12, Orig-B 28-May-15 MD Frederick Frederick Muni 5/8849 04/07/15 ILS OR LOC Rwy 23, Amdt 5D 28-May-15 MD Frederick Frederick Muni 5/8850 04/07/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 5, Orig-B 28-May-15 MD Frederick Frederick Muni 5/8851 04/07/15 RNAV (GPS) Y Rwy 23, Amdt 1B 28-May-15 MD Frederick Frederick Muni 5/8853 04/07/15 RNAV (GPS) Z Rwy 23, Orig-D 28-May-15 MD Frederick Frederick Muni 5/8854 04/07/15 VOR A, Amdt 2C 28-May-15 WV Buckhannon Upshur County Rgnl 5/8866 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 29, Amdt 2 28-May-15 WV Buckhannon Upshur County Rgnl 5/8867 04/14/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 11, Amdt 2 28-May-15 WV Buckhannon Upshur County Rgnl 5/8868 04/14/15 VOR A, Amdt 1 28-May-15 WV Summersville Summersville 5/8869 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 4, Orig 28-May-15 VA Clarksville Lake Country Regional 5/8880 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 4, Orig-A 28-May-15 VA Waynesboro Eagle's Nest 5/8881 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 6, Orig 28-May-15 VA Waynesboro Eagle's Nest 5/8882 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 24, Orig 28-May-15 WV Logan Logan County 5/8883 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 24, Orig 28-May-15 WV Logan Logan County 5/8886 04/09/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 6, Orig 28-May-15 MO Springfield Springfield-Branson National 5/9382 04/20/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 20, Amdt 2A 28-May-15 MO Springfield Springfield-Branson National 5/9383 04/20/15 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 2, Amdt 2A
[FR Doc. 2015-12108 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 97 [Docket No. 31018; Amdt. No. 3644] Standard Instrument Approach Procedures, and Takeoff Minimums and Obstacle Departure Procedures; Miscellaneous Amendments AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

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

DATES:

This rule is effective May 21, 2015. The compliance date for each SIAP, associated Takeoff Minimums, and ODP is specified in the amendatory provisions.

The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the regulations is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of May 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

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

For Examination

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

Availability and Summary of Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

The Rule

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

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

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

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

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR part 97

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

Issued in Washington, DC, on May 8, 2015. John Duncan, Director, Flight Standards Service. Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

2. Part 97 is amended to read as follows:

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

* * * Effective Upon Publication AIRAC date State City Airport FDC No. FDC date Subject 25-Jun-15 OH Athens/Albany Ohio University 5/0187 04/22/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 25, Amdt 1B. 25-Jun-15 OH Athens/Albany Ohio University 5/0198 04/22/15 NDB RWY 25, Amdt 9A. 25-Jun-15 OH Athens/Albany Ohio University 5/0199 04/22/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 OH Athens/Albany Ohio University 5/0200 04/22/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 IA Fort Dodge Fort Dodge Rgnl 5/0389 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 12, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 IA Fort Dodge Fort Dodge Rgnl 5/0391 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MI Detroit Willow Run 5/0564 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23R, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MI Detroit Willow Run 5/0568 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5L, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MI Detroit Willow Run 5/0571 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Amdt 2. 25-Jun-15 MI Detroit Willow Run 5/0572 04/29/15 VOR A, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MN Princeton Princeton Muni 5/0865 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MI Detroit Willow Run 5/0926 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5R, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 IL Rochelle Rochelle Muni Airport-Koritz Field 5/0952 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MO Stockton Stockton Muni 5/1027 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 19, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 MO Stockton Stockton Muni 5/1028 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 1, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MO Stockton Stockton Muni 5/1030 04/29/15 VOR/DME-A, Amdt 3. 25-Jun-15 GA Macon Middle Georgia Rgnl 5/1727 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Amdt 2A. 25-Jun-15 GA Macon Middle Georgia Rgnl 5/1728 04/29/15 VOR RWY 23, Amdt 4A. 25-Jun-15 GA Macon Middle Georgia Rgnl 5/1730 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 31, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 GA Macon Middle Georgia Rgnl 5/1731 04/29/15 VOR RWY 13, Amdt 10A. 25-Jun-15 GA Macon Middle Georgia Rgnl 5/1733 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 13, Amdt 2A. 25-Jun-15 DE Middletown Summit 5/2043 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 2. 25-Jun-15 DE Middletown Summit 5/2044 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 DE Middletown Summit 5/2045 04/30/15 NDB-A, Amdt 8. 25-Jun-15 FL Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Intl 5/2080 04/30/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 10R, Orig. 25-Jun-15 FL Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Intl 5/2082 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10R, Orig. 25-Jun-15 FL Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Intl 5/2083 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28L, Orig. 25-Jun-15 FL Fort Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Intl 5/2084 04/30/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 28L, Orig. 25-Jun-15 SC St George St George 5/2129 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Orig. 25-Jun-15 SD Pine Ridge Pine Ridge 5/2159 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 30, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 TX Amarillo Rick Husband Amarillo Intl 5/2163 04/29/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 4, Amdt 22C. 25-Jun-15 PA Towanda Bradford County 5/2835 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig. 25-Jun-15 CO Wray Wray Muni 5/2988 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 CO Wray Wray Muni 5/2992 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 GA Augusta Daniel Field 5/3440 04/29/15 NDB RWY 11, Amdt 4. 25-Jun-15 GA Augusta Daniel Field 5/3442 04/29/15 NDB/DME-C, Amdt 4. 25-Jun-15 GA Augusta Daniel Field 5/3443 04/29/15 VOR/DME-B, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 GA Augusta Daniel Field 5/3444 04/29/15 RADAR-1, Amdt 7B. 25-Jun-15 FL Crestview Bob Sikes 5/3455 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 17, Orig. 25-Jun-15 FL Crestview Bob Sikes 5/3456 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 35, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 MS West Point Mccharen Field 5/3458 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 MS West Point Mccharen Field 5/3459 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Orig. 25-Jun-15 GA Nahunta Brantley County 5/3472 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 1, Orig. 25-Jun-15 GA Nahunta Brantley County 5/3473 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 1, Orig. 25-Jun-15 GA Nahunta Brantley County 5/3474 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) Y RWY 19, Orig. 25-Jun-15 GA Nahunta Brantley County 5/3475 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) Z RWY 19, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MD Ocean City Ocean City Muni 5/4248 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 MD Ocean City Ocean City Muni 5/4250 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig-E. 25-Jun-15 MD Ocean City Ocean City Muni 5/4252 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 TX Crockett Houston County 5/5779 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6878 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 2L, Orig-B. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6879 04/21/15 VOR RWY 2L, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6880 04/21/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 10, Amdt 8A. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6881 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Orig-B. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6882 04/21/15 VOR RWY 10, Amdt 12B. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6883 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 20R, Amdt 1B. 25-Jun-15 IL Chicago/West Chicago Dupage 5/6884 04/21/15 ILS OR LOC RWY 2L, Amdt 2B. 25-Jun-15 IN Bloomington Monroe County 5/7415 04/21/15 VOR/DME RWY 6, Amdt 19A. 25-Jun-15 WI Oshkosh Wittman Rgnl 5/7416 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 2. 25-Jun-15 FL Naples Naples Muni 5/7557 04/29/15 VOR RWY 5, Amdt 5. 25-Jun-15 NC Wilmington Wilmington Intl 5/7591 04/30/15 TACAN-A, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 OH Carrollton Carroll County-Tolson 5/7778 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MS Starkville George M Bryan 5/7853 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 2. 25-Jun-15 MS Starkville George M Bryan 5/7854 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 3A. 25-Jun-15 MS Starkville George M Bryan 5/7855 04/30/15 LOC/DME RWY 36, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 TX Gladewater Gladewater Muni 5/8044 04/21/15 VOR/DME RWY 14, Amdt 3. 25-Jun-15 TX Gladewater Gladewater Muni 5/8045 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig. 25-Jun-15 TX Gladewater Gladewater Muni 5/8046 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 25-Jun-15 CT Bridgeport Igor I Sikorsky Memorial 5/8123 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MA Plymouth Plymouth Muni 5/8865 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 MA Plymouth Plymouth Muni 5/8870 04/30/15 ILS OR LOC/DME RWY 6, Amdt 1C. 25-Jun-15 MA Plymouth Plymouth Muni 5/8871 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 TX Harlingen Valley Intl 5/9373 04/21/15 VOR/DME RWY 17R, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MI Beaver Island Beaver Island 5/9380 04/21/15 NDB RWY 27, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MI Beaver Island Beaver Island 5/9381 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 27, Orig. 25-Jun-15 KS Marysville Marysville Muni 5/9535 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 34, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 AL Greenville Mac Crenshaw Memorial 5/9665 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 AL Greenville Mac Crenshaw Memorial 5/9667 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 PA Punxsutawney Punxsutawney Muni 5/9674 04/29/15 VOR/DME-A, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 FL Wauchula Wauchula Muni 5/9678 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 18, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 FL Wauchula Wauchula Muni 5/9679 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 36, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 TX Port Lavaca Calhoun County 5/9682 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 14, Amdt 2. 25-Jun-15 TX Port Lavaca Calhoun County 5/9683 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 32, Orig. 25-Jun-15 TX Port Lavaca Calhoun County 5/9684 04/21/15 VOR/DME-A, Amdt 4A. 25-Jun-15 VA Norfolk Hampton Roads Executive 5/9718 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 10, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MN Pinecreek Piney Pinecreek Border 5/9749 04/21/15 NDB RWY 33, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 MN Pinecreek Piney Pinecreek Border 5/9751 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Orig. 25-Jun-15 MN Pinecreek Piney Pinecreek Border 5/9755 04/21/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Orig. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9826 04/30/15 LOC Y RWY 23, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9829 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 5, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9830 04/30/15 VOR/DME RWY 5, Amdt 4A. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9831 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 9, Orig-A. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9832 04/30/15 VOR RWY 9, Amdt 2A. 25-Jun-15 PA Philadelphia Northeast Philadelphia 5/9837 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 15, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 PA Philadelphia Northeast Philadelphia 5/9838 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 33, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 PA Bellefonte Bellefonte 5/9839 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Orig. 25-Jun-15 PA Bellefonte Bellefonte 5/9841 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Orig. 25-Jun-15 FL Merritt Island Merritt Island 5/9884 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 11, Amdt 1B. 25-Jun-15 PA Meadville Port Meadville 5/9919 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 7, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 PA Meadville Port Meadville 5/9922 04/29/15 VOR RWY 7, Amdt 8. 25-Jun-15 PA Meadville Port Meadville 5/9926 04/29/15 LOC RWY 25, Amdt 6. 25-Jun-15 PA Meadville Port Meadville 5/9927 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 25, Amdt 1. 25-Jun-15 NY Oneonta Oneonta Muni 5/9932 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 6, Orig. 25-Jun-15 NY Oneonta Oneonta Muni 5/9933 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Orig. 25-Jun-15 PA Clarion Clarion County 5/9937 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 24, Amdt 1A. 25-Jun-15 PA Clarion Clarion County 5/9938 04/30/15 VOR A, Amdt 3. 25-Jun-15 NJ Princeton/Rocky Hill Princeton 5/9946 04/29/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 28, Orig. 25-Jun-15 NJ Princeton/Rocky Hill Princeton 5/9950 04/29/15 VOR-A, Amdt 7A. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9968 04/30/15 ILS OR LOC/DME Z RWY 23, Amdt 9A. 25-Jun-15 NY Saranac Lake Adirondack Rgnl 5/9969 04/30/15 RNAV (GPS) RWY 23, Orig-B.
[FR Doc. 2015-12110 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0312] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; St. Croix River, Stillwater, MN AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Stillwater Highway Drawbridge across the St. Croix River, mile 23.4, at Stillwater, Minnesota. The deviation is necessary due to increased vehicular traffic after a local Independence Day fireworks display. The deviation allows the bridge to be in the closed-to-navigation position to clear increased traffic congestion.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., July 4, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2014-0312] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Eric A. Washburn, Bridge Administrator, Western Rivers, Coast Guard; telephone 314-269-2378, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Minnesota Department of Transportation requested a temporary deviation for the Stillwater Highway Drawbridge, across the St. Croix River, mile 23.4, at Stillwater, Minnesota to remain in the closed-to-navigation position on July 4, 2015 as follows:

From 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on July 4, 2015, the lift span will remain in the closed-to-navigation position.

The Stillwater Highway Drawbridge currently operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.667(b), which states specific seasonal and commuter hours operating requirements.

There are no alternate routes for vessels transiting this section of the St. Croix River.

The Stillwater Highway Drawbridge, in the closed-to-navigation position, provides a vertical clearance of 10.9 feet above normal pool. Navigation on the waterway consists primarily of commercial sightseeing/dinner cruise boats and recreational watercraft. This temporary deviation has been coordinated with waterway users. No objections were received.

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

Dated: May 18, 2015. Eric A. Washburn, Bridge Administrator, Western Rivers.
[FR Doc. 2015-12353 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 300 [Docket No. 150406346-5346-01] RIN 0648-BF03 International Fisheries; Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species; Fishing Effort Limits in Purse Seine Fisheries for 2015 AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Interim rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

This interim rule establishes a limit for calendar year 2015 on fishing effort by U.S. purse seine vessels in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (U.S. EEZ) and on the high seas between the latitudes of 20° N. and 20° S. in the area of application of the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (Convention). The limit is 1,828 fishing days. This action is necessary for the United States to implement provisions of a conservation and management measure adopted by the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC or Commission) and to satisfy the obligations of the United States under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party.

DATES:

Effective on May 21, 2015; comments must be submitted in writing by June 5, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0058, and the regulatory impact review (RIR) prepared for the interim rule, by either of the following methods:

Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

1. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0058,

2. Click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and

3. Enter or attach your comments.

—OR—

Mail: Submit written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, might not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name and address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

Copies of the RIR and the environmental assessment prepared for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) purposes are available at www.regulations.gov or may be obtained from Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS PIRO (see address above).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tom Graham, NMFS PIRO, 808-725-5032.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background on the Convention

A map showing the boundaries of the area of application of the Convention (Convention Area), which comprises the majority of the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), can be found on the WCPFC Web site at: www.wcpfc.int/doc/convention-area-map. The Convention focuses on the conservation and management of highly migratory species (HMS) and the management of fisheries for HMS. The objective of the Convention is to ensure, through effective management, the long-term conservation and sustainable use of HMS in the WCPO. To accomplish this objective, the Convention established the Commission. The Commission includes Members, Cooperating Non-members, and Participating Territories (hereafter, collectively “members”). The United States is a Member. American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are Participating Territories.

As a Contracting Party to the Convention and a Member of the Commission, the United States is obligated to implement the decisions of the Commission. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act (16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.; WCPFC Implementation Act) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Department in which the United States Coast Guard is operating (currently the Department of Homeland Security), to promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the obligations of the United States under the Convention, including implementation of the decisions of the Commission. The WCPFC Implementation Act further provides that the Secretary of Commerce shall ensure consistency, to the extent practicable, of fishery management programs administered under the WCPFC Implementation Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), as well as other specific laws (see 16 U.S.C. 6905(b)). The Secretary of Commerce has delegated the authority to promulgate regulations under the WCPFC Implementation Act to NMFS.

WCPFC Decision on Tropical Tunas

At its Eleventh Regular Session, in December 2014, the WCPFC adopted Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) 2014-01, “Conservation and Management Measure for Bigeye, Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.” CMM 2014-01 is the most recent in a series of CMMs for the management of tropical tuna stocks under the purview of the Commission. It is a successor to CMM 2013-01, adopted in December 2013. These and other CMMs are available at: www.wcpfc.int/conservation-and-management-measures.

The stated general objective of CMM 2014-01 and several of its predecessor CMMs is to ensure that the stocks of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) in the WCPO are, at a minimum, maintained at levels capable of producing their maximum sustainable yield as qualified by relevant environmental and economic factors. The CMM includes specific objectives for each of the three stocks: For each, the fishing mortality rate is to be reduced to or maintained at levels no greater than the fishing mortality rate associated with maximum sustainable yield.

CMM 2014-01 went into effect February 3, 2015, and is generally applicable for the 2015-2017 period. The CMM includes provisions for purse seine vessels, longline vessels, and other types of vessels that fish for HMS. The CMM's provisions for purse seine vessels include limits on the allowable number of fishing vessels, limits on the allowable level of fishing effort, restrictions on the use of fish aggregating devices, requirements to retain all bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, and skipjack tuna except in specific circumstances, and requirements to carry vessel observers.

The provisions of CMM 2014-01 apply on the high seas and in EEZs in the Convention Area; they do not apply in territorial seas or archipelagic waters.

Paragraphs 20-27 of CMM 2014-01 require that WCPFC members limit the amount of fishing effort by purse seine vessels in certain areas of the Convention Area between the latitudes of 20° N. and 20° S. Paragraph 23 contains the relevant provisions for the U.S. EEZ, and paragraph 25 contains the relevant provisions for U.S. fishing vessels on the high seas.

Paragraph 23 of CMM 2014-01 requires coastal members like the United States to “establish effort limits, or equivalent catch limits for purse seine fisheries within their EEZs that reflect the geographical distributions of skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye tunas, and are consistent with the objectives for those species.” It further states, “Those coastal States that have already notified limits to the Commission shall restrict purse seine effort and/or catch within their EEZs in accordance with those limits.” The United States has regularly notified the Commission of its purse seine effort limits for the U.S. EEZ since the limits were first established in 2009 (in a final rule published August 4, 2009; 74 FR 38544). Accordingly, the applicable limit for the U.S. EEZ is the same as that implemented by NMFS since 2009, which is 558 fishing days per year. Under paragraph 23 of CMM 2014-01, this limit is applicable from 2015 through 2017.

Paragraph 25 of CMM 2014-01 requires that U.S. purse seine fishing effort on the high seas in 2015 be limited to 1,270 fishing days. It does not include limits for the years after 2015, instead stating that the Commission will review the 2015 limits in 2015 and agree on limits for later years.

The Action

This interim rule is limited to implementing CMM 2014-01's provisions on allowable levels of fishing effort by purse seine vessels on the high seas and in the U.S. EEZ in the Convention Area, and only for 2015. The CMM's other provisions would be implemented through one or more separate rules, as appropriate. NMFS is implementing the 2015 purse seine effort limits separately from other provisions of the CMM to ensure that the limits go into effect in U.S. regulations before the prescribed limits are exceeded by the fleet. Based on preliminary data available to date, NMFS expects that this could occur as early as June.

As in previous rules to implement similar Commission-mandated limits on purse seine fishing effort, this interim rule continues to implement the applicable limits for the U.S. EEZ (paragraph 23 of CMM 2014-01) and the high seas (paragraph 25 of CMM 2014-01) such that they apply to a single area, without regard to the boundary between the U.S. EEZ and the high seas. The separation in CMM 2014-01 of the high seas-related provisions from the EEZ-related provisions does not reflect differing management needs or objectives in the two respective areas, but instead reflects where, under the CMM, the management responsibility for the two areas lies. CMM 2014-01 puts the responsibility to limit fishing effort in EEZs on coastal States, while the responsibility to limit fishing effort in areas of high seas is put on flag States. In this case, the United States is both a coastal State and a flag State and will satisfy its dual responsibilities by implementing a rule that combines the two areas for the purpose of limiting purse seine fishing effort. NMFS considered both the action alternative that would combine the two areas and another alternative that would not (see the EA and the RIR for comparisons of the two alternatives). Because both alternatives would accomplish the objective of controlling fishing effort by the required amount (i.e., by U.S. purse seine vessels operating on the high seas and by purse seine vessels in areas under U.S. jurisdiction, collectively), and because the alternative of combining the two areas is expected to result in greater operational flexibility to affected purse seine vessels and lesser adverse economic impacts, NMFS is implementing the alternative that would combine the two areas. This combined area (within the Convention Area between the latitudes of 20° N. and 20° S.) is referred to in U.S. regulations as the Effort Limit Area for Purse Seine, or ELAPS (see 50 CFR 300.211).

The 2015 purse seine fishing effort limit for the ELAPS is formulated as in previous rules to establish limits for the ELAPS: The applicable limit for the U.S. EEZ portion of the ELAPS, 558 fishing days per year, is combined with the applicable limit for the high seas portion of the ELAPS, 1,270 fishing days per year, resulting in a combined limit of 1,828 fishing days in the ELAPS for calendar year 2015.

The meaning of “fishing day” is defined at 50 CFR 300.211; that is, any day in which a fishing vessel of the United States equipped with purse seine gear searches for fish, deploys a FAD, services a FAD, or sets a purse seine, with the exception of setting a purse seine solely for the purpose of testing or cleaning the gear and resulting in no catch.

As established in existing regulations for purse seine fishing effort limits in the ELAPS, NMFS will monitor the number of fishing days spent in the ELAPS using data submitted in logbooks and other available information. If and when NMFS determines that the limit of 1,828 fishing days is expected to be reached by a specific future date, it will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing that the purse seine fishery in the ELAPS will be closed starting on a specific future date and will remain closed until the end of calendar year 2015. NMFS will publish that notice at least seven days in advance of the closure date (see 50 CFR 300.223(a)(2)). Starting on the announced closure date, and for the remainder of calendar year 2015, it will be prohibited for U.S. purse seine vessels to fish in the ELAPS (see CFR 300.223(a)(3)).

This interim rule is being issued without prior notice or prior public comment because of the unusually high level of U.S. purse seine fishing effort in the ELAPS so far in 2015. To satisfy the international obligations of the United States as a Contracting Party to the Convention, NMFS must establish the applicable limits for 2015 before they are exceeded, which, based on preliminary data available to date, NMFS expects could occur as early as June of 2015. NMFS would not be able to establish the applicable limits for 2015 if it issued and considered public comments on a proposed rule prior to issuing a final rule. Nonetheless, NMFS will consider public comments on this interim rule and issue a final rule, as appropriate. NMFS is particularly interested in comments related to whether the Commission-mandated purse seine fishing effort limit for the high seas should be combined with the Commission-mandated purse seine fishing effort limit for the U.S. EEZ, as NMFS has done in this interim rule, or whether NMFS should establish separate limits for the high seas and the U.S. EEZ.

Petition for Rulemaking

On May 12, 2015, as this interim rule was being finalized for publication, NMFS received a petition for rulemaking from Tri Marine Management Company, LLC. The company requested, first, that NOAA undertake an emergency rulemaking to implement the 2015 ELAPS limits for fishing days on the high seas, and second, that NOAA issue a rule exempting from that high seas limit any U.S.-flagged purse seine vessel that, pursuant to contract or declaration of intent, delivers or will deliver at least 50 percent of its catch to tuna processing facilities based in American Samoa. NMFS will consider and respond to the petition separately from this interim rule.

Classification

The Administrator, Pacific Islands Region, NMFS, has determined that this interim rule is consistent with the WCPFC Implementation Act and other applicable laws.

Administrative Procedure Act

There is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment on this action, because prior notice and the opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest. This rule establishes a limit on purse seine fishing effort for 2015 that is identical to the limit in place for 2014. Affected entities have been subject to fishing effort limits in the affected area—the ELAPS—since 2009, and are expecting imminent publication of the 2015 fishing effort limits. Because the amount of U.S. purse seine fishing effort in the ELAPS so far in 2015 has been greater than in prior years, it is critical that NMFS publish the limit for 2015 as soon as possible to ensure it is not exceeded and the United States complies with its international legal obligations with respect to CMM 2014-01. Based on preliminary data available to date, NMFS expects that the applicable limit of 1,828 fishing days in the ELAPS could be reached as early as June of 2015. Delaying this rule to allow for advance notice and public comment would bring a substantial risk that more than 1,828 fishing days would be spent in the ELAPS in 2015, constituting non-compliance by the United States with respect to the purse seine fishing effort limit provisions of CMM 2014-01. Because a delay in implementing this limit for 2015 could result in the United States violating its international legal obligations with respect to the purse seine fishing effort limit provisions of CMM 2014-01, which are important for the conservation and management of tropical tuna stocks in the WCPO, allowing advance notice and the opportunity for public comment would be contrary to the public interest. NMFS will, however, consider public comments received on this interim rule and issue a final rule, as appropriate.

For the reasons articulated above, there is also good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effective date for this rule. As described above, NMFS must implement the purse seine fishing effort provisions of CMM 2014-01 as soon as possible, in order to ensure that the applicable effort limits are not exceeded. These fishing effort provisions are intended to reduce or otherwise control fishing pressure on bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, and skipjack tuna in the WCPO in order to maintain or restore those stocks at levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis. Failure to immediately implement these provisions could result in excessive fishing pressure on these stocks, in violation of international and domestic legal obligations.

Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA)

NMFS has determined that this rule will be implemented in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with the enforceable policies of the approved coastal zone management programs of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the State of Hawaii. These determinations have been submitted for review by the responsible territorial and state agencies under section 307 of the CZMA.

Executive Order 12866

This interim rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are inapplicable. Therefore, no final regulatory flexibility analysis was required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300

Administrative practice and procedure, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

Dated: May 15, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is amended as follows:

PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS Subpart O—Western and Central Pacific Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, continues to read as follows: Authority:

16 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.

2. In § 300.223, paragraph (a)(1) is revised to read as follows:
§ 300.223 Purse seine fishing restrictions.

(a) * * *

(1) For calendar year 2015 there is a limit of 1,828 fishing days.

[FR Doc. 2015-12286 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
80 98 Thursday, May 21, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-0900; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-12-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Turbomeca S.A. Turboshaft Engines AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Turbomeca S.A. Arrius 2F turboshaft engines with a certain part number oil pump installed. This proposed AD was prompted by cases of deterioration of the gas generator front bearing due to a link loss between the pump driver and the oil pump shaft. This proposed AD would require inspection, and if necessary, replacement before further flight of the oil pump driver assembly and/or the oil pump shaft, or the oil pump itself. We are proposing this AD to prevent link loss between the pump driver and the oil pump shaft, which could lead to an engine in-flight shutdown, forced landing, and damage to the helicopter.

DATES:

We must receive comments on this proposed AD by July 20, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

Hand Delivery: Deliver to Mail address above between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

Fax: 202-493-2251.

For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Turbomeca S.A., 40220 Tarnos, France; phone: 33 (0)5 59 74 40 00; telex: 570 042; fax: 33 (0)5 59 74 45 15. You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0900; or in person at the Docket Operations office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI), the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Comments Invited

We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-0900; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-12-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD based on those comments.

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

Discussion

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued EASA AD 2015-0049, dated March 17, 2015 (Corrected May 7, 2015) (referred to hereinafter as “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

A risk of an in-flight shutdown (IFSD) has been identified on an ARRIUS 2F engine, due to deterioration of gas generator front bearing. This could be the result of lack of lubrication, due to a link loss between pump driver and oil pump shaft.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could lead to cases of IFSD, possibly resulting in forced landing with consequent damage to the helicopter and injury to occupants.

You may obtain further information by examining the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-0900.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Turbomeca S.A. has issued Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) No. 319 79 4834, Version B, dated October 21, 2014. The MSB describes procedures for inspecting the oil pump driver assembly on the oil pump shaft, the pump driver splines, and the oil pump splines. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section of this NPRM.

FAA's Determination and Requirements of This Proposed AD

This product has been approved by the aviation authority of France, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with the European Community, EASA has notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information provided by EASA and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design. This proposed AD would require inspection, and if necessary, replacement before further flight, of the oil pump driver assembly and/or the oil pump shaft, or the oil pump itself.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this proposed AD affects about 96 engines installed on helicopters of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about two hours per product to comply with this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per hour. Required parts would cost about $17,312 per engine. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $1,678,272.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

Regulatory Findings

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

For the reasons discussed above, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

(3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska to the extent that it justifies making a regulatory distinction, and

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

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

§ 39.13 [Amended]
2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Turbomeca S.A.: Docket No. FAA-2015-0900; Directorate Identifier 2015-NE-12-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

We must receive comments by July 20, 2015.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to all Turbomeca S.A. Arrius 2F turboshaft engines with oil pump, part number (P/N) 0319155050, installed, except for:

(1) Engines, equipped with an oil pump, P/N 0319155050, that were overhauled in a Turbomeca repair center after January 1, 2013, and

(2) Engines with a serial number of 34776 or higher, provided that the oil pump was not replaced on that engine since the first flight of that engine on a helicopter.

(d) Reason

This AD was prompted by cases of deterioration of the gas generator front bearing due to a link loss between the pump driver and the oil pump shaft. We are issuing this AD to prevent link loss between the pump driver and the oil pump shaft, which could lead to an engine in-flight shutdown, forced landing, and damage to the helicopter.

(e) Actions and Compliance

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

(1) Inspect the pump driver assembly on the oil pump shaft, the pump driver splines, and the oil pump splines, using paragraph 2.4.2, Operating Instructions, of Turbomeca S.A. Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) No. 319 79 4834, Version B, dated October 21, 2014, as follows:

(i) After the effective date of this AD, for engines with less than 250 engine hours (EH), since new, since last overhaul, or since last installation of an affected oil pump, whichever occurred later, inspect before exceeding 300 EH since new, since last overhaul, or since last installation of an affected oil pump, as applicable.

(ii) After the effective date of this AD, for engines with 250 EH or more, but less than 300 EH, accumulated since new, since last overhaul, or since last installation of an affected oil pump, whichever occurred later, inspect within 50 EH.

(iii) After the effective date of this AD, for engines with 300 EH or more, but less than 800 EH, accumulated since new, since last overhaul, or since last installation of an affected oil pump, whichever occurred later, inspect within 100 EH.

(iv) After the effective date of this AD, for engines with 800 EH or more, accumulated since new, since last overhaul, or since last installation of an affected oil pump, whichever occurred later, inspect during the next scheduled 500 EH inspection.

(2) If any oil pump drive assembly and/or oil pump shaft, or the oil pump itself, fails the inspection required by this AD, then before further flight, replace the failed part(s) with part(s) eligible for installation.

(3) The instruction to report inspection results and the instruction to return a compliance certificate to Turbomeca S.A. as stated in paragraph 2.4.2, Operating Instructions, of Turbomeca S.A. MSB No. 319 79 4834, Version B, dated October 21, 2014, are not required by this AD.

(f) Credit for Previous Action

If you inspected the oil pump driver assembly on the oil pump shaft, the pump driver splines, and the oil pump splines, and replaced any part(s) with part(s) eligible for installation before the effective date of this AD in accordance with Turbomeca S.A. MSB No. 319 79 4834, Version A, dated November 25, 2013, you met the requirements of this AD.

(g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

The Manager, Engine Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Use the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19 to make your request. You may email your request to: [email protected]

(h) Related Information

(1) For more information about this AD, contact Philip Haberlen, Aerospace Engineer, Engine Certification Office, FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA 01803; phone: 781-238-7770; fax: 781-238-7199; email: [email protected]

(2) Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency AD 2015-0049, dated March 17, 2015 (Corrected May 7, 2015), for more information. You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating it in Docket No. FAA-2015-0900.

(3) Turbomeca S.A. MSB No. 319 79 4834, Version B, dated October 21, 2014, can be obtained from Turbomeca S.A., using the contact information in paragraph (h)(4) of this proposed AD.

(4) For service information identified in this proposed AD, contact Turbomeca, S.A., 40220 Tarnos, France; phone: 33 (0)5 59 74 40 00; telex: 570 042; fax: 33 (0)5 59 74 45 15.

(5) You may view this service information at the FAA, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 781-238-7125.

Issued in Burlington, Massachusetts, on May 11, 2015. Colleen M. D'Alessandro, Assistant Directorate Manager, Engine & Propeller Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-12039 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1394; Airspace Docket No. 15-ACE-4] Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace; Tekamah, Nebraska AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

SUMMARY:

This action proposes to amend Class E airspace at Tekamah Municipal Airport, Tekamah, NE. A Class E extension is no longer required due to the decommissioning of the Tekamah VHF Omni-directional radio range (VOR) facility and its associated standard instrument approach procedures (SIAPs). This would enhance the safety and management of instrument flight rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

DATES:

0901 UTC. Comments must be received on or before July 6, 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-2015-1394/Airspace Docket No. 15-ACE-4, 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-2015-1394/Airspace Docket No. 15-ACE-4.” 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 to within a 6.4-mile radius of Tekamah Municipal Airport, Tekamah, NE., reconfiguring the airspace for standard instrument approach procedures at the airport. The Tekamah VOR facility has been decommissioned and its associated SIAPs have been canceled. Controlled airspace is necessary for the safety and management of IFR operations for other SIAPs at the airport.

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 Iowa 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 Tekamah, NE [Amended] Tekamah Municipal Airport, NE (Lat. 41°45′49″ N., long. 96°10′41″ W.)

That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.4-mile radius of Tekamah Municipal Airport.

Issued in Fort Worth, TX, on May 11, 2015. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
[FR Doc. 2015-12105 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration 21 CFR Part 1308 [Docket No. DEA-413] Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Acetyl Fentanyl into Schedule I AGENCY:

Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice.

ACTION:

Notice of intent.

SUMMARY:

The Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration is issuing this notice of intent to temporarily schedule the synthetic opioid, N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacetamide (acetyl fentanyl), into schedule I pursuant to the temporary scheduling provisions of the Controlled Substances Act. This action is based on a finding by the Administrator that the placement of this opioid substance into schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. Any final order will impose the administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions and regulatory controls applicable to schedule I substances under the Controlled Substances Act on the manufacture, distribution, possession, importation, exportation, research, and conduct of instructional activities of this opioid substance.

DATES:

May 21, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Any final order will be published in the Federal Register and may not be effective prior to June 22, 2015.

Legal Authority

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

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

Section 201 of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811, provides the Attorney General with the authority to temporarily place a substance into schedule I of the CSA for two years without regard to the requirements of 21 U.S.C. 811(b) if he or she finds that such action is necessary to avoid imminent hazard to the public safety. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1). In addition, if proceedings to control a substance are initiated under 21 U.S.C. 811(a)(1), the Attorney General may extend the temporary scheduling for up to one year. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(2).

Where the necessary findings are made, a substance may be temporarily scheduled if it is not listed in any other schedule under section 202 of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 812, or if there is no exemption or approval in effect for the substance under section 505 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 355. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1). The Attorney General has delegated scheduling authority under 21 U.S.C. 811 to the Administrator of the DEA. 28 CFR 0.100.

Background

Section 201(h)(4) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(4), requires the Administrator to notify the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of her intention to temporarily place a substance into schedule I of the CSA.1 The Administrator transmitted notice of her intent to place acetyl fentanyl in schedule I on a temporary basis to the Assistant Secretary by letter dated April 7, 2015. Any comments submitted by the Assistant Secretary in response to the notice transmitted to the Assistant Secretary shall be taken into consideration before a final order is published. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(4).

1 Because the Secretary of the HHS has delegated to the Assistant Secretary for Health of the HHS the authority to make domestic drug scheduling recommendations, for purposes of this notice of intent, all subsequent references to “Secretary” have been replaced with “Assistant Secretary.” As set forth in a memorandum of understanding entered into by the HHS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), FDA acts as the lead agency within HHS in carrying out the Assistant Secretary's scheduling responsibilities under the CSA, with the concurrence of NIDA. 50 FR 9518, Mar. 8, 1985.

To find that placing a substance temporarily into schedule I of the CSA is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety, the Administrator is required to consider three of the eight factors set forth in section 201(c) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(c): The substance's history and current pattern of abuse; the scope, duration and significance of abuse; and what, if any, risk there is to the public health. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(3). Consideration of these factors includes actual abuse, diversion from legitimate channels, and clandestine importation, manufacture, or distribution. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(3).

A substance meeting the statutory requirements for temporary scheduling may only be placed in schedule I. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1). Substances in schedule I are those that have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. 21 U.S.C. 812(b)(1).

Acetyl Fentanyl

Available data and information for acetyl fentanyl indicate that this opioid substance has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Factor 4. History and Current Pattern of Abuse

Clandestinely produced substances structurally related to the schedule II opioid analgesic fentanyl were trafficked and abused on the West Coast in the late 1970s and 1980s. These clandestinely produced fentanyl-like substances were commonly known as designer drugs and recently, there has been a reemergence in the trafficking and abuse of designer drug substances including fentanyl-like substances. Alpha-methylfentanyl, the first fentanyl analogue identified in California, was placed into schedule I of the CSA in September 1981. Following the control of alpha-methylfentanyl, the DEA identified several other fentanyl analogues (3-methylthiofentanyl, acetyl-alpha-methylfentanyl, beta-hydroxy-3-methylfentanyl, alpha-methylthiofentanyl, thiofentanyl, beta-hydroxyfentanyl, para-fluorofentanyl and 3-methylfentanyl) in submissions to forensic laboratories. These substances were temporarily controlled under schedule I of the CSA after finding that they posed an imminent hazard to public safety and were subsequently permanently placed in schedule I of the CSA.

The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) is a national drug forensic laboratory reporting system that systematically collects results from drug chemistry analyses conducted by State and local forensic laboratories across the country. The first laboratory submission of acetyl fentanyl was recorded in Maine in April 2013 according to NFLIS. NFLIS registered eight reports containing acetyl fentanyl in 2013 in Louisiana, Maine, and North Dakota; and 30 reports in 2014 in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

The System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence (STRIDE) is a database of drug exhibits sent to DEA laboratories for analysis. Exhibits from the database are from the DEA, other Federal agencies, and some local law enforcement agencies. Acetyl fentanyl was first reported to STRIDE in September 2013 from exhibits obtained through a controlled purchase in Louisiana. In October 2013, an exhibit collected from a controlled purchase of suspected oxycodone tablets in Rhode Island contained acetyl fentanyl as the primary substance. In 2014, STARLiMS (a web-based, commercial laboratory information management system that is in transition to replace STRIDE) and STRIDE reported eight additional seizures in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Washington.

In August 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an article in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report documenting a series of 14 fatalities related to acetyl fentanyl that occurred between March and May 2013. In December 2013, another fatality associated with acetyl fentanyl was reported in Rhode Island for a total of 15 fatalities. In February 2014, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a health advisory related to acetyl fentanyl following at least three deaths related to this synthetic drug. Toxicologists at the North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner detected acetyl fentanyl in specimens associated with deaths that occurred in January 2014 in Sampson, Person, and Transylvania counties. In July and August 2014, four additional fatalities involving acetyl fentanyl were reported for a total of seven fatalities in North Carolina. Deaths involving acetyl fentanyl have also been reported in California (1), Louisiana (14), Oregon (1), and Pennsylvania (1).

A significant seizure of acetyl fentanyl occurred in April 2013 during a law enforcement investigation in Montreal, Canada. Approximately three kilograms of acetyl fentanyl in powder form and approximately 11,000 tablets containing acetyl fentanyl were seized. Given that a typical dose of acetyl fentanyl is in the microgram range, a three kilogram quantity could potentially produce millions of dosage units. In the United States, tablets that mimic pharmaceutical opioid products have been reported in multiple states, including Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Washington. Recent reports indicate that acetyl fentanyl in powder form is available over the Internet and has been imported to addresses within the United States.

Evidence also suggests that the pattern of abuse of fentanyl analogues, including acetyl fentanyl, parallels that of heroin and prescription opioid analgesics. Seizures of acetyl fentanyl have been encountered both in powder and in tablet form. It is also known to have caused many fatal overdoses, in which intravenous routes of administration and histories of drug abuse are documented.

Factor 5. Scope, Duration and Significance of Abuse

DEA is currently aware of at least 39 fatalities associated with acetyl fentanyl. These deaths have been reported in 2013 and 2014 from six states including California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. STARLiMS and STRIDE, databases capturing drug evidence information from DEA forensic laboratories, have a total of 10 drug reports in which acetyl fentanyl was identified in six cases for analyzed drugs submitted from January 2010—December 2014 from Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Washington. It is likely that the prevalence of acetyl fentanyl in opioid analgesic-related emergency room admissions and deaths is underreported as standard immunoassays cannot differentiate acetyl fentanyl from fentanyl.

The population likely to abuse acetyl fentanyl overlaps with the populations abusing prescription opioid analgesics and heroin. This is evidenced by the routes of administration and drug use history documented in acetyl fentanyl fatal overdose cases. Because abusers of acetyl fentanyl are likely to obtain the drug through illicit sources, the identity, purity, and quantity is uncertain and inconsistent, thus posing significant adverse health risks to its abusers. This risk is particularly heightened by the fact that acetyl fentanyl is a highly potent opioid (15.7-fold more than that of morphine as tested in mice using an acetic acid writhing method). Thus small changes in the amount and purity of the substance could potentially lead to overdose and death.

Factor 6. What, if Any, Risk There Is to the Public Health

Acetyl fentanyl exhibits a pharmacological profile similar to that of fentanyl and other opioid analgesic compounds and it is a potent opioid analgesic reported to be 1/3 as potent as fentanyl and 15.7 times as potent as morphine in mice tested in an acetic acid writhing method. In addition, studies also showed that the range between the effective dose (ED50) and the lethal dose (LD50) of acetyl fentanyl is narrower than that of morphine and fentanyl, increasing the risk of fatal overdose. Thus, its abuse is likely to pose quantitatively greater risks to the public health and safety than abuse of traditional opioid analgesics such as morphine.

Based on the above pharmacological data, the abuse of acetyl fentanyl at least leads to the same qualitative public health risks as heroin, fentanyl and other opioid analgesic compounds. The public health risks attendant to the abuse of heroin and opioid analgesics are well established. The abuse of opioid analgesics has resulted in large numbers of drug treatment admissions, emergency department visits, and fatal overdoses.

Acetyl fentanyl has been associated with numerous fatalities. At least 39 overdose deaths due to acetyl fentanyl abuse have been reported in six states in 2013 and 2014, including California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. This indicates that acetyl fentanyl poses an imminent hazard to public safety.

Finding of Necessity of Schedule I Placement To Avoid Imminent Hazard to Public Safety

Based on the above summarized data and information, the continued uncontrolled manufacture, distribution, importation, exportation, and abuse of acetyl fentanyl pose an imminent hazard to the public safety. The DEA is not aware of any currently accepted medical uses for this substance in the United States. A substance meeting the statutory requirements for temporary scheduling, 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1), may only be placed in schedule I. Substances in schedule I are those that have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. Available data and information for acetyl fentanyl indicate that this substance has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. As required by section 201(h)(4) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(4), the Administrator, through a letter dated April 7, 2015, notified the Assistant Secretary of the DEA's intention to temporarily place this substance in schedule I.

Conclusion

This notice of intent initiates an expedited temporary scheduling action and provides the 30-day notice pursuant to section 201(h) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h). In accordance with the provisions of section 201(h) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h), the Administrator considered available data and information, herein set forth the grounds for her determination that it is necessary to temporarily schedule acetyl fentanyl in schedule I of the CSA, and finds that placement of this opioid substance into schedule I of the CSA is necessary in order to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Because the Administrator hereby finds that it is necessary to temporarily place this synthetic opioid into schedule I to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety, any subsequent final order temporarily scheduling these substances will be effective on the date of publication in the Federal Register, and will be in effect for a period of two years, with a possible extension of one additional year, pending completion of the regular (permanent) scheduling process. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1) and (2). It is the intention of the Administrator to issue such a final order as soon as possible after the expiration of 30 days from the date of publication of this notice. Acetyl fentanyl will then be subject to the regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal sanctions applicable to the manufacture, distribution, possession, importation, exportation, research, and conduct of instructional activities of a schedule I controlled substance.

The CSA sets forth specific criteria for scheduling a drug or other substance. Regular scheduling actions in accordance with 21 U.S.C. 811(a) are subject to formal rulemaking procedures done “on the record after opportunity for a hearing” conducted pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 556 and 557. 21 U.S.C. 811. The regular scheduling process of formal rulemaking affords interested parties with appropriate process and the government with any additional relevant information needed to make a determination. Final decisions that conclude the regular scheduling process of formal rulemaking are subject to judicial review. 21 U.S.C. 877. Temporary scheduling orders are not subject to judicial review. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(6).

Regulatory Matters

Section 201(h) of the CSA, 21 U.S.C. 811(h), provides for an expedited temporary scheduling action where such action is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety. As provided in this subsection, the Attorney General may, by order, schedule a substance in schedule I on a temporary basis. Such an order may not be issued before the expiration of 30 days from (1) the publication of a notice in the Federal Register of the intention to issue such order and the grounds upon which such order is to be issued, and (2) the date that notice of the proposed temporary scheduling order is transmitted to the Assistant Secretary of HHS. 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(1).

Inasmuch as section 201(h) of the CSA directs that temporary scheduling actions be issued by order and sets forth the procedures by which such orders are to be issued, the DEA believes that the notice and comment requirements of section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553, do not apply to this notice of intent. In the alternative, even assuming that this notice of intent might be subject to section 553 of the APA, the Administrator finds that there is good cause to forgo the notice and comment requirements of section 553, as any further delays in the process for issuance of temporary scheduling orders would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest in view of the manifest urgency to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Although the DEA believes this notice of intent to issue a temporary scheduling order is not subject to the notice and comment requirements of section 553 of the APA, the DEA notes that in accordance with 21 U.S.C. 811(h)(4), the Administrator will take into consideration any comments submitted by the Assistant Secretary with regard to the proposed temporary scheduling order.

Further, the DEA believes that this temporary scheduling action is not a “rule” as defined by 5 U.S.C. 601(2), and, accordingly, is not subject to the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The requirements for the preparation of an initial regulatory flexibility analysis in 5 U.S.C. 603(a) are not applicable where, as here, the DEA is not required by section 553 of the APA or any other law to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking.

Additionally, this action is not a significant regulatory action as defined by Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), section 3(f), and, accordingly, this action has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

This action will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) it is determined that this action does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 1308

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

For the reasons set out above, the DEA proposes to amend 21 CFR part 1308 as follows:

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

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

2. In § 1308.11, add paragraph (h)(24) to read as follows:
§ 1308.11 Schedule I.

(h) * * *

(24) N-(1-phenethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylacetamide, its optical, positional, and geometric isomers, salts and salts of isomers (Other names: Acetyl fentanyl)—(9821)

Dated: May 14, 2015. Michele M. Leonhart, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-12331 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0260; FRL-9928-12-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; North Carolina: Non-Interference Demonstration for Federal Low-Reid Vapor Pressure Requirement for the Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties in North Carolina AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve the State of North Carolina's April 16, 2015, revision to its State Implementation Plan (SIP), submitted through the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Air Quality (DAQ), in support of the State's request that EPA change the Federal Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. This RVP-related SIP revision evaluates whether changing the Federal RVP requirements in these counties would interfere with the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act). North Carolina's April 16, 2015, RVP-related SIP revision also updates the State's maintenance plan and the associated motor vehicle emissions budgets (MVEBs) related to its redesignation request for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment area (Charlotte 2008 Ozone Area) to reflect the requested change in the Federal RVP requirements. EPA is also proposing to approve these updates to the maintenance plan and associated MVEBs. EPA has preliminarily determined that North Carolina's April 16, 2015, RVP-related SIP revision is consistent with the applicable provisions of the CAA.

DATES:

Written comments must be received on or before June 11, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID Number EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0260 by one of the following methods:

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

2. Email: [email protected]

3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.

4. Mail: EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0260, Air Regulatory Managment Section (formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch (formerly the Air Planning Branch), Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Ms. Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0260. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Richard Wong of the Air Regulatory Management Section, in the Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Mr. Wong may be reached by phone at (404) 562-8726 or via electronic mail at [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents I. What is being proposed? II. What is the background of the Charlotte area? III. What is the history of the gasoline volatility requirement? IV. What are the section 110(l) requirements? V. What is EPA's analysis of North Carolina's submittal? VI. Proposed Action VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What is being proposed?

This rulemaking proposes to approve North Carolina's April 16, 2015, SIP revision in support of the State's request that EPA relax the Federal RVP requirement from 7.8 pounds per square inch (psi) to 9.0 psi for gasoline sold between June 1 and September 15 of each year (i.e., during high ozone season) in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. Specifically, EPA is proposing to approve the State's technical demonstration that changing the federal RVP requirements in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) or with any other applicable requirement of the CAA.1 In a separate SIP revision which is currently under EPA review, DAQ is requesting that EPA redesignate the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area to attainment.2 Final action to approve North Carolina's requested change to the Federal RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties is contingent, in part, on EPA's final action to approve North Carolina's redesignation request for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. With its redesignation request, the State included a maintenance demonstration plan that estimates emissions through 2026 using a 7.8 psi RVP requirement rather than the 9.0 psi RVP requirement. However, through the April 16, 2015 RVP-related SIP revision (the subject of this proposed rulemaking), DAQ updated the mobile emissions for that maintenance plan (including the MVEBs) to reflect the State's request for EPA to change the Federal RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties to 9.0 psi. The updates are summarized on page 24 of the State's submittal titled “Charlotte 2008 Ozone Redesignation and Maintenance SIP_with_RVP_Demo_Final_04-16-15”, and may be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0260. This proposed action would also update that maintenance plan to reflect the change for mobile emissions and the associated MVEBs due to the proposed change in the Federal RVP requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties.

1 A separate rulemaking is required for relaxation of the current requirement to use gasoline with an RVP of 7.8 psi in these counties. This action proposes EPA's evaluation of the approvability of North Carolina's noninterference demonstration pursuant to section 110(l). The decision regarding removal of Federal RVP requirements pursuant to section 211(h) in the Area includes other considerations evaluated at the discretion of the Administrator. As such, the determination regarding whether to remove the Area from those areas subject to the section 211(h) requirements is made through a separate rulemaking action.

2 See footnote 4 for a geographic description of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area.

As mentioned above, North Carolina is requesting the removal of the Federal 7.8 psi RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties and, as part of that request, has evaluated whether removal of this requirement would interfere with attainment or maintenance of the NAAQS. To make this demonstration, North Carolina completed a technical analysis to estimate the change in emissions that would result from a switch to 9.0 psi RVP fuel. EPA has reviewed this technical analysis and is proposing to find that North Carolina's technical demonstration supports the conclusion that the use of gasoline with an RVP of 9.0 psi in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or with any other applicable requirement of the CAA in the Charlotte Area.3 In addition to proposing to approve DAQ's noninterference demonstration, EPA is also proposing to approve the update to the maintenance plan and MVEBs associated with the State's request to redesignate the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area to reflect the requested change in the Federal RVP requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties.

3 The use of the term “Charlotte Area” in the remainder of this document refers to the EPA-designated area for the relevant NAAQS that includes Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties.

This preamble is hereinafter organized into five parts. Section II provides the background of the Charlotte Area designation status with respect to the various ozone NAAQS. Section III describes the applicable history of federal gasoline regulation. Section IV provides the Agency's policy regarding relaxation of the volatility standards. Section V provides EPA's analysis of the information submitted by North Carolina to support a change to the Federal RVP standard in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties.

II. What is the background of the Charlotte area?

The Charlotte Area was originally designated as a 1-hour ozone nonattainment area by EPA on March 3, 1978 (43 FR 8962) and was geographically defined as Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. On November 6, 1991, by operation of law under section 181(a) of the CAA, EPA classified the Charlotte Area as a moderate nonattainment area for ozone and added Gaston County to the nonattainment area. See 56 FR 56693. Among the requirements applicable to nonattainment areas for the 1-hour ozone NAAQS was the requirement to meet certain volatility standards (known as Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP) for gasoline sold commercially. See 55 FR 23658 (June 11, 1990). As discussed in section III, below, a 7.8 psi Federal RVP requirement first applied to Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties during the high ozone season given its status as a nonattainment area for the 1-hour ozone standard.

DAQ requested a redesignation of the Charlotte Area to attainment for the 1-hour ozone NAAQS in 1993. The Area attained the 1-hour ozone NAAQS and was redesignated to attainment for the 1-hour ozone on July 5, 1995, based on 1990-1993 ambient air quality monitoring data. See 60 FR 34859. North Carolina's 1-hour ozone redesignation request did not include a request to relax the 7.8 psi Federal RVP standard.

On April 30, 2004, EPA designated and classified areas for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS that was promulgated on July 18, 1997, as unclassifiable/attainment or nonattainment for the new 8-hour ozone NAAQS. See 69 FR 23857. The Charlotte Area was designated as nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS with a design value of 0.100 parts per million (ppm).4 Subsequently, the Charlotte Area attained the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS with a design value of 0.082 ppm using three years of quality assured data for the years of 2008-2010. The Charlotte Area was redesignated to attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS in a final rulemaking on December 2, 2013. See 78 FR 72036. North Carolina's 1997 8-hour ozone redesignation request did not include a request for the removal of the 7.8 psi Federal RVP standard for the Charlotte Area, and thus modeled 7.8 psi for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties to support the maintenance demonstration.

4 The nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard consists of Cabarrus, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union and a portion of Iredell County (Davidson and Coddle Creek Townships), North Carolina and a portion of York County, South Carolina. The 7.8 psi RVP standard continued to apply to Gaston and Mecklenburg counties whereas the remaining counties in the nonattainment area are subject to the 9.0 psi RVP standard.

On May 21, 2012, EPA designated and classified areas for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS that was promulgated on March 27, 2008, as unclassifiable/attainment or nonattainment for the new 8-hour ozone NAAQS. See 77 FR 30088. The Charlotte Area was designated as nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS with a design value of 0.079 ppm.5 On April 16, 2015, DAQ submitted a redesignation request and maintenance plan for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area for EPA's approval. In that submittal, the State included a maintenance demonstration that estimates emissions using a 7.8 psi RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties for the 2008 8-hour ozone redesignation request and maintenance plan. EPA is taking action on the aforementioned redesignation request and maintenance plan in a separate rulemaking. However, also on April 16, 2015, to support its request for EPA to change the Federal RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties, DAQ submitted a SIP revision that contains a noninterference demonstration that included updated modeling assuming 9.0 psi for RVP for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties and updates the maintenance plan submission and associated MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area.

5 The nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard includes the same counties in the nonattainment area for the 1997 8-hour ozone standard, but it has a smaller geographical boundary than the 1997 8-hour ozone nonattainment area. The 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment area includes the entire county of Mecklenburg and portions of the following counties: Cabarrus (Central Cabarrus, Concord, Georgeville, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland, Mount Pleasant, Odell, Poplar Tent, New Gilead and Rimertown Townships), Gaston (Dallas, Crowders Mountain, Gastonia, Riverbend and South Point Townships), Iredell (Coddle and Davidson Townships), Lincoln (Catawba Springs, Lincolnton and Ironton Townships), Rowan (Atwell, China Grove, Franklin, Gold Hill, Litaker, Locke, Providence, Salisbury, Steele and Unity Townships) and Union (Goose Creek, Marshville, Monroe, Sandy Ridge and Vance Townships) for North Carolina, and a portion of York County (excluding the Indian Country associated with the Catawba Indian Nation) for South Carolina. Though the number of counties remained the same for the 2008 ozone nonattainment area, Gaston and Mecklenburg adhered the 7.8 psi RVP requirement while remaining counties were subjected to the RVP of 9.0 psi.

III. What is the history of the gasoline volatility requirement?

On August 19, 1987 (52 FR 31274), EPA determined that gasoline nationwide had become increasingly volatile, causing an increase in evaporative emissions from gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment. Evaporative emissions from gasoline, referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are precursors to the formation of tropospheric ozone and contribute to the nation's ground-level ozone problem. Exposure to ground-level ozone can reduce lung function (thereby aggravating asthma or other respiratory conditions), increase susceptibility to respiratory infection, and may contribute to premature death in people with heart and lung disease.

The most common measure of fuel volatility that is useful in evaluating gasoline evaporative emissions is RVP. Under section 211(c) of CAA, EPA promulgated regulations on March 22, 1989 (54 FR 11868), that set maximum limits for the RVP of gasoline sold during the high ozone season. These regulations constituted Phase I of a two-phase nationwide program, which was designed to reduce the volatility of commercial gasoline during the summer ozone control season. On June 11, 1990 (55 FR 23658), EPA promulgated more stringent volatility controls as Phase II of the volatility control program. These requirements established maximum RVP standards of 9.0 psi or 7.8 psi (depending on the State, the month, and the area's initial ozone attainment designation with respect to the 1-hour ozone NAAQS during the high ozone season).

The 1990 CAA Amendments established a new section, 211(h), to address fuel volatility. Section 211(h) requires EPA to promulgate regulations making it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, dispense, supply, offer for supply, transport, or introduce into commerce gasoline with an RVP level in excess of 9.0 psi during the high ozone season. Section 211(h) prohibits EPA from establishing a volatility standard more stringent than 9.0 psi in an attainment area, except that EPA may impose a lower (more stringent) standard in any former ozone nonattainment area redesignated to attainment.

On December 12, 1991 (56 FR 64704), EPA modified the Phase II volatility regulations to be consistent with section 211(h) of the CAA. The modified regulations prohibited the sale of gasoline with an RVP above 9.0 psi in all areas designated attainment for ozone, beginning in 1992. For areas designated as nonattainment, the regulations retained the original Phase II standards published on June 11, 1990 (55 FR 23658). A current listing of the RVP requirements for states can be found at 40 CFR 80.27(a)(2) as well as on EPA's Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/gasolinefuels/volatility/standards.htm.

As explained in the December 12, 1991 (56 FR 64704), Phase II rulemaking, EPA believes that relaxation of an applicable RVP standard is best accomplished in conjunction with the redesignation process. In order for an ozone nonattainment area to be redesignated as an attainment area, section 107(d)(3) of the Act requires the state to make a showing, pursuant to section 175A of the Act, that the area is capable of maintaining attainment for the ozone NAAQS for ten years after redesignation. Depending on the area's circumstances, this maintenance plan will either demonstrate that the area is capable of maintaining attainment for ten years without the more stringent volatility standard or that the more stringent volatility standard may be necessary for the area to maintain its attainment with the ozone NAAQS. Therefore, in the context of a request for redesignation, EPA will not change the volatility standard unless the state requests a change and the maintenance plan demonstrates, to the satisfaction of EPA, that the area will maintain attainment for ten years without the need for the more stringent volatility standard.

As noted above, North Carolina did not request a change of the applicable 7.8 psi Federal RVP standard when the Charlotte Area was redesignated to attainment for the either the 1-hour or the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The State, in conjunction with its request to redesignate the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area to attainment,6 is now requesting a change of the Federal RVP requirement from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi. EPA's consideration of this requested change for the Federal RVP requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties is contingent, in part, upon EPA approving North Carolina's redesignation request and maintenance plan for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. To make the requested change in the Federal RVP requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties, EPA would also have to approve the updates to North Carolina's maintenance plan and MVEBs included with the State's April 16, 2015, RVP-related SIP revision.7

6 See footnote 4 for a geographic description of the Charlotte NC 2008 8-hour Ozone Area.

7 The maintenance plan has to ensure maintenance of the 0.075 ppm 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS which is more stringent than the 0.080 ppm 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

IV. What are the section 110(l) requirements?

To support North Carolina's request to relax the Federal RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties, the State must demonstrate that the requested change will satisfy section 110(l) of the CAA. Section 110(l) requires that a revision to the SIP not interfere with any applicable requirement concerning attainment and reasonable further progress (as defined in section 171), or any other applicable requirement of the Act. EPA's criterion for determining the approvability of North Carolina's April 16, 2015, RVP-related SIP revision is whether the noninterference demonstration associated with the relaxation request satisfies section 110(l).

EPA evaluates each section 110(l) noninterference demonstration on a case-by-case basis considering the circumstances of each SIP revision. EPA interprets 110(l) as applying to all NAAQS that are in effect, including those that have been promulgated but for which the EPA has not yet made designations. The degree of analysis focused on any particular NAAQS in a noninterference demonstration varies depending on the nature of the emissions associated with the proposed SIP revision. EPA's analysis of North Carolina's April 16, 2015, SIP revision pursuant to section 110(l) is provided below.

As previously mentioned, EPA is proposing three actions in relation to the State's April 16, 2015, noninterference demonstration. First, EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's update to the maintenance plan associated with the State's redesignation request for the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area to reflect modeling of 9.0 psi for RVP for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. Second, EPA is proposing to approve the revised MVEBs that result from the updated mobile modeling to reflect the change in RVP for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. Third, EPA is proposing to approve the State's technical demonstration that the switch to the sale of gasoline with an RVP of 9.0 psi in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties during the high ozone season will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of the NAAQS and to amend the SIP to include this demonstration. Consistent with CAA section 211(h) and the Phase II volatility regulations, a separate rulemaking is required to change the current Federal requirement to use gasoline with a 7.8 psi RVP in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties.

V. What is EPA's analysis of North Carolina's submittal? a. Overall Preliminary Conclusions Regarding North Carolina's Noninterference Analyses

On April 16, 2015, DAQ submitted a noninterference demonstration to support the State's request to modify the RVP summertime gasoline requirement from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. This demonstration includes an evaluation of the impact that the removal of the 7.8 psi RVP requirement for these counties would have on the Area's ability to attain or maintain the 1997 and 2008 ozone standards or other NAAQS in the Charlotte Area.8 North Carolina's noninterference analysis evaluated the impact of the change in RVP on the Area's ability to attain or maintain the ozone, particulate matter (PM),9 Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) NAAQS.

8 The six NAAQS for which EPA establishes health and welfare based standards are CO, lead, NO2, ozone, PM, and SO2. RVP requirements do not have an impact on actual or modeled lead emissions.

9 PM is composed of PM2.5 and PM10.

DAQ's noninterference analysis utilized EPA's 2014 Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) emission modeling system to estimate emissions for mobile sources. These mobile source emissions are used as part of the evaluation of the potential impacts to the NAAQS that might result exclusively from changing the high ozone season RVP requirement from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi. As summarized in Tables 1 and 2, below, the MOVES model predicted minor increases in on-road mobile source NOX and VOC emissions in the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area due to relaxation of the RVP requirement. Daily on-road mobile NOX emissions are projected to increase by 0.11 ton in 2015 down to an increase of 0.01 ton in 2026 during the ozone season. Daily on-road mobile VOC emissions are projected to increase by 0.18 ton in 2015 down to an increase of 0.04 ton in 2026 during the ozone season.

Table 1—On-Road Mobile Source NOX Emissions (Average Tons/Day) for Ozone Season County 7.8 psi RVP 2014 2015 2018 2022 2026 Cabarrus 1 6.60 5.93 3.94 2.79 1.86 Gaston 12 8.11 7.23 4.60 3.04 1.97 Iredell 1 3.36 3.05 2.05 1.41 0.93 Lincoln 1 3.00 2.75 1.84 1.23 0.76 Mecklenburg 2 26.99 24.12 14.35 9.63 6.85 Rowan 1 6.42 5.75 3.73 2.56 1.59 Union 1 5.67 5.14 3.41 2.28 1.51 Total 60.15 53.97 33.92 22.94 15.47 9.0 psi RVP Cabarrus 1 5.93 3.94 2.79 1.86 Gaston 12 7.26 4.62 3.04 1.98 Iredell 1 3.05 2.05 1.41 0.93 Lincoln 1 2.75 1.84 1.23 0.76 Mecklenburg 2 24.20 14.39 9.65 6.85 Rowan 1 5.75 3.73 2.56 1.59 Union 1 5.14 3.41 2.28 1.51 Total 54.08 33.98 22.96 15.48 Emissions Increase 0.11 0.06 0.02 0.01 1 Emissions are reported only for the nonattainment portion of the county included in the Charlotte, NC 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. 2 Only Gaston and Mecklenburg counties use 7.8 psi RVP fuel. The remaining counties use 9.0 psi RVP fuel. Table 2—On-Road Mobile Source VOC Emissions (Average Tons/Day) for Ozone Season County 7.8 psi RVP 2014 2015 2018 2022 2026 Cabarrus 1 4.15 3.89 3.01 2.53 2.04 Gaston 12 4.61 4.24 3.05 2.31 1.72 Iredell 1 1.95 1.82 1.40 1.10 0.82 Lincoln 1 1.91 1.81 1.37 1.07 0.79 Mecklenburg 2 14.40 13.28 10.00 8.18 6.64 Rowan 1 3.76 3.48 2.57 1.93 1.41 Union 1 3.54 3.30 2.54 2.04 1.56 Total 34.32 31.82 23.94 19.16 14.98 9.0 psi RVP Cabarrus 1 3.89 3.01 2.53 2.04 Gaston 12 4.29 3.08 2.32 1.73 Iredell 1 1.82 1.40 1.10 0.82 Lincoln 1 1.81 1.37 1.07 0.79 Mecklenburg 2 13.41 10.09 8.22 6.67 Rowan 1 3.48 2.57 1.93 1.41 Union 1 3.30 2.54 2.04 1.56 Total 32.00 24.06 19.21 15.02 Emissions Increase 0.18 0.12 0.05 0.04 1 Emissions are reported only for the nonattainment portion of the county included in the Charlotte, NC 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. 2 Only Gaston and Mecklenburg counties use 7.8 psi RVP fuel. The remaining counties use 9.0 psi RVP fuel.

Table 3, below, shows the total estimated anthropogenic emissions of NOX and VOC from area, point, on-road, and nonroad source categories for the North Carolina Portion of the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. Emissions reported for 2014 assume the use of 7.8 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties whereas emissions from 2015 through 2026 assume the use of 9.0 psi RVP fuel. NOX and VOC emissions are projected to continue to decrease in the Charlotte 8-hour Ozone Area using 9.0 psi RVP fuel in the entire Area for years 2015 through 2026. DAQ's analysis also estimates that RVP relaxation could increase anthropogenic VOC emissions by 0.42 tpd in 2015 and 0.32 tpd in 2026 and could increase anthropogenic NOX emissions by 0.11 tpd in 2015 and 0.01 tpd in 2026.

Table 3—Total Anthropogenic Emissions Year NOX
  • (tons/day)
  • VOC
  • (tons/day)
  • 2014 130.18 113.12 2015 124.18 111.09 2018 94.33 104.41 2022 86.67 101.74 2026 67.54 100.46 Difference from 2014 to 2026 −62.64 −12.66
    b. Noninterference Analysis for the Ozone NAAQS

    As discussed above, the Charlotte Area is currently designated as attainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and in a separate action, EPA is considering the State's redesignation request for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Although the Charlotte Area was previously designated as nonattainment for the 1997 8-hour ozone NAAQS, the Charlotte Area was redesignated to attainment for that NAAQS on December 2, 2014. See 78 FR 72036.

    Table 4, below, shows the safety margins 10 from a 2014 base year with 7.8 psi RVP fuel to the years 2015, 2018, 2022, and 2026 with 9.0 psi RVP fuel for the entire Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. The safety margins identified in Table 4 indicate that the switch to 9.0 psi RVP fuel in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties will not interfere with the Area's ability to attain or maintain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.11

    10 The safety margin is the difference between the attainment level of emissions in the base year from all source categories (point, area, on-road and nonroad) and the projected level of emissions in future years from all source categories.

    11 The Charlotte Area is located within a NOX-limited region. A NOX-limited region is one in which the concentration of ozone is limited by the amount of NOX emissions. NOX and VOC are precursors to the formation of ozone in the atmosphere. In a NOX-limited area, high prevailing concentrations of VOC from naturally-occurring sources are present in the atmosphere to contribute to ozone formation. Consequently, reduction of manmade, or anthropogenic, sources of VOC emissions generally do not result in reduced ozone formation. Instead, reductions of NOX emissions provide a more effective ozone reduction strategy because reduced emissions of manmade NOX emissions limit the amount of NOX available in the atmosphere for ozone formation. See, e.g., The State of the Southern Oxidants Study (SOS) Policy Relevant Findings in Ozone and PM 2.5 Pollution Research 1995-2003 (June 30, 2004), http://www.ncsu.edu/sos/pubs/sos3/State_of_SOS_3.pdf.

    Table 4—Safety Margin Year NOX
  • (tons/day)
  • VOC
  • (tons/day)
  • 2014 N/A N/A 2015 −6.00 −2.03 2018 −35.85 −8.71 2022 −43.51 −11.38 2026 −62.64 −12.66

    Because the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is more stringent than the 1997 8-hour ozone standard, North Carolina's April 16, 2015, noninterference demonstration for the ozone NAAQS is focused on the 2008 8-hour ozone standard. The 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is met when the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average concentration, averaged over 3 years is 0.075 ppm or less. As shown in Table 5, all of the ozone monitors in the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area are currently below the 2008 8-hour ozone standard.

    Table 5—Charlotte Area Ozone Design Values (ppm) Monitor 2007-2009 2008-2010 2009-2011 2010-2012 2011-2013 2012-2014 Crouse 0.076 0.072 0.071 0.075 0.072 0.068 Garinger 0.082 0.078 0.079 0.083 0.078 0.070 Arrowood 0.076 0.073 0.076 0.077 0.072 0.066 County Line 0.086 0.082 0.078 0.083 0.078 0.073 Rockwell 0.083 0.077 0.075 0.078 0.073 0.068 Enochville 0.083 0.077 0.076 0.077 0.072 (12) Monroe 0.076 0.072 0.070 0.073 0.070 0.068 York 0.072 0.067 0.064 0.065 0.063 0.060

    Table 5 also shows that there is an overall downward trend in ozone concentrations in the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area. This decline can be attributed to Federal and State programs that have led to significant emissions reductions in ozone precursors. Given this downward trend, the current ozone concentrations in the Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area, and the results of North Carolina's emissions analysis, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties would not interfere with the Area's ability to attain or maintain the 1997 or 2008 ozone NAAQS in the Charlotte Area.

    12 The Enochville monitor shut down after the 2014 monitoring season. There was not enough data at the location to calculate a 3-year average design value for 2012-2014.

    c. Noninterference Analysis for the PM NAAQS

    Over the course of several years, EPA has reviewed and revised the PM2.5 NAAQS a number of times. On July 16, 1997, EPA established an annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 15.0 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), based on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations, and a 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS of 65 μg/m3, based on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations. See 62 FR 36852 (July 18, 1997). On September 21, 2006, EPA retained the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS of 15.0 μg/m3 but revised the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS to 35 μg/m3, based again on a 3-year average of the 98th percentile of 24-hour concentrations. See 71 FR 61144 (October 17, 2006). On December 14, 2012, EPA retained the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS of 35 μg/m3 but revised the annual primary PM2.5 NAAQS to 12.0 μg/m3, based again on a 3-year average of annual mean PM2.5 concentrations. See 78 FR 3086 (January 15, 2013).

    EPA promulgated designations for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS on January 5, 2005 (70 FR 944), and April 14, 2005 (70 FR 19844). The Charlotte Area was designated unclassifiable/attainment for the 1997 Annual PM2.5 standards. As mentioned above, EPA revised the Annual PM2.5 NAAQS in December 2012. EPA completed designations for the 2012 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS for most areas on December 14, 2015, and designated counties in the Charlotte Area as unclassifiable/attainment. See 80 FR 2206 (January 15, 2015).

    In 2013, the Charlotte Area PM2.5 design values were 9.8 μg/m3 for the Annual PM2.5 NAAQS and 22 μg/m3 for the 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. North Carolina's MOVES2014 modeling predicted slight reductions of direct PM2.5 emissions (0.23 percent reduction in 2015 and a 0.61 percent reduction in 2026) after changing the model inputs to reflect the proposed use of 9.0 psi RVP fuel in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. As discussed above, the MOVES2014 modeling also predicted small increases in NOX and VOC emissions due to the proposed RVP relaxation. However, EPA believes that any resulting increase in ambient PM2.5 concentrations resulting from these changes would not cause interference with the PM2.5 NAAQS because the NOX and VOC mobile emission increases would be small in relation to the current total emissions and because ambient PM2.5 concentrations in the southeastern U.S. tend to be impacted more significantly by direct PM2.5 and SO2 emissions than by NOX and anthropogenic VOC emissions.13 As discussed below, the MOVES2014 model did not predict any impact on SO2 emissions due to RVP relaxation in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. Given the current PM2.5 concentrations in the Charlotte Area and the results of North Carolina's emissions analysis, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties would not interfere with maintenance of the 1997 Annual PM2.5 NAAQS or the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS in the Charlotte Area.14

    13 The main precursors for PM2.5 are NOX, SO2, VOC and ammonia. There have been a number of studies in the Southeast which have indicated that SO2 is the primary driver of PM2.5 formation in the Southeast. See, e.g., Journal of Environmental Engineering- Quantifying the sources of ozone, fine particulate matter, and regional haze in the Southeastern United States (June 24, 2009), http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-environmental-management.

    14 EPA has also preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel in the Charlotte Area would not interfere with maintenance of the Annual PM10 NAAQS of 150 µg/m3 given the results of North Carolina's emissions analysis and the fact that the Area is currently attaining the PM10 standard. Because PM2.5 is a component of PM10, this preliminary determination is further supported by the downward trend in PM2.5 identified above.

    d. Noninterference Analysis for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS

    On February 17, 2012, EPA designated all counties in North Carolina as unclassifiable/attainment for the 2010 NO2 NAAQS. See 77 FR 9532. Based on the technical analysis in North Carolina's April 16, 2015, RVP-related SIP revision, the projected increase in total anthropogenic NOX emissions associated with the change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties is approximately 0.11 tpd in 2015 and 0.01 tpd in 2026. Given the current unclassifiable/attainment designation and the results of North Carolina's emissions analysis, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties would not interfere with maintenance of the 2010 NO2 NAAQS in the Charlotte Area.

    e. Noninterference Analysis for the CO NAAQS

    In November 6, 1991, Mecklenburg County was classified as “not classified” for the 1971 8-hour CO NAAQS of 9 ppm. See 56 FR 56694. Mecklenburg County was redesignated to attainment for the 8-hour CO NAAQS on August 2, 1995. See 60 FR 39258. On August 31, 2011, EPA retained the 8-hour standard and 1-hour standard. See 76 FR 54294. Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties remain in attainment for the 1971 and 2011 1-hour and 8-hour CO NAAQS.

    North Carolina's MOVES2014 modeling projected an increase in total on-road mobile source CO emissions of approximately 2.78 tpd in 2015 and 1.44 tpd in 2026 (0.71 percent and 0.60 percent of estimated total on-road mobile source emissions in those years, respectively) after changing the model inputs to reflect the proposed use of 9.0 psi RVP fuel in Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. The 2012 and 2013 ambient monitoring data showed maximum 8-hour concentration of 1.2 ppm for the 8-hour CO. Additionally, 2012 and 2013 ambient monitoring data showed maximum 1-hour CO concentrations of 2.3 and 1.7 ppm, respectively, well below the 35 ppm 1-hour CO NAAQS. Given the current unclassifiable/attainment designation, ambient monitoring data, and the results of North Carolina's emissions analysis, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties would not interfere with maintenance of the 1971 1-hour and 8-hour CO NAAQS in the Charlotte Area.

    f. Noninterference Analysis for the SO2 NAAQS

    On June 22, 2010, EPA revised the 1-hour SO2 NAAQS to 75 parts per billion (ppb) which became effective on August 23, 2010. See 75 FR 35520. On August 5, 2013, EPA designated nonattainment only in areas with violating 2009-2011 monitoring data. EPA did not designate any county in North Carolina for the 2010 1-hour SO2 NAAQS as part of the initial designation. See 78 FR 47191. On March 2, 2015, a Consent Decree was issued by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California stipulating the time and method for designating the remaining areas in the Country.15

    15 Copy of the Consent Decree- http://www.epa.gov/so2designations/pdfs/201503FinalCourtOrder.pdf.

    North Carolina's MOVES2014 modeling did not predict any change in SO2 emissions due to RVP relaxation. The Charlotte Area had a design value of 10 ppb, about 13 percent of the SO2 NAAQS. Additionally, 3 percent of total SO2 is derived from on-road, nonroad and area sources combined and the remaining 97 percent from point sources.16 For these reasons, EPA has preliminarily determined that a change to 9.0 psi RVP fuel for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties would not interfere with maintenance of the 2012 SO2 NAAQS in the Charlotte Area.

    16 “Redesignation Demonstration and Maintenance Plan for the Hickory (Catawba County) and Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point (Davidson and Guilford Counties) Fine Particulate Matter Nonattainment Areas”, submitted to the EPA on December 18, 2009, Figure 4-2, p. 4-4).

    VI. Proposed Action

    EPA is proposing to approve the State of North Carolina's noninterference demonstration, submitted on April 16, 2015, in support of the State's request that EPA change the Federal RVP requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties from 7.8 psi to 9.0 psi. Specifically, EPA is proposing to find that this change in the RVP requirements for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties will not interfere with attainment or maintenance of any NAAQS or with any other applicable requirement of the CAA. North Carolina's April 16, 2015, SIP revision also updates its maintenance plan and the associated MVEBs related to the State's redesignation request for the North Carolina portion of the 2008 Charlotte 8-hour Ozone Area to reflect emissions changes for the requested change to the Federal RVP requirements. EPA is proposing to approve those changes to update the maintenance plan and the MVEBs. As previously mentioned, final action on North Carolina's noninterference demonstration is contingent upon EPA approving the State's redesignation request and maintenance plan for the North Carolina portion of Charlotte 2008 8-hour Ozone Area.

    EPA has preliminarily determined that North Carolina's April 16, 2015, RVP-related SIP revision is consistent with the applicable provisions of the CAA. EPA is not proposing action today to remove the Federal 7.8 psi RVP requirement for Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties. Any such proposal would occur in a separate and subsequent rulemaking.

    VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

    • Does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, October 7, 1999);

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

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

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

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

    In addition, the SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the proposed rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000) nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 12, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12348 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 52 and 81 [EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870; FRL-9928-14-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans and Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes; Tennessee; Redesignation of the Knoxville 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 14, 2014, the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Air Pollution Control Division, submitted a request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to redesignate the Knoxville, Tennessee 8-hour ozone nonattainment area (hereafter referred to as the “Knoxville Area” or “Area”) to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision containing a maintenance plan and a base year emissions inventory for the Area. The Knoxville Area includes a portion of Anderson County as well as Blount and Knox Counties in their entireties. EPA is proposing to approve the base year emissions inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Knoxville Area; to determine that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; to approve the State's plan for maintaining attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard in the Area, including the motor vehicle emission budgets (MVEBs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) for the years 2011 and 2026 for the Area, into the SIP; and to redesignate the Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA is also notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the Knoxville Area MVEBs.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.

    4. Mail: “EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870,” Air Regulatory Management Section (formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch (formerly the Air Planning Branch), Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

    5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Ms. Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30, excluding Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jane Spann or Tiereny Bell of the Air Regulatory Management Section, in the Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Ms. Spann may be reached by phone at (404) 562-9029 or via electronic mail at [email protected]. Ms. Bell may be reached by phone at (404) 562-9088 or via electronic mail at [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. What are the actions EPA is proposing to take? II. What is the background for EPA's proposed actions? III. What are the criteria for redesignation? IV. Why is EPA proposing these actions? V. What is EPA's analysis of the redesignation request and November 14, 2014, SIP submission? VI. What is EPA's analysis of Tennessee's proposed NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville area? VII. What is the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the proposed NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville area? VIII. What is the effect of EPA's proposed actions? IX. Proposed Actions X. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What are the actions EPA is proposing to take?

    EPA is proposing to take four separate but related actions, one of which involves multiple elements: (1) To approve the base year inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Knoxville Area into the Tennessee SIP; (2) to determine that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; (3) to approve Tennessee's plan for maintaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (maintenance plan), including the associated MVEBs, into the SIP; and (4) to redesignate the Knoxville Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA is also notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the Knoxville Area MVEBs. These actions are summarized below and described in greater detail throughout this notice of proposed rulemaking.

    Based on the 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment designation for the Knoxville Area, Tennessee was required to develop a nonattainment SIP revision addressing certain CAA requirements. Specifically, pursuant to CAA section 182(a)(3)(B) and section 182(a)(1), the Knoxville Area was required to submit a SIP revision addressing emissions statements and emissions inventory requirements, respectively. EPA approved the emissions statements requirements for the Area into the SIP in a separate action. See 80 FR 11974 (March 5, 2015). Today, EPA is proposing to determine that the base year emissions inventory, as submitted in the State's November 14, 2014, SIP revision, meets the requirements of sections 110 and 182(a)(1) of the CAA and proposing to approve this emissions inventory into the SIP.

    EPA is also making the preliminarily determination that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on recent air quality data and proposing to approve Tennessee's 2008 ozone NAAQS maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area as meeting the requirements of section 175A of the CAA (such approval being one of the CAA criteria for redesignation to attainment status). The maintenance plan is designed to keep the Knoxville Area in attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS through 2026. Additionally, EPA is proposing to approve the 2011 and 2026 NOX and VOC MVEBs that are included as part of Tennessee's 2008 ozone NAAQS maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area.

    EPA is also notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy process for the NOX and VOC MVEBs for the years 2011 and 2026 for the Knoxville Area. The public comment period for Adequacy began on December 4, 2014, with EPA's posting of the availability of this submittal on EPA's Adequacy Web site (http://www.tn.gov/environment/ppo/docs/air/knoxville-redesignation-request-2014.pdf). The Adequacy comment period for these MVEBs closed on January 5, 2015. No comments, adverse or otherwise, were received during EPA's adequacy process for the MVEBs associated with Tennessee's 2008 8-hour ozone maintenance plan. Please see section VII of this proposed rulemaking for further explanation of this process and for more details on the MVEBs.

    In summary, today's notice of proposed rulemaking is in response to Tennessee's November 14, 2014, redesignation request and associated SIP submittal that address the specific issues summarized above and the necessary elements described in section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA for redesignation of the Knoxville Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. More detail regarding the rationale for EPA's proposed actions is discussed below.

    II. What is the background for EPA's proposed actions?

    On March 12, 2008, EPA promulgated a revised 8-hour ozone NAAQS of 0.075 parts per million (ppm). See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008). Under EPA's regulations at 40 CFR part 50, the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is attained when the 3-year average of the annual fourth highest daily maximum 8-hour average ambient air quality ozone concentrations is less than or equal to 0.075 ppm. See 40 CFR 50.15. Ambient air quality monitoring data for the 3-year period must meet a data completeness requirement. The ambient air quality monitoring data completeness requirement is met when the average percent of days with valid ambient monitoring data is greater than 90 percent, and no single year has less than 75 percent data completeness as determined in Appendix I of part 50.

    Upon promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, the CAA requires EPA to designate as nonattainment any area that is violating the NAAQS, based on the three most recent years of ambient air quality data at the conclusion of the designation process. The Knoxville Area was designated nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS on May 21, 2012 (effective July 20, 2012) using 2009-2011 ambient air quality data. See 77 FR 30088 (May 21, 2012). At the time of designation, the Knoxville Area was classified as a marginal nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. In the final implementation rule for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (SIP Implementation Rule),1 EPA established ozone nonattainment area attainment dates based on Table 1 of section 181(a) of the CAA. This established an attainment date three years after the July 20, 2012, effective date for areas classified as marginal areas for the 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment designations. Therefore, the Knoxville Area's attainment date is July 20, 2015.

    1 This rule, entitled Implementation of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: State Implementation Plan Requirements and published at 80 FR 12264 (March 6, 2015), addresses a range of nonattainment area SIP requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, including requirements pertaining to attainment demonstrations, reasonable further progress (RFP), reasonably available control technology (RACT), reasonably available control measures (RACM), major new source review (NSR), emission inventories, and the timing of SIP submissions and of compliance with emission control measures in the SIP. This rule also addresses the revocation of the 1997 ozone NAAQS and the anti-backsliding requirements that apply when the 1997 ozone NAAQS are revoked.

    III. What are the criteria for redesignation?

    The CAA provides the requirements for redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment. Specifically, section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA allows for redesignation providing that: (1) The Administrator determines that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS; (2) the Administrator has fully approved the applicable implementation plan for the area under section 110(k); (3) the Administrator determines that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the applicable SIP and applicable federal air pollutant control regulations and other permanent and enforceable reductions; (4) the Administrator has fully approved a maintenance plan for the area as meeting the requirements of section 175A; and (5) the state containing such area has met all requirements applicable to the area for purposes of redesignation under section 110 and part D of the CAA.

    On April 16, 1992, EPA provided guidance on redesignation in the General Preamble for the Implementation of title I of the CAA Amendments of 1990 (57 FR 13498), and supplemented this guidance on April 28, 1992 (57 FR 18070). EPA has provided further guidance on processing redesignation requests in the following documents:

    1. “Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Design Value Calculations,” Memorandum from Bill Laxton, Director, Technical Support Division, June 18, 1990; 2. “Maintenance Plans for Redesignation of Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, April 30, 1992; 3. “Contingency Measures for Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Redesignations,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, June 1, 1992; 4. “Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, September 4, 1992 (hereafter referred to as the “Calcagni Memorandum”); 5. “State Implementation Plan (SIP) Actions Submitted in Response to Clean Air Act (CAA) Deadlines,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, October 28, 1992; 6. “Technical Support Documents (TSDs) for Redesignation of Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, August 17, 1993; 7. “State Implementation Plan (SIP) Requirements for Areas Submitting Requests for Redesignation to Attainment of the Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) On or After November 15, 1992,” Memorandum from Michael H. Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, September 17, 1993; 8. “Use of Actual Emissions in Maintenance Demonstrations for Ozone and CO Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from D. Kent Berry, Acting Director, Air Quality Management Division, November 30, 1993; 9. “Part D New Source Review (Part D NSR) Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment,” Memorandum from Mary D. Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, October 14, 1994; and 10. “Reasonable Further Progress, Attainment Demonstration, and Related Requirements for Ozone Nonattainment Areas Meeting the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard,” Memorandum from John S. Seitz, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, May 10, 1995. IV. Why is EPA proposing these actions?

    On November 14, 2014, the State of Tennessee, through TDEC, requested that EPA redesignate the Knoxville Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA's evaluation indicates that the Knoxville Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and that the Knoxville Area meets the requirements for redesignation set forth in section 107(d)(3)(E), including the maintenance plan requirements under section 175A of the CAA and associated MVEBs. Also, based on Tennessee's November 14, 2014, submittal, EPA is also proposing to approve the base year emissions inventory, included in Tennessee's November 14, 2014, submittal, into the SIP. Approval of the base year inventory is a prerequisite to redesignating an ozone nonattainment area to attainment.

    V. What is EPA's analysis of the redesignation request and November 14, 2014, sip submission?

    As stated above, in accordance with the CAA, EPA proposes in today's action to: (1) Approve the 2008 8-hour ozone base year emissions inventory for the Knoxville Area into the Tennessee SIP; (2) determine that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; (3) approve the Knoxville Area's 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS maintenance plan, including the associated sub-area MVEBs, into the Tennessee SIP; and (4) redesignate the Knoxville Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Approval of the 2008 8-hour ozone base year inventory is a required prerequisite action before the Area can be redesignated to attainment. The five redesignation criteria provided under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) are discussed in greater detail for the Area following the discussion below on the Knoxville emissions inventory.

    A. Emission Inventory

    Section 182(a)(1) of the CAA requires states to submit a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions from all sources of the relevant pollutant or pollutants in each ozone nonattainment area. The section 182(a)(1) base year inventory is defined in the SIP Requirements Rule as “a comprehensive, accurate, current inventory of actual emissions from sources of VOC and NOX emitted within the boundaries of the nonattainment area as required by CAA section 182(a)(1).” See 40 CFR 51.1100(bb). The inventory year must be selected consistent with the baseline year for the RFP plan as required by 40 CFR 51.1110(b),2 and the inventory must include actual ozone season day emissions as defined in 40 CFR 51.1100(cc) 3 and contain data elements consistent with the detail required by 40 CFR part 51, subpart A. See 40 CFR 51.1115(a), (c), (e). In addition, the point source emissions included in the inventory must be reported according to the point source emissions thresholds of the Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) in 40 CFR part 51, subpart A. 40 CFR 51.1115(d).

    2 40 CFR 51.1110(b) states that “at the time of designation for the 2008 ozone NAAQS the baseline emissions inventory shall be the emissions inventory for the most recent calendar year for which a complete triennial inventory is required to be submitted to EPA under the provisions of subpart A of this part. States may use an alternative baseline emissions inventory provided the state demonstrates why it is appropriate to use the alternative baseline year, and provided that the year selected is between the years 2008 to 2012.”

    3 “Ozone season day emissions” is defined as “an average day's emissions for a typical ozone season work weekday. The state shall select, subject to EPA approval, the particular month(s) in the ozone season and the day(s) in the work week to be represented, considering the conditions assumed in the development of RFP plans and/or emissions budgets for transportation conformity.” See 40 CFR 51.1100(cc).

    Knoxville selected 2011 as the base year for the section 182(a)(1) emissions inventory which is the year corresponding with the first triennial inventory under 40 CFR part 51, subpart A. This base year is one of the three years of ambient data used to determine attainment and therefore represents emissions associated with attainment conditions. The emissions inventory is based on data developed and submitted by TDEC and Knox County Division of Air Quality Management to TDEC to EPA's 2011 National Emissions Inventory (NEI), and it contains data elements consistent with the detail required by 40 CFR part 51, subpart A.4

    4 Data downloaded from the EPA EIS from the 2011 NEI was subjected to quality assurance procedures described under quality assurance details under 2011 NEI Version 1 Documentation located at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/net/2011inventory.html#inventorydoc. The quality assurance and quality control procedures and measures associated with this data are outlined in the State's EPA-approved Emission Inventory Quality Assurance Project Plan.

    Knoxville's emissions inventory for its portion of the Area provides 2011 emissions data for NOX and VOCs for the following general source categories: Stationary point, area, non-road mobile, and on-road mobile. A detailed discussion of the inventory development is located in Attachment A, Emission Inventory, in Tennessee's November 14, 2014, SIP submittal which is provided in the docket for this action. The table below provides a summary of the emissions inventory.

    Table 1—2011 Point, Area, Non-Road Mobile, and On-Road Mobile Sources Emissions for the Knoxville Area [Tons per typical summer day] County Point NOX VOC Area NOX VOC Non-road mobile NOX VOC On-road mobile NOX VOC Anderson (partial) 6.15 0.2 0.93 5.56 0.23 0.31 1.05 0.70 Blount 0.53 3.67 2.38 41.16 1.53 2.15 6.65 4.60 Knox 3.29 1.11 3.26 40.12 6.61 5.02 33.92 14.42 Total Emissions 9.97 4.98 6.57 86.93 8.37 7.47 41.62 19.71

    The emissions inventory includes all anthropogenic VOC and NOX sources for all of Blount and Knox Counties, as well as the portion of Anderson County included in the Area. NOX and VOC emissions were calculated for a typical summer July day, taking into account the seasonal adjustment factor for summer operations. The inventory contains point source emissions data for facilities located within the Blount and Knox Counties as well as the portion of Anderson County included in the Area based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping. For Blount and Knox County, the emissions for the entire county are provided. More detail on the inventory emissions for individual sources categories is provided below and in the Attachment A to Tennessee's November 14, 2014, SIP submittal.

    Point sources are large, stationary, identifiable sources of emissions that release pollutants into the atmosphere. The inventory contains point source emissions data for facilities located within the Blount and Knox Counties as well as the portion of Anderson County included in the Area based on GIS mapping. Each facility was required to update the previous Emission Database Layout (EDL) file with information for the requested year and return the updated EDL to the TDEC emission inventory mailbox. For this submittal, point source emissions were obtained from EDL for facilities in the nonattainment counties. The point source emissions inventory for Blount and Knox County as well as the portion of Anderson County included in the Area is located in the docket for today's action.

    Area sources are small emission stationary sources which, due to their large number, collectively have significant emissions (e.g., dry cleaners, service stations). Emissions for these sources were estimated by multiplying an emission factor by such indicators of collective emissions activity as production, number of employees, or population. These emissions were estimated at the county level. Tennessee developed its inventory using EPA Nonpoint files located on EPA's CHIEF Emission Inventory Web site for the 2011 NEI and subtracted available activity data for area sources that may have a point source contribution to eliminate double counting. Tennessee developed its inventory according to the current EPA emissions inventory guidance for area sources.5

    5 This guidance includes: Procedures for the Preparation of Emission Inventories of Carbon Monoxide and Precursors of Ozone, Vol. 1, EPA-450/4-91-016 (May 1991) and Emissions Inventory Improvement Program (EIIP) Technical Report, Vol. 3, Area Sources (Revised January 2001, updated April 2001).

    On-road mobile sources include vehicles used on roads for transportation of passengers or freight. Tennessee developed its on-road emissions inventory using EPA's Motor Vehicle Emissions Simulator (MOVES) model for each ozone nonattainment county.6 County level on-road modeling was conducted using county-specific vehicle population and other local data. Tennessee developed its inventory according to the current EPA emissions inventory guidance for on-road mobile sources using MOVES version 2014.7

    6 Tennessee used MOVES to Prepare Emission Inventories in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity: Technical Guidance for MOVES2010, 2010a and 2010b, EPA-420-12-028 (April 2012).

    7 This guidance includes: Emissions Inventory Guidance for Implementation of Ozone and Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and Regional Haze Regulations, EPA-454/R-05-001 (August 2005, updated November 2005); Policy Guidance on the Use of MOVES2010 for State Implementation Plan Development, Transportation Conformity, and Other Purposes, EPA-420-B-09-046 (December 2009); and Technical Guidance on the Use of MOVES2010 for Emission Inventory Preparation in State Implementation Plans and Transportation Conformity, EPA-420-B-10-023 (April 2010).

    Non-road mobile sources include vehicles, engines, and equipment used for construction, agriculture, recreation, and other purposes that do not use roadways (e.g., lawn mowers, construction equipment, railroad locomotives, and aircraft). Tennessee calculated emissions for most of the non-road mobile sources using EPA's NONROAD2008a model 8 and developed its non-road mobile source inventory according to the current EPA emissions inventory guidance for non-road mobile sources.9

    8 For consistency with the National Emissions Inventory (NEI), Tennessee included emissions data for locomotive, and aircraft by county. ALM emissions for 2011 were primarily based on EPA's 2011 NEI.

    9 This guidance includes: Procedures for Emission Inventory Preparation, Volume IV: Mobile Sources, EPA-450/4-81-026d (July 1991).

    For the reasons discussed above, EPA has preliminarily determined that Tennessee's emissions inventory meets the requirements under CAA section 182(a)(1) and the SIP Requirements Rule for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Approval of Tennessee's redesignation request and associated maintenance plan is contingent upon EPA's final approval of the base year emission inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    B. Redesignation Request and Maintenance Demonstration

    The five redesignation criteria provided under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) are discussed in greater detail for the Knoxville Area in the following paragraphs of this section.

    Criteria (1)—The Knoxville Area has Attained the 2008 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(i)). For ozone, an area may be considered to be attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS if it meets the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, as determined in accordance with 40 CFR 50.15 and Appendix I of part 50, based on three complete, consecutive calendar years of quality-assured air quality monitoring data. To attain the NAAQS, the 3-year average of the fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations measured at each monitor within an area over each year must not exceed 0.075 ppm. Based on the data handling and reporting convention described in 40 CFR part 50, Appendix I, the NAAQS are attained if the design value is 0.075 ppm or below. The data must be collected and quality-assured in accordance with 40 CFR part 58 and recorded in the EPA Air Quality System (AQS). The monitors generally should have remained at the same location for the duration of the monitoring period required for demonstrating attainment.

    In this action, EPA is preliminarily determining that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA reviewed the available ozone monitoring data from monitoring stations in the Knoxville Area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for 2011-2013. These data have been quality-assured, are recorded in Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS-AQS), and indicate that the Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The fourth-highest 8-hour ozone values at each monitor for 2011, 2012, and 2013, and the 3-year averages for 2011-2013 (i.e., design values), are summarized in Table 1, below.

    Table 2—Design Value Concentrations for the Knoxville Area Location County Monitor ID 4th Highest values
  • (ppm)
  • 2011 2012 2013 3-Year design values
  • (ppm)
  • 2011-2013
    Freels Bend Study Area Anderson 470010101-1 0.074 0.073 0.060 0.069 Look Rock GSMNP Blount 470090101-1 0.083 0.075 0.064 0.074 Cades Cove GSMNP 470090102-1 0.068 0.064 0.059 0.063 9315 Rutledge Pike Knox 470930021-1 0.071 0.073 0.057 0.067 4625 Mildred Drive 470931020-1 0.072 0.078 0.061 0.070

    The 3-year design value for 2011-2013 is 0.074 ppm,10 which meets the NAAQS. This data has been certified and quality-assured. In today's action, EPA is proposing to determine that the Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA will not take final action to approve the redesignation if the 3-year design value exceeds the NAAQS after proposal. Preliminary 2014 data indicates that this Area will continue to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.11 As discussed in more detail below, the State of Tennessee has committed to continue monitoring in this Area in accordance with 40 CFR part 58.

    10 The monitor with the highest 3-year design value is considered the design value for the Area.

    11 Preliminary 2014 data for the Knoxville Area is available at www.epa.gov/airdata.

    Criteria (2)—Tennessee has a Fully Approved SIP Under Section 110(k) for the Knoxville Area; and Criteria (5)—Tennessee has met all Applicable Requirements Under Section 110 and Part D of Title I of the CAA

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the state has met all applicable requirements under section 110 and part D of title I of the CAA (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(v)) and that the state has a fully approved SIP under section 110(k) for the area (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii)). EPA proposes to find that Tennessee has met all applicable SIP requirements for the Knoxville Area under section 110 of the CAA (general SIP requirements) for purposes of redesignation. Additionally, EPA proposes to find that the Tennessee SIP satisfies the criterion that it meets applicable SIP requirements for purposes of redesignation under part D of title I of the CAA (requirements specific to 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment areas) in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(v). Further, EPA proposes to determine that the SIP is fully approved with respect to all requirements applicable for purposes of redesignation in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii). In making these proposed determinations, EPA ascertained which requirements are applicable to the Area and, if applicable, that they are fully approved under section 110(k). SIPs must be fully approved only with respect to requirements that were applicable prior to submittal of the complete redesignation request.

    a. The Knoxville Area Has Met All Applicable Requirements Under Section 110 and Part D of the CAA

    General SIP requirements. Section 110(a)(2) of title I of the CAA delineates the general requirements for a SIP, which include enforceable emissions limitations and other control measures, means, or techniques; provisions for the establishment and operation of appropriate devices necessary to collect data on ambient air quality; and programs to enforce the limitations. General SIP elements and requirements are delineated in section 110(a)(2) of title I, part A of the CAA. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the following: submittal of a SIP that has been adopted by the state after reasonable public notice and hearing; provisions for establishment and operation of appropriate procedures needed to monitor ambient air quality; implementation of a source permit program; provisions for the implementation of part C requirements (Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)) and provisions for the implementation of part D requirements (NSR permit programs); provisions for air pollution modeling; and provisions for public and local agency participation in planning and emission control rule development.

    Section 110(a)(2)(D) requires that SIPs contain certain measures to prevent sources in a state from significantly contributing to air quality problems in another state. To implement this provision, EPA has required certain states to establish programs to address the interstate transport of air pollutants. The section 110(a)(2)(D) requirements for a state are not linked with a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification in that state. EPA believes that the requirements linked with a particular nonattainment area's designation and classifications are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. The transport SIP submittal requirements, where applicable, continue to apply to a state regardless of the designation of any one particular area in the state. Thus, EPA does not believe that the CAA's interstate transport requirements should be construed to be applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation.

    In addition, EPA believes other section 110 elements that are neither connected with nonattainment plan submissions nor linked with an area's attainment status are applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. The area will still be subject to these requirements after the area is redesignated. The section 110 and part D requirements which are linked with a particular area's designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. This approach is consistent with EPA's existing policy on applicability (i.e., for redesignations) of conformity and oxygenated fuels requirements, as well as with section 184 ozone transport requirements. See Reading, Pennsylvania, proposed and final rulemakings (61 FR 53174-53176, October 10, 1996), (62 FR 24826, May 7, 2008); Cleveland-Akron-Loraine, Ohio, final rulemaking (61 FR 20458, May 7, 1996); and Tampa, Florida, final rulemaking at (60 FR 62748, December 7, 1995). See also the discussion on this issue in the Cincinnati, Ohio, redesignation (65 FR 37890, June 19, 2000), and in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, redesignation (66 FR 50399, October 19, 2001).

    Title I, Part D, applicable SIP requirements. Section 172(c) of the CAA sets forth the basic requirements of attainment plans for nonattainment areas that are required to submit them pursuant to section 172(b). Subpart 2 of part D, which includes section 182 of the CAA, establishes specific requirements for ozone nonattainment areas depending on the area's nonattainment classification. As provided in Subpart 2, a marginal ozone nonattainment area, such as the Knoxville Area, must submit an emissions inventory that complies with section 172(c)(3), but the specific requirements of section 182(a) apply in lieu of the demonstration of attainment (and contingency measures) required by section 172(c). See 42 U.S.C. 7511a(a). A thorough discussion of the requirements contained in sections 172(c) and 182 can be found in the General Preamble for Implementation of Title I (57 FR 13498).

    Section 182(a) Requirements. Section 182(a)(1) requires states to submit a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions from sources of VOC and NOx emitted within the boundaries of the ozone nonattainment area. Tennessee provided an emissions inventory for the Knoxville Area to EPA in a November 14, 2014 SIP submission. Specifically, Tennessee addressed this requirement by submitting a 2011 base year emissions inventory for the Knoxville Area. EPA is proposing approval of Tennessee's 2011 base year inventory in this action (see Section V.A. above). Tennessee's section 182(a)(1) inventory must be incorporated into the SIP before EPA can take final action to approve the State's redesignation request for the Knoxville Area.

    Under section 182(a)(2)(A), states with ozone nonattainment areas that were designated prior to the enactment of the 1990 CAA amendments were required to submit, within six months of classification, all rules and corrections to existing VOC RACT rules that were required under section 172(b)(3) of the CAA (and related guidance) prior to the 1990 CAA amendments. The Knoxville Area is not subject to the section 182(a)(2) RACT “fix up” because it was designated as nonattainment after the enactment of the 1990 CAA amendments.

    Section 182(a)(2)(B) requires each state with a marginal ozone nonattainment area that implemented, or was required to implement, an inspection and maintenance (I/M) program prior to the 1990 CAA amendments to submit a SIP revision providing for an I/M program no less stringent than that required prior to the 1990 amendments or already in the SIP at the time of the amendments, whichever is more stringent. The Knoxville Area is not subject to the section 182(a)(2)(B) because it was designated as nonattainment after the enactment of the 1990 CAA amendments and did not have an I/M program in place prior to those amendments.

    Regarding the permitting and offset requirements of section 182(a)(2)(C) and section 182(a)(4), Tennessee currently has a fully-approved part D NSR program in place. However, EPA has determined that areas being redesignated need not comply with the requirement that a NSR program be approved prior to redesignation, provided that the area demonstrates maintenance of the NAAQS without part D NSR, because PSD requirements will apply after redesignation. A more detailed rationale for this view is described in a memorandum from Mary Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, dated October 14, 1994, entitled, “Part D New Source Review Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment.” Tennessee's PSD program will become applicable in the Knoxville Area upon redesignation to attainment.

    Section 182(a)(3) requires states to submit periodic inventories and emissions statements. Section 182(a)(3)(A) requires states to submit a periodic inventory every three years. As discussed below in the section of this notice titled Criteria (4)(e), Verification of Continued Attainment, the State will continue to update its emissions inventory at least once every three years. Under section 182(a)(3)(B), each state with an ozone nonattainment area must submit a SIP revision requiring emissions statements to be submitted to the state by sources within that nonattainment area. EPA approved Tennessee's emissions statements requirement on March 5, 2015 (80 FR 11887).

    Section 176 Conformity Requirements: Section 176(c) of the CAA requires states to establish criteria and procedures to ensure that federally supported or funded projects conform to the air quality planning goals in the applicable SIP. The requirement to determine conformity applies to transportation plans, programs and projects that are developed, funded or approved under title 23 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) and the Federal Transit Act (transportation conformity) as well as to all other federally supported or funded projects (general conformity). State transportation conformity SIP revisions must be consistent with federal conformity regulations relating to consultation, enforcement and enforceability that EPA promulgated pursuant to its authority under the CAA.

    EPA interprets the conformity SIP requirements 12 as not applying for purposes of evaluating a redesignation request under section 107(d) because state conformity rules are still required after redesignation and federal conformity rules apply where state rules have not been approved. See Wall v. EPA, 265 F.3d 426 (6th Cir. 2001) (upholding this interpretation); see also 60 FR 62748 (December 7, 1995) (redesignation of Tampa, Florida). Nonetheless, Tennessee has an approved conformity SIP for the Knoxville Area. See 78 FR 29027 (May 17, 2013). Thus, the Knoxville Area has satisfied all applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation under section 110 and part D of title I of the CAA.

    12 CAA section 176(c)(4)(E) requires states to submit revisions to their SIPs to reflect certain federal criteria and procedures for determining transportation conformity. Transportation conformity SIPs are different from the MVEBs that are established in control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans.

    b. The Knoxville Area Has a Fully Approved Applicable SIP Under Section 110(k) of the CAA

    EPA has fully approved the applicable Tennessee SIP for the Knoxville Area under section 110(k) of the CAA for all requirements applicable for purposes of redesignation. EPA may rely on prior SIP approvals in approving a redesignation request (see Calcagni Memorandum at p. 3; Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance v. Browner, 144 F.3d 984, 989-90 (6th Cir. 1998); Wall, 265 F.3d 426) plus any additional measures it may approve in conjunction with a redesignation action (see 68 FR 25426 (May 12, 2003) and citations therein). Tennessee has adopted and submitted, and EPA has approved at various times, provisions addressing the various SIP elements applicable for the ozone NAAQS. See 78 FR 14450 (March 16, 2013).

    As indicated above, EPA believes that the section 110 elements that are neither connected with nonattainment plan submissions nor linked to an area's nonattainment status are not applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. With the exception of the emissions inventory requirement, which is addressed in this action, EPA has approved all part D requirements applicable for purposes of this redesignation.

    Criteria (3)—The Air Quality Improvement in the Knoxville Area Is Due to Permanent and Enforceable Reductions in Emissions Resulting From Implementation of the Sip and Applicable Federal Air Pollution Control Regulations and Other Permanent and Enforceable Reductions

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the air quality improvement in the area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the SIP and applicable federal air pollution control regulations and other permanent and enforceable reductions (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(iii)). EPA has preliminarily determined that Tennessee has demonstrated that the observed air quality improvement in its portion of the Knoxville Area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from federal measures and from state measures adopted into the SIP. EPA does not have any information to suggest that the decrease in ozone concentrations in the Knoxville Area is due to unusually favorable meteorological conditions.

    State and Federal measures enacted in recent years have resulted in permanent emission reductions. Most of these emission reductions are enforceable through regulations. A few non-regulatory measures also result in emission reductions. The state and local measures that have been implemented to date and relied upon by Tennessee to demonstrate attainment and/or maintenance in the Knoxville Area include the Statewide Motor Vehicle Anti-Tampering Rule and Stage I Gasoline Vapor Recovery. These measures are approved in the federally-approved SIP and thus are permanent and enforceable. The Federal measures that have been implemented include the following:

    Tier 2 Vehicle Standards. Implementation began in 2004 and requires all passenger vehicles in any manufacturer's fleet to meet an average standard of 0.07 grams of NOX per mile. Additionally, in January 2006 the sulfur content of gasoline was required to be on average 30 ppm which assists in lowering the NOX emissions.13

    13 Tennessee also identified Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Standards as a federal measure. EPA issued this rule in April 28, 2014 (79 FR 23414), which applies to light duty passengers cars and trucks. EPA promulgated this rule to reduce air pollution from new passenger cars and trucks beginning in 2017. Tier 3 emission standards will lower sulfur content of gasoline and lower the emissions standards.

    Heavy-duty gasoline and diesel highway vehicle standards and Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel Rule. EPA issued this rule on January 18, 2001 (66 FR 5002). This rule includes standards limiting the sulfur content of diesel fuel, which began to take effect in 2004. A second phase took effect in 2007, which further reduced the highway diesel fuel sulfur content to 15 ppm, leading to additional reductions in combustion NOX and VOC emissions. This rule is expected to achieve a 95 percent reduction in NOX emissions from diesel trucks and buses.

    Nonroad spark-ignition engines and recreational engines standards. The nonroad spark-ignition and recreational engine standards, effective in July 2003, regulate NOX, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide from groups of previously unregulated nonroad engines. These engine standards apply to large spark-ignition engines (e.g., forklifts and airport ground service equipment), recreational vehicles (e.g., off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain-vehicles), and recreational marine diesel engines sold in the United States and imported after the effective date of these standards. When all of the nonroad spark-ignition and recreational engine standards are fully implemented, an overall 72 percent reduction in hydrocarbons, 80 percent reduction in NOX, and 56 percent reduction in carbon monoxide emissions are expected by 2020. These controls reduce ambient concentrations of ozone, carbon monoxide, and fine particulate matter.

    Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). On February 16, 2012, EPA promulgated maximum achievable control technology regulations for coal-and oil-fired EGUs, intended to reduce hazardous air pollutants emissions from EGUs. Although the MATS rule is not targeted at NOX emissions, it is expected to result in additional NOX reductions due to the retirement of older coal-fired units.

    Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Consent Decree/Federal Facilities Compliance Agreement. On April 14, 2011, TVA entered into a consent decree with Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina to resolve allegations of CAA violations at TVA's coal-fired power plants. The relief obtained in this consent decree was also secured in a Federal Facilities Compliance Agreement (FFCA) between EPA and TVA. The consent decree and FFCA establish system-wide caps on NOX and SO2emissions at TVA's coal-fired facilities, declining to permanent levels of 52,000 tons of NOX in 2018 and 110,000 tons of SO2 in 2019, and require TVA to meet specific control requirements.14

    14 The Bull Run facility in Anderson County is the only source in the Knoxville Area that is covered by the consent decree/FFCA. While Tennessee notes in its submission that selective catalytic reduction (SCR) was required per the consent decree/FFCA to be operational at unit 1 for Bull Run in 2011, EPA has reviewed data for this unit and it appears that controls were put in place on the Bull Run facility prior to the nonattainment designation for the Knoxville Area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. These controls continue to operate. Specifically, according to the data reported to EPA's Clean Air Markets Division, the SCR was installed and began operating on May 12, 2004. It appears that the SCR was only used during the ozone season between 2004 and 2008, and from 2009 to the present, began operating the full year.

    NO X SIP Call. On October 27, 1998 (63 FR 57356), EPA issued the NOX SIP Call requiring the District of Columbia and 22 states to reduce emissions of NOX, a precursor to ozone pollution, and providing a mechanism (the NOX Budget Trading Program) that states could use to achieve those reductions. Affected states were required to comply with Phase I of the SIP Call beginning in 2004 and Phase II beginning in 2007. By the end of 2008, ozone season emissions from sources subject to the NOX SIP Call dropped by 62 percent from 2000 emissions levels. All NOX SIP Call states have SIPs that currently satisfy their obligations under the NOX SIP Call; the NOX SIP Call reduction requirements are being met; and EPA will continue to enforce the requirements of the NOX SIP Call. Emission reductions resulting from regulations developed in response to the NOX SIP Call are therefore permanent and enforceable for the purposes of today's action.

    CAIR/CSAPR. CAIR created regional cap-and-trade programs to reduce SO2 and NOX emissions in 27 eastern states, including Tennessee. See 70 FR 25162 (May 12, 2005). EPA approved Tennessee's CAIR regulations into the Tennessee SIP on November 25, 2009. See 74 FR 61535. In 2009, the CAIR ozone season NOX trading program superseded the NOX Budget Trading Program, although the emission reduction obligations of the NOX SIP Call were not rescinded. See 40 CFR 51.121(r) and 51.123(aa). In 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) initially vacated CAIR, North Carolina v. EPA, 531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008), but ultimately remanded the rule to EPA without vacatur to preserve the environmental benefits provided by CAIR, North Carolina v. EPA, 550 F.3d 1176, 1178 (D.C. Cir. 2008). On August 8, 2011 (76 FR 48208), acting on the D.C. Circuit's remand, EPA promulgated CSAPR to address interstate transport of emissions and resulting secondary air pollutants and to replace CAIR. CSAPR requires substantial reductions of SO2 and NOX emissions from electric generating units (EGUs) in 28 states in the Eastern United States.

    Implementation of CSAPR was scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012, when CSAPR's cap-and-trade programs would have superseded the CAIR cap and trade programs. Numerous parties filed petitions for review of CSAPR, and on December 30, 2011, the D.C. Circuit issued an order staying CSAPR pending resolution of the petitions and directing EPA to continue to administer CAIR. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 30, 2011), Order at 2.

    On August 21, 2012, the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling, vacating and remanding CSAPR to EPA and once again ordering continued implementation of CAIR. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2012). The D.C. Circuit subsequently denied EPA's petition for rehearing en banc. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302, 2013 WL 656247 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 24, 2013), at *1. EPA and other parties then petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, and the Supreme Court granted the petitions on June 24, 2013. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 133 S. Ct. 2857 (2013).

    On April 29, 2014, the Supreme Court vacated and reversed the D.C. Circuit Court's decision regarding CSAPR, and remanded that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court to resolve remaining issues in accordance with its ruling. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014). EPA moved to have the stay of CSAPR lifted in light of the Supreme Court decision. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, Case No. 11-1302, Document No. 1499505 (D.C. Cir. filed June 26, 2014). In its motion, EPA asked the D.C. Circuit to toll CSAPR's compliance deadlines by three years so that the Phase 1 emissions budgets apply in 2015 and 2016 (instead of 2012 and 2013), and the Phase 2 emissions budgets apply in 2017 and beyond (instead of 2014 and beyond). On October 23, 2014, the D.C. Circuit granted EPA's motion and lifted the stay of CSAPR which was imposed on December 30, 2011. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 23, 2014), Order at 3. On December 3, 2014, EPA issued an interim final rule to clarify how EPA will implement CSAPR consistent with the D.C. Circuit Court's order granting EPA's motion requesting lifting the stay and tolling the rule's deadlines. See 79 FR 71663 (December 3, 2014) (interim final rulemaking). Consistent with that rule, EPA began implementing CSAPR on January 1, 2015. EPA expects that the implementation of CSAPR will preserve the reductions achieved by CAIR and result in additional SO2 and NOX emission reductions throughout the maintenance period.

    As mentioned above, the State measures that have been implemented include the following:

    Statewide Motor Vehicle Anti-Tampering Rule. Tennessee promulgated a statewide motor vehicle anti-tampering rule in 2005 to reduce air pollution caused by tampering with a motor vehicle's emissions control system. The rule defines tampering as modifying, removing, or rendering inoperative any air pollution emission control device which results in an increase in emissions beyond established federal motor vehicle standards. EPA approved this rule into the Tennessee SIP on August 26, 2005 (70 FR 50199); therefore it is both state and federally enforceable.

    Stage I Gasoline Vapor Recovery. Tennessee promulgated rules for Stage I Gasoline Vapor Recovery for several counties throughout Tennessee, including Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon Counties in the Knoxville Area. Gasoline dispensing stations in these counties that were contributing sources on December 29, 2004, were required to comply by March 1, 2006. EPA approved these rules into the Tennessee SIP on August 26, 2005 (70 FR 50199).

    Criteria (4)—The Knoxville Area Has a Fully Approved Maintenance Plan Pursuant to Section 175A of the CAA

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the area has a fully approved maintenance plan pursuant to section 175A of the CAA (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(iv)). In conjunction with its request to redesignate the Knoxville Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, TDEC submitted a SIP revision to provide for the maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for at least 10 years after the effective date of redesignation to attainment. EPA has made the preliminary determination that this maintenance plan meets the requirements for approval under section 175A of the CAA.

    a. What is required in a maintenance plan?

    Section 175A of the CAA sets forth the elements of a maintenance plan for areas seeking redesignation from nonattainment to attainment. Under section 175A, the plan must demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS for at least 10 years after the Administrator approves a redesignation to attainment. Eight years after the redesignation, the state must submit a revised maintenance plan which demonstrates that attainment will continue to be maintained for the remainder of the 20-year period following the initial 10-year period. To address the possibility of future NAAQS violations, the maintenance plan must contain contingency measures as EPA deems necessary to assure prompt correction of any future 2008 8-hour ozone violations. The Calcagni Memorandum provides further guidance on the content of a maintenance plan, explaining that a maintenance plan should address five requirements: The attainment emissions inventory, maintenance demonstration, monitoring, verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan. As is discussed more fully below, EPA proposes to find that Tennessee's maintenance plan includes all the necessary components and is thus proposing to approve it as a revision to the Tennessee SIP.

    b. Attainment Emissions Inventory

    EPA is proposing to determine that the Knoxville Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on monitoring data for the 3-year period from 2011-2013. Tennessee selected 2011 as the base year (i.e., attainment emissions inventory year) for developing a comprehensive emissions inventory for NOX and VOC, for which projected emissions could be developed for 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023 and 2026. The attainment inventory identifies a level of emissions in the Area that is sufficient to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Tennessee began development of the attainment inventory by first generating a baseline emissions inventory for the Knoxville Area.

    The attainment year emissions were projected to future years separately using different methods by source categories, including: Point sources; area sources; on-road mobile sources; non-road mobile sources including commercial marine vessels, locomotives and air craft (MLA); and non-road mobile sources excluding MLA. The emissions were projected for 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023 and 2026 using 2011 emissions and growth factors developed from the methodology from SESARM Metro4, Inc. Growth factors were developed using the U.S. Energy Information Administration's 2014 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2014) energy consumption and production forecasts.

    Tennessee's 2011 emissions inventory, prepared by TDEC, was used as a source of base year emissions for Blount and Knox Counties, as well as the part of Anderson County included in the Area. NOX and VOC emissions were calculated for a typical summer July day, taking in to account the seasonal adjustment factor for summer operations of facilities. Future-year emissions were projected for 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023, and 2026. Growth factors were developed using the methodology in the SESARM Metro4, Inc. document prepared by AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc., titled “Development of the 2018 Projection Point Source Emission Inventory for the SESARM Region,” February 11, 2014. Point source units were categorized as electric generating units (EGU) or non-EGU sources. Data obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on either fuel use projections or industrial output projections were used to develop the growth factors used to generate the emissions inventory.

    Nonpoint sources captured in the inventory include stationary sources whose emissions levels of NOX, SO2, and particulate matter are each less than 25 tons per year. Emissions from nonpoint sources in 2011 were obtained from NEI2011 ozone season daily emissions for area sources were calculated using the SMOKE temporal profiles as described for non-EGU point sources.

    The 2011 NOX and VOC emissions for the Knoxville Area, as well as the emissions for other years, were developed consistent with EPA guidance and are summarized in Tables 3 through 5 of the following subsection discussing the maintenance demonstration.

    c. Maintenance Demonstration

    The November 14, 2014, final SIP revision includes a maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area. The maintenance plan:

    (i). Shows compliance with and maintenance of the 8-hour ozone standard by providing information to support the demonstration that current and future emissions of NOX and VOC remain at or below 2011 emissions levels.

    (ii). Uses 2011 as the attainment year and includes future emissions inventory projections and national growth factors for 2014, 2017, 2020, 2023, and 2026.

    (iii). Identifies an “out year” at least 10 years after the time necessary for EPA to review and approve the maintenance plan. Per 40 CFR part 93, NOX and VOC MVEBs were established for the last year (2026) of the maintenance plan (see section VI below). Through the interagency consultation process, it was also decided that MVEBs would be adopted for the year 2011.

    (iv). Provides actual (2011) and projected emissions inventories, in tons per day (tpd), for the Knoxville Area, as shown in Tables 3 and 4, below.

    Table 3—Actual and Projected Annual NOX Emissions (tpd) for the Knoxville Area Sector 2011 2014 2017 2020 2023 2026 Point 9.97 10.55 11.05 11.70 12.28 12.90 Area 6.56 6.67 6.53 6.53 6.65 6.72 On-road 41.62 35.13 28.63 22.14 15.65 9.15 Non-road (excluding MLA) 8.37 5.43 4.43 3.78 3.38 3.15 Non-road (MLA) 4.06 3.79 3.70 3.81 4.19 4.92 Total 70.6 61.6 54.3 48.0 42.2 36.8 Note: Emissions are provided for Blount and Knox Counties and a portion of Anderson County MLA—Commercial Marine Vessels, Locomotive, and Aircraft. Table 4—Actual and Projected Annual VOC Emissions (tpd) for the Knoxville Area Sector 2011 2014 2017 2020 2023 2026 Point 4.98 5.42 6.09 6.48 7.14 7.75 Area 86.93 84.81 84.61 84.94 85.28 85.64 On-road 19.71 17.17 14.63 12.08 9.54 7.00 Non-road (excluding MLA) 7.47 5.33 4.64 4.26 4.19 4.19 Non-road (MLA) 0.31 0.32 0.36 0.44 0.55 0.74 Total 119.40 113.05 110.33 108.20 106.70 105.32 Note: Emissions are provided for Blount and Knox Counties and a portion of Anderson County MLA—Commercial Marine Vessels, Locomotives, and Aircraft.

    In situations where local emissions are the primary contributor to nonattainment, such as the Knoxville Area, if the future projected emissions in the nonattainment area remain at or below the baseline emissions in the nonattainment area, then the ambient air quality standard should not be exceeded in the future. Tennessee has projected emissions as described previously and determined that emissions in the Knoxville Area will remain below those in the attainment year inventory for the duration of the maintenance plan.

    As discussed in section VI of this proposed rulemaking, a safety margin is the difference between the attainment level of emissions (from all sources) and the projected level of emissions (from all sources) in the maintenance plan. The attainment level of emissions is the level of emissions during one of the years in which the area met the NAAQS. Tennessee selected 2011 as the attainment emissions inventory year for the Knoxville Area and calculated a safety margin for 2026. The State has decided to allocate a portion of this 2026 safety margin to the 2026 MVEB for the Knoxville Area. Specifically, Tennessee has decided to allocate 8.53 tpd to the 2026 NOX MVEB and 3.49 tpd to the 2026 VOC MVEB. After allocation of the available safety margin, the remaining safety margin was calculated as 25.30 tpd for NOX and 10.59 tpd for VOC. The MVEB to be used for transportation conformity proposes is discussed in section VI. This allocation and the resulting available safety margin for the Knoxville Area are discussed further in section VI of this proposed rulemaking.

    d. Monitoring Network

    There are currently three monitors measuring ozone in the Knoxville Area. The State of Tennessee, through TDEC, has committed to continue operation of the monitors in Knoxville Area in compliance with 40 CFR part 58 and have thus addressed the requirement for monitoring. EPA approved the ozone portion of Tennessee's 2012 annual ambient air monitoring network plan on June 15, 2012.

    e. Verification of Continued Attainment

    The State of Tennessee, through TDEC, has the legal authority to enforce and implement the requirements of the maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area. This includes the authority to adopt, implement, and enforce any subsequent emissions control contingency measures determined to be necessary to correct future ozone attainment problems.

    Verification of continued attainment is accomplished through operation of the ambient ozone monitoring network and the periodic updates of the Area's emissions inventory. As discussed above, TDEC will continue to operate the current monitors located in the Knoxville Area. There are no plans to discontinue operation, relocate, or otherwise change the existing ambient monitoring network. Tennessee will continue to update its emissions inventory at least once every three years.

    The Consolidated Emissions Reporting Rule (CERR) was promulgated by EPA on June 10, 2002. The CERR was replaced by the Annual Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR) rule on December 17, 2008. The most recent triennial inventory for Tennessee was compiled for 2011. The larger point sources of air pollution will continue to submit data on their emissions on an annual basis as required by the AERR. Emissions from the rest of the point sources, the nonpoint source portion, and the on-road and nonroad mobile sources continue to be quantified on a three-year cycle. The inventory will be updated and maintained on a three-year cycle. As required by the AERR, the next overall emissions inventory will be compiled for 2014.

    f. Contingency Measures in the Maintenance Plan

    Section 175A of the CAA requires that a maintenance plan include such contingency measures as EPA deems necessary to assure that the state will promptly correct a violation of the NAAQS that occurs after redesignation. The maintenance plan should identify the contingency measures to be adopted, a schedule and procedure for adoption and implementation, and a time limit for action by the state. A state should also identify specific indicators to be used to determine when the contingency measures need to be implemented. The maintenance plan must include a requirement that a state will implement all measures with respect to control of the pollutant that were contained in the SIP before redesignation of the area to attainment in accordance with section 175A(d).

    The contingency plan included in Tennessee's SIP revision includes a triggering mechanism to determine when contingency measures are needed and a process of developing and implementing appropriate control measures. The State of Tennessee will use actual ambient monitoring data and emissions inventory data as the indicators to determine whether a trigger has been activated and whether contingency measures should be implemented.

    Tennessee has identified a primary trigger (Tier I) that will be activated when any quality-assured/quality controlled 8-hour ozone monitoring reading exceeds 0.075 ppm at an ambient monitoring station located in the Knoxville Area or if the periodic emission inventory updates reveal excessive or unanticipated growth greater than 10 percent in emissions of NOX or VOC over the attainment or intermediate emissions inventories for the Knoxville Area (as determined by the triennial emission reporting required by AERR). The State of Tennessee, in conjunction with the Knox County Department of Air Quality Management (DAQM), will conduct an evaluation as expeditiously as practicable to determine what additional measures will be necessary to attain or maintain the 8-hour ozone standard. If it is determined that additional emission reductions are necessary, Tennessee and Knox County DAQM, will adopt and implement any required measures in accordance with the schedule and procedure for adoption and implementation of contingency measures.

    The ozone trigger concentrations described above apply to each monitor in the maintenance area. TDEC will evaluate a Tier I condition, if it occurs, as expeditiously as practicable to determine the cause(s) of the ambient ozone or emissions inventory increase and to determine if a Tier II condition (see below) is likely to occur.

    A secondary trigger (Tier II) is activated when any violation of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS at any of the ambient monitoring stations in the Knoxville Area is recorded, based on quality-assured monitoring data. In the event that a Tier II trigger is activated, Tennessee and Knox County DAQM will conduct a comprehensive study to determine the cause(s) of the ambient ozone increase and will implement any required measures as expeditiously as practicable, taking into consideration the ease of implementation and the technical and economic feasibility of selected measures.

    Tennessee and Knox County DAQM will, in the event of: (1) A Tier II trigger condition, or (2) a Tier I condition in which Tennessee has determined that a Tier II condition is likely to occur, conduct a comprehensive study to determine what contingency measure(s) are required for the maintenance of the ozone standard. Since the Knoxville Area may be influenced by emissions from outside the maintenance area, the study will attempt to determine whether the trigger condition is due to local emissions, emissions from elsewhere, or a combination of the previous. Selected emission control measures will be subject to public review and the State will seek public input prior to selecting new emission control measures.

    The comprehensive study will be completed and submitted to EPA for review as expeditiously as practical, but no later than nine months after the Tier I or Tier II trigger is activated. When Tennessee and Knox County DAQM determines, through the comprehensive study, what contingency measure(s) are required for the maintenance of the ozone standard, appropriate corrective measures will be adopted and implemented within 18 to 24 months after the Tier I or II trigger occurs. The proposed schedule for these actions include:

    • Six months to identify appropriate contingency measures;

    • Three to six months to initiate stakeholder process; and

    • Nine to twelve months to implement the contingency measures.

    Section 175A(d) requires that state maintenance plans shall include a requirement that the state will implement all measures with respect to the control of the air pollutant concerned which were contained in the SIP for the area before redesignation of the area to attainment. Currently all such measures are in effect for the Knoxville Area. Contingency measure(s) will be selected from the following types of measures or from any other measure deemed appropriate and effective at the time the selection is made:

    • Implementation of diesel retrofit programs, including incentives for performing retrofits.

    • Reasonable Available Control Technology (RACT) for NOX sources in nonattainment counties.

    • Programs or incentives to decrease motor vehicle use, including employer-based programs, additional park and ride services, enhanced transit service and encouragement of flexible work hours/compressed work week/telecommuting.

    • Trip reduction ordinances.

    • Additional emissions reductions on stationary sources.

    • Enhanced stationary source inspection to ensure that emissions control equipment is functioning properly.

    • Voluntary fuel programs including incentives for alternative fuels.

    • Construction of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, or restriction of certain roads or lanes for HOV.

    • Programs for new construction and major reconstruction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including shared use paths, sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

    • Expand Air Quality Action Day activities/Clean Air Partners public education outreach.

    • Expansion of E-Government services at State and local level.

    • Additional Enforcement or outreach on driver observance of reduce speed limits.

    • Land use/transportation policies.

    • Promotion of non-motorized transportation.

    • Promotion or tree-planting standards that favor trees with low VOC biogenic emissions.

    • Promotion if energy saving plans for local government.

    • Gas can and lawnmower replacement programs.

    • Seasonal open burning ban in nonattainment counties.

    • Evaluation of anti-idling rules and/or policy.

    • Additional controls in upwind areas, if necessary.

    EPA has preliminarily concluded that the maintenance plan adequately addresses the five basic components of a maintenance plan: The attainment emissions inventory, maintenance demonstration, monitoring, verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan. Therefore, the maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area meets the requirements of section 175A of the CAA and is approvable.

    VI. What is EPA's analysis of Tennessee's proposed NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area?

    Under section 176(c) of the CAA, new transportation plans, programs, and projects, such as the construction of new highways, must “conform” to (i.e., be consistent with) the part of the state's air quality plan that addresses pollution from cars and trucks. Conformity to the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the NAAQS or any interim milestones. If a transportation plan does not conform, most new projects that would expand the capacity of roadways cannot go forward. Regulations at 40 CFR part 93 set forth EPA policy, criteria, and procedures for demonstrating and assuring conformity of such transportation activities to a SIP. The regional emissions analysis is one, but not the only, requirement for implementing transportation conformity. Transportation conformity is a requirement for nonattainment and maintenance areas. Maintenance areas are areas that were previously nonattainment for a particular NAAQS but have since been redesignated to attainment with an approved maintenance plan for that NAAQS.

    Under the CAA, states are required to submit, at various times, control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans for nonattainment areas. These control strategy SIPs (including RFP and attainment demonstration requirements) and maintenance plans create MVEBs for criteria pollutants and/or their precursors to address pollution from cars and trucks. Per 40 CFR part 93, a MVEB must be established for the last year of the maintenance plan. A state may adopt MVEBs for other years as well. The MVEB is the portion of the total allowable emissions in the maintenance demonstration that is allocated to highway and transit vehicle use and emissions. See 40 CFR 93.101. The MVEB serves as a ceiling on emissions from an area's planned transportation system. The MVEB concept is further explained in the preamble to the November 24, 1993, Transportation Conformity Rule (58 FR 62188). The preamble also describes how to establish the MVEB in the SIP and how to revise the MVEB.

    After interagency consultation with the transportation partners for the Knoxville Area, Tennessee has developed MVEBs for NOX and VOC for the Knoxville Area. Tennessee is developing these MVEBs, as required, for the last year of its maintenance plan, 2026. Additionally, Tennessee is establishing MVEBs for the year 2011. The 2011 MVEBs reflect the total on-road emissions for 2011. The 2026 MVEBs reflect the total on-road emissions 2026, plus an allocation from the available NOX and VOC safety margins. Under 40 CFR 93.101, the term “safety margin” is the difference between the attainment level (from all sources) and the projected level of emissions (from all sources) in the maintenance plan. The safety margin can be allocated to the transportation sector; however, the total emissions must remain below the attainment level. The NOX and VOC MVEBs and allocation from the safety margin were developed in consultation with the transportation partners and were added to account for uncertainties in population growth, changes in model vehicle miles traveled and new emission factor models. The NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area are defined in Table 5 below.

    Table 5—Knoxville Area NOX and VOC MVEBs (tpd) 2011 2026 NO X Emissions: Base Emissions 41.62 9.15 Safety Margin Allocated to MVEB n/a 8.53 NOX Conformity MVEBs 41.62 * 17.69 VOC Emissions: Base Emissions 19.71 7.00 Safety Margin Allocated to MVEB n/a 3.49 VOC Conformity MVEBs 19.71 10.49 * Due to rounding convention.

    As mentioned above, Tennessee has chosen to allocate a portion of the available safety margin to the NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area. This allocation is 8.53 tpd and 3.49 tpd for NOX and VOC, respectively. Thus, the remaining safety margins for 2026 are 25.30 tpd and 10.59 tpd NOX and VOC, respectively.

    Through this rulemaking, EPA is proposing to approve the MVEBs for NOX and VOC for 2011 and 2026 for the Knoxville Area because EPA has preliminarily determined that the Area maintains the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS with the emissions at the levels of the budgets. Once the MVEBs for the Knoxville Area are approved or found adequate (whichever is completed first), they must be used for future conformity determinations. After thorough review, EPA has preliminarily determined that the budgets meet the adequacy criteria, as outlined in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4), and is proposing to approve the budgets because they are consistent with maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS through 2026.

    VII. What is the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the proposed NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area?

    When reviewing submitted “control strategy” SIPs or maintenance plans containing MVEBs, EPA may affirmatively find the MVEB contained therein adequate for use in determining transportation conformity. Once EPA affirmatively finds the submitted MVEB is adequate for transportation conformity purposes, that MVEB must be used by state and federal agencies in determining whether proposed transportation projects conform to the SIP as required by section 176(c) of the CAA.

    EPA's substantive criteria for determining adequacy of a MVEB are set out in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4). The process for determining adequacy consists of three basic steps: Public notification of a SIP submission, a public comment period, and EPA's adequacy determination. This process for determining the adequacy of submitted MVEBs for transportation conformity purposes was initially outlined in EPA's May 14, 1999, guidance, “Conformity Guidance on Implementation of March 2, 1999, Conformity Court Decision.” EPA adopted regulations to codify the adequacy process in the Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments for the “New 8-Hour Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Miscellaneous Revisions for Existing Areas; Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments—Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Change,” on July 1, 2004 (69 FR 40004). Additional information on the adequacy process for transportation conformity purposes is available in the proposed rule entitled, “Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments: Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Changes,” 68 FR 38974, 38984 (June 30, 2003).

    As discussed earlier, Tennessee's maintenance plan includes NOX and VOC MVEBs for the Knoxville Area for 2026, the last year of the maintenance plan, and for 2011. EPA reviewed the NOX and VOC MVEBs through the adequacy process. Tennessee's November 14, 2015, SIP submission, including the Knoxville Area NOX and VOC MVEBs, was open for public comment on EPA's adequacy Web site on December 4, 2014, found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/currsips.htm#knx-tn. The EPA public comment period on adequacy for the MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 for the Knoxville Area closed on January 5, 2015. No comments, adverse or otherwise, were received during EPA's adequacy process for the MVEBs associated with Tennessee's maintenance plan.

    EPA intends to make its determination on the adequacy of the 2011 and 2026 MVEBs for the Knoxville Area for transportation conformity purposes in the near future by completing the adequacy process that was started on December 4, 2014. After EPA finds the 2011 and 2026 MVEBs adequate or approves them, the new MVEBs for NOX and VOC must be used for future transportation conformity determinations. For required regional emissions analysis years for 2026 and beyond, the applicable budgets will be the new 2026 MVEBs established in the maintenance plan, as defined in section VI of this proposed rulemaking. The 2011 MVEBs will be used for any analysis year prior to 2026.

    VIII. What is the effect of EPA's proposed actions?

    EPA's proposed actions establish the basis upon which EPA may take final action on the issues being proposed for approval today. Approval of Tennessee's redesignation request would change the legal designation of Blount and Knox Counties and the portion of Anderson County included in the Knoxville Area, found at 40 CFR part 81, from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Approval of Tennessee's associated SIP revision would also incorporate a plan for maintaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the Knoxville Area through 2026 and a section 182(a)(1) base year emissions inventory into the Tennessee SIP. The maintenance plan establishes NOX and VOC MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 for the Knoxville Area and includes contingency measures to remedy any future violations of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and procedures for evaluation of potential violations. The NOX MVEB for 2011 is 41.62 tpd, and for 2026 is 17.69 tpd. The VOC MVEB is 19.71 for 2011 and 10.49 tpd for 2026. Additionally, EPA is notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the newly-established NOX and VOC MVEBs for 2026 for the Knoxville Area.

    IX. Proposed Actions

    EPA is now proposing to take four separate but related actions regarding the Knoxville Area's redesignation and maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. First, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's section 182(a)(1) base year emissions inventory for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard for the Knoxville Area into the SIP. Approval of the base year inventory is a prerequisite for EPA to redesignate the Area from nonattainment to attainment.

    Second, EPA is proposing to determine that the Knoxville Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on complete, quality-assured and certified monitoring data for the 2011-2013 monitoring period. Preliminary 2012-2014 data in AQS indicates that the Area is continuing to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    Third, EPA is proposing to approve the maintenance plan for the Knoxville Area, including the NOX and VOC MVEBs for 2011 and 2026, into the Tennessee SIP (under CAA section 175A). The maintenance plan demonstrates that the Area will continue to maintain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and the budgets meet all of the adequacy criteria contained in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4) and (5). Further, as part of today's action, EPA is describing the status of its adequacy determination for the NOX and VOC MVEBs for 2011 and 2026 in accordance with 40 CFR 93.118(f)(1). Within 24 months from the publication date of EPA's adequacy determination for the MVEBs or the effective date for the final rule for this action, whichever is earlier, the transportation partners will need to demonstrate conformity to the new NOX and VOC MVEBs pursuant to 40 CFR 93.104(e).

    Finally, EPA is proposing to determine that Tennessee has met the criteria under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) for the Knoxville Area for redesignation from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. On this basis, EPA is proposing to approve Tennessee's redesignation request for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the Knoxville Area. If finalized, approval of the redesignation request would change the official designation of Blount and Knox Counties and the portion of Anderson County in the Knoxville Area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS from nonattainment to attainment, as found at 40 CFR part 81.

    X. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, redesignation of an area to attainment and the accompanying approval of a maintenance plan under section 107(d)(3)(E) are actions that affect the status of a geographical area and do not impose any additional regulatory requirements on sources beyond those imposed by state law. A redesignation to attainment does not in and of itself create any new requirements, but rather results in the applicability of requirements contained in the CAA for areas that have been redesignated to attainment. Moreover, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable Federal regulations. See 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, these proposed actions merely propose to approve state law as meeting federal requirements and do not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, these proposed actions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 52

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

    40 CFR Part 81

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 13, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12347 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Parts 52 and 81 [EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0275; FRL-9928-11-Region 4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans and Designation of Areas; North Carolina; Redesignation of the Charlotte-Rock Hill, 2008 8-Hour Ozone Nonattainment Area to Attainment AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    On April 16, 2015, the State of North Carolina, through the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Air Quality (NC DAQ), submitted a request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to redesignate the portion of North Carolina that is within the bi-state Charlotte-Rock Hill, North Carolina-South Carolina 8-hour ozone nonattainment area (hereafter referred to as the “bi-state Charlotte Area,” or “Area”) to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision containing a maintenance plan for the Area. EPA is proposing to determine that the bi-State Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; to approve the State's plan for maintaining attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard in the Area, including the sub-area motor vehicle emission budgets (MVEBs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) for the years 2014 and 2026 for North Carolina portion of the Area, into the SIP; and to redesignate the North Carolina portion of the Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA is also notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before June 11, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0275, by one of the following methods:

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

    2. Email: [email protected]

    3. Fax: (404) 562-9019.

    4. Mail: “EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0275,” Air Regulatory Management Section (formerly the Regulatory Development Section), Air Planning and Implementation Branch (formerly the Air Planning Branch), Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960.

    5. Hand Delivery or Courier: Ms. Lynorae Benjamin, Chief, Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office's normal hours of operation. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2015-0275. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit through www.regulations.gov or email, information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.

    Docket: All documents in the electronic docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, i.e., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office's official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal holidays.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sean Lakeman of the Air Regulatory Management Section, Air Planning and Implementation Branch, Air, Pesticides and Toxics Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, 61 Forsyth Street SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303-8960. Mr. Lakeman may be reached by phone at (404) 562-9043 or via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. What are the actions EPA is proposing to take? II. What is the background for EPA's proposed actions? III. What are the criteria for redesignation? IV. Why is EPA proposing these actions? V. What is EPA's analysis of the request? VI. What is EPA's analysis of North Carolina's proposed NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the area? VII. What is the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the proposed NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026 for the North Carolina portion of the area? VIII. What is the effect of EPA's proposed actions? IX. Proposed Actions X. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. What are the actions EPA is proposing to take?

    EPA is proposing to take the following three separate but related actions, one of which involves multiple elements: (1) To determine that the bi-Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; (2) to approve North Carolina's plan for maintaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (maintenance plan), including the associated sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area, into the SIP; and (3) to redesignate the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA is also notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. The bi-state Charlotte Area consists of Mecklenburg County in its entirety and portions of Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan and Union Counties, North Carolina; and a portion of York County, South Carolina. On April 17, 2015, the State of South Carolina, through the South Carolina Department of Health and Control (SC DHEC), provided a redesignation request and maintenance plan for its portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. EPA will address South Carolina's request and maintenance plan in a separate action. These proposed actions are summarized below and described in greater detail throughout this notice of proposed rulemaking.

    EPA is also making the preliminarily determination that the bi-state Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on recent air quality data and proposing to approve North Carolina's maintenance plan for its portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area as meeting the requirements of section 175A (such approval being one of the CAA criteria for redesignation to attainment status). The maintenance plan is designed to keep the bi-state Charlotte Area in attainment of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS through 2026. The maintenance plan includes 2014 and 2026 sub-area MVEBs for NOX and VOC for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area for transportation conformity purposes. EPA is proposing to approve these sub-area MVEBs and incorporate them into the North Carolina SIP.

    EPA also proposes to determine that the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area has met the requirements for redesignation under section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA. Accordingly, in this action, EPA is proposing to approve a request to change the legal designation of Mecklenburg County in its entirety and the following portions of:

    • Cabarrus County (Central Cabarrus Township, Concord Township, Georgeville Township, Harrisburg Township, Kannapolis Township, Midland Township, Mount Pleasant Township, New Gilead Township, Odell Township, Poplar Tent Township, Rimertown Township),

    • Gaston County (Crowders Mountain Township, Dallas Township, Gastonia Township, Riverbend Township, South Point Township),

    • Iredell County (Davidson Township, Coddle Creek Township),

    • Lincoln County (Catawba Springs Township, Ironton Township, Lincolnton Township),

    • Rowan County (Atwell Township, China Grove Township, Franklin Township, Gold Hill Township, Litaker Township, Locke Township, Providence Township, Salisbury Township, Steele Township, Unity Township), and

    • Union County (Goose Creek Township, Marshville Township, Monroe Township, Sandy Ridge Township, Vance Township), in North Carolina from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    EPA is also notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy process for the 2014 and 2026 NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. The Adequacy comment period began on March 17, 2015, with EPA's posting of the availability of North Carolina's submissions on EPA's Adequacy Web site (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/currsips.htm#north-carolina). The Adequacy comment period for these sub-area MVEBs closed on April 16, 2015. No comments, adverse or otherwise, were received through the Adequacy process. Please see section VII of this proposed rulemaking for further explanation of this process and for more details on the sub-area MVEBs.

    In summary, this notice of proposed rulemaking is in response to North Carolina's April 16, 2015, redesignation request and associated SIP submission that address the specific issues summarized above and the necessary elements described in section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA for redesignation of the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    II. What is the background for EPA's proposed actions?

    On March 12, 2008, EPA promulgated a revised 8-hour ozone NAAQS of 0.075 parts per million (ppm). See 73 FR 16436 (March 27, 2008). Under EPA's regulations at 40 CFR part 50, the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS is attained when the 3-year average of the annual fourth highest daily maximum 8-hour average ambient air quality ozone concentrations is less than or equal to 0.075 ppm. See 40 CFR 50.15. Ambient air quality monitoring data for the 3-year period must meet a data completeness requirement. The ambient air quality monitoring data completeness requirement is met when the average percent of days with valid ambient monitoring data is greater than 90 percent, and no single year has less than 75 percent data completeness as determined in Appendix I of part 50.

    Upon promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, the CAA requires EPA to designate as nonattainment any area that is violating the NAAQS, based on the three most recent years of complete, quality assured, and certified ambient air quality data at the conclusion of the designation process. The bi-state Charlotte Area was designated nonattainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS on May 21, 2012 (effective July 20, 2012) using 2009-2011 ambient air quality data. See 77 FR 30088 (May 21, 2012). At the time of designation, the bi-state Charlotte Area was classified as a marginal nonattainment area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. In the final implementation rule for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (SIP Implementation Rule),1 EPA established ozone nonattainment area attainment dates based on Table 1 of section 181(a) of the CAA. This established an attainment date three years after the July 20, 2012, effective date for areas classified as marginal areas for the 2008 8-hour ozone nonattainment designations. Therefore, the bi-state Charlotte Area's attainment date is July 20, 2015.

    1 This rule, entitled Implementation of the 2008 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone: State Implementation Plan Requirements and published at 80 FR 12264 (March 6, 2015), addresses a range of nonattainment area SIP requirements for the 2008 ozone NAAQS, including requirements pertaining to attainment demonstrations, reasonable further progress (RFP), reasonably available control technology (RACT), reasonably available control measures (RACM), major new source review (NSR), emission inventories, and the timing of SIP submissions and of compliance with emission control measures in the SIP. This rule also addresses the revocation of the 1997 ozone NAAQS and the anti-backsliding requirements that apply when the 1997 ozone NAAQS are revoked.

    III. What are the criteria for redesignation?

    The CAA provides the requirements for redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment. Specifically, section 107(d)(3)(E) of the CAA allows for redesignation providing that: (1) The Administrator determines that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS; (2) the Administrator has fully approved the applicable implementation plan for the area under section 110(k); (3) the Administrator determines that the improvement in air quality is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the applicable SIP and applicable Federal air pollutant control regulations and other permanent and enforceable reductions; (4) the Administrator has fully approved a maintenance plan for the area as meeting the requirements of section 175A; and, (5) the state containing such area has met all requirements applicable to the area for purposes of redesignation under section 110 and part D of the CAA.

    On April 16, 1992, EPA provided guidance on redesignation in the General Preamble for the Implementation of title I of the CAA Amendments of 1990 (57 FR 13498), and supplemented this guidance on April 28, 1992 (57 FR 18070). EPA has provided further guidance on processing redesignation requests in the following documents:

    1. “Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Design Value Calculations,” Memorandum from Bill Laxton, Director, Technical Support Division, June 18, 1990; 2. “Maintenance Plans for Redesignation of Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from G. T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, April 30, 1992; 3. “Contingency Measures for Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Redesignations,” Memorandum from G. T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, June 1, 1992; 4. “Procedures for Processing Requests to Redesignate Areas to Attainment,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, September 4, 1992 (hereafter referred to as the “Calcagni Memorandum”); 5. “State Implementation Plan (SIP) Actions Submitted in Response to Clean Air Act (CAA) Deadlines,” Memorandum from John Calcagni, Director, Air Quality Management Division, October 28, 1992; 6. “Technical Support Documents (TSDs) for Redesignation of Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from G.T. Helms, Chief, Ozone/Carbon Monoxide Programs Branch, August 17, 1993; 7. “State Implementation Plan (SIP) Requirements for Areas Submitting Requests for Redesignation to Attainment of the Ozone and Carbon Monoxide (CO) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) On or After November 15, 1992,” Memorandum from Michael H. Shapiro, Acting Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, September 17, 1993; 8. “Use of Actual Emissions in Maintenance Demonstrations for Ozone and CO Nonattainment Areas,” Memorandum from D. Kent Berry, Acting Director, Air Quality Management Division, November 30, 1993; 9. “Part D New Source Review (Part D NSR) Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment,” Memorandum from Mary D. Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, October 14, 1994; and 10. “Reasonable Further Progress, Attainment Demonstration, and Related Requirements for Ozone Nonattainment Areas Meeting the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard,” Memorandum from John S. Seitz, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, May 10, 1995. IV. Why is EPA proposing these actions?

    On April 16, 2015, the State of North Carolina, through NC DAQ, requested that EPA redesignate the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA's evaluation indicates that the entire bi-state Charlotte Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, and that the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area meets the requirements for redesignation as set forth in section 107(d)(3)(E), including the maintenance plan requirements under section 175A of the CAA. As a result, EPA is proposing to take the three related actions summarized in section I of this document.

    V. What is EPA's analysis of the request?

    As stated above, in accordance with the CAA, EPA proposes in this action to: (1) Determine that the bi-state Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS; (2) approve the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area's 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS maintenance plan, including the associated sub-area MVEBs, into the North Carolina SIP; and (3) redesignate the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The five redesignation criteria provided under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) are discussed in greater detail for the Area in the following paragraphs of this section.

    Criteria (1)—The Bi-State Charlotte Area Has Attained the 2008 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the area has attained the applicable NAAQS (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(i)). For ozone, an area may be considered to be attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS if it meets the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, as determined in accordance with 40 CFR 50.15 and Appendix I of part 50, based on three complete, consecutive calendar years of quality-assured air quality monitoring data. To attain the NAAQS, the 3-year average of the fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average ozone concentrations measured at each monitor within an area over each year must not exceed 0.075 ppm. Based on the data handling and reporting convention described in 40 CFR part 50, Appendix I, the NAAQS are attained if the design value is 0.075 ppm or below. The data must be collected and quality-assured in accordance with 40 CFR part 58 and recorded in the EPA Air Quality System (AQS). The monitors generally should have remained at the same location for the duration of the monitoring period required for demonstrating attainment.

    In this action, EPA is preliminarily determining that the bi-state Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA reviewed ozone monitoring data from monitoring stations in the bi-state Charlotte Area for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for 2012-2014. These data have been quality-assured, are recorded in Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS-AQS), and indicate that the Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The fourth-highest 8-hour ozone values at each monitor for 2012, 2013, 2014, and the 3-year averages of these values (i.e., design values), are summarized in Table 1, below.

    Table 1—2012-2014 Design Value Concentrations for the Bi-State Charlotte Area [Parts per million] Location County Monitor ID 4th Highest
  • 8-hour
  • ozone value
  • (ppm)
  • 2012 2013 2014 3-Year
  • design
  • values
  • (ppm)
  • 2012-2014
    Lincoln County Replacing Iron Station Lincoln 37-109-0004 0.076 0.064 0.064 0.068 Garinger High School Mecklenburg 37-119-0041 0.080 0.067 0.065 0.070 Westinghouse Blvd Mecklenburg 37-119-1005 0.073 0.062 0.063 0.066 29 N at Mecklenburg Cab Co Mecklenburg 37-119-1009 0.085 0.066 0.068 0.073 Rockwell Rowan 37-159-0021 0.080 0.062 0.064 0.068 Enochville School * Rowan 37-159-0022 0.077 0.063 Monroe Middle School Union 37-179-0003 0.075 0.062 0.067 0.068 * Monitoring data for 2014 is not available because the monitor was shut down in 2014.

    The 3-year design value for 2012-2014 for the bi-state Charlotte Area is 0.073 ppm,2 which meets the NAAQS. In this action, EPA is proposing to determine that the bi-state Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. EPA will not take final action to approve the redesignation if the 3-year design value exceeds the NAAQS prior to EPA finalizing the redesignation. As discussed in more detail below, the State of North Carolina has committed to continue monitoring in this Area in accordance with 40 CFR part 58.

    2 The monitor with the highest 3-year design value is considered the design value for the Area.

    Criteria (2)—North Carolina Has a Fully Approved SIP Under Section 110(k) for the North Carolina Portion of the Charlotte Area; and Criteria (5)—North Carolina Has Met All Applicable Requirements Under Section 110 and Part D of Title I of the CAA

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the state has met all applicable requirements under section 110 and part D of title I of the CAA (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(v)) and that the state has a fully approved SIP under section 110(k) for the area (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii)). EPA proposes to find that North Carolina has met all applicable SIP requirements for the North Carolina portion of the Area under section 110 of the CAA (general SIP requirements) for purposes of redesignation. Additionally, EPA proposes to find that the North Carolina SIP satisfies the criterion that it meets applicable SIP requirements for purposes of redesignation under part D of title I of the CAA in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(v). Further, EPA proposes to determine that the SIP is fully approved with respect to all requirements applicable for purposes of redesignation in accordance with section 107(d)(3)(E)(ii). In making these determinations, EPA ascertained which requirements are applicable to the Area and, if applicable, that they are fully approved under section 110(k). SIPs must be fully approved only with respect to requirements that were applicable prior to submittal of the complete redesignation request.

    a. The North Carolina Portion of the Bi-State Charlotte Area Has Met All Applicable Requirements Under Section 110 and Part D of the CAA

    General SIP requirements. General SIP elements and requirements are delineated in section 110(a)(2) of title I, part A of the CAA. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the following: Submittal of a SIP that has been adopted by the state after reasonable public notice and hearing; provisions for establishment and operation of appropriate procedures needed to monitor ambient air quality; implementation of a source permit program; provisions for the implementation of part C requirements (Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD)) and provisions for the implementation of part D requirements (NSR permit programs); provisions for air pollution modeling; and provisions for public and local agency participation in planning and emission control rule development.

    Section 110(a)(2)(D) requires that SIPs contain certain measures to prevent sources in a state from significantly contributing to air quality problems in another state. To implement this provision, EPA has required certain states to establish programs to address the interstate transport of air pollutants. The section 110(a)(2)(D) requirements for a state are not linked with a particular nonattainment area's designation and classification in that state. EPA believes that the requirements linked with a particular nonattainment area's designation and classifications are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. The transport SIP submittal requirements, where applicable, continue to apply to a state regardless of the designation of any one particular area in the state. Thus, EPA does not believe that the CAA's interstate transport requirements should be construed to be applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation.

    In addition, EPA believes other section 110 elements that are neither connected with nonattainment plan submissions nor linked with an area's attainment status are applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. The area will still be subject to these requirements after the area is redesignated. The section 110 and part D requirements which are linked with a particular area's designation and classification are the relevant measures to evaluate in reviewing a redesignation request. This approach is consistent with EPA's existing policy on applicability (i.e., for redesignations) of conformity and oxygenated fuels requirements, as well as with section 184 ozone transport requirements. See Reading, Pennsylvania, proposed and final rulemakings (61 FR 53174-53176, October 10, 1996), (62 FR 24826, May 7, 2008); Cleveland-Akron-Loraine, Ohio, final rulemaking (61 FR 20458, May 7, 1996); and Tampa, Florida, final rulemaking at (60 FR 62748, December 7, 1995). See also the discussion on this issue in the Cincinnati, Ohio, redesignation (65 FR 37890, June 19, 2000), and in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, redesignation (66 FR 50399, October 19, 2001).

    Title I, Part D, applicable SIP requirements. Section 172(c) of the CAA sets forth the basic requirements of attainment plans for nonattainment areas that are required to submit them pursuant to section 172(b). Subpart 2 of part D, which includes section 182 of the CAA, establishes specific requirements for ozone nonattainment areas depending on the area's nonattainment classification. As provided in Subpart 2, a marginal ozone nonattainment area, such as the bi-state Charlotte Area, must submit an emissions inventory that complies with section 172(c)(3), but the specific requirements of section 182(a) apply in lieu of the demonstration of attainment (and contingency measures) required by section 172(c). 42 U.S.C. 7511a(a). A thorough discussion of the requirements contained in sections 172(c) and 182 can be found in the General Preamble for Implementation of Title I (57 FR 13498).

    Section 182(a) Requirements. Section 182(a)(1) requires states to submit a comprehensive, accurate, and current inventory of actual emissions from sources of VOC and NOX emitted within the boundaries of the ozone nonattainment area. North Carolina provided an emissions inventory for the bi-state Charlotte Area to EPA in a July 7, 2014 SIP submission. On April 21, 2015, EPA published a direct final rule to approve this emissions inventory into the SIP.3 See 80 FR 22107 (direct final rule) and 80 FR 22147 (associated proposed rule). North Carolina's section 182(a)(1) inventory must be incorporated into the SIP before EPA can take final action to approve the State's redesignation request for the bi-state Charlotte Area.

    3 This direct final rule is effective June 22, 2015, without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by May 21, 2015. If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect. The associated proposed rule will remain in effect.

    Under section 182(a)(2)(A), states with ozone nonattainment areas that were designated prior to the enactment of the 1990 CAA amendments were required to submit, within six months of classification, all rules and corrections to existing VOC RACT rules that were required under section 172(b)(3) of the CAA (and related guidance) prior to the 1990 CAA amendments. On June 23, 1994, EPA determined that North Carolina met the section 182(a)(2) RACT “fix up” requirements. See, e.g., 59 FR 32363.

    Section 182(a)(2)(B) requires each state with a marginal ozone nonattainment area that implemented, or was required to implement, an inspection and maintenance (I/M) program prior to the 1990 CAA amendments to submit a SIP revision providing for an I/M program no less stringent than that required prior to the 1990 amendments or already in the SIP at the time of the amendments, whichever is more stringent. On June 2, 1995, EPA determined that North Carolina met requirements of section 182(a)(2)(B). See 60 FR 28720.

    Regarding the permitting and offset requirements of section 182(a)(2)(C) and section 182(a)(4), North Carolina currently has a fully-approved part D NSR program in place. However, EPA has determined that areas being redesignated need not comply with the requirement that a NSR program be approved prior to redesignation, provided that the area demonstrates maintenance of the NAAQS without part D NSR, because PSD requirements will apply after redesignation. A more detailed rationale for this view is described in a memorandum from Mary Nichols, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, dated October 14, 1994, entitled, “Part D New Source Review Requirements for Areas Requesting Redesignation to Attainment.” North Carolina's PSD program will become applicable in the bi-state Charlotte Area upon redesignation to attainment.

    Section 182(a)(3) requires states to submit periodic inventories and emissions statements. Section 182(a)(3)(A) requires states to submit a periodic inventory every three years. As discussed below in the section of this document titled Criteria (4)(e), Verification of Continued Attainment, the State will continue to update its emissions inventory at least once every three years. Under section 182(a)(3)(B), each state with an ozone nonattainment area must submit a SIP revision requiring emissions statements to be submitted to the state by sources within that nonattainment area. North Carolina provided a SIP revision to EPA on July 7, 2014, addressing the section 182(a)(3)(B) emissions statements requirement, and on April 21, 2015, EPA published a direct final rule to approve this SIP revision.4 See 80 FR 22107 (direct final rule) and 80 FR 22147 (associated proposed rule). North Carolina's emissions statements must be incorporated into the SIP before EPA can take final action to approve the State's redesignation request for the bi-state Charlotte Area.

    4 This direct final rule is effective June 22, 2015, without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by May 21, 2015. If EPA receives such comments, it will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that this rule will not take effect. The associated proposed rule will remain in effect.

    Section 176 Conformity Requirements. Section 176(c) of the CAA requires states to establish criteria and procedures to ensure that federally supported or funded projects conform to the air quality planning goals in the applicable SIP. The requirement to determine conformity applies to transportation plans, programs, and projects that are developed, funded, or approved under title 23 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) and the Federal Transit Act (transportation conformity) as well as to all other federally supported or funded projects (general conformity). State transportation conformity SIP revisions must be consistent with Federal conformity regulations relating to consultation, enforcement, and enforceability that EPA promulgated pursuant to its authority under the CAA.

    EPA interprets the conformity SIP requirements 5 as not applying for purposes of evaluating a redesignation request under section 107(d) because state conformity rules are still required after redesignation and Federal conformity rules apply where state rules have not been approved. See Wall v. EPA, 265 F.3d 426 (6th Cir. 2001) (upholding this interpretation); see also 60 FR 62748 (December 7, 1995) (redesignation of Tampa, Florida). Nonetheless, North Carolina has an approved conformity SIP for the Charlotte Area. See 78 FR 73266 (February 24, 2014). Thus, the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area has satisfied all applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation under section 110 and part D of title I of the CAA.

    5 CAA section 176(c)(4)(E) requires states to submit revisions to their SIPs to reflect certain Federal criteria and procedures for determining transportation conformity. Transportation conformity SIPs are different from the MVEBs that are established in control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans.

    b. The North Carolina Portion of the Bi-State Charlotte Area Has a Fully Approved Applicable SIP Under Section 110(k) of the CAA

    EPA has fully approved the applicable North Carolina SIP for the bi-state Charlotte Area under section 110(k) of the CAA for all requirements applicable for purposes of redesignation. EPA may rely on prior SIP approvals in approving a redesignation request (see Calcagni Memorandum at p. 3; Southwestern Pennsylvania Growth Alliance v. Browner, 144 F.3d 984, 989-90 (6th Cir. 1998); Wall, 265 F.3d 426) plus any additional measures it may approve in conjunction with a redesignation action (see 68 FR 25426 (May 12, 2003) and citations therein). North Carolina has adopted and submitted, and EPA has fully approved at various times, provisions addressing the various SIP elements applicable for the ozone NAAQS. See 77 FR 5703 (February 6, 2012).

    As indicated above, EPA believes that the section 110 elements that are neither connected with nonattainment plan submissions nor linked to an area's nonattainment status are not applicable requirements for purposes of redesignation. EPA has approved all part D requirements applicable for purposes of this redesignation. As noted above, this action to propose approval of North Carolina's redesignation request for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area is contingent upon EPA taking final action to approve the July, 7, 2014, emissions inventory and emissions statements SIP revision, which was published as direct final and proposed rules on April 21, 2015. See 80 FR 22107 and 80 FR 22147.

    Criteria (3)—The Air Quality Improvement in the Bi-State Charlotte Area Is Due to Permanent and Enforceable Reductions in Emissions Resulting From Implementation of the SIP and Applicable Federal Air Pollution Control Regulations and Other Permanent and Enforceable Reductions

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the air quality improvement in the area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from implementation of the SIP, applicable Federal air pollution control regulations, and other permanent and enforceable reductions (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(iii)). EPA has preliminarily determined that North Carolina has demonstrated that the observed air quality improvement in the bi-state Charlotte Area is due to permanent and enforceable reductions in emissions resulting from Federal measures and from state measures adopted into the SIP. EPA does not have any information to suggest that the decrease in ozone concentrations in the bi-state Charlotte Area is due to unusually favorable meteorological conditions.

    State and Federal measures enacted in recent years have resulted in permanent emission reductions. Most of these emission reductions are enforceable through regulations. A few non-regulatory measures also result in emission reductions. The state and local measures that have been implemented to date and relied upon by North Carolina to demonstrate attainment and/or maintenance include the Clean Air Bill I/M program and North Carolina's Clean Smokestacks Act. These measures are approved in the federally-approved SIP and thus are permanent and enforceable. The Federal measures that have been implemented include the following:

    Tier 2 vehicle and fuel standards. Implementation began in 2004 and requires all passenger vehicles in any manufacturer's fleet to meet an average standard of 0.07 grams of NOX per mile. Additionally, in January 2006 the sulfur content of gasoline was required to be on average 30 ppm which assists in lowering the NOX emissions. Most gasoline sold in North Carolina prior to January 2006 had a sulfur content of about 300 ppm.6

    6 North Carolina also identified Tier 3 Motor Vehicle Emissions and Fuel Standards as a federal measure. EPA issued this rule in April 28, 2014, which applies to light duty passenger cars and trucks. EPA promulgated this rule to reduce air pollution from new passenger cars and trucks beginning in 2017. Tier 3 emission standards will lower sulfur content of gasoline and lower the emissions standards.

    Large non-road diesel engines rule. This rule was promulgated in 2004, and is being phased in between 2008 through 2014. This rule will also reduce the sulfur content in the nonroad diesel fuel. When fully implemented, this rule will reduce NOX, VOC, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide. These emission reductions are federally enforceable. EPA issued this rule in June 2004, which applies to diesel engines used in industries, such as construction, agriculture, and mining. It is estimated that compliance with this rule will cut NOX emissions from non-road diesel engines by up to 90 percent nationwide. The non-road diesel rule was fully implemented by 2010.

    Heavy-duty gasoline and diesel highway vehicle standards. EPA issued this rule in January 2001 (66 FR 5002). This rule includes standards limiting the sulfur content of diesel fuel, which went into effect in 2004. A second phase took effect in 2007, which further reduced the highway diesel fuel sulfur content to 15 ppm, leading to additional reductions in combustion NOX and VOC emissions. This rule is expected to achieve a 95 percent reduction in NOX emissions from diesel trucks and buses.

    Medium and heavy duty vehicle fuel consumption and GHG standards. These standards require on-road vehicles to achieve a 7 percent to 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption by 2018. The decrease in fuel consumption will result in a 7 percent to 20 percent decrease in NOX emissions.

    Nonroad spark-ignition engines and recreational engines standards. The nonroad spark-ignition and recreational engine standards, effective in July 2003, regulate NOX, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide from groups of previously unregulated nonroad engines. These engine standards apply to large spark-ignition engines (e.g., forklifts and airport ground service equipment), recreational vehicles (e.g., off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain-vehicles), and recreational marine diesel engines sold in the United States and imported after the effective date of these standards. When all of the nonroad spark-ignition and recreational engine standards are fully implemented, an overall 72 percent reduction in hydrocarbons, 80 percent reduction in NOX, and 56 percent reduction in carbon monoxide emissions are expected by 2020. These controls reduce ambient concentrations of ozone, carbon monoxide, and fine particulate matter.

    National Program for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and Fuel Economy Standards. The federal GHG and fuel economy standards apply to light-duty cars and trucks in model years 2012-2016 (phase 1) and 2017-2025 (phase 2). The final standards are projected to result in an average industry fleet-wide level of 163 grams/mile of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is equivalent to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) if achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements. The fuel economy standards result in less fuel being consumed, and therefore less NOX emissions released.

    Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Consent Decree/Federal Facilities Compliance Agreement. On April 14, 2011, TVA entered into a consent decree with Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina to resolve allegations of CAA violations at TVA's coal-fired power plants. The relief obtained in this consent decree was also secured in a Federal Facilities Compliance Agreement (FFCA) between EPA and TVA. The consent decree and FFCA establish system-wide caps on NOX and SO2 emissions at TVA's coal-fired facilities, declining to permanent levels of 52,000 tons of NOX in 2018 and 110,000 tons of SO2 in 2019, and require TVA to meet specific control requirements.7

    7 EPA notes that there are no sources covered by the consent decree/FFCA in North Carolina. Although the bi-state Charlotte Area may get residual benefits from the implementation of consent decree/FFCA, EPA does not believe these measures are needed for the bi-state Charlotte Area to attain or maintain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (RICE) National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). 8 The RICE NESHAP is expected to result in a small decrease in VOC emissions. RICE owners and operators had to comply with the NESHAP by May 3, 2013.

    8 North Carolina also identified the NESHAP for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers as a federal measure. This NESHAP is also expected to result in a small decrease in VOC emissions. Boilers must comply with the NESHAP by January 31, 2016, for all states except North Carolina which has a compliance date in May 2019.

    Utility Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). On February 16, 2012, EPA promulgated maximum achievable control technology regulations for coal- and oil-fired EGUs, intended to reduce hazardous air pollutants emissions from EGUs. Although the MATS rule is not targeted at NOX emissions, it is expected to result in additional NOX reductions due to the retirement of older coal-fired units.

    NO X SIP Call. On October 27, 1998 (63 FR 57356), EPA issued the NOX SIP Call requiring the District of Columbia and 22 states to reduce emissions of NOX, a precursor to ozone pollution, and providing a mechanism (the NOX Budget Trading Program) that states could use to achieve those reductions. Affected states were required to comply with Phase I of the SIP Call beginning in 2004 and Phase II beginning in 2007. By the end of 2008, ozone season emissions from sources subject to the NOX SIP Call dropped by 62 percent from 2000 emissions levels. All NOX SIP Call states have SIPs that currently satisfy their obligations under the NOX SIP Call; the NOX SIP Call reduction requirements are being met; and EPA will continue to enforce the requirements of the NOX SIP Call. Emission reductions resulting from regulations developed in response to the NOX SIP Call are therefore permanent and enforceable for the purposes of this action. There are four facilities located within the North Carolina portion of the Area that are subject to the NOX SIP Call. These facilities are located in Gaston, Lincoln, and Rowan Counties. Two coal-fired power plants (Buck and Riverbend) were retired on April 1, 2013, which resulted in additional emissions reductions. There is also a facility west of the Area, Cliffside, located in Cleveland County, and a facility north of the Area, Marshall, located in Catawba County which are also subject to the NOX SIP Call.

    CAIR/CSAPR. CAIR created regional cap-and-trade programs to reduce SO2 and NOX emissions in 27 eastern states, including North Carolina. See 70 FR 25162 (May 12, 2005). EPA approved North Carolina's CAIR regulations into the North Carolina SIP on October 5, 2007. See 72 FR 56914. In 2009, the CAIR ozone season NOX trading program superseded the NOX Budget Trading Program, although the emission reduction obligations of the NOX SIP Call were not rescinded. See 40 CFR 51.121(r) and 51.123(aa). In 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) initially vacated CAIR, North Carolina v. EPA, 531 F.3d 896 (D.C. Cir. 2008), but ultimately remanded the rule to EPA without vacatur to preserve the environmental benefits provided by CAIR, North Carolina v. EPA, 550 F.3d 1176, 1178 (D.C. Cir. 2008). On August 8, 2011 (76 FR 48208), acting on the D.C. Circuit's remand, EPA promulgated CSAPR to address interstate transport of emissions and resulting secondary air pollutants and to replace CAIR. CSAPR requires substantial reductions of SO2 and NOX emissions from electric generating units (EGUs) in 28 states in the Eastern United States.

    Implementation of CSAPR was scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012, when CSAPR's cap-and-trade programs would have superseded the CAIR cap and trade programs. Numerous parties filed petitions for review of CSAPR, and on December 30, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court issued an order staying CSAPR pending resolution of the petitions and directing EPA to continue to administer CAIR. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 30, 2011), Order at 2.

    On August 21, 2012, the D.C. Circuit issued its ruling, vacating and remanding CSAPR to EPA and once again ordering continued implementation of CAIR. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 696 F.3d 7, 38 (D.C. Cir. 2012). The D.C. Circuit subsequently denied EPA's petition for rehearing en banc. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302, 2013 WL 656247 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 24, 2013), at *1. EPA and other parties then petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, and the Supreme Court granted the petitions on June 24, 2013. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 133 S. Ct. 2857 (2013).

    On April 29, 2014, the Supreme Court vacated and reversed the D.C. Circuit's decision regarding CSAPR, and remanded that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court to resolve remaining issues in accordance with its ruling. EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, L.P., 134 S. Ct. 1584 (2014). EPA moved to have the stay of CSAPR lifted in light of the Supreme Court decision. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, Case No. 11-1302, Document No. 1499505 (D.C. Cir. filed June 26, 2014). In its motion, EPA asked the D.C. Circuit to toll CSAPR's compliance deadlines by three years so that the Phase 1 emissions budgets apply in 2015 and 2016 (instead of 2012 and 2013), and the Phase 2 emissions budgets apply in 2017 and beyond (instead of 2014 and beyond). On October 23, 2014, the D.C. Circuit granted EPA's motion and lifted the stay of CSAPR which was imposed on December 30, 2011. EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, No. 11-1302 (D.C. Cir. Oct. 23, 2014), Order at 3. On December 3, 2014, EPA issued an interim final rule to clarify how EPA will implement CSAPR consistent with the D.C. Circuit Court's order granting EPA's motion requesting lifting the stay and tolling the rule's deadlines. See 79 FR 71663 (December 3, 2014) (interim final rulemaking). Consistent with that rule, EPA began implementing CSAPR on January 1, 2015. EPA expects that the implementation of CSAPR will preserve the reductions achieved by CAIR and result in additional SO2 and NOX emission reductions throughout the maintenance period.

    As mentioned above, the State measures that have been implemented include the following:

    Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Program. In 1999, the North Carolina State Legislation passed the Clean Air Bill that expanded the on-road vehicle I/M program from 9 to 48 counties. It was phased-in in the Charlotte nonattainment area from July 1, 2002, through January 1, 2004. This program reduces NOX, VOC, and CO emissions. The I/M program was submitted to EPA for adoption into the SIP in August 2002 and was federally approved in October 2002. Therefore, these emission reductions are both state and federally enforceable.

    On February 5, 2015, EPA approved a change to North Carolina's I/M rules triggered by a state law which exempted plug-in vehicles and the three newest model year vehicles with less than 70,000 miles on their odometers from emission inspection in all areas in North Carolina where I/M is required. In North Carolina's section 110(l) demonstration, the State showed that the change in the compliance rate from 95 percent to 96 percent more than compensates for the NOX and VOC emissions increase. EPA-approved change to the I/M rules was effective March 9, 2015, and are state and federally enforceable.

    Clean Smokestacks Act. This state law requires coal-fired power plants to reduce annual NOX emissions by 77 percent by 2009, and to reduce annual SO2 emissions by 49 percent by 2009 and 73 percent by 2013. This law set a NOX emissions cap of 56,000 tons/year for 2009 and SO2 emissions caps of 250,000 tons/year and 130,000 tons/year for 2009 and 2013, respectively. The public utilities cannot meet these emission caps by purchasing emission credits. EPA approved the statewide emissions caps as part of the North Carolina SIP on September 26, 2011. In 2013, the power plants subject to this law had combined NOX emissions of 38,857 tons per year, well below the 56,000 tons per year cap. The emissions cap has been met in all subsequent years as well and is enforceable at both the federal and state level.

    Criteria (4)—The North Carolina Portion of the Area Has a Fully Approved Maintenance Plan Pursuant to Section 175A of the CAA

    For redesignating a nonattainment area to attainment, the CAA requires EPA to determine that the area has a fully approved maintenance plan pursuant to section 175A of the CAA (CAA section 107(d)(3)(E)(iv)). In conjunction with its request to redesignate the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, NC DAQ submitted a SIP revision to provide for the maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for at least 10 years after the effective date of redesignation to attainment. EPA believes that this maintenance plan meets the requirements for approval under section 175A of the CAA.

    a. What is required in a maintenance plan?

    Section 175A of the CAA sets forth the elements of a maintenance plan for areas seeking redesignation from nonattainment to attainment. Under section 175A, the plan must demonstrate continued attainment of the applicable NAAQS for at least 10 years after the Administrator approves a redesignation to attainment. Eight years after the redesignation, the state must submit a revised maintenance plan demonstrating that attainment will continue to be maintained for the 10 years following the initial 10-year period. To address the possibility of future NAAQS violations, the maintenance plan must contain contingency measures as EPA deems necessary to assure prompt correction of any future 2008 8-hour ozone violations. The Calcagni Memorandum provides further guidance on the content of a maintenance plan, explaining that a maintenance plan should address five requirements: The attainment emissions inventory, maintenance demonstration, monitoring, verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan. As is discussed more fully below, EPA has preliminarily determined that North Carolina's maintenance plan includes all the necessary components and is thus proposing to approve it as a revision to the North Carolina SIP.

    b. Attainment Emissions Inventory

    EPA is proposing to determine that the bi-state Charlotte Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS based on quality-assured monitoring data for the 3-year period from 2012-2014. North Carolina selected 2014 as the base year (i.e., attainment emissions inventory year) for developing a comprehensive emissions inventory for NOX and VOC, for which projected emissions could be developed for 2015, 2018, 2022, and 2026. The attainment inventory identifies a level of emissions in the Area that is sufficient to attain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. North Carolina began development of the attainment inventory by first generating a baseline emissions inventory for the State's portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. The projected summer day emission inventories have been estimated using projected rates of growth in population, traffic, economic activity, and other parameters. Naturally occurring emissions (i.e., biogenic emissions) are not included in the emissions inventory comparison, as these emissions are outside the State's control. In addition to comparing the final year of the plan (2026) to the base year (2014), North Carolina compared interim years to the baseline to demonstrate that these years are also expected to show continued maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone standard.

    The emissions inventory is composed of four major types of sources: Point, area, on-road mobile, and non-road mobile. The complete descriptions of how the inventories were developed are discussed in the Appendix B of the April 16, 2015, submittal, which can be found in the docket for this action. Point source emissions are tabulated from data collected by direct on-site measurements of emissions or from mass balance calculations utilizing emission factors from EPA's AP-42 or stack test results. For each projected year's inventory, point sources are adjusted by growth factors based on Standard Industrial Classification codes generated using growth patterns obtained from County Business Patterns. For the electric generating utility sources, the estimated projected future year emissions were based on information provided by the utility company. For the sources that report to the EPA's Clean Air Markets Division, the actual 2014 average July day emissions were used. For the other Title V sources, the latest data available (2013) was used to represent 2014 base year emissions. For sources emitting less than 25 tons per year and subject to the emissions statement requirements, the most recently reported data (2013) was used to represent 2014 base year emissions. For the small sources that only report emissions every 5 years, the most recently reported data (2013) was used to represent 2014 base year emission, since emissions from these sources do not vary much from year to year. Rail yard and airport emissions reported were obtained from the EPA's 2011 National Emission Inventory.

    For area sources, emissions are estimated by multiplying an emission factor by some known indicator of collective activity such as production, number of employees, or population. For each projected year's inventory, area source emissions are changed by population growth, projected production growth, or estimated employment growth.

    The non-road mobile sources emissions are calculated using EPA's NONROAD2008a model, with the exception of the railroad locomotives which were estimated by taking activity and multiplying by an emission factor. For each projected year's inventory, the emissions are estimated using EPA's NONROAD2008a model with activity input such as projected landing and takeoff data for aircraft.

    For on-road mobile sources, EPA's Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES2014) mobile model is run to generate emissions. The MOVES2014 model includes the road class vehicle miles traveled (VMT) as an input file and can directly output the estimated emissions. For each projected year's inventory, the on-road mobile sources emissions are calculated by running the MOVES mobile model for the future year with the projected VMT to generate emissions that take into consideration expected Federal tailpipe standards, fleet turnover, and new fuels.

    The 2014 NOX and VOC emissions for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area, as well as the emissions for other years, were developed consistent with EPA guidance and are summarized in Tables 2 through 4 of the following subsection discussing the maintenance demonstration. See Appendix B of the April 16, 2015, submission for more detailed information on the emissions inventory.

    c. Maintenance Demonstration

    The maintenance plan associated with the redesignation request includes a maintenance demonstration that:

    (i) Shows compliance with and maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS by providing information to support the demonstration that current and future emissions of NOX and VOC remain at or below 2014 emissions levels.

    (ii) Uses 2014 as the attainment year and includes future emissions inventory projections for 2015, 2018, 2022, and 2026.

    (iii) Identifies an “out year” at least 10 years after the time necessary for EPA to review and approve the maintenance plan. Per 40 CFR part 93, NOX and VOC MVEBs were established for the last year (2026) of the maintenance plan (see section VII below). Additionally, NC DAQ opted to establish sub-area MVEBs for an interim year (2014).

    (iv) Provides actual (2014) and projected emissions inventories, in tons per day (tpd), for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area, as shown in Tables 2 through 4, below.

    Table 2—Actual and Projected Annual NOX Emissions (tpd) for the North Carolina Portion of the Bi-State Charlotte Area Sector 2014 2015 2018 2022 2026 Point 32.38 34.47 29.28 36.33 26.75 Area 11.40 11.28 11.28 11.31 11.28 Non-road 26.26 24.35 19.79 16.07 14.03 On-road 60.15 53.97 33.92 22.94 15.47 Total 130.18 124.07 94.27 86.65 67.53 Table 3—Actual and Projected Annual VOC Emissions (tpd) for the North Carolina Portion of the Bi-State Charlotte Area Sector 2014 2015 2018 2022 2026 Point 12.03 12.42 13.62 14.36 15.33 Area 47.88 48.26 49.39 50.87 52.28 Non-road 18.89 18.17 17.08 17.04 17.55 On-road 34.32 31.82 23.94 19.16 14.98 Total 113.12 110.67 104.03 101.43 100.14 Table 4—Emission Estimates for the North Carolina Portion of the Bi-State Charlotte Area Year VOC
  • (tpd)
  • NOX
  • (tpd)
  • 2014 113.12 130.18 2015 110.67 124.07 2018 104.03 94.27 2022 101.43 86.65 2026 100.14 67.53 Difference from 2014 to 2026 −12.98 −62.65

    In situations where local emissions are the primary contributor to nonattainment, such as the bi-state Charlotte Area, if the future projected emissions in the nonattainment area remain at or below the baseline emissions in the nonattainment area, then the ambient air quality standard should not be exceeded in the future. North Carolina has projected emissions as described previously and determined that emissions in the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area will remain below those in the attainment year inventory for the duration of the maintenance plan.

    As discussed in section VI of this proposed rulemaking, a safety margin is the difference between the attainment level of emissions (from all sources) and the projected level of emissions (from all sources) in the maintenance plan. The attainment level of emissions is the level of emissions during one of the years in which the area met the NAAQS. North Carolina selected 2014 as the attainment emissions inventory year for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. North Carolina calculated safety margins in its submittal for years 2015, 2018, 2022, and 2026. Because the initial sub-area MVEB year of 2014 is also the base year for the maintenance plan inventory, there is no safety margin, therefore, no adjustments were made to the sub-area MVEBs for 2014. The State has allocated a portion of the 2026 safety margin to the 2026 sub-area MVEBs for the bi-state Charlotte Area.

    Table 5—Safety Margins for the North Carolina Portion of the Bi-State Charlotte Area Year VOC
  • (tpd)
  • NOX
  • (tpd)
  • 2015 −2.45 −6.11 2018 −9.09 −35.91 2022 −11.69 −43.53 2026 −12.98 −62.65

    The State has decided to allocate a portion of the 2026 safety margin to the 2026 sub-area MVEBs to allow for unanticipated growth in VMT, changes and uncertainty in vehicle mix assumptions, etc., that will influence the emission estimations. NC DAQ developed and implemented a five-step approach for determining a factor to use to calculate the amount of safety margin to apply to the sub-area MVEBs. Based on this approach, NC DAQ has allocated 2.93 tpd (2650 kg/day) to the 2026 NOX MVEB and 2.83 tpd (2,569 kg/day) to the 2026 VOC MVEB. After allocation of the available safety margin, the remaining safety margin was calculated as 59.72 tpd for NOX and 10.15 tpd for VOC. This allocation and the resulting available safety margin for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area are discussed further in section VI of this proposed rulemaking along with the sub-area MVEBs to be used for transportation conformity proposes.

    d. Monitoring Network

    There are currently seven monitors measuring ozone in the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. NC DAQ operates four of the monitors in the Area, whereas the Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) Office operates three of the monitors in Mecklenburg County. The State of North Carolina, through NC DAQ, has committed to continue operation of all monitors in the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area in compliance with 40 CFR part 58 and have thus addressed the requirement for monitoring. EPA approved North Carolina's monitoring plan on November 25, 2013.

    e. Verification of Continued Attainment

    The State of North Carolina, through NC DAQ, has the legal authority to enforce and implement the maintenance plan for the North Carolina portion of the Area. This includes the authority to adopt, implement, and enforce any subsequent emissions control contingency measures determined to be necessary to correct future ozone attainment problems.

    Large stationary sources are required to submit an emissions inventory annually to NC DAQ or MCAQ. NC DAQ commits to review these emissions inventories to determine if any unexpected growth in NOX emissions in the Area may endanger the maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Additionally, as new VMT data are provided by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT), NC DAQ commits to review these data and determine if any unexpected growth in VMT may endanger the maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    Additionally, under the Consolidated Emissions Reporting Rule (CERR) and Air Emissions Reporting Requirements (AERR), NC DAQ is required to develop a comprehensive, annual, statewide emissions inventory every three years that is due twelve to eighteen months after the completion of the inventory year. The AERR inventory years match the base year and final year of the inventory for the maintenance plan, and are within one or two years of the interim inventory years of the maintenance plan. Therefore, NC DAQ commits to compare the CERR and AERR inventories as they are developed with the maintenance plan to determine if additional steps are necessary for continued maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in this Area.

    f. Contingency Measures in the Maintenance Plan

    Section 175A of the CAA requires that a maintenance plan include such contingency measures as EPA deems necessary to assure that the state will promptly correct a violation of the NAAQS that occurs after redesignation. The maintenance plan should identify the contingency measures to be adopted, a schedule and procedure for adoption and implementation, and a time limit for action by the state. A state should also identify specific indicators to be used to determine when the contingency measures need to be implemented. The maintenance plan must include a requirement that a state will implement all measures with respect to control of the pollutant that were contained in the SIP before redesignation of the area to attainment in accordance with section 175A(d).

    In the April 16, 2015, submittal, North Carolina affirms that all programs instituted by the State and EPA will remain enforceable and that sources are prohibited from reducing emissions controls following the redesignation of the Area. The contingency plan included in the submittal includes a triggering mechanism to determine when contingency measures are needed and a process of developing and implementing appropriate control measures. The primary trigger of the contingency plan will be a violation of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS (i.e., when the three-year average of the 4th highest values is equal to or greater than 0.076 ppm at a monitor in the Area). The trigger date will be 60 days from the date that the State observes a 4th highest value that, when averaged with the two previous ozone seasons' fourth highest values, would result in a three-year average equal to or greater than 0.076 ppm.

    The secondary trigger will apply where no actual violation of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS has occurred, but where the State finds monitored ozone levels indicating that an actual ozone NAAQS violation may be imminent. A pattern will be deemed to exist when there are two consecutive ozone seasons in which the 4th highest values are 0.076 ppm or greater at a single monitor within the Area. The trigger date will be 60 days from the date that the State observes a 4th highest value of 0.076 ppm or greater at a monitor for which the previous season had a 4th highest value of 0.076 ppm or greater.

    Once the primary or secondary trigger is activated, the Planning Section of the NC DAQ, in consultation with SC DHEC and MCAQ, shall commence analyses including trajectory analyses of high ozone days and an emissions inventory assessment to determine those emission control measures that will be required for attaining or maintaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. By May 1 of the year following the ozone season in which the primary or secondary trigger has been activated, North Carolina will complete sufficient analyses to begin adoption of necessary rules for ensuring attainment and maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. The rules would become State effective by the following January 1, unless legislative review is required.

    At least one of the following contingency measures will be adopted and implemented upon a primary triggering event:

    • NOX Reasonably Available Control Technology on stationary sources with a potential to emit less than 100 tons per year in the North Carolina portion of the Charlotte nonattainment area;

    • diesel inspection and maintenance program;

    • implementation of diesel retrofit programs, including incentives for performing retrofits;

    • additional controls in upwind areas.

    The NC DAQ commits to implement within 24 months of a primary or secondary trigger,9 at least one of the control measures listed above or other contingency measures that may be determined to be more appropriate based on the analyses performed.

    9 On May 4, 2015, Sheila Holman, Director of NC DENR's Division of Air Quality sent an email to Lynorae Benjamin, Chief of the Region 4 EPA's Air Regulatory Management Section to confirm that the State will address and correct any violation of the 2008 8-Hour Ozone NAAQS as expeditiously as practicable and within 18-24 months from a trigger activation. A copy of this clarification email is in the docket for this rulemaking.

    North Carolina has also developed a tertiary trigger that will be a first alert as to a potential air quality problem on the horizon. This trigger will be activated when a monitor in the Area has a 4th highest value of 0.076 ppm or greater, starting the first year after the maintenance plan has been approved. The trigger date will be 60 days from the date that the State observes a 4th highest value of 0.076 ppm or greater at any monitor.

    Once the tertiary trigger is activated, the Planning Section of the NC DAQ, in consultation with the SC DHEC and MCAQ, shall commence analyses including meteorological evaluation, trajectory analyses of high ozone days, and emissions inventory assessment to understand why a 4th highest exceedance of the standard has occurred. Once the analyses are completed, the NC DAQ will work with SC DHEC, MCAQ and the local air awareness program to develop an outreach plan identifying any additional voluntary measures that can be implemented. If the 4th highest exceedance occurs early in the season, the NC DAQ will work with entities identified in the outreach plan to determine if the measures can be implemented during the current season; otherwise, NC DAQ will work with SC DHEC, MCAQ, and the local air awareness coordinator to implement the plan for the following ozone season.

    EPA has concluded that the maintenance plan adequately addresses the five basic components of a maintenance plan: The attainment emissions inventory, maintenance demonstration, monitoring, verification of continued attainment, and a contingency plan. Therefore, the maintenance plan SIP revision submitted by North Carolina for the State's portion of the Area meets the requirements of section 175A of the CAA and is approvable.

    VI. What is EPA's analysis of North Carolina's proposed NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the area?

    Under section 176(c) of the CAA, new transportation plans, programs, and projects, such as the construction of new highways, must “conform” to (i.e., be consistent with) the part of the state's air quality plan that addresses pollution from cars and trucks. Conformity to the SIP means that transportation activities will not cause new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the NAAQS or any interim milestones. If a transportation plan does not conform, most new projects that would expand the capacity of roadways cannot go forward. Regulations at 40 CFR part 93 set forth EPA policy, criteria, and procedures for demonstrating and assuring conformity of such transportation activities to a SIP. The regional emissions analysis is one, but not the only, requirement for implementing transportation conformity. Transportation conformity is a requirement for nonattainment and maintenance areas. Maintenance areas are areas that were previously nonattainment for a particular NAAQS but have since been redesignated to attainment with an approved maintenance plan for that NAAQS.

    Under the CAA, states are required to submit, at various times, control strategy SIPs and maintenance plans for nonattainment areas. These control strategy SIPs (including RFP and attainment demonstration requirements) and maintenance plans create MVEBs (or in this case sub-area MVEBs) for criteria pollutants and/or their precursors to address pollution from cars and trucks. Per 40 CFR part 93, a MVEB must be established for the last year of the maintenance plan. A state may adopt MVEBs for other years as well. The MVEB is the portion of the total allowable emissions in the maintenance demonstration that is allocated to highway and transit vehicle use and emissions. See 40 CFR 93.101. The MVEB serves as a ceiling on emissions from an area's planned transportation system. The MVEB concept is further explained in the preamble to the November 24, 1993, Transportation Conformity Rule (58 FR 62188). The preamble also describes how to establish the MVEB in the SIP and how to revise the MVEB.

    As part of the interagency consultation process on setting sub-area MVEBs, the DAQ held three conference calls with the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO)—Rocky River Rural Planning Organization (RRRPO), Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization (GCLMPO), and Cabarrus Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization (CRMPO) to determine what years to set sub-area MVEBs for the Charlotte maintenance plan. According to the transportation conformity rule, a maintenance plan must establish MVEBs for the last year of the maintenance plan (in this case, 2026). See 40 CFR 93.118. The consensus formed during the interagency consultation process was that another MVEB should be set for the Charlotte maintenance plan base year of 2014.

    Accordingly, NC DAQ established separate sub-area MVEBs based on the latest Metropolitan Planning Organization jurisdictional boundaries such that sub-area MVEBs are established for the CRMPO (Cabarrus and Rowan Counties), for the CRTPO-RRRPO (Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union Counties), and for the GCLMPO (Gaston and Lincoln Counties) subareas. Although Cleveland County is included in the GCLMPO, it is not included in the Charlotte ozone nonattainment area.

    Tables 6 through 8 below provide the NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs in kilograms per day (kg/day),10 for 2014 and 2026.

    10 The conversion to kilograms used the actual emissions reported in the MOVES model. The conversion was done utilizing the “CONVERT” function in an EXCEL spreadsheet. The conversion factor is 907.1847.

    Table 6—CRMPO Sub-Area MVEBs [kg/day] 2014 NOX VOC 2026 NOX VOC Base Emissions 11,814 7,173 3,124 3,135 Safety Margin Allocated to MVEB 625 627 Conformity MVEB 11,814 7,173 3,749 3,762 Table 7—GCLMPO Sub-Area MVEBs [kg/day] 2014 NOX VOC 2026 NOX VOC Base Emissions 10,079 5,916 2,482 2,278 Safety Margin Allocated to MVEB 510 470 Conformity MVEB 10,079 5,916 2,992 2,748 Table 8—CRTPO-RRRPO Sub-Area MVEBs [kg/day] 2014 NOX VOC 2026 NOX VOC Base Emissions 32,679 18,038 8,426 8,189 Safety Margin Allocated to MVEB 1,515 1,472 Conformity MVEB 32,679 18,038 9,941 9,661

    As mentioned above, North Carolina has chosen to allocate a portion of the available 2026 safety margin to the NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2026. As discussed in section VI of this proposed rulemaking, a safety margin is the difference between the attainment level of emissions (from all sources) and the projected level of emissions (from all sources) in the maintenance plan. The attainment level of emissions is the level of emissions during one of the years in which the area met the NAAQS. As discussed above, North Carolina has selected 2014 as the base year.

    Through this rulemaking, EPA is proposing to approve the sub-area MVEBs for NOX and VOC for 2014 and 2026 for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area because EPA believes that the Area maintains the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS with the emissions at the levels of the budgets. Once the sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area are approved or found adequate (whichever is completed first), they must be used for future conformity determinations. After thorough review, EPA has preliminary determined that the budgets meet the adequacy criteria, as outlined in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4), and is proposing to approve the budgets because they are consistent with maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS through 2026.

    VII. What is the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the Proposed NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026 for the North Carolina portion of the area?

    When reviewing submitted “control strategy” SIPs or maintenance plans containing MVEBs, EPA may affirmatively find the MVEB contained therein adequate for use in determining transportation conformity. Once EPA affirmatively finds the submitted MVEB is adequate for transportation conformity purposes, that MVEB must be used by state and Federal agencies in determining whether proposed transportation projects conform to the SIP as required by section 176(c) of the CAA.

    EPA's substantive criteria for determining adequacy of a MVEB are set out in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4). The process for determining adequacy consists of three basic steps: Public notification of a SIP submission, a public comment period, and EPA's adequacy determination. This process for determining the adequacy of submitted MVEBs for transportation conformity purposes was initially outlined in EPA's May 14, 1999, guidance, “Conformity Guidance on Implementation of March 2, 1999, Conformity Court Decision.” EPA adopted regulations to codify the adequacy process in the Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments for the “New 8-Hour Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Miscellaneous Revisions for Existing Areas; Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments—Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Change,” on July 1, 2004 (69 FR 40004). Additional information on the adequacy process for transportation conformity purposes is available in the proposed rule entitled, “Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments: Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Changes,” 68 FR 38974, 38984 (June 30, 2003).

    As discussed earlier, North Carolina's maintenance plan includes NOX and VOC sub-arear MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area for 2014, an interim year of the maintenance plan, and 2026, the last year of the maintenance plan. EPA is reviewing the NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs through the adequacy process. The North Carolina bi-state Charlotte Area NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs, opened for public comment on EPA's adequacy Web site on March 17, 2015, found at: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/currsips.htm. The EPA public comment period on adequacy for the sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026 for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area closed on April 16, 2015. No comments, adverse or otherwise, were received during EPA's adequacy process for the sub-area MVEBs associated with North Carolina's maintenance plan.

    EPA intends to make its determination on the adequacy of the 2014 and 2026 sub-area MVEBs for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area for transportation conformity purposes in the near future by completing the adequacy process that was started on March 17, 2015. After EPA finds the 2014 and 2026 sub-area MVEBs adequate or approves them, the new sub-area MVEBs for NOX and VOC must be used for future transportation conformity determinations. For required regional emissions analysis years that involve 2014 through 2026, the applicable 2014 sub-area MVEBs will be used and for 2026 and beyond, the applicable budgets will be the new 2026 sub-area MVEBs established in the maintenance plan, as defined in section VI of this proposed rulemaking.

    VIII. What is the effect of EPA's proposed actions?

    EPA's proposed actions establish the basis upon which EPA may take final action on the issues being proposed for approval today. Approval of North Carolina's redesignation request would change the legal designation of Mecklenburg County in its entirety, and the portion of Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan and Union Counties within the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area, as found at 40 CFR part 81, from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. Approval of North Carolina's associated SIP revision would also incorporate a plan for maintaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS in the bi-state Charlotte Area through 2026 into the SIP. This maintenance plan includes contingency measures to remedy any future violations of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and procedures for evaluation of potential violations. The maintenance plan also establishes NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026 for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. The sub-area MVEBs are listed in Tables 6 through 8 in Section VI. Additionally, EPA is notifying the public of the status of EPA's adequacy determination for the newly-established NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026 for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area.

    IX. Proposed Actions

    EPA is taking three separate but related actions regarding the redesignation and maintenance of the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area.

    EPA proposes to determine that the Charlotte Area has attained the 2008 8-hour ozone standard by the July 20, 2015, required attainment date. EPA is proposing to determine that the entire bi-state Charlotte Area is attaining the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS, based on complete, quality-assured, and certified monitoring data for the 2012-2014 monitoring period. EPA is also proposing to approve the maintenance plan for the North Carolina portion of the Area, including the NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026, into the North Carolina SIP (under CAA section 175A). The maintenance plan demonstrates that the Area will continue to maintain the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS and that the budgets meet all of the adequacy criteria contained in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4) and (5). Further, as part of this action, EPA is describing the status of its adequacy determination for the NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs for 2014 and 2026 in accordance with 40 CFR 93.118(f)(1). Within 24 months from the effective date of EPA's adequacy determination for the MVEBs or the publication date for the final rule for this action, whichever is earlier, the transportation partners will need to demonstrate conformity to the new NOX and VOC sub-area MVEBs pursuant to 40 CFR 93.104(e).

    Additionally, EPA is proposing to determine that the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area has met the criteria under CAA section 107(d)(3)(E) for redesignation from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS. On this basis, EPA is proposing to approve North Carolina's redesignation request for the North Carolina portion of the bi-state Charlotte Area. If finalized, approval of the redesignation request would change the official designation of Mecklenburg County in its entirety, and a portion of Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan and Union Counties in North Carolina, as found at 40 CFR part 81, from nonattainment to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS.

    X. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, redesignation of an area to attainment and the accompanying approval of a maintenance plan under section 107(d)(3)(E) are actions that affect the status of a geographical area and do not impose any additional regulatory requirements on sources beyond those imposed by state law. A redesignation to attainment does not in and of itself create any new requirements, but rather results in the applicability of requirements contained in the CAA for areas that have been redesignated to attainment. Moreover, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the Act and applicable Federal regulations. See 42 U.S.C. 7410(k); 40 CFR 52.02(a). Thus, in reviewing SIP submissions, EPA's role is to approve state choices, provided that they meet the criteria of the CAA. Accordingly, these proposed actions merely propose to approve state law as meeting Federal requirements and do not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For this reason, these proposed actions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Are not significant regulatory actions subject to Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001);

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

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

    The SIP is not approved to apply on any Indian reservation land or in any other area where EPA or an Indian tribe has demonstrated that a tribe has jurisdiction. In those areas of Indian country, the rule does not have tribal implications as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it impose substantial direct costs on tribal governments or preempt tribal law.

    List of Subjects 40 CFR Part 52

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

    40 CFR Part 81

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 13, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12352 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 192 [Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0098] RIN 2137-AE93 Pipeline Safety: Plastic Pipe Rule AGENCY:

    Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    PHMSA is proposing to amend the natural and other gas pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR part 192) to address regulatory requirements involving plastic piping systems used in gas services. These proposed amendments are intended to correct errors, address inconsistencies, and respond to petitions for rulemaking. The requirements in several subject matter areas are affected, including incorporation of tracking and traceability provisions; design factor for polyethylene (PE) pipe; more stringent mechanical fitting requirements; updated and additional regulations for risers; expanded use of Polyamide-11 (PA-11) thermoplastic pipe; incorporation of newer Polyamide-12 (PA-12) thermoplastic pipe; and incorporation of updated and additional standards for fittings.

    DATES:

    Submit comments on or before July 31, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments should reference Docket No. PHMSA-2014-0098 and may be submitted in the following ways:

    E-Gov Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. This Web site allows the public to enter comments on any Federal Register notice issued by any agency. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

    Mail: Docket Management System: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    Hand Delivery: DOT Docket Management System, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Instructions: If you submit your comments by mail, please submit two copies. To receive confirmation that PHMSA received your comments, include a self-addressed stamped postcard.

    Note:

    Comments are posted without changes or edits to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. There is a privacy statement published on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Privacy Act Statement

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    General Information: Cameron Satterthwaite, Transportation Specialist, by telephone at 202-366-1319, or by electronic mail at [email protected]

    Technical Questions: Max Kieba, General Engineer, by telephone at 202-493-0595, or by electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The use and availability of plastic pipe have changed over the years with technological innovations in the products and best practices used in plastic pipe installations. Progress in the design and manufacture of plastic pipe and components has resulted in materials with higher strength characteristics. Manufacturers are instituting new practices related to traceability. Operators are incorporating best practices. Together, these measures have the potential to improve with pipeline safety and integrity. Some of these strides have been highlighted in petitions that are detailed below. The pipeline safety regulations have not stayed current with some of these products; this rulemaking is an effort to propose a number of revisions to incorporate these changes in the interest of pipeline safety.

    PHMSA has received several rulemaking petitions involving plastic pipe. Copies of these petitions have been placed in the docket (PHMSA-2014-0098) for this rulemaking in addition to the docket that may have been initially established for the petition. This proposed rule will address the following petitions:

    • American Gas Association (AGA)—(Docket No. PHMSA 2010-0011)—Petition to increase design factor 0.32 to 0.4 and incorporate updated ASTM D2513 (standard for Polyethylene (PE) pipe).

    • Evonik Industries (Evonik) and UBE Industries (UBE)—(Docket No. PHMSA 2010-0009)—Petition to allow use of Polyamide (PA-12) pipe.

    • Arkema—(Docket No. PHMSA 2013-0227)—Petition to allow use of Polyamide (PA-11) pipe at higher pressures.

    • Gas Piping Technology Committee (GPTC)—Petition to allow above-ground, encased plastic pipe for regulator and metering stations.

    While there has been much progress, both Federal and State inspectors, have noticed some issues related to the installation of plastic pipe that should be addressed in the pipeline safety regulations. In an effort to address these issues, respond to petitions and update the regulations with respect to the products and practices used in plastic pipe system without compromising safety, PHMSA is proposing revisions to the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations (PSR) in 49 CFR part 192. This focus will limit these proposals to plastic pipelines in gas service and subsequently to new, repaired, and replaced pipes. These issues are addressed and detailed below as follows:

    A. Tracking and Traceability B. Design Factor for PE C. Expanded use of PA-11 D. Incorporation of PA-12 E. Risers F. Fittings G. Plastic Pipe Installation G.1.—Installation by Trenchless Excavation (§§ 192.3, 192.329, and 192.376) G.2.—Joining Plastic Pipe (§ 192.281) G.3.—Qualifying Joining Procedures (§ 192.283) G.4.—Qualifying Persons To Make Joints (§ 192.285) G.5.—Bends (§ 192.313) G.6.—Installation of Plastic Pipe (§ 192.321) G.7.—Service Lines; General Requirements for Connections to Main Piping (§ 192.367) G.8.—Equipment Maintenance; Plastic Pipe Joining (§ 192.756) H. Repairs H.1.—Repair of Plastic Pipe—Gouges (§ 192.311) H.2.—Leak Repair Clamps (§ 192.720) I. General Provisions I.1.—Incorporation by Reference (§ 192.7) I.2.—Plastic Pipe Material (§ 192.59) I.3.—Plastic Pipe Storage and Handling (§ 192.67) I.4.—Gathering Lines (§ 192.9) I.5.—Merger of Sections 192.121 and 192.123 I.6.—General Design Requirements for Components (§ 192.143) I.7.—General Design Requirements for Valves (§ 192.145) I.8.—General Design Requirements for Standard Fittings (§ 192.149) I.9.—Test Requirements for Plastic Pipelines (§ 192.513) A. Traceability and Tracking

    In many cases, the lack of adequate traceability for plastic pipe (i.e., appropriate markings that help identify the location of manufacture, lot information, size, material, pressure rating, temperature rating and, as appropriate, type, grade, and model, etc., of the pipe and components) and tracking of pipe location (i.e., a means of identifying the location of pipe and components within the pipeline) prevents operators from having enough information to identify systemic issues related to incidents involving plastic pipe. Further, the lack of this information makes it difficult for operators and regulators to determine whether plastic pipe or component failures are related to a certain type or vintage of material, specific product defect or design, heat/lot of the product, or whether it was produced by a certain manufacturer at a certain time.

    In addition, the issue can result in excessive pipe excavations due to an inability to locate the affected sections of pipe or fittings when responding to plastic pipe or component manufacturer recalls. In 2001, the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR), a non-profit organization of State pipeline safety personnel that promotes pipeline safety in the United States and its territories, also noted this issue in its RESOLUTION NO. 2001-2-SR-2-01 (Resolution SR-2-01). In its Resolution, NAPSR referred to accident investigations where insufficient data regarding the pipe material (i.e., date of manufacture and other relevant information) had proven to be an obstacle in determining the cause or origin of an incident. NAPSR also recognized that existing pipe, fittings, and components often do not maintain their markings for a sufficient period of time to provide useful tracking and traceability information. Therefore, NAPSR requested that PHMSA revise § 192.63 (“Marking of Materials”) to require the marking of all pipe and components to ensure identification for a period of 50 years or the life of the pipeline. NAPSR also expressed the view that the marking of plastic pipe, fittings, and components will benefit the industry and public by allowing the identification of problems and proactively mitigating future problems through such identification.

    In an effort to address the concerns mentioned above and to address the resolution from NAPSR, PHMSA proposes new requirements for tracking and traceability of plastic pipe and components that extend beyond marking alone. To set the framework for tracking and traceability, PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.3 by adding definitions for “traceability information” and “tracking information.” It is PHMSA's intent that all operators have methods to identify the location of pipe, the person who joined the pipe, and components within the pipeline (i.e., tracking). PHMSA also proposes that operators be required to identify and document the location of pipe manufacture, production, lot information, size, material, pressure rating, temperature rating, and, as appropriate, other information such as type, grade, and model (i.e., traceability). In order to facilitate compliance, PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.63 to require operators to adopt the tracking and traceability requirements in ASTM F2897-11a, “Standard Specification for Tracking and Traceability Encoding System of Natural Gas Distribution Components (Pipe, Tubing, Fittings, Valves, and Appurtenances)” (Standard). Note that the Standard only specifies requirements for information that marks pipe and components with a 16-digit code to help identify characteristics such as manufacturer, material type, lot code, etc. While the Standard gives some examples of the types of markings, such as barcodes, 2D-Data matrix, or a more conventional print line, it does not provide the actual means of marking or affixing the code to the components, the means of reading and transferring the data or codes, and the durability of the markings.

    In response to the 2001 NAPSR Resolution, PHMSA also proposes to clarify § 192.63 by expressly providing that specification and traceability markings on plastic pipe be legible, visible, and permanent in accordance with the pipe's listed specification. The proposed revisions in § 192.63 also reference the recordkeeping requirements for these markings in §§ 192.321(k) and 192.375(d). Section 192.321 applies to the installation of plastic pipe used for transmission lines and mains, and § 192.375 contains requirements for plastic service lines.

    PHMSA further proposes to add a new paragraph (k) to § 192.321 and a new paragraph (d) to § 192.375 to require operators to maintain tracking and traceability information (as defined in § 192.3) records for the life of the pipeline. PHMSA believes this performance-based approach will allow for the use of other methods and technologies. For instance, during construction or repair, operators may choose to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) in combination with a barcode reader to help mark the location or identify other features of the pipe or component. Other operators without the means to purchase such equipment may choose to collect and store the information manually or electronically. The purpose of these proposed revisions is to enable operators to accurately locate and quickly identify the installed pipe and components in their systems when handling recalls and conducting failure investigations. The revisions also support the requirements in the distribution integrity management programs for capturing and retaining certain information on new pipelines for the life of the lines (§ 192.1007(a)(5)). In addition, the proposed requirement would also support the current plastic pipe-joiner qualification requirements in § 192.285.

    B. Design Factor of PE

    PHMSA received petitions from the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Gas Piping Technology Committee (GPTC) to increase the design factor for PE pipe from 0.32 to 0.40 in § 192.121. The allowable design pressure for plastic is based on a number of factors, including the stress rating of the material (interpolated from a Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB) rating), wall thickness and diameter or standard dimension ratio (SDR), and design factor. The allowable design factor is currently 0.32 for plastics. The exception to this design factor limitation applies to Polyamide-11 pipe (PA-11) produced after January 23, 2009, meeting certain conditions, which would allow the design factor to increase to 0.40. The petitions to allow for a 0.40 design factor for PE pipe are based on research and technical justifications performed by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and include certain limitations by type of material and wall thickness. Since design pressure for plastic pipe is based on a number of variables, including design factor and wall thickness, an increase in design factor would allow for the use of PE pipe with smaller wall thicknesses while limited to the allowable pressures determined in § 192.121 if the pipe is made from higher quality material and meets other limitations mentioned in the petitions. Furthermore, a design factor of 0.40 is already allowed in § 192.121 for PA-11 pipe with certain limitations. Upon review, PHMSA proposes to adopt this provision into the PSR. The details of the proposal are specified below under “G. Plastic Pipe Installation.”

    C. Expanded Use of PA-11

    Polyamide-11, also referred to as Nylon 11, is a relatively newer type of plastic material with a different structure (nylon- or amide-based) compared to other common plastic materials in use such as Polyethylene (ethylene-based). Similar to PE materials with different types, names, or material designation codes such as PE3408 and PE4710, Polyamides or Nylon materials have different types such as PA-6 or Nylon 6, or relatively newer types discussed in this rulemaking like PA-11 or PA-12, with material designation codes such as PA32312 or PA32316. There are a number of differences amongst the kinds of plastics and pros and cons for each, but, at a high level, Polyamides such as PA-11 have a higher strength or hydrostatic design basis (HDB) rating compared to PE materials. The HDB is a reflection of a plastic pipe's ability to resist internal pressure over long periods of time. The Hydrostatic Stress Board of the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) recommends and lists a HDB for a plastic pipe material based on testing of the material using the industry accepted test methods published by ASTM International. As a result of a higher HDB rating, materials like PA-11 can typically be designed and operated at higher pressures. On December 24, 2008 (73 FR 79005), PHMSA issued a final rule to allow the use of a new thermoplastic pipe made from Polyamide-11 (PA-11) with certain limitations for pressure (up to 200 psig), diameter (up to 4-inch nominal pipe size), and an SDR of 11 and below (i.e., thicker wall pipe). This final rule was in response to a petition from Arkema, a manufacturer of PA-11 pipe. On November 11, 2013, Arkema, the sole current producer of PA-11, sent a petition (Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0262) to PHMSA to allow PA-11 to be used for pressures up to 250 psig and pipe diameters up to 6-inch nominal pipe size, with limitations on wall thickness depending on diameter. Arkema is also petitioning PHMSA to allow for arithmetic interpolation in the allowable pressure equation for PA-11 pipe by removing the note in § 192.121 that currently does not allow arithmetic interpolation for PA-11 pipe. Arkema further petitioned PHMSA to incorporate the following standards related to PA-11:

    • ASTM F2945-12a, Standard Specification for (PA-11) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing and Fittings;

    • ASTM/ANSI F2600-09, Standard Specification for Electrofusion Type PA-11 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled PA-11 Pipe and Tubing;

    • ASTM/ANSI F1973-13, Standard Specification for Factory Assembled Anodeless Risers and Transition Fittings in PE and PA-11 and PA-12 Fuel Gas Distribution Systems;

    • ASTM/ANSI F2145-13, Standard Specification for PA-11 and PA-12 Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled PA-11 and PA-12 Pipe and Tubing;

    • ASTM/ANSI F1948-12, Standard Specification for Metallic Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Thermoplastic Gas Distribution Pipe and Tubing; and

    • ASME/ANSI B16.40-08, Manually Operated Thermoplastic Gas Shutoffs and Valves in Gas Distribution Systems.

    As justification for its petition, Arkema points to the many years of testing and evaluation of PA-11 at operating pressures greater than 100 psig on projects under special permit and non-DOT jurisdictional pipelines that date back to 1999. Arkema also references the successful implementation of § 192.123(f), which allows for the use of PA-11 produced after January 23, 2009, at design pressures up to 200 psig under certain conditions. Although Arkema did not reference any projects that utilize PA-11 between 200 and 250 psig, Arkema believes an increase in allowable pressures up to 250 psig is justified through interpolation of a Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB) of 3,150 psi for PA-11, as listed in Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) TR4 (previous code limitations were based on an HDB of 2,500 psi for PA-11).

    PHMSA agrees with Arkema's rationale of using the interpolation of the HDB listings for PA-11 to substantiate design pressures up to 250 psig. HDB listings are established in accordance with PPI TR-3, “Policies and Procedures for Developing Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB), Strength Design Basis (SDB), Pressure Design Basis (PDB) or Minimum Required Strength (MRS) Ratings for Thermoplastic Piping Materials or Pipe,” which is incorporated by reference in § 192.7. As detailed in § 192.121, the design pressure (P) can be calculated by the equation P = (2S/(SDR − 1)) × (DF), where S is the HDB rating, SDR is the standard dimension ratio (the ratio of the average specified outside diameter to wall thickness), and DF is the design factor. If an HDB rating of 2,500 psi (basis for current limitation using previous vintage PA-11 pipe with material designation code PA32312) is used along with an SDR of 11 (a common value for mid-range pipe diameters) and a DF of 0.4 (which is currently allowed for PA-11), the resulting design pressure (P) would equal 200 psi, which is the current maximum allowable design pressure for PA-11 in part 192. If the HDB is changed to 3,150 psi (newer vintage PA-11 pipe with material designation code PA32316), and both the SDR and DF remain the same, the resulting design pressure would equal 252 psi, rounded down to 250 psi for a maximum allowable design pressure. Therefore, PHMSA proposes to revise the PSR to allow PA-11 pipe (PA32316) for pressures up to 250 psi, diameters up to 6 inches, and additional limitations on wall thickness as listed in the petition. PHMSA also proposes to specify that both PA32312 and PA32316 can be used for pressures up to 200 psi. Regarding standards relevant to PA-11 that Arkema petitioned to be incorporated by reference, PHMSA proposes to incorporate them as requested. Incorporating these newer standards specific to PA-11 will also allow PHMSA to phase out older standards incorporated by reference like ASTM D2513-87 and ASTM D2513-99, which covered multiple plastic materials including PA, PE, and others, up until ASTM D2513-09a when it became a PE-only standard. Another rulemaking by PHMSA incorporated ASTM D2513-09a for PE but continued to reference ASTM D2513-87 and ASTM D2513-99 for plastics other than PE while these other product specific standards were being developed. Having multiple versions of the same standard in this interim period has created some confusion.

    D. Incorporation of PA-12

    On January 6, 2011, PA-12 pipe manufacturers (Evonik and UBE; Petitioners) submitted a petition to amend the PSR to allow the use of PA-12 pipe. Specifically, Evonik and UBE petitioned (Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0009) PHMSA to revise §§ 192.121 and 192.123 to:

    • Allow for the use of PA-12 piping systems with a 0.40 design factor;

    • Include maximum design pressure limitations for PA-12 piping systems of 250 psig;

    • Allow a nominal pipe size of 6-inch diameters or less;

    • Allow a minimum wall thickness of at least 0.90 inches, with additional limitations on the wall thickness, depending on diameter;

    • Require unplasticized material;

    • Limit PA-12 pipe materials to those specified in ASTM F2785; and

    • Require PA-12 to comply with the rest of the part 192 requirements related to joining, pressure testing, and appurtenances, as detailed in §§ 192.281, 192.283, 192.285, and 192.513.

    In their petition, Evonik and UBE state that PA-12 material has been tested more than any other pipe material prior to its use and approval. The Petitioners also stated that the results “amply validated” the overall strength and durability of the PA-12 material and piping systems against known threats and failure mechanisms. Evonik and UBE noted in their petition that PA-12 has been granted for use under a special permit in the States of Montana and Mississippi. The petitioners also noted the development of a performance-based standard (ASTM F2785-09) for PA-12. The petitioners assert that this standard contains comprehensive performance-based requirements that would ensure the safe long-term performance of PA-12 pipe, tubing, and fittings.

    Upon review of the petition, PHMSA proposes to revise the PSR to allow the use of PA-12 pipe at pressures up to 250 psig for pipe up to 6 inches in diameter, and to impose additional limitations on wall thickness as listed in the petition. These limitations would also be consistent with the PA-11 consideration described above. PHMSA also proposes to incorporate by reference ASTM F2785-12, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 12 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings,” along with other standards applicable to both PA-11 and PA-12 that are described immediately above in the section related to PA-11 considerations and the PA-11 petition.

    E. Risers

    In general, a pipeline riser is a vertical pipe that connects buried pipe to an aboveground component, such as a meter. In many cases, the riser is a transitional component that attaches a buried plastic pipe to a metal or a metal-encased plastic pipe (anodeless riser), which is connected to a gas meter. While risers are most commonly found connecting service lines to meter sets, risers are also used within distribution mains and transmission systems when entering or exiting small regulator stations or whenever a transition between buried and unburied pipe is necessary.

    The PSR do not contain specific design, construction, or installation requirements for risers. In 2014, the GPTC petitioned PHMSA to allow above-ground, encased plastic pipe at the inlet and outlet of regulator and metering stations if (1) the above-ground level part of the plastic pipe is protected against deterioration and external damage; (2) the plastic pipe is not used to support external loads; and (3) the plastic pipe is not allowed to exceed the pipe temperature limits at § 192.123. Therefore, PHMSA proposes specific requirements for the design (§ 192.204) and construction of risers (§§ 192.321(j) and 192.375(a)(2)) associated with plastic pipe. Further, PHMSA proposes to incorporate by reference ASTM F1973, “Standard Specification for Factory Assembled Anodeless Risers and Transition Fittings in Polyethylene (PE) and Polyamide 11 (PA11) and Polyamide 12 (PA12) Fuel Gas Distribution Systems” in these new sections. ASTM F1973 addresses various issues such as the removal of burrs on metal components prior to the insertion of plastic pipe and other riser assembly provisions.

    F. Fittings

    PHMSA and others (e.g., NTSB and certain States) have observed problems with mechanical fittings or joints becoming loose or pipe being pulled out from fittings, leading to leaks and, in certain cases, incidents. Failures can occur when there is inadequate restraint for the potential stresses on the two fitted pipes, when the couplings are incorrectly installed or supported, or when the coupling components (e.g., elastomers) degrade over time. More details on these issues are available in PHMSA Advisory Bulletin ADB-08-02, issued in March 2008, titled “Pipeline Safety: Issues Related to Mechanical Couplings Used in Natural Gas Distribution Systems.” Therefore, PHMSA is proposing the incorporation of a requirement to use only mechanical fittings or joints that are designed and tested to provide a seal plus resistance to lateral forces so that a large force on the connection would cause the pipe to yield before the joint does.

    More specifically, ASTM D2513, currently incorporated by reference in part 192, provides categorizations for the different mechanical joints, including “[s]eal plus resistance to a force on the pipe end equal to or greater than that which will cause permanent deformation of the pipe” (Category 1), seal only (Category 2), and seal plus pipe restraint to account for thermal stresses (Category 3). The Category 1 joint is generally considered the most stringent of the three categories. ASTM D2513 is now a polyethylene-only standard, but other standards being proposed for incorporation in this NPRM and that are applicable to other materials, (i.e., ASTM F1924, ASTM F1948, and ASTM F1973) have Category 1 definitions. The definitions in each of these standards are slightly different in language but are still consistent with each other and the performance language in ASTM D2513. Some of these standards also point back to ASTM D2513 for PE-specific considerations. The regulation, as proposed, would require mechanical fittings, joints, or connections to provide a Category 1 joint as defined in ASTM F1924, ASTM F1948, and ASTM F1973 for the applicable material. In an effort to have consistency in language given the slightly different definitions in the various standards, PHMSA is proposing “a seal plus resistance to a force on the pipe joint equal to or greater than that which will cause no less than 25% elongation of pipe, or the pipe fails outside the joint area if tested in accordance with the applicable standard.” These revisions for Category 1 apply in sections such as § 192.281(e) for plastic pipe joining and § 192.367 for service lines and connections to main piping and are described in further detail elsewhere in this document.

    In light of the proposed revisions of the PA-11 and PE regulations, and the introduction of PA-12, PHMSA proposes to also consider recently developed standards for incorporation by reference that further enhance pipeline safety in order to address potential safety risks. These proposed standards to be incorporated by reference are listed in “Section I. General Provisions.”

    Electrically Isolated Metal Alloy Fittings in Plastic Pipe (Section 192.455)

    Section 192.455 details external corrosion control requirements for buried or submerged pipe installed after July 31, 1971. Paragraph (a) currently requires such pipelines to have external protective coatings meeting the requirements of § 192.461 and a cathodic protection system placed in operation within 1 year after construction is completed. However, paragraph (a) contains certain exceptions. One is detailed in paragraph (f) and applies to electrically isolated, metal alloy fittings in plastic pipelines where an operator can show by test, investigation, or experience in the area of application, that adequate corrosion control is provided by the alloy composition, and the fitting is designed to prevent leakage caused by corrosion pitting. For those fittings that do not meet the requirements of paragraph (f), cathodic protection and cathodic protection monitoring is required. PHMSA proposes to add a new paragraph (g) to require such fittings used within plastic pipelines be cathodically protected and monitored in accordance with §§ 192.455 and 192.465(a).

    G. Plastic Pipe Installation

    PHMSA is proposing several revisions with regard to the installation of plastic pipe, organized topically as follows:

    G.1.—Installation by Trenchless Excavation (Sections 192.3, 192.329 and 192.376)

    The PSR do not contain detailed requirements for the installation of plastic pipe by trenchless excavation. PHMSA and the States are aware of a number of incidents related to cross-boring, where plastic pipe installed via trenchless excavation (e.g., directional drilling) has come in contact with or been installed right through another underground utility such as a sewer line. In an effort to improve pipeline and public safety and implement a consistent approach to this method of installation while considering industry best practices in use today, PHMSA proposes to add new §§ 192.329 and 192.376 to detail some basic requirements. These proposals include requiring each operator to ensure that the path of the excavation will provide sufficient clearance for installation and maintenance activities from other underground utilities and structures. Additionally, PHMSA proposes to require plastic pipe and components that are pulled through the ground to incorporate the use of a “weak link.” PHMSA is proposing the definition of “weak link” in § 192.3. A weak link is used to prevent damage to the pipeline that could be caused by excessive forces during the pulling process.

    G.2.—Joining Plastic Pipe (Section 192.281)

    Section 192.281 details the requirements for joining plastic pipe. In an effort to reduce confusion and promote safety, PHMSA is proposing several revisions to § 192.281.

    Section 192.281(b) contains requirements for solvent cement joints. PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.281(b)(2) to specify that the solvent cement requirements in ASTM D2564-12 apply only to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe. This is a clarifying revision, since PVC is the only material that is allowed by PSR to be joined by solvent cement.

    Section 192.281(c) contains requirements for heat-fusion joints. Currently, these requirements refer to only the “pipe” that is being joined. PHMSA proposes to clarify paragraph (c) to specify that the joining requirements apply to both the pipe and the components that are joined to the pipe.

    Section 192.281(e) contains requirements for mechanical joints but does not clearly list specific standards for the requirements. This has led to some inconsistencies in practices used, or the requirements were incorporated indirectly via another referenced standard and were not always clear. PHMSA proposes to add a new paragraph (e)(3) to require that each fitting used to make a mechanical joint meets a listed specification. With this requirement, PHMSA hopes to make it clearer that fittings and joints must meet a standard specification listed in the code. The standards that would apply are among the “Other Listed Specifications for Components” that are being proposed through revisions to Appendix B and described in more detail elsewhere in this document.

    G.3.—Qualifying Joining Procedures (Section 192.283)

    Section 192.283 details the requirements for qualifying plastic pipe joining procedures. Currently, § 192.283(a) specifies that heat fusion joints for thermoplastic pipe must be tested in accordance with ASTM D2513-99 for plastics other than polyethylene or with ASTM D2513-09a for polyethylene plastic materials. In this proposed rule, PHMSA is proposing to incorporate a newer version of ASTM D2513 for PE-only materials and incorporate standards applicable to other types of thermoplastic pipe (i.e., PA-11, and PA-12). Therefore, PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.283(a) to refer operators to the appropriate listed specification. Listed specifications are detailed in Appendix B to Part 192.

    PHMSA also proposes to remove the current § 192.283(d), which allows the use of pipe or fittings manufactured before July 1, 1980, if they are joined in accordance with procedures that the manufacturer certifies will produce a joint as strong as the pipe. As a number of advancements have been made in standards related to pipe and fittings since 1980, the use of newer materials manufactured in accordance with more current standards should be encouraged. Pipe and fittings that are newly installed, repaired, or replaced after the effective date of the rule will be required to meet newer standards. This proposed revision would not preclude the use of pipe or fittings manufactured prior to July 1, 1980, which were already installed prior to the effective date of the rule.

    G.4.—Qualifying Persons To Make Joints (Section 192.285)

    Section 192.285 details the requirements for qualifying persons to make joints. PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.285 to incorporate several revisions. Section 192.285(a)(2) currently specifies that a person must make a specimen joint that is subjected to the testing detailed in § 192.285(b). PHMSA proposes to remove the testing details in § 192.285(b) and reference ASTM F2620-12 (Standard Practice for Heat Fusion Joining of Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings). PHMSA also proposes to require operators to maintain records detailing the location of each joint and the person who made the joint.

    G.5.—Bends (Section 192.313)

    Section 192.313 details requirements for bends and elbows, but currently only for steel pipe. To address bends in plastic pipe, PHMSA proposes to add a paragraph (d) to specify that installed plastic pipe may not contain bends that exceed the maximum radius specified by the manufacturer for the diameter of the pipe.

    G.6.—Installation of Plastic Pipe (Section 192.321)

    Section 192.321 details requirements for the installation of plastic pipe transmission lines and mains. PHMSA is proposing several revisions to this section. Currently, § 192.321(d) specifies that non-encased thermoplastic pipe must have a minimum wall thickness of 0.090 inches, except for pipe with an outside diameter of 0.875 inches or less, which must have a minimum wall thickness of 0.062 inches. PHMSA proposes to require all plastic pipe to have a minimum wall thickness of 0.090 inches.

    Section 192.321(f) specifies that plastic pipe being encased must be inserted into the casing pipe in a manner that will protect the plastic, and that the leading edge of the inserted pipe must be closed before insertion. PHMSA proposes to specify that the plastic pipe must be protected from damage at both the entrance and exit of the casing during the installation process.

    Section 192.321(h) specifies requirements for plastic pipe installed on bridges. Paragraph (h)(3) contains a reference to § 192.123. Based on the proposed merging of § 192.123 into § 192.121, PHMSA proposes to revise paragraph (h)(3) to replace the currently referenced § 192.123 with § 192.121.

    Although part 192 contains some requirements for backfill materials, there are no explicit requirements for backfill material used in the installation of plastic pipe. PHMSA recognizes that plastic pipe subjected to improper backfill materials or practices could be at risk to damage that could impact pipeline integrity. In line with best practices in use today, PHMSA proposes to add a new paragraph (i) to § 192.321 and a new paragraph (c) to § 192.375 to include specific provisions for backfill material for plastic pipe. These provisions would specify that backfill material not include materials that could be detrimental to the pipe, such as rocks of a size exceeding those established through sound engineering practices. The provisions would also require the ground to be properly compacted underneath, along the sides, and for a predetermined distance above the installed pipe.

    PHMSA understands that there are applications that may require plastic mains to terminate aboveground for permanent installations. Currently, § 192.321 does not address plastic mains which terminate above ground. Therefore, PHMSA proposes a new paragraph (j) to allow for the aboveground level termination of plastic mains under certain conditions.

    G.7.—Service Lines; General Requirements for Connections to Main Piping (Section 192.367)

    Section 192.367(b) specifies requirements for compression-type connections to a main. As described further in the Fittings section above, PHMSA and others (e.g., NTSB and certain States) have observed problems with mechanical fittings or joints becoming loose or pipe being pulled out from fittings, leading to leaks and, in certain cases, incidents. Similar to revisions being proposed in § 192.281(e) related to plastic pipe joining, PHMSA is proposing the incorporation of a requirement that connections are a Category 1 joint per applicable standards for different plastic materials, which is generally considered the most stringent of the three categories. PHMSA proposes to add a new paragraph (b)(3) to require mechanical connections on plastic pipe to be a Category 1 connection as defined by ASTM F1924, ASTM F1948, or ASTM F1973 for the applicable material, providing a seal plus resistance to a force on the pipe joint equal to or greater than that which will cause no less than 25% elongation of pipe, or the pipe fails outside the joint area if tested in accordance with the applicable standard.

    G.8.—Equipment Maintenance; Plastic Pipe Joining (Section 192.756)

    Due to the difficulty in assessing the quality of field joints, it is very important for operators to use properly calibrated and maintained equipment. Currently, the PSR do not contain detailed minimum provisions for maintaining equipment used in joining plastic pipe. Therefore, PHMSA proposes to add a new § 192.756 to include such requirements. These provisions would require each operator to maintain the applicable equipment, including measuring devices for joining plastic pipe, in accordance with the manufacturers' recommended practices or alternative procedures that have been proven by testing and experience. Operators would also be required to calibrate and test such equipment and devices and maintain records that substantiate these calibrations and tests. The equipment subject to these requirements would include, but not be limited to, fusion equipment, alignment equipment, facing and adaptor equipment, heater plates, and gauging devices. PHMSA proposes that records of all tests and calibrations, except those that might occur through daily verifications and adjustments, be maintained for the life of the pipeline.

    H. Repairs H.1.—Repair of Plastic Pipe (Gouges)

    Section 192.311 currently specifies that, for plastic pipe, each imperfection or damage that would impair the serviceability of plastic pipe must be repaired or removed. For consistency with industry best practices, PHMSA proposes to include a requirement for all plastic pipe and or components to be replaced if they have a scratch or gouge exceeding 10 percent of the wall thickness.

    H.2.—Leak Repair Clamps

    PHMSA and States have observed issues where some operators have used stainless steel band clamps, intended and designed for temporary repairs on plastic pipe used in gas distribution, as a permanent repair solution. While clamps can be an effective temporary solution in certain situations, such as during an incident to stop the release of gas, PHMSA believes that these clamps should be used only as a temporary repair measure until the pipe can be replaced. PHMSA is also aware of at least one manufacturer that has issued a letter saying its repair clamps are intended for temporary repairs only and should be replaced with a more permanent solution. Therefore, PHMSA proposes the incorporation of a new section (§ 192.720) to prohibit the use of leak-repair clamps as a means for permanent repair on gas pipe used in distribution service.

    I. General Provisions

    PHMSA is proposing a number of general revisions to the PSR as follows:

    I.1. Incorporation by Reference (Section 192.7)

    Consistent with the proposed amendments in this document, PHMSA proposes to incorporate by reference several standards. The standards are identified as follows:

    • ASTM D2513-12ael “Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings”—This specification covers requirements and test methods for material dimensions and tolerances, hydrostatic burst strength, chemical resistance, and rapid crack resistance of polyethylene pipe, tubing, and fittings for use in fuel gas mains and services for direct burial and reliner applications. The pipe and fittings covered by this specification are intended for use in the distribution of natural gas. Requirements for the qualifying of polyethylene systems for use with liquefied petroleum gas are also covered.

    • ASTM F2785-12 “Standard Specification for Polyamide 12 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings”—This specification covers requirements and test methods for the characterization of polyamide 12 pipe, tubing, and fittings for use in fuel gas mains and services for direct burial and reliner applications. The pipe and fittings covered by this specification are intended for use in the distribution of natural gas.

    • ASTM F2945-12a “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” 11/27/2012.—This specification covers requirements and test methods for the characterization of polyamide 11 pipe, tubing, and fittings for use in fuel gas piping.

    • ASTM F2620-12 “Standard Practice for Heat Fusion Joining of Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings” 11/01/2013.—This practice describes procedures for making joints with polyethylene (PE) pipe and fittings by means of heat fusion joining in, but not limited to, a field environment. The parameters and procedures are applicable only to joining PE pipe and fittings of related polymer chemistry.

    • ASTM D2564-12 “Standard Specification for Solvent Cements for Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Plastic Piping Systems” 08/01/2012.—This specification covers requirements for poly (vinyl chloride) (PVC) solvent cements to be used in joining poly (vinyl chloride) piping systems.

    • ASTM F2817-10 “Standard Specification for Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Gas Pressure Pipe and Fittings For Maintenance or Repair” (PVC components only) 08/01/2013—This specification covers requirements for PVC pipe and tubing for use only to maintain or repair existing PVC gas piping.

    • ASTM F2897-11a “Standard Specification for Tracking and Traceability Encoding System of Natural Gas Distribution Components (Pipe, Tubing, Fittings, Valves, and Appurtenances)” 11/01/2011—This specification defines requirements for the data used in the tracking and traceability base-62 encoding system and the format of the resultant code to characterize various components used in fuel gas piping systems.

    • ASTM/ANSI F2600-09 “Standard Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyamide-11 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide-11 Pipe and Tubing” 4/1/2009.—This specification covers polyamide-11 electrofusion fittings for use with outside diameter-controlled polyamide-11 pipe, covered by Specification D2513. Requirements for materials, workmanship, and testing performance are included.

    • ASTM F2767-12 “Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyamide-12 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide-12 Pipe and Tubing for Gas Distribution” 10/15/2012.—This specification applies to polyamide-12 electrofusion fittings for use with outside diameter-controlled polyamide-12 pipes, addressed by Specification F2785.

    • ASTM/ANSI F2145-13 “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 (PA 11) and Polyamide 12 (PA12) Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide 11 and Polyamide 12 Pipe and Tubing” 05/01/2013.—This specification describes requirements and test methods for the qualification of Polyamide 11 (PA 11) bodied mechanical fittings for use with outside diameter controlled PA 11, nominal 2 pipe size (IPS) and smaller complying with Specification D2513. The requirements and test methods for the qualification of Polyamide 12 (PA12) bodied mechanical fittings for use with outside diameter controlled Polyamide 11 (PA11), nominal 2 in pipe size (IPS) and smaller complying with Specification D2513 and outside diameter controlled PA12, nominal 2 in pipe size (IPS) and smaller complying with Specification F2785. In addition, it specifies general requirements of the material from which these fittings are made.

    • ASTM/ANSI F1948-12 “Standard Specification for Metallic Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Thermoplastic Gas Distribution Pipe and Tubing” 04/01/2012.—This specification covers requirements and test methods for the qualification of metallic mechanical fittings for use with outside diameter controlled thermoplastic gas distribution pipe and tubing as specified in Specification D2513.

    • ASTM F1973-13 “Standard Specification for Factory Assembled Anodeless Risers and Transition Fittings in Polyethylene (PE) and Polyamide 11 (PA11) and Polyamide 12 (PA12) Fuel Gas Distribution Systems” 05/01/2013.—This specification covers requirements and test methods for the qualification of factory assembled anodeless risers and transition fittings, for use in polyethylene (PE), in sizes through NPS 8, and Polyamide 11 (PA11) and Polyamide 12 (PA12), in sizes through NPS 6, gas distribution systems.

    • ASME/ANSI B 16.40-08 “Manually Operated Thermoplastic Gas Shutoffs and Valves in Gas Distribution Systems” 04/30/2008.—This standard covers manually operated thermo-plastic valves in nominal valve sizes 1/2 through 12 intended for use below ground in thermoplastic fuel gas distribution mains and service lines.

    • PPI TR-4/2012 “PPI Listing of Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB), Hydrostatic Design Stress (HDS), Strength Design Basis (SDB), Pressure Design Basis (PDB) and Minimum Required Strength (MRS) Rating For Thermoplastic Piping Materials or Pipe.”—This report lists thermoplastic piping materials with a Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) recommended Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB), Strength Design Basis (SDB), Pressure Design Basis (PDB) or Minimum Required Strength (MRS) rating for thermoplastic piping materials or pipe. These listings have been established in accordance with PPI TR-3.

    PHMSA also proposes to update the following standards which are summarized below:

    • ASTM F1055-98 (2006) “Standard Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyethylene Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyethylene Pipe and Tubing” This specification covers electrofusion polyethylene fittings for use with outside diameter-controlled polyethylene pipe, covered by Specifications D 2447, D 2513, D 2737, D 3035, and F 714. This specification is a 2006 reaffirmed version of the 1998 version, meaning the technical content of the standard itself hadn't changed but as a matter of process had to be reviewed by the ASTM technical committee to keep it active. It should be noted there is a more current version of the F1055 standard (ASTM F1015-13) but PHMSA has chosen not to propose that version as the name and scope have expanded to include Crosslinked Polyethylene (PEX) Pipe and Tubing, a material not otherwise recognized in the 49 CFR part 192. PHMSA is open to comments on whether or not the latest version should be considered; and

    • PPI TR-3/2012 “Policies and Procedures for Developing Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB), Hydrostatic Design Stresses (HDS), Pressure Design Basis (PDB), Strength Design Basis (SDB), Minimum Required Strength (MRS) Ratings, and Categorized Required Strength (CRS) for Thermoplastic Piping Materials or Pipe”—This report presents the policies and procedures used by the HSB (Hydrostatic Stress Board) of PPI (Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc.) to develop recommendations of long-term strength ratings for commercial thermoplastic piping materials or pipe. This version is an update to the 2008 version currently incorporated by reference. A more detailed summary of updates to the 2010 version (successor to the 2008 version) is available in the 2012 document itself. Recommendations are published in PPI TR-4.

    I.2. Plastic Pipe Material

    Section 192.59 specifies requirements for plastic pipe materials. Paragraph (a) details the qualification-for-use requirements for new plastic pipe. PHMSA proposes to add a new paragraph (a)(3) to require new plastic pipe be free from visible defects, a requirement consistent with a similar requirement already in place for used plastic pipe as detailed in paragraph (b)(5). At this time, non-destructive evaluation technologies have not been proven to be reliable and effective for inspecting plastic pipe. Therefore, visual inspection continues to be the primary method for detecting and evaluating defects.

    In § 192.59, paragraph (b) details specific qualification requirements for used plastic pipe. Section 192.59(b)(3) specifies that used plastic pipe is qualified for use if it has been used only in natural gas service. PHMSA believes that used plastic pipe should not be limited to “natural gas” service but in any “gas” service as defined in § 192.3. This is consistent with the applicability provisions in § 192.1, which specifies that part 192 prescribes minimum safety requirements for the transportation of “gas.” Therefore, PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.59(b)(3) to replace “natural gas” with “gas.”

    PHMSA is also looking to address some issues surrounding PVC pipe and components used for repair situations. Historically, PVC pipe and components have technically been allowed by code, including for repair, but industry has slowly been phasing out the installation and use of PVC piping, including for repair, in favor of other newer and better-performing plastic materials. PVC components are still used to a larger extent, however, as they are not as susceptible to the same issues of brittle-like cracking as PVC piping. To align with this shift, PHMSA is proposing to add a new § 192.59(e) to explicitly prohibit the use of PVC pipe for new installations after the effective date of the rule, including for repairs. This new requirement would not prevent the use of previously installed PVC pipe, nor would it preclude the use of PVC components for the repair of existing PVC pipe. Requirements for PVC were previously addressed under ASTM D2513-99, but following the change to make ASTM D2513 a PE-only standard, there is now a standalone ASTM standard for PVC. For PVC components used to repair existing PVC pipe, PHMSA is proposing to incorporate ASTM F2817-10, “Standard Specification for Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Gas Pressure Pipe and Fittings For Maintenance or Repair.”

    I.3. Plastic Pipe Storage and Handling

    Currently, the PSR do not directly address the storage and handling of plastic pipe other than through standards incorporated by reference. In an effort to reduce any confusion regarding the proper storage and handling of plastic pipe, PHMSA proposes a new § 192.67. The proposed new section would require operators to have written procedures for storage and handling that meets the applicable listed specification.

    I.4. Gathering Lines

    Section 192.9 currently details the requirements applicable to gathering lines. In particular, § 192.9(d) specifies the requirements for Type B regulated onshore gathering lines. Currently, as specified under § 192.9(d)(1), gathering line operators are required to comply with the design, installation, construction, initial inspection, and initial testing requirements in part 192 applicable to transmission lines. This would include plastic pipe requirements such as for design (§ 192.121), joining (§§ 192.281 and 192.283), and installation (§ 192.321). PHMSA believes that this information may not be clear since most transmission lines do not consist of plastic pipe. Therefore, PHMSA proposes to add a new paragraph (d)(7) to specify that such pipelines, if containing plastic pipe or components, must comply with all requirements of part 192 applicable to plastic pipe.

    I.5. Merge Sections 192.121 and 192.123

    Currently, § 192.121 specifies the calculations for determining the design pressure for plastic pipe, while § 192.123 specifies the design limitations for plastic pipe. In an effort to make the PSR easier to follow and to increase clarity, PHMSA proposes to merge the § 192.123 design limitations into § 192.121. PHMSA also proposes to increase the maximum design factor for PE pipe, increase the design pressure limitations of PA-11 pipe, and add design factor and pressure limitations for the use of PA-12 plastic pipe. These proposals would apply to materials produced after the effective date of the final rule.

    I.6. General Design Requirements for Components (Section 192.143)

    Section 192.143 contains general design provisions for pipeline components. For clarification purposes, PHMSA proposes the addition of a new paragraph (c) to specify that components used for plastic pipe must be able to withstand operating pressures and anticipated loads in accordance with a listed specification. Currently, § 192.191 specifies design pressure requirements for plastic fittings. With the addition of § 192.143(c), § 192.191 would be redundant; therefore, PHMSA proposes its removal.

    I.7. General Design Requirements for Valves (Section 192.145)

    Section 192.145 contains general design provisions for pipeline valves. For clarification purposes, PHMSA proposes the addition of a new paragraph (f) to specify that plastic valves must meet a “listed specification” as defined in § 192.3. PHMSA also proposes to clarify that plastic valves must not be used in operating conditions that exceed the applicable pressure or temperature ratings detailed in the applicable listed specification, consistent with language in § 192.145(a).

    I.8. General Design Requirements for Standard Fittings (Section 192.149)

    Section 192.149 contains general design provisions for pipeline fittings. For clarification purposes, PHMSA proposes the addition of a new paragraph (c) to specify that a plastic fitting may only be used if it meets a listed specification.

    I.9. Test Requirements for Plastic Pipelines

    Section 192.513(c) currently states that the test pressure for plastic pipelines must be at least 150 percent of the maximum operating pressure or 50 psig, whichever is greater, and that the maximum test pressure may not be more than 3 times the pressure determined under § 192.121. Given the other design limitations in the current § 192.123 for PE and PA-11, and the revisions being proposed in this rule for PE, PA-11, and PA-12, PHMSA believes that plastic pipe will potentially be overstressed if tested to 3 times the pressure determined under § 192.121. Therefore, PHMSA proposes to revise § 192.513(c) so that the maximum limit for test pressure is 2.5 times the pressure determined under § 192.121.

    II. Availability of Standards Incorporated by Reference

    PHMSA currently incorporates by reference into 49 CFR parts 192, 193, and 195 all or parts of more than 60 standards and specifications developed and published by standard developing organizations (SDOs). In general, SDOs update and revise their published standards every 3 to 5 years to reflect modern technology and best technical practices.

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-113) directs Federal agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in lieu of government-written standards whenever possible. Voluntary consensus standards are standards developed or adopted by voluntary bodies that develop, establish, or coordinate technical standards using agreed-upon procedures. In addition, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued OMB Circular A-119 to implement Section 12(d) of Public Law 104-113 relative to the utilization of consensus technical standards by Federal agencies. This circular provides guidance for agencies participating in voluntary consensus standards bodies and describes procedures for satisfying the reporting requirements in Public Law 104-113.

    In accordance with the preceding provisions, PHMSA has the responsibility for determining, via petitions or otherwise, which currently referenced standards should be updated, revised, or removed, and which standards should be added to 49 CFR parts 192, 193, and 195. Revisions to incorporated by reference materials in 49 CFR parts 192, 193, and 195 are handled via the rulemaking process, which allows for the public and regulated entities to provide input. During the rulemaking process, PHMSA must also obtain approval from the Office of the Federal Register to incorporate by reference any new materials.

    On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, Public Law 112-90. Section 24 states: “Beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Secretary may not issue guidance or a regulation pursuant to this chapter that incorporates by reference any documents or portions thereof unless the documents or portions thereof are made available to the public, free of charge, on an Internet Web site.” 49 U.S.C. 60102(p).

    On August 9, 2013, Public Law 113-30 revised 49 U.S.C. 60102(p) to replace “1 year” with “3 years” and remove the phrases “guidance or” and “,on an Internet Web site.” This resulted in the current language in 49 U.S.C. 60102(p), which now reads as follows:

    “Beginning 3 years after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Secretary may not issue a regulation pursuant to this chapter that incorporates by reference any documents or portions thereof unless the documents or portions thereof are made available to the public, free of charge.”

    Further, the Office of the Federal Register issued a November 7, 2014, rulemaking (79 FR 66278) that revised 1 CFR 51.5 to require that agencies detail in the preamble of a proposed rulemaking the ways the materials it proposes to incorporate by reference are reasonably available to interested parties, or how the agency worked to make those materials reasonably available to interested parties. In relation to this proposed rulemaking, PHMSA has contacted each SDO and has requested a hyperlink to a free copy of each standard that has been proposed for incorporation by reference. Access to these standards will be granted until the end of the comment period for this proposed rulemaking. Access to these documents can be found on the PHMSA Web site at the following URL: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/regs under “Standards Incorporated by Reference.”

    III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices Summary/Legal Authority for This Rulemaking

    This NPRM is published under the authority of the Federal pipeline safety law (49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.). Section 60102 authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations governing design, installation, inspection, emergency plans and procedures, testing, construction, extension, operation, replacement, and maintenance of pipeline facilities. Further, Section 60102(l) of the Federal pipeline safety law states that the Secretary shall, to the extent appropriate and practicable, update incorporated industry standards that have been adopted as a part of the PSR. If adopted as proposed, this NPRM would modify the PSR applicable to plastic pipe.

    Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This NPRM is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735) and therefore was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This NPRM is not significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034).

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 require agencies to regulate in the “most cost-effective manner,” to make a “reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs,” and to develop regulations that “impose the least burden on society.” PHMSA proposes to amend the PSR with regards to plastic pipe to improve compliance with these regulations by updating and adding references to technical standards and providing clarification. PHMSA anticipates that the amendments contained in this NPRM will have economic benefits to the regulated community by increasing the clarity of its regulations and reducing compliance costs. A copy of the regulatory evaluation is available for review in the docket.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) requires an agency to review regulations to assess their impact on small entities, unless the agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule has been developed in accordance with Executive Order 13272 (“Proper Consideration of Small Entities in Agency Rulemaking”) and DOT's procedures and policies to promote compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act to ensure that potential impacts of draft rules on small entities are properly considered.

    While PHMSA does not collect information on the number of employees or revenues of pipeline operators, it does continuously seek information on the number of small pipeline operators to more fully determine any impacts PHMSA's proposed regulations may have on small entities. This NPRM proposes to require small and large operators to comply with these requirements. A copy of the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has been placed in the docket.

    Executive Order 13175

    PHMSA has analyzed this NPRM according to the principles and criteria in Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.” Because this NPRM does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of the Indian tribal governments or impose substantial direct compliance costs, the funding and consultation requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This NPRM does not impose any new information collection requirements.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This NPRM does not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It would not result in costs of $100 million, adjusted for inflation, or more in any one year to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objective of the NPRM.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    PHMSA analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with section 102(2)(c) of the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4332), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and DOT Order 5610.1C, and has preliminarily determined that this action will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. A preliminary environmental assessment of this rulemaking is available in the docket, and PHMSA invites comment on environmental impacts of this rule, if any.

    Privacy Act Statement

    Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received for any of our dockets. You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (70 FR 19477).

    Executive Order 13132

    PHMSA has analyzed this NPRM according to Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”). The NPRM does not have a substantial direct effect on the States, the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. This NPRM does not impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments. This NPRM does not preempt State law for intrastate pipelines. Therefore, the consultation and funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.

    Executive Order 13211

    This NPRM is not a “significant energy action” under Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use). It is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on supply, distribution, or energy use. Further, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated this NPRM as a significant energy action.

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 192

    Incorporation by reference, Pipeline safety, Plastic pipe, Security measures.

    In consideration of the foregoing, PHMSA proposes to amend 49 CFR Chapter I as follows:

    PART 192—TRANSPORTATION OF NATURAL AND OTHER GAS BY PIPELINE: MINIMUM FEDERAL SAFETY STANDARDS 1. The authority citation for part 192 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 5103, 60102, 60104, 60108, 60109, 60110, 60113, 60116, and 60118; and 49 CFR 1.97.

    2. Section 192.3 is revised to add the following definitions in appropriate alphabetical order as follows:
    § 192.3 Definitions.

    Traceability information means data that is provided within ASTM F2897-11a (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) that indicates within the unique identifier, at a minimum, the location of manufacture, production, lot information, size, material, pressure rating, temperature rating and, as appropriate, type, grade and model of pipe and components.

    Tracking information means data that provides for the identification of the location of pipe and components, the date installed, and the person who made the joints in the pipeline system.

    Weak Link means a device used when pulling polyethylene pipe, typically through methods such as horizontal directional drilling, to ensure that damage will not occur to the pipeline by exceeding the maximum tensile stresses allowed.

    3. Amend § 192.7 as follows: a. Remove paragraphs (d)(11), (d)(12), (d)(13), (d)(15), (j)(1), b. Redesignate paragraphs (c)(3) through (c)(9) as paragraphs (c)(4)-(10) and redesignate paragraph (d)(14) as (d)(12). c. Add paragraphs (c)(3), (d)(11), (d)(13) through (d)(25), (j)(1), and (j)(2) to read as follows.
    § 192.7 What documents are incorporated by reference partly or wholly in this part?

    (c) * * *

    (3) ASME/ANSI B 16.40-08, “Manually Operated Thermoplastic Gas Shutoffs and Valves in Gas Distribution Systems,” (ASME/ANSI B16.40-08), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (d) * * *

    (11) ASTM D2513-12ae1, “Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings,” (ASTM D2513-12ae1), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (13) ASTM D2564-12, “Standard Specification for Solvent Cements for Poly(Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Plastic Piping Systems,” (ASTM D2564-12), IBR approved for § 192.281(b)(2).

    (14) ASTM F1055-98 (2006), “Standard Specification for Electro fusion Type Polyethylene Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyethylene Pipe and Tubing,” (ASTM F1055-98), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (15) ASTM F1924-12, “Standard Specification for Plastic Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Polyethylene Gas Distribution Pipe and Tubing,” (ASTM F1924-12), IBR approved for §§ 192.281(e); 192.367(b)(3); and Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (16) ASTM F1948-12, “Standard Specification for Metallic Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Thermoplastic Gas Distribution Pipe and Tubing,” (ASTM F1948-12), IBR approved for §§ 192.281(e); 192.367(b)(3); and Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (17) ASTM F1973-13, “Standard Specification for Factory Assembled Anodeless Risers and Transition Fittings in Polyethylene (PE) and Polyamide 11 (PA 11) and Polyamide 12 (PA 12) Fuel Gas Distribution Systems,” (ASTM F1973-13), IBR approved for §§ 192.204(b); 192.281(e); 192.367(b)(3); and Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (18) ASTM/ANSI F2145-13, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 (PA-11) and Polyamide 12 (PA-12) Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide 11 and Polyamide 12 Pipe and Tubing,” (ASTM/ANSI F2145-13), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (19) ASTM/ANSI F2600-09, “Standard Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyamide-11 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide-11 Pipe and Tubing,” (ASTM/ANSI F2600-09), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (20) ASTM F2620-12, “Standard Practice for Heat Fusion Joining of Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings,” (ASTM F2620-12), IBR approved for §§ 192.281(c) and 192.285(b)(2)(i).

    (21) ASTM F2767-12, “Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyamide-12 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide-12 Pipe and Tubing for Gas Distribution,” (ASTM F2767-12), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (22) ASTM F2785-12, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 12 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” PA-12, (ASTM F2785-12), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (23) ASTM F2817-10, “Standard Specification for Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Gas Pressure Pipe and Fittings For Maintenance or Repair,” (ASTM F2817-10), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (24) ASTM F2897-11a, “Standard Specification for Tracking and Traceability Encoding System of Natural Gas Distribution Components (Pipe, Tubing, Fittings, Valves, and Appurtenances),” (ASTM F2897-11a), IBR approved for §§ 192.3 and 192.63(e).

    (25) ASTM F2945-12a “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings,” PA-11, (ASTM F2945-12a), IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.

    (j) * * *

    (1) PPI TR-3/2012, “Policies and Procedures for Developing Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB), Hydrostatic Design Stresses (HDS), Pressure Design Basis (PDB), Strength Design Basis (SDB), Minimum Required Strength (MRS) Ratings, and Categorized Required Strength (CRS) for Thermoplastic Piping Materials or Pipe,” (PPI TR-3/2012), IBR approved for § 192.121.

    (2) PPI TR-4/2012, “PPI Listing of Hydrostatic Design Basis (HDB), Hydrostatic Design Stress (HDS), Strength Design Basis (SDB), Pressure Design Basis (PDB) and Minimum Required Strength (MRS) Rating For Thermoplastic Piping Materials or Pipe,” (PPI TR-4/2012), IBR approved for § 192.121.

    4. In § 192.9, paragraphs (d)(5) and (d)(6) are revised and paragraph (d)(7) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.9 What requirements apply to gathering lines?

    (d) * * *

    (5) Establish the MAOP of the line under § 192.619;

    (6) Install and maintain line markers according to the requirements for transmission lines in § 192.707; and

    (7) If the pipeline contains plastic pipe or components, the operator must comply with all applicable requirements of this part for plastic pipe and components.

    5. In § 192.59, paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (b)(3) are revised and paragraphs (a)(3) and (e) are added to read as follows:
    § 192.59 Plastic pipe.

    (a) * * *

    (1) It is manufactured in accordance with a listed specification;

    (2) It is resistant to chemicals with which contact may be anticipated; and

    (3) It is free of visible defects.

    (b) * * *

    (3) It has been used only in gas service;

    (e) Except for PVC fittings used for repairs on existing PVC pipelines with materials manufactured in accordance with the listed specification, PVC pipe cannot be used.

    6. In § 192.63, paragraph (a) is revised and paragraph (e) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.63 Marking of materials.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, each valve, fitting, length of pipe, and other component must be marked as prescribed in the specification or standard to which it was manufactured.

    (e) Additional requirements for plastic pipe and components.

    (1) All markings on plastic pipe prescribed in the listed specification and the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) shall be repeated at intervals not exceeding 2 feet.

    (2) Plastic pipe and components manufactured after [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE], must be marked in accordance with ASTM F2897 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) in addition to the listed specification.

    (3) All markings on plastic pipelines prescribed in the specification and paragraph (e)(2) shall be legible, visible, and permanent in accordance with the listed specification. Records of markings prescribed in the specification and paragraph (e)(2) shall be maintained for the life the pipeline per the requirements of §§ 192.321(k) and 192.375(d).

    7. Section 192.67 is added to read as follows:
    § 192.67 Storage and handling for plastic pipelines.

    Each operator must develop and follow written procedures for the storage and handling of plastic pipe and/or associated components that meet the applicable listed specifications.

    8. Section 192.121 is revised to read as follows:
    § 192.121 Design of plastic pipe.

    (a) Design formula. Design formulas for plastic pipe are determined in accordance with either of the following formulas:

    EP21MY15.013 P = Design pressure, gage, psi (kPa). S = For thermoplastic pipe, the HDB is determined in accordance with the listed specification at a temperature equal to 73 °F (23 °C), 100 °F (38 °C), 120 °F (49 °C), or 140 °F (60 °C). In the absence of an HDB established at the specified temperature, the HDB of a higher temperature may be used in determining a design pressure rating at the specified temperature by arithmetic interpolation using the procedure in Part D.2 of PPI TR-3, (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7). For reinforced thermosetting plastic pipe, 11,000 psig (75,842 kPa). t = Specified wall thickness, inches (mm). D = Specified outside diameter, inches (mm). SDR = Standard dimension ratio, the ratio of the average specified outside diameter to the minimum specified wall thickness, corresponding to a value from a common numbering system that was derived from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) preferred number series 10. DF = Design Factor, a maximum of 0.32 unless otherwise specified for a particular material in this section.

    (b) General requirements for plastic pipe and components. (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (c) through (f) of this section, the design pressure for plastic pipe may not exceed a gauge pressure of 100 psig (689 kPa) for pipe used in:

    (i) Distribution systems; or

    (ii) Transmission lines in Class 3 and 4 locations.

    (2) Plastic pipe may not be used where operating temperatures of the pipe will be:

    (i) Below −20 °F (−29 °C), or −40 °F (−40 °C) if all pipe and pipeline components whose operating temperature will be below −20 °F (−29 °C) have a temperature rating by the manufacturer consistent with that operating temperature; or

    (ii) Above the temperature at which the HDB used in the design formula under this section is determined.

    (3) Unless specified for a particular material in this section, the wall thickness for plastic pipe may not be less than 0.062 inches (1.57 millimeters).

    (4) All plastic pipe must have a listed HDB in accordance with PPI TR-4 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    (c) Polyethylene (PE) pipe requirements. (1) For PE pipe produced between July 14, 2004, and [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE], a design pressure of up to 125 psig may be used, provided:

    (i) The material designation code is a PE2406 or PE3408.

    (ii) The pipe has a nominal size (IPS or CTS) of 12 inches or less (above nominal pipe size of 12 inches, the design pressure is limited to 100 psig); and

    (iii) The wall thickness is not less than 0.062 inches (1.57 millimeters).

    (2) For PE pipe produced after [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE], a DF of 0.40 may be used in the design formula, provided:

    (i) The design pressure is limited to 125 psig;

    (ii) The material designation code is PE2708 or PE4710;

    (iii) The pipe has a nominal size (IPS or CTS) of 12 inches or less; and

    (iv) The wall thickness for a given outside diameter is not less than that listed in the following table:

    Pipe size in inches Minimum wall
  • thickness
  • in inches
  • Corresponding
  • DR values
  • 1/2″ CTS 0.090 7 3/4″ CTS 0.090 9.7 1/2″ IPS 0.090 9.3 3/4″ IPS 0.095 11 1″ IPS 0.119 11 1 1/4″ IPS 0.151 11 1 1/2″ IPS 0.173 11 2″ 0.216 11 3″ 0.259 13.5 4″ 0.265 17 6″ 0.315 21 8″ 0.411 21 10″ 0.512 21 12″ 0.607 21

    (d) Polyamide (PA-11) pipe requirements. (1) For PA-11 pipe produced between January 23, 2009, and [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE], a DF of 0.40 may be used in the design formula, provided:

    (i) The design pressure is limited to 200 psig;

    (ii) The material designation code is PA32312 or PA32316;

    (iii) The pipe has a nominal size (IPS or CTS) of 4 inches or less; and

    (iv) The pipe has a standard dimension ratio of SDR-11 or less (i.e., thicker-wall pipe).

    (2) For PA-11 pipe produced on or after [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE], a DF of 0.40 may be used in the design formula, provided:

    (i) The design pressure is limited to 250 psig;

    (ii) The material designation code is PA32316;

    (iii) The pipe has a nominal size (IPS or CTS) of 6 inches or less; and

    (iv) The minimum wall thickness for a given outside diameter is not less than that listed in the following table:

    Pipe size
  • (inches)
  • Minimum wall thickness
  • (inches)
  • Corresponding DR
  • (values)
  • 1″ IPS 0.119 11 1 1/4″ IPS 0.151 11 1 1/2″ IPS 0.173 11 2″ 0.216 11 3″ 0.259 13.5 4″ 0.333 13.5 6″ 0.491 13.5

    (e) Polyamide (PA-12) pipe requirements. For PA-12 pipe produced after [INSERT EFFECTIVE DATE OF FINAL RULE], a DF of 0.40 may be used in the design formula, provided:

    (1) The design pressure is limited to 250 psig;

    (2) The pipe has a nominal size (IPS or CTS) of 6 inches or less; and

    (3) The minimum wall thickness for a given outside diameter is not less than that listed in the following table.

    Pipe size
  • (inches)
  • Minimum wall thickness
  • (inches)
  • Corresponding SDR
  • (values)
  • 1″ IPS 0.119 11 1 1/4″ IPS 0.151 11 1 1/2″ IPS 0.173 11 2″ 0.216 11 3″ 0.259 13.5 4″ 0.333 13.5 6″ 0.491 13.5

    (f) Reinforced thermosetting plastic pipe requirements.

    (i) Reinforced thermosetting plastic pipe may not be used at operating temperatures above 150 °F (66 °C).

    (ii) The wall thickness for reinforced thermosetting plastic pipe may not be less than that listed in the following table:

    Nominal size in inches
  • (millimeters).
  • Minimum wall thickness inches
  • (millimeters).
  • 2 (51) 0.060 (1.52) 3 (76) 0.060 (1.52) 4 (102) 0.070 (1.78) 6 (152) 0.100 (2.54)
    § 192.123 [Removed and Reserved].
    9. Section 192.123 is removed and reserved. 10. In § 192.143, paragraph (c) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.143 General requirements.

    (c) Each plastic component of a pipeline must be able to withstand operating pressures and other anticipated loads in accordance with a listed specification.

    11. In § 192.145, paragraph (f) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.145 Valves.

    (f) Plastic valves must meet the minimum requirements stipulated in a listed specification. A valve may not be used under operating conditions that exceed the applicable pressure and temperature ratings contained in those requirements.

    12. In § 192.149, paragraph (c) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.149 Standard fittings.

    (c) Plastic fittings must meet a listed specification.

    § 192.191 [Removed and Reserved].
    13. Section 192.191 is removed and reserved. 14. Section 192.204 is added to read as follows:
    § 192.204 Risers.

    (a) The design shall be tested to ensure safe performance under anticipated external and internal loads acting on the assembly.

    (b) Risers shall be designed and tested in accordance with ASTM F1973 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    (c) All risers connected to plastic mains and used on regulator stations must be rigid and have a minimum 3 ft. horizontal base leg designed to provide adequate support and resist lateral movement. Riser design shall be tested and accepted in accordance with ASTM F1973 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    15. In § 192.281, paragraphs (b)(2),(b)(3), and (c) are revised and paragraphs (e)(3) and (e)(4) are added to read as follows:
    § 192.281 Plastic Pipe.

    (b) * * *

    (2) The solvent cement must conform to ASTM D2564-12 for PVC (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    (3) The joint may not be heated or cooled to accelerate the setting of the cement.

    (c) Heat-fusion joints. Each heat fusion joint on a plastic pipe and/or component must comply with ASTM 2620-12 (incorporated by reference in § 192.7) and the following:

    (1) A butt heat-fusion joint must be joined by a device that holds the heater element square to the ends of the pipe and/or component, compresses the heated ends together, and holds the pipe in proper alignment in accordance with the qualified procedures.

    (2) A socket heat-fusion joint equal to or less than 11/4-inches must be joined by a device that heats the mating surfaces of the pipe and/or component, uniformly and simultaneously, to establish the same temperature. The device used must be the same device specified in the operator's joining procedure for socket fusion. A socket heat-fusion joint may not be joined on a pipe and/or component greater than 11/4 inches.

    (3) An electrofusion joint must be made utilizing the equipment and techniques prescribed by the fitting manufacturer, or utilizing equipment and techniques shown, by testing joints to the requirements of § 192.283(b) to be equivalent to or better than the requirements of the fitting manufacturer.

    (4) Heat may not be applied with a torch or other open flame.

    (e) * * *

    (3) All mechanical fittings must meet a listed specification based upon the pipe material.

    (4) All mechanical joints or fittings shall be Category 1 as defined by ASTM F1924, ASTM F1948, or ASTM F1973 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) for the applicable material, providing a seal plus resistance to a force on the pipe joint equal to or greater than that which will cause no less than 25% elongation of pipe, or the pipe fails outside the joint area if tested in accordance with the applicable standard.

    16. Section 192.283 is revised to read as follows:
    § 192.283 Plastic pipe: Qualifying joining procedures.

    (a) Heat fusion, solvent cement, and adhesive joints. Before any written procedure established under § 192.273(b) is used for making plastic pipe joints by a heat fusion, solvent cement, or adhesive method, the procedure must be qualified by subjecting specimen joints made according to the procedure to the following tests as applicable:

    (1) The test requirements of—

    (i) In the case of thermoplastic pipe, based upon the pipe material, the Sustained Pressure Test or the Minimum Hydrostatic Burst Test per the listed specification requirements. Additionally, for electrofusion joints, based upon the pipe material, the Tensile Strength Test or the Joint Integrity Test per the listed specification.

    (ii) In the case of thermosetting plastic pipe, paragraph 8.5 (Minimum Hydrostatic Burst Pressure) or paragraph 8.9 (Sustained Static Pressure Test) of ASTM D2517 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    (2) For procedures intended for lateral pipe connections, subject a specimen joint made from pipe sections joined at right angles according to the procedure to a force on the lateral pipe until failure occurs in the specimen. If failure initiates outside the joint area, the procedure qualifies for use.

    (3) For procedures intended for non-lateral pipe connections, perform testing in accordance to a listed specification. If elongation of the test specimen of no more than 25% or failure initiates outside the joint area, the procedure qualifies for use.

    (b) Mechanical joints. Before any written procedure established under § 192.273(b) is used for making mechanical plastic pipe joints, the procedure must be qualified in accordance with a listed specification, based upon the pipe material.

    (c) A copy of each written procedure being used for joining plastic pipe must be available to the persons making and inspecting joints.

    17. In § 192.285, paragraph (b)(2)(i) is revised to read as follows:
    § 192.285 Plastic pipe: Qualifying persons to make joints.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) Tested under any one of the test methods listed under § 192.283(a) or the inspection and test set forth in accordance with ASTM F2620-12 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) applicable to the type of joint and material being tested;

    18. Section 192.311 is revised to read as follows:
    § 192.311 Repair of plastic pipelines.

    (a) Each imperfection or damage that would impair the serviceability of plastic pipe must be repaired or removed.

    (b) All scratches or gouges exceeding 10% of wall thickness of pipe and/or components shall be repaired or removed.

    19. In § 192.313, a new paragraph (d) added to read as follows:
    § 192.313 Bends and elbows.

    (d) Plastic pipe may not be installed containing bends that exceed the maximum radius specified by the manufacturer for the diameter of the pipe being installed.

    20. In § 192.321, paragraphs (a), (d), (f), and (h)(3) are revised and paragraphs (i), (j), and (k) are added to read as follows:
    § 192.321 Installation of plastic pipelines.

    (a) Plastic pipe must be installed below ground level except as provided by paragraphs (g), (h), and (j) of this section.

    (d) Plastic pipe must have a minimum wall thickness of 0.090 inches (2.29 millimeters).

    (f) Plastic pipe that is being encased must be inserted into the casing pipe in a manner that will protect the plastic. Plastic pipe that is being encased must be protected from damage at all entrance and all exit points of the casing. The leading end of the plastic must be closed before insertion.

    (h) * * *

    (3) Not allowed to exceed the pipe temperature limits specified in § 192.121.

    (i) Backfill material must:

    (1) Not contain materials that could be detrimental to the pipe, such as rocks of a size exceeding those established through sound engineering practices; and

    (2) Be properly compacted underneath, along the sides, and for predetermined distance above the pipe.

    (j) Plastic mains may terminate above ground level provided they comply with the following:

    (1) The aboveground level part of the plastic main is protected against deterioration and external damage.

    (2) The plastic main is not used to support external loads.

    (3) Installations of risers at regulator stations must meet the design requirements of § 192.204.

    (k) Tracking and Traceability. Each operator must maintain records for tracking and traceability information (as defined in § 192.3) for the life of the pipeline.

    21. Section 192.329 is added to read as follows:
    § 192.329 Installation of plastic pipelines by trenchless excavation.

    Plastic pipelines installed by trenchless excavation must comply with the following:

    (a) Each operator shall ensure that the path of the excavation will provide sufficient clearance for installation and maintenance activities from other underground utilities and/or structures.

    (b) For each pipeline section, plastic pipe and/or components that are pulled through the ground must have a weak link, as defined by § 192.3, installed to ensure the pipeline will not be damaged by any excessive forces during the pulling process.

    22. In § 192.367, paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) are revised and paragraph (b)(3) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.367 Service lines: General requirements for connections to main piping.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Be designed and installed to effectively sustain the longitudinal pull-out or thrust forces caused by contraction or expansion of the piping, or by anticipated external or internal loading;

    (2) If gaskets are used in connecting the service line to the main connection fitting, have gaskets that are compatible with the kind of gas in the system; and

    (3) If used on pipelines comprised of plastic, be a Category 1 connection as defined by ASTM F1924, ASTM F1948, or ASTM F1973 (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7) for the applicable material, providing a seal plus resistance to a force on the pipe joint equal to or greater than that which will cause no less than 25% elongation of pipe, or the pipe fails outside the joint area if tested in accordance with the applicable standard.

    23. In § 192.375, paragraph (a)(2) is revised and paragraphs (c) and (d) are added to read as follows:
    § 192.375 Service lines: Plastic.

    (a) * * *

    (2) It may terminate above ground level and outside the building, if—

    (i) The aboveground level part of the plastic service line is protected against deterioration and external damage;

    (ii) The plastic service line is not used to support external loads; and

    (iii) The riser portion of the service line meets the design requirements of § 192.204.

    (c) Backfill material must:

    (1) Not contain materials that could be detrimental to the pipe, such as rocks of a size exceeding those established through sound engineering practices; and

    (2) Be properly compacted underneath, along the sides, and for predetermined distance above the pipe.

    (d) Tracking and Traceability. Each operator must maintain records for tracking and traceability information (as defined in § 192.3) for the life of the pipeline.

    24. Section 192.376 is added to read as follows:
    § 192.376 Installation of plastic service lines by trenchless excavation.

    Plastic service lines installed by trenchless excavation must comply with the following:

    (a) Each operator shall ensure that the path of the excavation will provide sufficient clearance for installation and maintenance activities from other underground utilities and/or structures.

    (b) For each pipeline section, plastic pipe and/or components that are pulled through the ground must have a weak link, as defined by § 192.3, installed to ensure the pipeline will not be damaged by any excessive forces during the pulling process.

    25. In § 192.455, paragraph (g) is added to read as follows:
    § 192.455 External corrosion control: Buried or submerged pipelines installed after July 31, 1971.

    (g) Electrically isolated metal alloy fittings in plastic pipelines under this section not meeting the criteria contained in paragraph (f) must be cathodically protected and monitored in accordance with this section and § 192.465(a).

    26. In § 192.513, paragraph (c) is revised to read as follows:
    § 192.513 Test requirements for plastic pipelines.

    (c) The test pressure must be at least 150 percent of the maximum operating pressure or 50 p.s.i. (345 kPa) gage, whichever is greater. However, the maximum test pressure may not be more than 2.5 times the pressure determined under § 192.121 at a temperature not less than the pipe temperature during the test.

    27. Section 192.720 is added to read as follows:
    § 192.720 Distribution systems: Leak repair.

    A leak repair clamp may not be used as a permanent repair method for plastic pipe.

    28. Section 192.756 is added to read as follows:
    § 192.756 Joining plastic pipe by heat fusion; equipment maintenance and calibration.

    (a) Each operator must maintain equipment used in joining plastic pipe in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended practices or with written procedures that have been proven by test and experience to produce acceptable joints.

    (b) Each operator must calibrate and test all equipment used to join plastic pipe in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The calibration must be appropriate for the use of the equipment and/or is within the acceptable tolerance limit of that equipment as stated by the manufacturer.

    (c) The term “equipment,” as specified in this section, includes, but is not limited to, fusion equipment, alignment equipment, facing and adaptor equipment, heater plates, and gauging devices.

    (d) The operator must maintain records of these tests and calibrations (other than daily verifications and adjustments) for the life of the pipeline.

    29. In Appendix B to Part 192, the title of Appendix B and the list under “I.” is revised to read as follows: Appendix B to Part 192—Qualification of Pipe and Components I. List of Specifications A. Listed Pipe Specifications

    API 5L—Steel pipe, “API Specification for Line Pipe” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A53/A53M—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Pipe, Steel Black and Hot-Dipped, Zinc-Coated, Welded and Seamless” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A106—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Seamless Carbon Steel Pipe for High Temperature Service” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A333/A333M—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Seamless and Welded Steel Pipe for Low Temperature Service” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A381—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Metal-Arc-Welded Steel Pipe for Use with High-Pressure Transmission Systems” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A671—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Electric-Fusion-Welded Pipe for Atmospheric and Lower Temperatures” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A672—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Electric-Fusion-Welded Steel Pipe for High-Pressure Service at Moderate Temperatures” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM A691—Steel pipe, “Standard Specification for Carbon and Alloy Steel Pipe, Electric-Fusion-Welded for High Pressure Service at High Temperatures” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM D2513-12ae1, “Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM D2517—Thermosetting plastic pipe and tubing, “Standard Specification for Reinforced Epoxy Resin Gas Pressure Pipe and Fittings” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F2785-12, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 12 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (PA-12) (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F2945-12a, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (PA-11) (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    B. Other Listed Specifications for Components

    ASME/ANSI B16.40-08, “Manually Operated Thermoplastic Gas Shutoffs and Valves in Gas Distribution Systems” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM D2513-12ae1, “Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM D2517—Thermosetting plastic pipe and tubing, “Standard Specification for Reinforced Epoxy Resin Gas Pressure Pipe and Fittings” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F2785-12, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 12 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (PA-12) (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F2945-12a, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (PA-11) (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F1055-98 (2006), “Standard Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyethylene Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyethylene Pipe and Tubing” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F1924-12, “Standard Specification for Plastic Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Polyethylene Gas Distribution Pipe and Tubing” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM/ANSI F1948-12, “Standard Specification for Metallic Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Thermoplastic Gas Distribution Pipe and Tubing” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F1973-13, “Standard Specification for Factory Assembled Anodeless Risers and Transition Fittings in Polyethylene (PE) and Polyamide 11 (PA 11) and Polyamide 12 (PA 12) Fuel Gas Distribution Systems” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM/ANSI F2600-09, “Standard Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyamide-11 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide-11 Pipe and Tubing” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM/ANSI F2145-13, “Standard Specification for Polyamide 11 (PA-11) and Polyamide 12 (PA-12) Mechanical Fittings for Use on Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide 11 and Polyamide 12 Pipe and Tubing” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F2767-12, “Specification for Electrofusion Type Polyamide-12 Fittings for Outside Diameter Controlled Polyamide-12 Pipe and Tubing for Gas Distribution” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    ASTM F2817-10, “Standard Specification for Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Gas Pressure Pipe and Fittings for Maintenance or Repair” (incorporated by reference, see § 192.7).

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 14, 2015, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.97. Jeffrey D. Wiese, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12113 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-60-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 36 [Docket No. FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0003: FF07R05000 145 FXRS12610700000] RIN 1018-AX56 Refuge-Specific Regulations; Public Use; Kenai National Wildlife Refuge AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to amend our public use regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Kenai NWR or Refuge) to clarify the existing regulations; implement management decisions from our June 2010 Kenai NWR revised comprehensive conservation plan (CCP); establish regulations for managing wildlife attractants, including food, refuse, and retained fish; and revise the regulations for hunting and trapping. The proposed regulations are aimed at enhancing natural resource protection, public use activities, and public safety on the Refuge; are necessary to ensure the compatibility of public use activities with the Refuge's purposes and the Refuge System's purposes; and would ensure consistency with management policies and approved Refuge management plans.

    DATES:

    To ensure that we are able to consider your comments on this proposed rule, we must receive them on or before July 20, 2015. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by July 6, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this proposed rule by one of the following methods:

    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0003, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!” Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment.

    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0003, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us. For additional information, see the Request for Comments and Public Availability of Comments sections, below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie Brady, National Wildlife Refuge System, Alaska Regional Office, 1011 E. Tudor Rd., Mail Stop 211, Anchorage, AK 99503; telephone (907) 306-7448; fax (907) 786-3901.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Kenai National Moose Range (Moose Range) on December 16, 1941, for the purpose of “protecting the natural breeding and feeding range of the giant Kenai moose on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, which in this area presents a unique wildlife feature and an unusual opportunity for the study in its natural environment of the practical management of a big game species that has considerable local economic value” (Executive Order 8979; see 6 FR 6471, December 18, 1941).

    Section 303(4) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) (16 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.) substantially affected the Moose Range by modifying its boundaries and broadening its purposes from moose conservation to protection and conservation of a broad array of fish, wildlife, habitats, and other resources, and to providing educational and recreational opportunities. ANILCA also redesignated the Moose Range as the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (NWR or Refuge) and increased the size of the Refuge to 1.92 million acres, of which approximately two-thirds are designated as wilderness.

    ANILCA sets out purposes for each refuge in Alaska; the purposes of Kenai NWR are set forth in section 303(4) (B) of ANILCA. The purposes identify some of the reasons why Congress established the Refuge and set the management priorities for the Refuge. The purposes are as follows:

    (1) To conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity including, but not limited to, moose, bears, mountain goats, Dall sheep, wolves and other furbearers, salmonoids and other fish, waterfowl and other migratory and nonmigratory birds;

    (2) To fulfill the international treaty obligations of the United States with respect to fish and wildlife and their habitats;

    (3) To ensure, to the maximum extent practicable and in a manner consistent with the purposes set forth in (1), above, water quality and necessary water quantity within the Refuge;

    (4) To provide, in a manner consistent with (1) and (2), above, opportunities for scientific research, interpretation, environmental education, and land management training; and

    (5) To provide, in a manner compatible with these purposes, opportunities for fish and wildlife-oriented recreation.

    The Wilderness Act of 1964 (16 U.S.C. 1131-1136) provides the following purposes for wilderness areas, including the Kenai wilderness area:

    (1) To secure an enduring resource of wilderness;

    (2) To protect and preserve the wilderness character of areas within the National Wilderness Preservation System; and

    (3) To administer the areas for the use and enjoyment of the American people in a way that will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness.

    The Refuge is considered by many to be “Alaska in miniature.” It includes portions of the Harding Ice Field at its highest elevations, the western slopes of the Kenai Mountains, and forested lowlands bordering Cook Inlet. Treeless alpine and subalpine habitats are home to mountain goats, Dall sheep, caribou, wolverine, marmots, and ptarmigan. Most of the lower elevations on the Refuge are covered by boreal forests composed of spruce and birch forests intermingled with hundreds of lakes. Boreal forests are home to moose; wolves; black and brown bears; lynx; snowshoe hares; and numerous species of neotropical songbirds, such as olive-sided flycatchers, myrtle warblers, and ruby-crowned kinglets. At sea level, the Refuge encompasses the largest estuary on the Peninsula—the Chickaloon River Flats. The Chickaloon River Flats provide a major migratory staging area for thousands of shorebirds and waterfowl and provide a haul-out area for harbor seals and feeding areas for beluga whales.

    Under our regulations implementing ANILCA in Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations at part 36 (50 CFR 36), all refuge lands in Alaska are open to public recreational activities as long as such activities are conducted in a manner compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established (50 CFR 36.31). Such recreational activities include, but are not limited to, sightseeing, nature observation and photography, hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hiking, picnicking, and other related activities (50 CFR 36.31(a)).

    The National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, defines “wildlife-dependent recreation” and “wildlife-dependent recreational use” as “hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, or environmental education and interpretation” (16 U.S.C. 668ee (2)). We encourage these uses, and they receive emphasis in management of the public use of Kenai NWR.

    The current refuge-specific regulations for Kenai NWR are set forth at 50 CFR 36.39(i). These regulations include provisions concerning the operation of aircraft, motorboats, off-road vehicles, and snowmobiles; hunting and trapping; camping; timber removal; personal property; use of nonmotorized wheeled vehicles; canoeing; and area closures on the Refuge.

    Proposed Changes

    In this document, we propose to make the following changes to the refuge-specific regulations for Kenai NWR:

    (1) Amend regulations affecting the use of aircraft, motorboats, motorized vehicles, and snowmobiles;

    (2) Codify restrictions on hunting and trapping within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area recently established in accordance with the procedures set forth at 50 CFR 36.42 (public participation and closure procedures);

    (3) Expand a prohibition on the discharge of firearms to include areas of intensive public use along the Kenai and Russian rivers;

    (4) Clarify the intent of an existing regulation addressing hunting over bait;

    (5) Amend regulations associated with camping, use of public use cabins and public fishing facilities, unattended equipment, livestock including pack animals, and public gatherings;

    (6) Establish regulations to reduce potential for negative human-bear interactions;

    (7) Establish regulations for noncommercial gathering of natural resources, including collection of edible wild foods and shed antlers; and

    (8) Codify restrictions on certain uses within areas of the Refuge under conservation easements and easements made under section 17(b) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.; see 43 U.S.C. 1616(b)).

    We also propose to clarify the existing regulations through editing for plain language and through correcting misspellings. Our proposed substantive changes are discussed in more detail below.

    Implementation of Revised Kenai Comprehensive Conservation Plan

    The revised Kenai NWR comprehensive conservation plan (2010) (CCP) addresses five primary issues:

    • Management of large-scale habitat changes and the use of fire;

    • Management of Refuge facilities for public use while ensuring natural and cultural resource protection;

    • Enhancement of wildlife-oriented recreation opportunities;

    • Management of the increasing public use to ensure protection of resources, visitor experience, and public safety; and

    • Balancing motorized access with protection of resources and visitor experiences.

    This proposed rule would implement management direction and/or specific actions identified in the CCP and its record of decision that are intended to address the latter four issues. Specifically, we propose to:

    (1) Allow expanded airplane operation on the Chickaloon River Flats, open an additional lake to airplane operation within the Kenai wilderness for permitted hunting access, change the dates of prohibited aircraft operation on any lake where nesting trumpeter swans or their broods or both are present from May 1 to September 30 to May 1 to September 10, and prohibit airdrop of any items except under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G).

    (2) Prohibit boat motors in excess of 10 horsepower in selected lakes and adopt motor horsepower and boat size and capacity restrictions for portions of the Kenai River within the Refuge. The proposed motor horsepower, motor type and boat size restrictions would enhance consistency with existing State boating regulations within the Kenai River Special Management Area (11 Alaska Administrative Code [AAC] 20.860 and 11 AAC 20.861).

    (3) Clarify that jet skis and personal watercraft are included in the list of prohibited motorized watercraft.

    (4) Prohibit the use of snowmobiles to pursue, chase, or herd wildlife.

    (5) Establish requirements for use of public fishing facilities to ensure protection of sensitive Kenai River shoreline habitats, and enhance safety for both ferry passengers and visitors fishing in the immediate vicinity of Russian River ferry operations. Currently, fishing is prohibited in an area 100 feet downstream of the ferry's landing area on the southern shore; the proposed rule would expand the closure to include 100 feet upstream of the landing area.

    (6) Clarify requirements for use of developed campgrounds and public use cabins including general occupancy, reservations and payment of fees, length of stay, management of wildlife attractants and human waste, control of pets, and campfire use; prohibit dispersed camping within 100 yards of the Kenai River in certain locations to enhance protection of sensitive riverbank habitats; and prohibit overnight camping at certain developed parking facilities to meet day-use parking needs.

    (7) Specify requirements for use of nonmotorized wheeled vehicles on designated roads including a new allowance for use of wheeled game carts; for use of livestock for packing, including a new requirement for use of certified weed-free feed to reduce potential for introducing invasive plant species; for allowance of natural resource collection, including berries and edible plants and shed antlers for personal use; for extension of the allowable time for leaving personal property unattended for certain approved extended stay activities; and for public gatherings.

    (8) Codify legal requirements governing use of areas where the Service administers non-development easements, public use easements, and easements made under section 17(b) of ANCSA.

    The CCP and its record of decision are available for public inspection on the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket No. FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0003.

    Managing Wildlife Attractants To Reduce Negative Human-Bear Interactions

    This proposed rule would establish regulations addressing food and retained fish storage and handling in an area surrounding the confluence of the Kenai and Russian rivers, which we refer to as the Russian River-Kenai River Special Management Area. The Russian River forms the boundary between the Refuge and the Chugach National Forest. Enhancing public safety and wildlife resource conservation in this area by reducing the potential for negative human-bear interactions has been the focus of formal interagency and stakeholder coordination efforts involving the Service; the U.S. Forest Service; Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Alaska Department of Natural Resources; Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated; and Kenaitze Indian Tribe. Proper food and retained fish storage and handling in this area, which hosts one of Alaska's most popular and accessible recreational fisheries, are necessary and important components of these efforts.

    The proposed rule would codify and make permanent food and retained fish regulations that have been issued by the Service as temporary restrictions in recent years in accordance with 50 CFR 36.42, and would provide consistency with U.S. Forest Service's food and retained fish storage regulations applying to adjacent lands within the Chugach National Forest (36 CFR 261.58). This consistency among regulations would have the added benefit of reducing confusion for the public utilizing this area, as visitors regularly use both jurisdictions while recreating in the area.

    Hunting and Trapping

    By law (National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended; Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980), regulation (43 CFR 24), and policy (the Service Manual at 605 FW 1 and 605 FW 2), the Service must, to the extent practicable, ensure that refuge regulations permitting hunting and fishing are consistent with State laws, regulations, and management plans. In addition, under the Master Memorandum of Understanding (1982) (MMOU) between the Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, it is recognized that taking of fish and wildlife by hunting, trapping, or fishing on Service lands in Alaska is authorized under applicable State and Federal law unless State regulations are found to be incompatible with documented refuge goals, objectives, or management plans. The MMOU also commits the Service to utilize the State's regulatory process to the maximum extent allowed by Federal law in developing new or modifying existing Federal regulations or proposing changes in existing State regulations governing or affecting the taking of fish and wildlife on Service lands in Alaska.

    In recognition of the above, nonconflicting State general hunting and trapping regulations are usually adopted on NWRs. Hunting and trapping, however, remain subject to legal mandates, regulations, and management policies pertinent to the administration and management of NWRs. For refuges in Alaska, a number of statutes provide authority and directives, and three statutes are key: The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) of 1980; the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended; and the Wilderness Act of 1964.

    The prohibitions and/or restrictions on hunting and trapping proposed by the Service in this rule are necessary to ensure that hunting and trapping are regulated in a manner such that these activities remain compatible with Kenai NWR's established purposes and the Refuge System mission; to ensure consistency with Service policy, directives, and approved management plans; to minimize conflicts between authorized users of the Refuge; and to protect public safety. This proposed rule would establish prohibitions and/or restrictions on hunting and trapping within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area of the Refuge, establish a prohibition on the discharge of firearms within 1/4 mile of the Kenai and Russian rivers (with the exception of firearms used for dispatching legally trapped animals and use of shotguns for waterfowl hunting), and clarify the intent of an existing regulation that allows the harvest of black bears over bait under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G).

    This proposed rule would codify an existing regulatory closure of hunting and trapping, with exceptions for certain hunting activities, within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, consistent with the Service's 2007 Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area Revised Final Management Plan (which reaffirmed management objectives for the area established under the Refuge's 1985 CCP) and which mimic State of Alaska hunting and trapping regulations for the area in effect prior to 2013. The Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area is a 44,000-acre area of the Refuge that has, since 1985, been managed with a primary emphasis on providing enhanced opportunities for wildlife viewing, environmental education, and interpretation. Under historic State regulations, the area was closed to hunting and trapping, with the exception of hunting of small game with bow and arrow and falconry, moose hunting by permit, and “youth-only” firearm hunting of small game. Hunting of all other species has been prohibited since 1987.

    This proposed rule would codify the Service's November 2013 permanent closure, established in accordance with 50 CFR 36.42, to hunting and trapping, with the exceptions for moose and small game described above, in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area (see 78 FR 66061, November 4, 2013). The Service adopted the permanent closure in response to action taken by the Alaska Board of Game in March 2013, which opened the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area to taking of lynx, coyote, and wolf within the area under State hunting regulations. Under this new State regulation, which became effective July 1, 2013, taking of these species is allowed during open seasons from November 10 to March 31. The Service determined that this hunting of lynx, coyote, and wolf negatively impacts meeting objectives in approved Refuge management plans to provide enhanced wildlife viewing, environmental education, and interpretation opportunities in the area. Meeting Refuge public use objectives in the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area is consistent with and directly supports meeting specific Refuge purposes under ANILCA for providing the public with opportunities for environmental education and interpretation and for a variety of wildlife-dependent recreational activities, including wildlife viewing and photography. In addition to helping us meet the Refuge's public use objectives, this action helps us ensure public safety.

    Also to help ensure protection of public safety, the proposed rule would expand areas closed to the discharge of firearms within the Refuge by prohibiting discharge of firearms along the Kenai and Russian rivers, with exceptions for use of firearms to dispatch animals while lawfully trapping in both areas and use of shotguns for waterfowl and small game hunting along the Kenai River. These river corridors receive intensive recreational use for sport fishing from shorelines and boats during open seasons for salmon and resident fish including rainbow trout and Dolly Varden, and, on the upper Kenai River for river floating, from late spring to freeze-up. The exceptions include an allowance for use of shotguns for waterfowl hunting, a popular traditional recreational activity occurring from September to mid-December along the Kenai River in areas downstream of Skilak Lake and near the outlet of the river into Skilak Lake. The proposed firearm discharge restriction would in effect require that archery equipment be used for taking of big game within the designated river corridors. This change would enhance consistency with State regulations which prohibit the discharge of firearms (with area-specific exceptions) within the Kenai River Special Management Area (11 AAC 20.850).

    The proposed rule would clarify an existing regulation which allows hunting over bait for the harvest of black bears under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G). All other hunting over bait is in effect prohibited on the Refuge. This clarification is necessary in light of recent action by the Alaska Board of Game to allow for the take of brown bears at registered black bear baiting stations. It has, and continues to be, the intent of the Service to allow baiting only for the take of black bears under the existing regulations, and this restriction is currently addressed through a stipulation on the refuge special use permit. This change would provide additional notice and clarification for the public of this intent.

    Maps depicting proposed changes to existing public uses and/or public use areas and referred to in the proposed rule are available for public inspection on the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket No. FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0003.

    Request for Comments

    You may submit comments and materials on this proposed rule by any one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in the ADDRESSES section.

    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire comment—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Regional Office, Division of Realty and Conservation Planning, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Required Determinations Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    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 determined that this rule is not significant.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 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. Executive Order 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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996)), whenever an agency must 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 effects 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 the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a regulatory flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a threshold for “significant impact” and a threshold for a “substantial number of small entities.” See 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    This proposed rule would impact visitor use for wildlife-dependent recreation on the Refuge. Modifying the visitor use regulations would have small incremental changes on total visitor use days associated with particular activities. For example, visitor use associated with aircraft motorboats and collection of natural resources may increase slightly. However, visitor use associated with camping may decline slightly. We estimate that the overall change in recreation use-days would represent less than 1 percent of the average recreation use-days on the Refuge (1 million visitors annually).

    Small businesses within the retail trade industry (such as hotels, gas stations, etc.) (NAIC 44) and accommodation and food service establishments (NAIC 72), may be impacted by spending generated by Refuge visitation. Seventy-six percent of establishments in the Kenai Peninsula Borough qualify as small businesses. This statistic is similar for retail trade establishments (72 percent) and accommodation and food service establishments (65 percent). Due to the negligible change in average recreation days, this proposed rule would have a minimal effect on these small businesses.

    With the negligible change in overall visitation anticipated from this proposed rule, it is unlikely that a substantial number of small entities would have more than a small economic effect. Therefore, we certify that, if adopted, this rule would not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. An initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

    This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the SBREFA. This rule:

    a. Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.

    b. Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; individual industries; federal, State, or local government agencies; or geographic regions.

    c. Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S. based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule would not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or on the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is not required.

    Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    This proposed rule does not involve the taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630. This proposed rule, if adopted, would affect the public use and management of Kenai NWR, which is managed by the Service in Alaska. A takings implication assessment is not required.

    Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects. A federalism summary impact statement is not required. This proposed rule, if adopted, would affect the public use and management of Kenai NWR, which is managed by the Service in Alaska, and would not have a substantial direct effect on State or local governments in Alaska.

    Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This proposed rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. Specifically, this rule:

    a. Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

    b. Meets the criteria of section 3(b) (2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

    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), Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal Tribes on a government-to-government basis, and we are seeking their input to evaluate this proposed rule. In addition, we have evaluated this proposed rule under Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporation policies. We are consulting with Alaska Native tribes and Alaska Native corporations regarding the proposed changes in this rule for Kenai NWR.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of information that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). The special use permit mentioned in this proposed rule (FWS Form 3-1383-G) and the information collected on the registration form at entrance points are approved by OMB under OMB Control Numbers 1018-0102 (expires June 30, 2017) and 1018-0153 (expires December 31, 2015). 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 Service has analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the criteria of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and Department of the Interior policy in part 516 of the Departmental Manual (516 DM). We have determined that this proposed rule is considered a categorical exclusion under 516 DM 8.5(C)(3), which categorically excludes the “issuance of special regulations for public use of Service-managed land, which maintain essentially the permitted level of use and do not continue a level of use that has resulted in adverse environmental impacts.” This proposed rulemaking supports the Service's management direction identified through approved Refuge management plans, including the 2010 Kenai NWR Revised CCP and the 2007 Kenai NWR Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area Revised Final Management Plan.

    For the CCP, we prepared a draft revised CCP and a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) under NEPA, and made them available for comment for public comment on May 8, 2008 (73 FR 26140). The public comment period on those draft documents began on May 8, 2008, and ended on September 1, 2008. We then prepared our final revised CCP and final EIS, and made them available for public comment for 30 days, beginning August 27, 2009 (74 FR 43718). We announced the availability of the record of decision for the final revised CCP and final EIS on January 11, 2010 (75 FR 1404).

    We completed a draft management plan and draft environmental assessment (EA) under NEPA for the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area Management Plan in October 2006. We distributed approximately 2,500 copies to individuals, businesses, agencies, and organizations that had expressed an interest in receiving Kenai NWR planning-related documents. We also announced the availability of these documents through radio stations, television stations, and newspapers on the Kenai Peninsula and in the city of Anchorage. An electronic version of the plan was made available on the Kenai NWR planning Web site, and a Skilak email address was created to facilitate public comment on the draft plan. Presentations were made to the Alaska Board of Game and the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges. The draft plan and draft environmental assessment (EA) were made available for public review and comment during a 30-day period ending November 17, 2006. We signed a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the final revised management plan first on December 6, 2006, and then later (as corrected) on May 11, 2007.

    You can obtain copies of the CCP/EIS and the revised final management plan for the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area either on the Federal eRulemaking Portal, http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket No. FWS-R7-NWRS-2014-0003, or by contacting Stephanie Brady (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking actions that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, or use. We believe that the rule would not have any effect on energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Clarity of This Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must:

    (a) Be logically organized;

    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    (c) Use common, everyday words and clear language rather than jargon;

    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section, above. To better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

    Primary Author

    Andy Loranger, Refuge Manager, Kenai NWR, is the primary author of this rulemaking document.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 36

    Alaska, Recreation and recreation areas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Wildlife refuges.

    Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend 50 CFR part 36 as set forth below:

    PART 36—ALASKA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES 1. The authority citation for part 36 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 460(k) et seq., 668dd-668ee, 3101 et seq.

    2. Amend § 36.2 by adding, in alphabetical order, definitions for “Operate” and “Structure” to read as follows:
    § 36.2 What do these terms mean?

    Operate means to manipulate the controls of any conveyance, such as, but not limited to, an aircraft, snow machine, motorboat, off-road vehicle, or any other motorized or non-motorized form of vehicular transport as to direct its travel, motion, or purpose.

    Structure means something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

    3. Amend § 36.39 by revising paragraph (i) to read as follows:
    § 36.39 Public use.

    (i) Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Maps of designated areas open to specific public use activities on the refuge are available from Refuge Headquarters at the following address: 1 Ski Hill Road, Soldotna, AK.

    (1) Aircraft. Except in an emergency, the operation of aircraft on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is authorized only in designated areas, as described in this paragraph (i)(1).

    (i) We allow the operation of airplanes within the Kenai Wilderness on the following designated lakes, and under the restrictions noted:

    (A) Dave Spencer (Canoe Lakes) Unit:

    Bedlam Lake Bird Lake Cook Lake Grouse Lake King Lake Mull Lake Nekutak Lake Norak Lake Sandpiper Lake Scenic Lake Shoepac Lake Snowshoe Lake Taiga Lake Tangerra Lake Vogel Lake Wilderness Lake Pepper, Gene, and Swanson lakes are open to operation of airplanes only to provide access for ice fishing. (B) Andrew Simons Unit: Emerald Lake Green Lake Harvey Lake High Lake Iceberg Lake Kolomin Lakes Lower Russian Lake Martin Lake Pothole Lake Twin Lakes Upper Russian Lake Windy Lake Dinglestadt Glacier terminus lake Wosnesenski Glacier terminus lake

    Tustumena Lake and all lakes within the Kenai Wilderness within 1 mile of the shoreline of Tustumena Lake.

    All unnamed lakes in sections 1 and 2, T. 1 S., R. 10 W., and sections 4, 5, 8, and 9, T. 1 S., R. 9 W., Seward Meridian.

    An unnamed lake in sections 28 and 29, T. 2 N., R. 4 W., Seward Meridian: The Refuge Manager may issue a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) for the operation of airplanes on this lake to successful applicants for certain State of Alaska, limited-entry, drawing permit hunts. Successful applicants should contact the Refuge Manager to request information.

    (C) Mystery Creek Unit:

    An unnamed lake in section 11, T. 6 N., R. 5 W., Seward Meridian.

    (ii) We allow the operation of airplanes on all lakes outside of the Kenai Wilderness, except that we prohibit aircraft operation on:

    (A) The following lakes with recreational developments, including, but not limited to, campgrounds, campsites, and public hiking trails connected to road waysides, north of the Sterling Highway:

    Afonasi Lake Anertz Lake Breeze Lake Cashka Lake Dabbler Lake Dolly Varden Lake Forest Lake Imeri Lake Lili Lake Mosquito Lake Nest Lake Rainbow Lake Silver Lake Upper Jean Lake Watson Lake Weed Lake

    (B) All lakes within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area (south of Sterling Highway and north of Skilak Lake), except for Bottenintnin Lake (open to airplanes year-round) and Hidden Lake (open to airplanes only to provide access for ice fishing).

    (C) Headquarters Lake (south of Soldotna), except for administrative purposes. You must request permission from the Refuge Manager.

    (iii) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this part, we prohibit the operation of aircraft from May 1 through September 10 on any lake where nesting trumpeter swans or their broods or both are present.

    (iv) We prohibit the operation of wheeled airplanes, with the following exceptions:

    (A) We allow the operation of wheeled airplanes, at the pilot's risk, on the unmaintained Big Indian Creek Airstrip; on gravel areas within 1/2 mile of Wosnesenski Glacier terminus lake; and within the SE1/4, section 16 and SW1/4, section 15, T. 4 S., R. 8 W., Seward Meridian.

    (B) We allow the operation of wheeled airplanes, at the pilot's risk, within designated areas of the Chickaloon River Flats.

    (v) We allow the operation of airplanes on the Kasilof River, on the Chickaloon River (from the outlet to mile 6.5), and on the Kenai River below Skilak Lake (from June 15 through March 14). We prohibit aircraft operation on all other rivers on the refuge.

    (vi) We prohibit the operation of unlicensed aircraft anywhere on the refuge except as authorized under terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager.

    (vii) We prohibit air dropping any items within the Kenai Wilderness except as authorized under terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager.

    (2) Motorboats.

    (i) We allow motorboat operation on all waters of the refuge, except that:

    (A) We prohibit motorboat operation within the Dave Spencer (Canoe Lakes) Unit of the Kenai Wilderness, including those portions of the Moose and Swanson rivers within this Unit, except that we allow motorboat operation on those lakes designated for airplane operations as provided in paragraph (i)(1) and shown on a map available from Refuge Headquarters.

    (B) We prohibit motorboat operation on the Kenai River from the eastern refuge boundary near Sportsmans Landing and the confluence of the Russian River downstream to Skilak Lake. You may have a motor attached to your boat and drift or row through this section, provided the motor is not operating.

    (C) We prohibit motorboat operation on the Kenai River from the outlet of Skilak Lake (river mile 50) downstream for approximately 3 miles (river mile 47) between March 15 and June 14, inclusive. You may have a motor attached to your boat and drift or row through this section, provided the motor is not operating.

    (D) We prohibit the operation of motors with a total propshaft horsepower rating greater than 10 horsepower on the Moose, Swanson, Funny, Chickaloon (upstream of river mile 7.5), Killey, and Fox rivers.

    (E) On the Kenai River downstream of Skilak Lake (river mile 50) to the refuge boundary (river mile 45.5), we restrict motorboat operation to only those motorboats with 4-stroke or direct fuel injection motors with a total propshaft horsepower rating of 50 horsepower or less, and that are up to 21 feet in length and up to 106 inches in width. On Skilak Lake, we restrict motorboat operation to only those motorboats with 4-stroke or direct fuel injection motors.

    (F) A “no wake” restriction applies to the entire water body of Engineer, Upper and Lower Ohmer, Bottenintnin, Upper and Lower Jean, Kelly, Petersen, Watson, Imeri, Afonasi, Dolly Varden, and Rainbow lakes. We prohibit the operation of motors with a total propshaft horsepower rating of great than 10 horsepower on each of these lakes.

    (ii) Notwithstanding any other provisions of these regulations, we prohibit the operation of motorboats from May 1 through September 10 on any lake where nesting trumpeter swans or their broods or both are present.

    (3) Off-road vehicles.

    (i) We prohibit the operation of all off-road vehicles, as defined at 50 CFR 36.2, except that four-wheel drive, licensed, and registered motor vehicles designed and legal for highway use may operate on designated roads, rights-of-way, and parking areas open to public vehicular access. This prohibition applies to off-road vehicle operation on lake and river ice. At the operator's risk, we allow licensed and registered motor vehicles designed and legal for highway use on Hidden, Engineer, Kelly, Petersen, and Watson lakes only to provide access for ice fishing. You must enter and exit the lakes via existing boat ramps.

    (ii) We prohibit the operation of air cushion watercraft, air-thrust boats, jet skis and other personal watercraft, and all other motorized watercraft except motorboats.

    (iii) The Refuge Manager may issue a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) for the operation of specialized off-road vehicles and watercraft for certain administrative activities (to include fish and wildlife-related monitoring, vegetation management, and infrastructure maintenance in permitted rights-of-way).

    (4) Snowmobiles. We allow the operation of snowmobiles only in designated areas and only under the following conditions:

    (i) We allow the operation of snowmobiles from December 1 through April 30 only when the Refuge Manager determines that there is adequate snow cover to protect underlying vegetation and soils. During this time, the Refuge Manager will authorize, through public notice (a combination of any or all of the following: Internet, newspaper, radio, and/or signs), the use of snowmobiles less than 48 inches in width and less than 1,000 pounds (450 kg) in weight.

    (ii) We prohibit snowmobile operation:

    (A) In all areas above timberline, except the Caribou Hills.

    (B) In an area within sections 5, 6, 7, and 8, T. 4 N., R. 10 W., Seward Meridian, east of the Sterling Highway right-of-way, including the Refuge Headquarters complex, the environmental education/cross-country ski trails, Headquarters and Nordic lakes, and the area north of the east fork of Slikok Creek and northwest of a prominent seismic trail to Funny River Road.

    (C) In an area including the Swanson River Canoe Route and portages, beginning at the Paddle Lake parking area, then west and north along the Canoe Lakes wilderness boundary to the Swanson River, continuing northeast along the river to Wild Lake Creek, then east to the west shore of Shoepac Lake, south to the east shore of Antler Lake, and west to the beginning point near Paddle Lake.

    (D) In an area including the Swan Lake Canoe Route and several road-connected public recreational lakes, bounded on the west by the Swanson River Road, on the north by the Swan Lake Road, on the east by a line from the east end of Swan Lake Road south to the west bank of the Moose River, and on the south by the refuge boundary.

    (E) In the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, except on Hidden, Kelly, Petersen, and Engineer lakes only to provide access for ice fishing. You must enter and exit these lakes via the existing boat ramps and operate exclusively on the lakes. Within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area, only Upper and Lower Skilak Lake campground boat launches may be used as access points for snowmobile use on Skilak Lake.

    (F) On maintained roads within the refuge. Snowmobiles may cross a maintained road after stopping.

    (G) For racing, or to herd, harass, haze, pursue, or drive wildlife.

    (5) Hunting and trapping. We allow hunting and trapping on the refuge in accordance with State and Federal laws and consistent with the following provisions:

    (i) You may not discharge a firearm within 1/4 mile of designated public campgrounds, trailheads, waysides, buildings including public use cabins, or the Sterling Highway from the east Refuge boundary to the east junction of the Skilak Loop Road. You may not discharge a firearm within 1/4 mile of the west shoreline of the Russian River from the upstream extent of the Russian River Falls downstream to its confluence with the Kenai River, and from the shorelines of the Kenai River from the east refuge boundary downstream to Skilak Lake and from the outlet of Skilak Lake downstream to the refuge boundary, except that firearms may be used in these areas to dispatch animals while lawfully trapping and shotguns may be used for waterfowl and small game hunting along the Kenai River.

    (ii) We prohibit hunting over bait, with the exception of hunting for black bear, and then only as authorized under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager.

    (iii) We prohibit hunting big game with the aid or use of a dog, with the exception of hunting for black bear, and then only as authorized under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager.

    (iv) We prohibit hunting and trapping within sections 5, 6, 7, and 8, T. 4 N., R. 10 W., Seward Meridian, encompassing the Kenai Refuge Headquarters, Environmental Education Center, Visitor Center Complex, and associated public use trails. A map of closure areas is available at Refuge Headquarters.

    (v) The additional provisions for hunting and trapping within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area are set forth in paragraph (i)(6).

    (6) Hunting and trapping within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area.

    (i) The Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area is bound by a line beginning at the easternmost junction of the Sterling Highway and the Skilak Loop Road (Mile 58), then due south to the south bank of the Kenai River, then southerly along the south bank of the Kenai River to its confluence with Skilak Lake, then westerly along the north shore of Skilak Lake to Lower Skilak Campground, then northerly along the Lower Skilak campground road and the Skilak Loop Road to its westernmost junction with the Sterling Highway (Mile 75.1), then easterly along the Sterling Highway to the point of origin.

    (ii) The Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area (Skilak Loop Management Area) is closed to hunting and trapping, except as provided in paragraphs (i)(6)(iii) and (i)(6)(iv).

    (iii) You may hunt moose only with a permit issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraph (i)(5).

    (iv) You may hunt small game in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraph (i)(5) and:

    (A) Using falconry and bow and arrow only from October 1 through March 1; or

    (B) If you are a youth hunter 16 years old or younger, who is accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years old or older who has successfully completed a certified hunter education course (if the youth hunter has not), or by someone born on or before January 1, 1986. Youth hunters must use standard .22 rimfire or shotgun, and may hunt only in that portion of the area west of a line from the access road from the Sterling Highway to Kelly Lake, the Seven Lakes Trail, and the access road from Engineer Lake to Skilak Lake Road, and north of the Skilak Lake Road. The youth hunt occurs during each weekend from November 1 to December 31, including the Friday following Thanksgiving. State of Alaska bag limit regulations apply.

    (7) Fishing. We allow fishing on the refuge in accordance with State and Federal laws, and consistent with the following provisions:

    (i) We prohibit fishing from June 1 through August 15 during the hours of the Russian River Ferry operation along the south bank of the Kenai River from a point 100 feet upstream to a point 100 feet downstream of the ferry dock.

    (ii) Designated areas along the Kenai River at the two Moose Range Meadows public fishing facilities along Keystone Drive are closed to public access and use. At these facilities, we allow fishing only from the fishing platforms and by wading in the Kenai River. To access the river, you must enter and exit from the stairways attached to the fishing platforms. We prohibit fishing from, walking or placing belongings on, or otherwise occupying designated areas along the river in these areas.

    (8) Public use cabin and camping area management. We allow camping and use of public use cabins on the refuge in accordance with the following conditions:

    (i) Unless otherwise further restricted, camping may not exceed 14 days in any 30-day period anywhere on the refuge.

    (ii) Campers may not spend more than 7 consecutive days at Hidden Lake Campground or in public use cabins.

    (iii) The Refuge Manager may establish a fee and registration permit system for overnight camping at designated campgrounds and public use cabins. At all of the refuge's fee-based campgrounds and public use cabins, you must pay the fee in full prior to occupancy. No person may attempt to reserve a refuge campsite by placing a placard, sign, or any item of personal property on a campsite. Reservations and a cabin permit are required for public use cabins, with the exception of the Emma Lake and Trapper Joe cabins, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Information on the refuge's public use cabin program is available from Refuge Headquarters and online at http://www.recreation.gov.

    (iv) Campers in developed campgrounds and public use cabins must follow all posted campground and cabin occupancy rules.

    (v) You must observe quiet hours from 11:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. in all developed campgrounds, parking areas, and public use cabins.

    (vi) Within developed campgrounds, we allow camping only in designated sites.

    (vii) Campfires.

    (A) Within developed campgrounds, we allow open fires only in portable, self-contained, metal fire grills, or in the permanent fire grates provided. We prohibit moving a permanent fire grill or grate to a new location.

    (B) Campers and occupants of public use cabins may cut only dead and down vegetation for campfire use.

    (C) You must completely extinguish (put out cold) all campfires before permanently leaving a campsite.

    (viii) While occupying designated campgrounds, parking areas, or public use cabins, all food (including lawfully retained fish, wildlife, or their parts), beverages, personal hygiene items, odiferous refuse, or any other item that may attract bears or other wildlife, and all equipment used to transport, store, or cook these items (such as coolers, backpacks, camp stoves, and grills) must be:

    (A) Locked in a hard-sided vehicle, camper, or camp trailer; in a cabin; or in a commercially produced and certified bear-resistant container; or

    (B) Immediately accessible to at least one person who is outside and attending to the items.

    (ix) We prohibit deposition of solid human waste within 100 feet of annual mean high water level of any wetland, lake, pond, spring, river, stream, campsite, or trail. In the Swan Lake and Swanson River Canoe Systems, you must bury solid human waste to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

    (x) We prohibit tent camping within 600 feet of each public use cabin, except by members and guests of the party registered to that cabin.

    (xi) Within 100 yards of the Kenai River banks along the Upper Kenai River from river mile 73 to its confluence with Skilak Lake (river mile 65), and along the Middle Kenai River downstream of Skilak Lake (river mile 50 to river mile 45.5), we allow camping only at designated primitive campsites. Campers can spend no more than 3 consecutive nights at the designated primitive campsites.

    (xii) We prohibit camping in the following areas of the refuge:

    (A) Within 1/4 mile of the Sterling Highway, Ski Hill, or Skilak Loop roads, except in designated campgrounds.

    (B) On the two islands in the lower Kenai River between mile 25.1 and mile 28.1 adjacent to the Moose Range Meadows Subdivision.

    (C) At the two refuge public fishing facilities and the boat launching facility along Keystone Drive within the Moose Range Meadows Subdivision, including within parking areas, and on trails, fishing platforms, and associated refuge lands.

    (9) Other uses and activities.

    (i) Must I register to canoe on the refuge? Canoeists on the Swanson River and Swan Lake Canoe Routes must register at entrance points using the registration forms provided. The maximum group size on the Canoe Routes is 15 people.

    (ii) May I use motorized equipment within designated Wilderness areas on the refuge? Within the Kenai Wilderness, except as provided in this paragraph (i), we prohibit the use of motorized equipment, including, but not limited to, chainsaws; generators; power tools; powered ice augers; and electric, gas, or diesel power units. We allow the use of motorized wheelchairs, when used by those whose disabilities require wheelchairs for locomotion. We allow the use of snowmobiles, airplanes, and motorboats in designated areas in accordance with the regulations in this paragraph (i).

    (iii) May I use non-motorized wheeled vehicles on the refuge? Yes, you may use bicycles and other non-motorized wheeled vehicles, but only on refuge roads and rights-of-way designated for public vehicular access. In addition, you may use non-motorized, hand-operated, wheeled game carts, specifically manufactured for such purpose, to transport meat of legally harvested big game on designated industrial roads closed to public vehicular access. Information on these designated roads is available from Refuge Headquarters. Further, you may use a wheelchair if you have a disability that requires its use for locomotion.

    (iv) May I ride or use horses, mules, or other domestic animals as packstock on the refuge? Yes, as authorized under State law, except on the Fuller Lake Trail and on all trails within the Skilak Wildlife Recreation Area and the Refuge Headquarters area. All animals used as packstock must remain in the immediate control of the owner, or his/her designee. All hay and feed used on the refuge for domestic stock and sled dogs must be certified under the State of Alaska's Weed Free Forage certification program.

    (v) Are pets allowed on the refuge? Yes, pets are allowed, but you must be in control of your pet(s) at all times. Pets in developed campgrounds and parking lots must be on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet in length. Pets are not allowed on hiking and ski trails in the Refuge Headquarters area.

    (vi) May I cut firewood on the refuge? The Refuge Manager may open designated areas of the refuge for firewood cutting. You may cut and/or remove firewood only for personal, noncommercial use, and only as authorized under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager.

    (vii) May I cut Christmas trees on the refuge? You may cut one spruce tree per household per year no larger than 20 feet in height from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day. Trees may be taken anywhere on the refuge, except that we prohibit taking trees from within the 2-square-mile Refuge Headquarters area on Ski Hill Road. Trees must be harvested with hand tools, and must be at least 150 feet from roads, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and waterways (lakes, rivers, streams, or ponds). Stumps from harvested trees must be trimmed to less than 6 inches in height.

    (viii) May I pick berries and other edible plants on the refuge? You may pick and possess unlimited quantities of berries, mushrooms, and other edible plants for personal, noncommercial use.

    (ix) May I collect shed antlers on the refuge? You may collect and keep up to eight (8) naturally shed moose and/or caribou antlers annually for personal, noncommercial use. You may collect no more than two (2) shed antlers per day.

    (x) May I leave personal property on the refuge? You may not leave personal property unattended longer than 72 hours unless in a designated area or as authorized under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager. However, refuge visitors involved in approved, extended overnight activities, including hunting, fishing, and camping, may leave personal property unattended during their continuous stay, but in no case longer than 14 days.

    (xi) If I find research marking devices, what do I do? You must return any radio transmitter collars, neck and leg bands, ear tags, or other fish and wildlife marking devices found or recovered from fish and wildlife on the refuge within 5 days of leaving the refuge to the Refuge Manager or the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    (xii) Are there special regulations for alcoholic beverages? In addition to the provisions of 50 CFR 27.81, anyone under the age of 21 years may not knowingly consume, possess, or control alcoholic beverages on the refuge in violation of State of Alaska law or regulations.

    (xiii) Are there special regulations for public gatherings on the refuge? In addition to the provisions of 50 CFR 26.36, a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) is required for any outdoor public gathering of more than 20 persons.

    (10) Areas of the refuge closed to public use.

    (i) From March 15 through September 30, you may not approach within 100 yards of, or walk on or otherwise occupy, the rock outcrop islands in Skilak Lake traditionally used by nesting cormorants and gulls. A map depicting the closure is available from the Refuge Headquarters.

    (ii) Headquarters Lake, adjacent to the Kenai Refuge Headquarters area, is closed to boating.

    (11) Area-specific regulations for the Russian River Special Management Area. The Russian River Special Management Area includes all refuge lands and waters within 1/4 mile of the eastern refuge boundary along the Russian River from the upstream end of the fish ladder at Russian River Falls downstream to the confluence with the Kenai River, and within 1/4 mile of the Kenai River from the eastern refuge boundary downstream to the upstream side of the powerline crossing at river mile 73, and areas managed by the refuge under memorandum of understanding or lease agreement at the Sportsman Landing facility. In the Russian River Special Management Area:

    (i) While recreating on or along the Russian and Kenai rivers, you must closely attend or acceptably store all attractants, and all equipment used to transport attractants (such as backpacks and coolers) at all times. Attractants are any substance, natural or manmade, including but not limited to, items of food, beverage, personal hygiene, or odiferous refuse that may draw, entice, or otherwise cause a bear or other wildlife to approach. Closely attend means to retain on the person or within the person's immediate control and in no case more than 3 feet from the person. Acceptably store means to lock within a commercially produced and certified bear-resistant container.

    (ii) While recreating on or along the Russian and Kenai rivers, you must closely attend or acceptably store all lawfully retained fish at all times. Closely attend means to keep within view of the person and be near enough for the person to quickly retrieve, and in no case more than 12 feet from the person. Acceptably store means to lock within a commercially produced and certified bear-resistant container.

    (iii) We prohibit overnight camping except in designated camping facilities at the Russian River Ferry and Sportsman's Landing parking areas. Campers may not spend more than 2 consecutive days at these designated camping facilities.

    (iv) You may start or maintain a fire only in designated camping facilities at the Russian River Ferry and Sportsman's Landing parking areas, and then only in portable, self-contained, metal fire grills, or in the permanent fire grates provided. We prohibit moving a permanent fire grill or grate to a new location. You must completely extinguish (put out cold) all campfires before permanently leaving your campsite.

    (12) Area-specific regulations for the Moose Range Meadows Subdivision Non-Development and Public Use Easements.

    (i) Where the refuge administers two variable width, non-development easements held by the United States and overlaying private lands within the Moose Range Meadows Subdivision on either shore of the Kenai River between river miles 25.1 and 28.1, you may not erect any building or structure of any kind; remove or disturb gravel, topsoil, peat, or organic material; remove or disturb any tree, shrub, or plant material of any kind; start a fire; or use a motorized vehicle of any kind (except a wheelchair occupied by a person with a disability), unless such use is authorized under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager.

    (ii) Where the refuge administers two 25-foot-wide public use easements held by the United States and overlaying private lands within the Moose Range Meadows Subdivision on either shore of the Kenai River between river miles 25.1 and 28.1, we allow public entry subject to applicable Federal regulations and the following provisions:

    (A) You may walk upon or along, fish from, or launch or beach a boat upon an area 25 feet upland of ordinary high water, provided that no vehicles (except wheelchairs) are used. We prohibit non-emergency camping, structure construction, and brush or tree cutting within the easements.

    (B) From July 1 to August 15, you may not use or access any portion of the 25-foot-wide public easements or the three designated public easement trails located parallel to the Homer Electric Association Right-of-Way from Funny River Road and Keystone Drive to the downstream limits of the public use easements. Maps depicting the seasonal closure are available from Refuge Headquarters.

    (13) Area-specific regulations for Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Section 17(b) Easements. Where the refuge administers Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act Section 17(b) easements to provide access to refuge lands, no person may block, alter, or destroy any section of the road, trail, or undeveloped easement, unless such use is authorized under the terms and conditions of a special use permit (FWS Form 3-1383-G) issued by the Refuge Manager. No person may interfere with lawful use of the easement or create a public safety hazard on the easement. Section 17(b) easements are depicted on a map available from Refuge Headquarters.

    Dated: May 5, 2015. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12099 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Marine Fisheries Service 50 CFR Part 424 [Docket Nos. FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0016; DOC 150506429-5429-01; 4500030113] RIN 1018-BA53; 0648-BF06 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions AGENCY:

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Interior; National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, propose changes to the regulations concerning petitions, to improve the content and specificity of petitions and to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the petitions process to support species conservation. Our proposed revisions to the regulations would clarify and enhance the procedures by which the Services will evaluate petitions under section 4(b)(3) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. These revisions would also maximize the efficiency with which the Services process petitions, making the best use of available resources.

    DATES:

    We will accept comments that we receive on or before July 20, 2015. Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below), the deadline for submitting an electronic comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

    Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the docket number for this proposed rule, which is FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0016. Then click on the Search button. In the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!” Please ensure that you have found the correct document before submitting your comment.

    By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0016; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Request for Information section, below, for more information).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Douglas Krofta, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Conservation and Classification, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803, telephone 703-358-2171; facsimile 703-358-1735; or Angela Somma, National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, telephone 301-427-8403. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The primary purpose of the petition process is to empower the public, in effect, to direct the attention of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) to (1) species that may be imperiled and not otherwise known to the Services, (2) changes to a listed species' threats or other circumstances that warrant that species being reclassified (i.e., changed in listing status by “downlisting” from endangered to threatened, or by “uplisting” from threatened to endangered) or delisted (i.e., removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife or List of Endangered and Threatened Plants), or (3) necessary revisions to critical habitat designations. The petition process is a central feature of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), as amended, and serves a beneficial public purpose.

    Purpose of Proposed Revision of Regulations

    The Services are proposing changes to the regulations at 50 CFR 424.14 concerning petitions to improve the content and specificity of petitions and to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the petitions process to support species conservation. Our proposed revisions to § 424.14 would clarify and enhance the procedures by which the Services will evaluate petitions under section 4(b)(3) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3). We propose to revise the regulations pertaining to the petition process to provide greater clarity to the public on the petition-submission process, which will assist petitioners in providing complete petitions. These revisions would also maximize the efficiency with which the Services process petitions, making the best use of available resources. These changes would improve the quality of petitions through expanded content requirements and guidelines; and, in doing so; better focus the Services' energies on petitions that merit further analysis. The following discussion outlines the proposed changes and explains the benefits of making these changes.

    Specific Proposed Changes to Current Regulations at 50 CFR 424.14 General Authority and Requirements for Petitions—Paragraphs (a) and (b)

    Proposed paragraph (a) would retain the first sentence of the current section. Proposed new paragraph (b) would incorporate the substance of the second and third sentences of current paragraph (a), which set forth certain minimum content requirements for a request for agency action to qualify as a petition for the purposes of section 4(b)(3) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3). The new paragraph would also expand upon the list of requirements for a petition, drawing in part from the provisions in current paragraph (b)(2). Proposed paragraph (b)(2) would, however, newly require that a petition address only one species. Although the Services in the past have accepted multi-species petitions, in practice it has often proven to be difficult to know which supporting materials apply to which species, and has sometimes made it difficult to follow the logic of the petition. This requirement would not place any limitation on the ability of an interested party to petition for section 4 actions, but would require petitioners to organize the information in a way (on a species-by-species basis) that will allow more efficient action by the Services.

    The first six requirements (in proposed paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(6)) would apply to each type of petition recognized under section 4(b)(3) of the Act. The first four requirements (in proposed paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(4)) are all contained in the current regulations at § 424.14(a) and (b). The fifth and sixth requirements (in proposed paragraphs (b)(5) and (b)(6)) clarify and expand on the current provisions regarding a petition's supporting documentation at § 424.14(b)(2)(iv). The seventh requirement (in proposed paragraph (b)(7)), however, would apply only to petitions to list a species, and would require that information be presented on the face of the request to demonstrate that the entity that is the subject of the request is or may be a “species” as defined in the Act (which includes a species, subspecies, or distinct population segment). Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act applies only to “a petition . . . to add a species to, or to remove a species from, either of the lists [of endangered or threatened wildlife and plants]” (emphasis added). This provision screens from needless consideration those requests that clearly do not involve a species, subspecies, or distinct population segment. The eighth requirement (in proposed paragraph (b)(8)), would apply only to petitions to list, delist, or reclassify a species, and would require that information be included in the petition describing the current range of the species, including range States or countries, as appropriate.

    Although section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act authorizes interested persons to submit a petition to add a species to, or remove a species from, the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, and section 4(b)(3)(D) of the Act authorizes submission of petitions to revise critical habitat designations, the Act does not specify the required contents of such a petition, but instead leaves with the Secretary the authority to do so. The Services are concerned that the States, which often have considerable experience and information on the species within their boundaries, have opportunity to be involved in providing information as part of the petition process. To further the Act's directive to cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the States, the Secretary proposes to revise the regulations pertaining to the required contents of such petitions, as well as petitions to revise or designate critical habitat. The goal of this proposed revision is to encourage greater communication and cooperation among would-be petitioners and State conservation agencies prior to the submission of listing or critical habitat petitions to the Secretary.

    To that end, we propose a ninth requirement (proposed paragraph (b)(9)) that would apply only to petitions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to add a species that occurs within the United States to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife or List of Endangered and Threatened Plants, change the status of a listed domestic species, or designate or revise critical habitat for any domestic species under its jurisdiction. This proposed requirement concerns communications between the petitioner(s); the State agency(ies) responsible for the management and conservation of fish, plant, or wildlife resources in each State where the species that is the subject of the petition occurs; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a general matter, States have jurisdiction and the responsibility for managing and conserving freshwater fish, wildlife, and plant species that are not listed as endangered or threatened species under the Act. In the exercise of their jurisdiction and responsibility, the States have developed substantial experience, expertise, and information relevant to the conservation of such species. The Act recognizes and acknowledges that experience and expertise in a number of ways. For example, section 6 of the Act directs the Secretary to cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the States in carrying out the program authorized by the Act. Consistent with this mandate, section 4(b) of the Act directs the Secretary, when making determinations with respect to the listing of any species, to take into account the efforts being made by any State to protect such species. In addition, although the Secretary is free to adopt regulations pursuant to section 4 that are at odds with the written recommendations of a State conservation agency, when he or she does so, section 4(i) of the Act requires the Secretary to provide the State agency with a written justification for not adopting regulations consistent with State's recommendations. In these and other ways, the Act recognizes and respects the special status of the States with respect to the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, and plants.

    Proposed paragraph (b)(9) would require that for any petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pertaining to species found within the United States, a petitioner must certify that a copy of the petition was provided to the State agency(ies) responsible for the management and conservation of fish, plant, or wildlife resources in each State where the species occurs at least 30 days prior to submission to the Service. The certification must include the date that the petition was provided to the relevant State agency(ies). If the State agency(ies) provided data or written comments regarding the accuracy or completeness of the petition, those data or comments must be labeled as such, appended to the petition, and submitted with the petition. If the State agency(ies) did not provide any data or written comments regarding the accuracy or completeness of the petition, the petitioner must so certify. We realize that States may not have jurisdiction over or regulate all species, such as insects or plants, and thus may not be able to provide any data for certain species.

    Note that if a State provides data or written comments to the petitioner after the petition is filed, section 424.14(b)(9) would not require that the petitioner resubmit the petition with the new State data or written comments (although the petitioner may choose to do so). State data received after the filing of the petition will not reset the clock for the Services' consideration of the petition, but will become part of the data available in our files that we may elect to review under proposed section (g)(1)(ii) if sufficient time remains to do so.

    In this proposed rule, we are proposing to include the requirement under (b)(9) only as to petitions filed with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. We recognize the relatively greater logistical difficulties that would be posed to petitioners if they were required to identify and coordinate with all interested States regarding marine species and wide-ranging anadromous species. However, we seek public comment as to whether this requirement, if adopted, should also apply to petitions filed with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

    The Services are also concerned that petitions should include a presentation of all reasonably available, relevant data on the subject species (or, if relevant for the particular petition, its habitat), including information that supports the petition as well as that which may tend to refute it. This is particularly true for information publicly available from affected States, who have special status and concerns with respect to implementation of the Act, as discussed above. Fostering greater inclusion of such data would help ensure that any petition submitted to the Secretary is based on reliable and unbiased information and does not consist simply of unrepresentative, selected data.

    To this end, we propose a tenth requirement (proposed paragraph (b)(10)), applicable to all petitions filed with either Service, that would require a petitioner to certify that the petitioner has gathered all relevant information readily available, including from Web sites maintained by the affected States, and has clearly labeled and appended such information to the petition so that it is submitted with the petition. As an alternative to this provision, we are considering limiting the requirement under (b)(10) to extend only to gathering and certifying submission of relevant information publicly available on affected States' Web sites.

    The Services would apply § 424.14(b) to identify those requests that contain all the elements of a petition, so that consideration of the request would be an efficient and wise use of agency resources. A request that fails to meet these elements would be screened out from further consideration, as discussed below, because a request cannot meet the statutory standard for demonstrating that the petitioned action may be warranted if it does not contain at least some information on each of the areas relevant to that inquiry.

    Types of Information To Be Included in Petitions—Paragraphs (c) and (d)

    Proposed § 424.14(c) and (d) describe the types of information that would be relevant to the Secretary's determination as to whether the petition provides substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted. Petitioners are advised that compliance with paragraph (b) would result in issuance of a 90-day finding, but for that finding to be positive, petitioners should include as much of the types of information listed in paragraphs (c) or (d) (as relevant to the type of petition they are filing) as possible.

    Petitions To List, Delist, or Reclassify

    The proposed informational elements for listing, delisting, and reclassification petitions in proposed paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(5) are rooted in the substance of current paragraphs (b)(2)(ii) and (iii). These elements would clarify in the regulations the key considerations that are relevant when the Services are determining whether or not the petition presents “substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted,” which is the standard for making a positive 90-day finding as described in section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A).

    Proposed paragraph (c)(3) refers to inclusion in a petition of a description of the magnitude and immediacy of threats. This request is included to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in assessing the listing priority number of species for which a warranted-but-precluded finding is made under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) September 21, 1983, guidance, which requires assessing, in part, the magnitude and immediacy of threats (48 FR 43098). In addition to being useful for status reviews, this information should be included to assist in determinations on delisting and reclassification requests. While such information will likely also be useful to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), it should be noted that NMFS has not adopted the 1983 FWS guidance, and so would not apply that guidance to petitions within its jurisdiction.

    Proposed paragraph (c)(5) is a revision of the language in current paragraph (b)(2) that describes information a petitioner may include for consideration in designating critical habitat in conjunction with a listing or reclassification. We propose to delete the clause “and indicates any benefits and/or adverse effects on the species that would result from such designation” because this information is not relevant to the biological considerations that underlay a listing determination.

    Petitions To Revise Critical Habitat

    Similarly, proposed new § 424.14(d) sets forth the kinds of information a petitioner should include in a petition to revise critical habitat. The Secretary's determination as to whether the petition provides “substantial scientific information indicating that the revision may be warranted” (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(D)(i)) will depend in part on the degree to which the petition includes this type of information.

    The items set out at proposed new paragraph (d) are an expanded and reworded version of the substance of current paragraph (c)(2). Proposed paragraph (d)(1) would confirm that, to justify a revision to critical habitat, it is important to demonstrate that the existing designation includes areas that should not be included or does not include areas that should be included, and to discuss the benefits of designating additional areas, or the reasons to remove areas from an existing designation. Additionally, including maps with enough detail to clearly identify the particular area(s) being recommended for inclusion or exclusion will be useful to the Services in making a petition finding.

    Proposed paragraph (d)(2) is drawn from the substance of current paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii), which have been reorganized and clarified. Proposed paragraph (d)(2) would clarify that several distinct pieces of information are needed to analyze whether any area of habitat should be designated, beginning with a description of the “physical or biological features” that are essential for the conservation of the species and which may require special management. Proposed paragraphs (d)(3) and (d)(4) would detail the informational needs the Services will have in considering whether to add or remove habitat from the designation comprising specific areas occupied by the species at the time of listing, respectively. Proposed paragraph (d)(5) would highlight the particular informational needs associated with evaluating habitat that was unoccupied at the time of listing—that is, information that fulfills the statutory requirement that any specific areas designated are “essential to the conservation of the species.” See section 3(5)(A)(ii) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1532(5)(A)(ii).

    Proposed paragraph (d)(6) would provide additional direction that a petition should include information demonstrating that the petition provides a complete presentation of the relevant facts, including an explanation of what sources of information the petitioner consulted in drafting the petition, as well as any relevant information known to the petitioner not included in the petition.

    Responses to Petitions—Paragraph (e)

    Proposed new § 424.14(e) sets out the possible responses the Secretary may make to requests. Proposed paragraph (e)(1) would clarify that a request that fails to satisfy the mandatory elements set forth in proposed paragraph (b) may be returned by the Services without a further determination on the merits of the request. In light of the volume of requests received by the Services, it is critical that we have the option to identify early on those requests that on their faces are incomplete, in order to ensure that agency resources are not diverted from higher priorities. Although this authority is implied in the current regulations, making the point explicit in the revised regulations would provide additional notice to petitioners, and lead to better-quality requests and more efficient and effective (in terms of species conservation) use of agency resources. Proposed § 424.14(e)(2) would confirm that a request that complies with the mandatory requirements will be acknowledged in writing as a petition within 30 days of receipt (as required under current 424.14(a)).

    Additional Information Provided Subsequent to Receipt of the Petition—Paragraph (f)

    Proposed paragraph (f) would address the situation in which a petitioner supplements a petition with additional information at a later date, requesting that the Secretary take the new information into account. The Services' standard practice in these circumstances has been to notify petitioners of receipt of this information and inform them that, in order to meaningfully consider this information, the Services consider the statutory deadlines to now run from the receipt date of the supplemental information. The proposed provision would clarify our position that the statutory period applicable to making any required finding would be re-set to begin running from the time such additional information is received by the Secretaries. In effect, the supplemental information, together with the original petition, will be considered a new petition that constructively supplants the original petition and re-sets the period for making a 90-day finding under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act. This is consistent with 16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A) and 1533(b)(3)(D)(i), which direct the Services to determine whether “the petition” presents substantial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Supplementing the information supporting a petition is, therefore, constructively the same as submitting a new petition. The Services propose to make this explicit in the regulations to ensure that the Services have adequate time to consider the supplemental information relevant to a petition. Also, by giving clear notice of this process, the Services can encourage petitioners to assemble all the information they believe necessary to support the petition prior to sending it to the Services for consideration, further enhancing the efficiency of the petition process.

    Findings on a Petition To List, Delist, or Reclassify—Paragraph (g)

    Proposed § 424.14(g) would explain the kinds of findings the Services may make on a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species and the standards to be applied in that process. Proposed paragraph (g)(1) is drawn largely from current paragraph (b)(1), with some revisions. Most significantly, proposed paragraph (g)(1)(i) would clarify the substantial-information standard by defining it as credible scientific and commercial information that would lead a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review to conclude that the action proposed in the petition may be warranted. Thus, conclusory statements made in a petition without the support of credible scientific or commercial information are not “substantial information.” For example, a petition that states only that a species is rare and thus should be listed, without other credible information regarding its status, does not provide substantial information. This interpretation is consistent with the Scott's riffle beetle case (WildEarth Guardians v. Salazar (D. Colo. Sept. 19, 2011)). In that case, the court rejected the challenge to a negative 90-day finding, because the petition did not present any information of any potential threat currently affecting the species or reasonably likely to do so in the foreseeable future. The court found that information as to the rarity of a species, without more information, is not “substantial information” that listing the species may be warranted.

    In § 424.14(g)(1)(ii), we propose to add a new sentence to clarify that the Services may consider information that is readily available in the relevant agency's possession at the time it makes a 90-day finding. For purposes of § 424.14(g)(1), the Services recognize that the statute places the obligation squarely on the petitioner to present the requisite level of information to meet the “substantial information” test, and that the Services therefore should not seek to supplement petitions. (Please see the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse case (WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32470 (D. Idaho Mar. 28, 2011)), which provided, among other things, that the petitioner has the burden of providing substantial information.) However, the Services believe they should evaluate such petitions in context and using the Services' expertise. In order to apply their best professional judgment, Service staff reviewing petitions may need to take into account information readily available in the agency's possession, including both information tending to support the petition and information tending to contradict the information presented therein. Although the Services are mindful that, at the stage of formulating an initial finding, they should not engage in outside research or an effort to comprehensively compile the best available information, they must be able to place the information presented in the petition in context.

    The Act contemplates a two-step process in reviewing a petition. The 12-month finding is meant to be the more in-depth determination and follows a status review, while the 90-day finding is meant to be a quicker evaluation of a more limited set of information. However, based on their experience in administering the Act, the Services conclude that evaluating the information presented in the petition in a vacuum can lead to inaccurately supported decisions and misdirection of resources away from higher priorities. It may be difficult for the Services to bring informed expertise to their evaluation of the facts and claims alleged in a petition without considering the petition in the context of other information of the sort that the Services maintain in their possession and would routinely consult in the course of their work. It is reasonable for the Services to be able to examine the veracity of the information included in a petition prior to committing limited Federal resources to the significant expense of a status review.

    The Act's legislative history also supports explicitly recognizing the discretion that the Services have to bring their informed expertise and judgment to bear in reviewing petitions. In a discussion of judicial review of the Secretary's 90-day findings on petitions, a House Conference report states that, when courts review such a decision, the “object of [the judicial] review is to determine whether the Secretary's action was arbitrary or capricious in light of the scientific and commercial information available concerning the petitioned action.” H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 97-835, at 20, reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2860, 2862 (emphasis added). By requiring courts to evaluate the Secretary's substantial information findings in light of information “available,” this statement suggests that the drafters anticipated that the Secretary could evaluate petitions in the context of scientific and commercial information available to the Services, and not limited arbitrarily to a subset of available information presented in the petitions. In these regulatory amendments, the Services have crafted a balanced approach that will ensure that the Services may take into account the information available to us, without opening the door to the type of wide-ranging survey more appropriate for a status review. The intent is not to solicit new information.

    The precise range of information properly considered readily available in the agency's possession will vary with circumstances, but could include the information physically held by any office within the Services (including, for example, the NMFS Science Centers and FWS Field Offices), and may also include information stored electronically in databases routinely consulted by the Services in the ordinary course of their work. For example, it would be appropriate to consult online databases such as the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (http://www.itis.gov), a database of scientifically credible nomenclature information maintained in part by the Services.

    Proposed paragraph (g)(1)(iii) would explain how the substantial-information standard applies to a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species that is submitted after the Secretary has already conducted a status review of that species and determined that the petitioned action is not warranted, or made another listing action; such petitions are referred to as “subsequent petitions.” Subsequent petitions may follow a 12-month finding or a final determination on a proposed listing, reclassification, or delisting rule. The prior status review and determination are part of the information readily available in the agency's possession for consideration in evaluating the subsequent petition, and they play an important role in setting the context for the 90-day finding. In addition, 5-year reviews completed for listed species would be considered in our evaluation of a petition to delist or reclassify. Although the substantial-information standard applies to all petitions under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, the standard's application depends on the context in which the finding is being made. The context of a finding after a status review and determination is quite different than that before any status review has been completed. Thus, proposed § 424.14(g)(1)(iii) requires that for a subsequent petition to provide substantial information the petition must provide sufficient new information or analysis such that a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that the action proposed in the petition may be warranted, despite the previous determination. (Please see the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse case (WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 2011 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32470 (D. Idaho Mar. 28, 2011)), in which the court found the FWS could consider scientific conclusions in previous 12-month finding valid, because that finding was not challenged.)

    A reasonable person would not conclude that the petitioned action may be warranted if the petition fails to present any substantial new information or analysis that might alter the conclusions of the Services' prior determination. Following a positive 90-day finding on a petition, the Services gather all available scientific and commercial information and conduct a status review of the species; the resulting 12-month finding is a result of this review. The Secretary may also initiate and conduct a status review on his or her own and determine if listing, delisting, or reclassifying is warranted. Similarly, a final determination on a proposed rule to list or delist a species requires that we first conduct a status review of the species. If the subsequent petition fails to provide any substantial new information or analysis beyond that already considered in a prior status review or 5-year review that resulted in a finding that listing or reclassification of the species is not warranted, it would not be rational to expect a different outcome.

    One corollary of this conclusion is that the Secretary may find that a subsequent petition fails the “substantial information” standard, even though a prior petition seeking the same action initially received a positive 90-day finding. Because the prior status review, and resultant 12-month finding, are now a part of the information readily available in the agency's possession, the subsequent petition is on a different footing from the prior petition. Although similar information may have qualified as “substantial” when it was initially evaluated, it may not necessarily be considered substantial in the context of the completed status review.

    The completion of a status review of a species consumes considerable agency resources. The application of § 424.14(g)(1)(iii) is intended to assist the Services in making judicious use of those resources, by eliminating unnecessary duplication of effort in responding to a petition when the Services have already evaluated the species in question and no substantial new information or analysis is available. This would allow the Services to instead concentrate on petitions for actions that will best make use of limited agency resources and potentially result in greater conservation value for a species that may be in need of the protections of the Act.

    Proposed § 424.14(g)(2) is substantially the same as current paragraph (b)(3). Among other changes, we propose new language clarifying the standard for making expeditious-progress determinations in warranted-but-precluded findings, including (in paragraph (g)(2)(iii)(B)) a clear acknowledgement that such determinations are to be made in light of resources available after complying with nondiscretionary duties, court orders, and court-approved settlement agreements to take actions under section 4 of the Act. Current paragraph (b)(4) would be redesignated as paragraph (g)(3), although we propose to remove the reference in the current language that “no further finding of substantial information will be required,” as it merely repeats statutory language.

    Findings on a Petition To Revise Critical Habitat—Paragraph (h)

    Proposed § 424.14(h) would explain the kinds of findings that the Services may make on a petition to revise critical habitat. Proposed paragraph (h)(1) is essentially the same as current paragraph (c)(1) and describes the standard applicable to the Secretary's finding at the 90-day stage. Please refer to the discussion of the “substantial information” test discussed in the description of § 424.14(g)(1), above. Proposed paragraph (h)(2) would specifically acknowledge, consistent with the statute, that such finding may, but need not, take a form similar to one of the findings called for at the 12-month stage in the review of a petition to list, delist, or reclassify species. Section 4(a)(3)(A) of the Act establishes a mandatory duty to designate critical habitat for listed species to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time of listing (in subsection (A)(i)), but respecting subsequent revision of such habitat provides only that the Services “may, from time-to-time thereafter as appropriate, revise such designation” (in subsection (A)(ii) (emphasis added)).

    That the Services have broad discretion to decide when it is appropriate to revise critical habitat is also evident in the differences between the Act's provisions discussing petitions to revise critical habitat, on the one hand, and the far more prescriptive provisions regarding the possible findings that can be made at the 12-month stage on petitions to list, delist, or reclassify species, on the other. Section 4(b)(3)(B) includes three detailed and exclusive options for 12-month findings on petitions to list, delist, or reclassify species. In contrast, section 4(b)(3)(D)(ii) requires only that the Secretary (acting through the Services) “determine how he intends to proceed with the requested revision” and promptly publish notice of such intention in the Federal Register within 12 months of receipt of a petition to revise critical habitat that has been found to present substantial information that the petitioned revision may be warranted. The differences in these subsections indicates that the listing petition procedures are not required to be followed in determining how to proceed with petitions to revise critical habitat. See Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37349 (D.D.C. Mar. 19, 2013) (12-month determinations on petitions to revise are committed to the agency's discretion by law, and thus unreviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act); Morrill v. Lujan, 802 F. Supp. 424 (S.D. Ala. 1992) (revisions to critical habitat are discretionary); see also Barnhart v. Sigman Coal Co., Inc., 122 S. Ct. 941, 951 (2002) (“it is a general principle of statutory construction that when `Congress includes particular language in one section of a statute but omits it in another section of the same Act, it is generally presumed that Congress acts intentionally and purposely in the disparate inclusion or exclusion' ”) (citing Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16, 23 (1983)); Federal Election Commission v. National Rifle Ass'n of America, 254 F.3d 173, 194 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (same).

    Further, the legislative history for the 1982 amendments that added the petition provisions to the Act confirms that Congress intended to grant discretion to the Services in determining how to respond to petitions to revise critical habitat. After discussing at length the detailed listing petition provisions and their intended meaning, Congress said of the critical habitat petition requirements, “Petitions to revise critical habitat designations may be treated differently.” H.R. Rep. No. 97-835, at 22 (1982), reprinted in 1982 U.S.C.C.A.N. 2860, 2862.

    The Services may find in particular situations that terminology similar to that set out in the listing-petition provisions is useful for explaining their intended response at the 12-month stage on a petition to revise critical habitat. For example, the Services have, at times, used the term “warranted” to indicate that requested revisions of critical habitat would satisfy the definition of critical habitat in section 3 of the Act. However, use of the listing-petition terms in a finding on a petition to revise critical habitat would not mean that the associated listing-petition procedures and timelines apply or are required to be followed with respect to the petition. For example, if the Services find that a petitioned revision of critical habitat is, in effect, “warranted,” in that the areas would meet the definition of “critical habitat,” that finding would not require the Services to publish a proposed rule to implement the revision in any particular timeframe. Similarly, a finding on a petition to revise critical habitat that uses the phrase “warranted but precluded,” or a functionally similar phrase, to describe the Secretary's intention would not trigger the requirements of section 4(b)(3)(B)(iii) or (C) (establishing requirements to make particular findings, to implement a monitoring system, etc.).

    Though the Services have discretion to determine how to proceed with a petition to revise critical habitat, the Services believe that certain factors respecting conservation and recovery of the relevant species are likely to be relevant and potentially important to most such determinations. Such factors may include, but are not limited to: The status of the existing critical habitat for which revisions are sought (e.g., when it was designated, the extent of the species' range included in the designation); the effectiveness or potential of the existing critical habitat to contribute to the conservation of the relevant listed species; the potential conservation benefit of the petitioned revision to the listed species relative to the existing designation; whether there are other, higher-priority conservation actions that need to be completed under the Act, particularly for the species that is the subject of the petitioned revision; the availability of personnel, funding, and contractual or other resources required to complete the requested revision; and the precedent that accepting the petition might set for subsequent requested revisions.

    Petitions To Initially Designate Critical Habitat and Petitions for Special Rules—Paragraph (i)

    Proposed § 424.14(i) would be substantially the same as current paragraph (d), regarding petitions to initially designate critical habitat or for adoption of special rules under section 4(d) of the Act.

    Withdrawn Petitions—Paragraph (j)

    Proposed § 424.14(j) would describe the process for a petitioner to withdraw a petition, and the Services' discretion to discontinue action on the withdrawn petition. Although the Services may discontinue work on a 90-day or 12-month finding for a petition that is withdrawn, in the case of a petition to list a species, the Services may use their own process to evaluate whether the species may warrant listing and whether it should become a candidate for listing. In the case of the withdrawal of a petition to delist, uplist or downlist a species, the Services may use the 5-year review process to further evaluate the status of the species, or elect to consider the issue at any time.

    Request for Information

    Any final rule based on this proposal will consider information and recommendations timely submitted from all interested parties. We solicit comments, information, and recommendations from governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry groups, environmental interest groups, and any other interested parties on this proposed rule. All comments and materials received by the date listed in DATES, above, will be considered prior to the approval of a final rule.

    We request comments and information evaluating each of several alternatives for insuring greater inclusion of relevant data supporting petitions, including information available from State conservation agencies within the range of the species. We specifically seek comment on proposed paragraph (b)(9), requiring petitioner coordination with States prior to submission of a petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service, and paragraph (b)(10), requiring certification that all reasonably available information, including relevant information publicly available from affected States' Web sites, has been gathered and appended to a petition filed with either Service. We note that either of these two provisions could stand alone, or both could be included in a final rule, as shown in the proposed regulatory text. We also suggested an alternative to (b)(10) that would require a certification only that relevant information from affected States' Web sites has been gathered and appended to a petition filed with either Service. We seek information on which alternatives, alone or in combination, would be most consistent with law and best achieve our goals of fostering better-informed petitions and greater cooperation with States. We also seek comments and information regarding any other alternative the public may suggest to achieve the goals of greater coordination with States and better-supported petitions. Finally, we seek comment on the criteria in paragraph (d), including comments on the utility of the criteria, the adequacy of the criteria, and the effect of the criteria on the workload on the petitioner.

    You may submit your information concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this personal identifying information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.

    Information and supporting documentation that we receive in response to this proposed rule will be available for you to review at http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Conservation and Classification (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

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

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is not significant.

    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 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. This proposed rule is consistent with Executive Order 13563, and in particular with the requirement of retrospective analysis of existing rules, designed “to make the agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving the regulatory objectives.”

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    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 (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency, or his 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 certify that, if adopted as proposed, this proposed rule would not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. The following discussion explains our rationale.

    The proposed rule would revise and clarify the regulations governing documentation needed by the Services in order to effectively and efficiently evaluate petitions under the Act. While some of the changes may require petitioners to expend some time (such as coordination with State(s)) and effort (providing complete petitions), we do not expect this will prove to be a hardship, economically or otherwise. Further, we expect the effect on any external entities, large or small, would likely be positive, as they will lead to improved quality of petitions through expanded content requirements and guidelines.

    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) On the basis of information contained in the Regulatory Flexibility Act section above, this proposed rule would not “significantly or uniquely” affect small governments. We have determined and certify pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502, that this rule would 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 proposed rule would not place additional requirements on any city, county, or other local municipalities.

    (b) This proposed rule would not produce a Federal mandate on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of $100 million or greater in any year; that is, this proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action”' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. This proposed rule would impose no obligations on State, local, or tribal governments.

    Takings (E.O. 12630)

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule would not have significant takings implications. This proposed rule would not pertain to “taking” of private property interests, nor would it directly affect private property. A takings implication assessment is not required because this proposed rule (1) would not effectively compel a property owner to suffer a physical invasion of property and (2) would not deny all economically beneficial or productive use of the land or aquatic resources. This proposed rule would substantially advance a legitimate government interest (conservation and recovery of endangered and threatened species) and would not present a barrier to all reasonable and expected beneficial use of private property.

    Federalism (E.O. 13132)

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, we have considered whether this proposed rule would have significant Federalism effects and have determined that a federalism summary impact statement is not required. This proposed rule pertains only to the petition process under the Endangered Species Act, and 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.

    Civil Justice Reform (E.O. 12988)

    This proposed rule does not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the applicable standards provided in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988. This proposed rule would clarify the petition process under the Endangered Species Act.

    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), Executive Order 13175, and the Department of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal Tribes on a government-to-government basis.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    We are analyzing this proposed regulation in accordance with the criteria of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Department of the Interior regulations on Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (43 CFR 46.10-46.450), the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 1-6 and 8), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrative Order 216-6. We invite the public to comment on the extent to which this proposed regulation may have a significant impact on the human environment, or fall within one of the categorical exclusions for actions that have no individual or cumulative effect on the quality of the human environment. We will complete our analysis, in compliance with NEPA, before finalizing this regulation.

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

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This proposed rule, if made final, is not expected to affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

    Clarity of This Proposed Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule or policy we publish must:

    (a) Be logically organized;

    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;

    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us revise the proposed rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 424

    Administrative practice and procedure, Endangered and threatened species.

    Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 424, subchapter A of chapter IV, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

    PART 424—LISTING ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES AND DESIGNATING CRITICAL HABITAT 1. The authority citation for part 424 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    2. Revise § 424.14 to read as follows:
    § 424.14 Petitions.

    (a) Ability to petition. Any interested person may submit a written petition to the Secretary requesting that one of the actions described in § 424.10 be taken for a species.

    (b) Requirements for petitions. A petition must clearly identify itself as such, be dated, and contain the following information:

    (1) The name, signature, address, telephone number, if any, and the association, institution, or business affiliation, if any, of the petitioner;

    (2) The scientific and any common name of the species that is the subject of the petition. One and only one species may be the subject of a petition;

    (3) A clear indication of the administrative action the petitioner seeks (e.g., listing of a species or revision of critical habitat);

    (4) A detailed narrative justification for the recommended administrative action that contains an analysis of the information presented;

    (5) Literature citations that are specific enough for the Secretary to locate the information cited in the petition, including page numbers or chapters as applicable;

    (6) Electronic or hard copies of any supporting materials (e.g., publications, maps, reports, letters from authorities) cited in the petition, or valid links to public Web sites where the supporting materials can be accessed; and

    (7) For a petition to list a species, information to establish whether the subject entity is a “species” as defined in the Act.

    (8) For a petition to list a species, delist a species, or change the status of a listed species, information on the current geographic range of the species, including range States or countries.

    (9) For any petition submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pertaining to species found within the United States, a certification:

    (i) That a copy of the petition was provided to the State agency(ies) responsible for the management and conservation of fish, plant, or wildlife resources in each State where the species occurs at least 30 days prior to submission to the Service; and

    (ii) That the State agency(ies) either:

    (A) Provided to the petitioner data or written comments regarding the accuracy or completeness of the petition, and all those data or comments have been clearly labeled as such and appended to the petition; or

    (B) Did not provide to the petitioner in response any data or written comments regarding the accuracy or completeness of the petition.

    (10) Certification that the petitioner has gathered all relevant information (including information that may support a negative 90-day finding) that is reasonably available, such as that available on Web sites maintained by the affected States, and has clearly labeled this information and appended it to the petition.

    (c) Types of information to be included in petitions to add or remove species from the lists, or change the listed status of a species. The Secretary's determination as to whether the petition provides substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted will depend in part on the degree to which the petition includes the following types of information; failure to include adequate information on any one or more of the following (except paragraph (5)) may result in the Secretary finding that the petition does not present substantial information:

    (1) Information on current population status and trends and estimates of current population sizes and distributions, both in captivity and the wild, if available;

    (2) Identification of the factors under section 4(a)(1) of the Act that may affect the species and where these factors are acting upon the species;

    (3) Whether any or all of the factors alone or in combination identified in section 4(a)(1) of the Act may cause the species to be an endangered species or threatened species (i.e., place the species in danger of extinction now or in the foreseeable future), and, if so, how, including a description of the magnitude and imminence of the threats;

    (4) Information on adequacy of regulatory protections and conservation activities initiated or currently in place that may protect the species or its habitat; and

    (5) Except for petitions to delist, information that is useful in determining whether a critical habitat designation for the species is prudent and determinable (see § 424.12), including information on recommended boundaries and physical features and the habitat requirements of the species; such information, however, will not be a basis for determining whether the petition has presented substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted.

    (d) Additional information to include in petitions to revise critical habitat. The Secretary's determination as to whether the petition provides substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted will depend in part on the degree to which the petition includes the following types of information; failure to include adequate information on any one or more of the following may result in the Secretary finding that the petition does not present substantial information:

    (1) A description and map(s) of areas that the current designation does not include that should be included, or includes that should no longer be included, and the benefits of designating or not designating these specific areas as critical habitat. Petitioners should include available data layers if feasible;

    (2) A description of the physical or biological features essential for the conservation of the species and whether they may require special management considerations or protection;

    (3) For any areas petitioned to be added to critical habitat within the geographical area occupied by the species at time it was listed, information indicating that the specific areas contain the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species and may require special management considerations or protection. The petitioner should also indicate which specific areas contain which features;

    (4) For any areas petitioned for removal from currently designated critical habitat within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed, information indicating that the specific areas do not contain features (including features that allow the area to support the species periodically, over time) that are essential to the conservation of the species, or that these features do not require special management consideration or protections;

    (5) For any areas petitioned to be added to or removed from critical habitat that were outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed, information indicating why the petitioned areas are or are not essential for the conservation of the species; and

    (6) Information demonstrating that the petition includes a complete presentation of the relevant facts, including an explanation of what sources of information the petitioner consulted in drafting the petition, as well as any relevant information known to the petitioner not included in the petition.

    (e) Response to requests. (1) If a request does not meet the requirements set forth at paragraph (b) of this section, the Secretary will reject the request without making a finding, and will notify the sender and provide an explanation of the rejection.

    (2) If a request does meet the requirements set forth at paragraph (b) of this section, the Secretary will acknowledge, in writing, the receipt of a petition, within 30 days of receipt.

    (f) Supplemental information. If the petitioner provides supplemental information before the initial finding is made and asks that it be considered in making a finding, the new information, along with the previously submitted information, is treated as a new petition that supersedes the original petition, and the statutory timeframes will begin when such supplemental information is received.

    (g) Findings on petitions to add or remove a species from the lists, or change the listed status of a species. (1) To the maximum extent practicable, within 90 days of receiving a petition to add a species to the lists, remove a species from the lists, or change the listed status of a species, the Secretary will make a finding as to whether the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. The Secretary will promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register and so notify the petitioner.

    (i) For the purposes of this section, “substantial scientific or commercial information” refers to credible scientific or commercial information in support of the petition's claims such that a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that the action proposed in the petition may be warranted. Conclusions drawn in the petition without the support of credible scientific or commercial information will not be considered “substantial information.”

    (ii) The Secretary will consider the information referenced at paragraphs (b), (c), and (f) of this section. The Secretary may also consider information readily available in the agency's possession at the time the determination is made in reaching his or her initial finding on the petition. The Secretary will not consider any supporting materials cited by the petitioner that are not provided to us by the petitioner in the format required at paragraph (b)(6) of this section or otherwise readily available in our possession.

    (iii) The “substantial scientific or commercial information” standard must be applied in light of any prior determinations made by the Secretary for the species that is the subject of the petition. Where the Secretary has already conducted a status review of that species (whether in response to a petition or on the Secretary's own initiative) and made a final listing determination, any petition seeking to list, reclassify, or delist that species will be considered a “subsequent petition” for purposes of this section. A subsequent petition provides “substantial scientific or commercial information” only if it provides sufficient new information or analysis not considered in the previous determination (or previous 5-year review, if applicable) such that a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that the action proposed in the petition may be warranted despite the previous determination.

    (2) If a positive 90-day finding is made, the Secretary will commence a review of the status of the species concerned. Within 12 months of receipt of the petition, the Secretary will make one of the following findings:

    (i) The petitioned action is not warranted, in which case the Secretary shall promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register and so notify the petitioner.

    (ii) The petitioned action is warranted, in which case the Secretary will promptly publish in the Federal Register a proposed regulation to implement the action pursuant to § 424.16; or

    (iii) The petitioned action is warranted, but:

    (A) The immediate proposal and timely promulgation of a regulation to implement the petitioned action is precluded because of other pending proposals to list, delist, or change the listed status of species; and

    (B) Expeditious progress is being made to list, delist, or change the listed status of qualified species, in which case such finding will be promptly published in the Federal Register together with a description and evaluation of the reasons and data on which the finding is based. The Secretary will make a determination of expeditious progress in relation to the amount of funds available after complying with nondiscretionary duties under section 4 of the Act and court orders and court-approved settlement agreements to take actions pursuant to section 4 of the Act.

    (3) If a finding is made under paragraph (g)(2)(iii) of this section with regard to any petition, the Secretary will, within 12 months of such finding, again make one of the findings described in paragraph (g)(2) of this section with regard to such petition.

    (h) Findings on petitions to revise critical habitat. (1) To the maximum extent practicable, within 90 days of receiving a petition to revise a critical habitat designation, the Secretary will make a finding as to whether the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating that the revision may be warranted. The Secretary will promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register and so notify the petitioner.

    (i) For the purposes of this section, “substantial scientific information” refers to credible scientific information in support of the petition's claims such that a reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that the revision proposed in the petition may be warranted. Conclusions drawn in the petition without the support of credible scientific information will not be considered “substantial information.”

    (ii) The Secretary will consider the information referenced at paragraphs (b), (d), and (f) of this section. The Secretary may also consider other information readily available in the agency's possession at the time the determination is made in reaching its initial finding on the petition. The Secretary will not consider any supporting materials cited by the petitioner that are not provided to us by the petitioner in the format required by paragraph (b)(6) of this section or otherwise readily available in our possession.

    (2) Within 12 months after receiving a petition found to present substantial information indicating that revision of a critical habitat designation may be warranted, the Secretary will determine how to proceed with the requested revision, and will promptly publish notice of such intention in the Federal Register. Such finding may, but need not, take a form similar to one of the findings described under paragraph (g)(2) of this section.

    (i) Petitions to designate critical habitat or adopt special rules. Upon receiving a petition to designate critical habitat or to adopt a special rule to provide for the conservation of a species, the Secretary will promptly conduct a review in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) and applicable Departmental regulations, and take appropriate action.

    (j) Withdrawal of petition. A petitioner may withdraw the petition at any time during the petition process by submitting such request in writing. This request must include the name, signature, address, telephone number, if any, and the association, institution, or business affiliation, if any, of the petitioner. If a petition is withdrawn, the Secretary may, at his or her discretion, discontinue action on the petition finding, even if the Secretary has already made a positive 90-day finding.

    Dated: May 15, 2015. Michael J. Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. Dated: May 13, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12316 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P; 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 150428405-5405-01] RIN 0648-XD927 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Coastal Pelagic Species Fisheries; Annual Specifications AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes to implement annual management measures and harvest specifications to establish the allowable catch levels (i.e. annual catch limit (ACL)/harvest guideline (HG)) for the northern subpopulation of Pacific sardine (hereafter, simply Pacific sardine), in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the Pacific coast for the fishing season of July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016. This rule is proposed according to the Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The proposed would include a prohibition on directed non-tribal Pacific sardine commercial fishing for Pacific sardine off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, which is required because the estimated 2015 biomass of Pacific sardine has dropped below the cutoff threshold in the HG control rule. Under the proposed action Pacific sardine may still be harvested as part of either the live bait or tribal fishery or incidental to other fisheries; the incidental harvest of Pacific sardine would initially be limited to 40-percent by weight of all fish per trip when caught with other CPS or up to 2 metric tons (mt) when caught with non-CPS. The proposed annual catch limit (ACL) for 2015-2016 Pacific sardine fishing year is 7,000 mt. This proposed rule is intended to conserve and manage the Pacific sardine stock off the U.S. West Coast.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by June 5, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0064 by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0064, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-0070; Attn: Joshua Lindsay.

    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

    Copies of the report “Assessment of Pacific Sardine Resource in 2015 for U.S.A. Management in 2015-2016” may be obtained from the West Coast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joshua Lindsay, West Coast Region, NMFS, (562) 980-4034.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    During public meetings each year, the estimated biomass for Pacific sardine is presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council) CPS Management Team (Team), the Council's CPS Advisory Subpanel (Subpanel) and the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), and the biomass and the status of the fishery are reviewed and discussed. The biomass estimate is then presented to the Council along with the calculated overfishing limit (OFL), available biological catch (ABC), and HG, along with recommendations and comments from the Team, Subpanel, and SSC. Following review by the Council and after hearing public comment, the Council adopts a biomass estimate and makes its catch level recommendations to NMFS. NMFS manages the Pacific sardine fishery in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) in accordance with the FMP. Annual specifications published in the Federal Register establish the allowable harvest levels (i.e. OFL/ACL/HG) for each Pacific sardine fishing year. The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement these annual catch reference points for 2015-2016, including the OFL and an ABC that takes into consideration uncertainty surrounding the current estimate of biomass for Pacific sardine in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. The FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to set these annual catch levels for the Pacific sardine fishery based on the annual specification framework and control rules in the FMP. These control rules include the HG control rule, which in conjunction with the OFL and ABC rules in the FMP, are used to manage harvest levels for Pacific sardine, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. According to the FMP, the quota for the principle commercial fishery is determined using the FMP-specified harvest guideline (HG) formula. The HG formula in the CPS FMP is HG = [(Biomass − CUTOFF) * FRACTION * DISTRIBUTION] with the parameters described as follows:

    1. Biomass. The estimated stock biomass of Pacific sardine age one and above. For the 2015-2016 management season this is 96,688 mt.

    2. CUTOFF. This is the biomass level below which no HG is set. The FMP established this level at 150,000 mt.

    3. DISTRIBUTION. The average portion of the Pacific sardine biomass estimated in the EEZ off the Pacific coast is 87 percent.

    4. FRACTION. The temperature-varying harvest fraction is the percentage of the biomass above 150,000 mt that may be harvested.

    As described above, the Pacific sardine HG control rule, the primary mechanism for setting the annual directed commercial fishery quota, includes a CUTOFF parameter which has been set as a biomass amount of 150,000 mt. This amount is subtracted from the annual biomass estimate before calculating the applicable HG for the fishing year. Therefore, because this year's biomass estimate is below that value, the formula results in an HG of zero and therefore no Pacific sardine are available for the commercial directed fishery during the 2015-2016 fishing season.

    At the April 2015 Council meeting, the Council adopted the “Assessment of the Pacific Sardine Resource in 2015 for U.S.A. Management in 2015-2016” completed by NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the resulting Pacific sardine biomass estimate of 96,688 mt. Based on recommendations from its SSC and other advisory bodies, the Council recommended and NMFS is proposing, an OFL of 13,227 mt, an ABC of 12,074 mt, and a prohibition on sardine catch unless it is harvested as part of either the live bait or tribal fishery or incidental to other fisheries for the 2015-2016 Pacific sardine fishing year. As additional conservation measures, the Council also recommended and NMFS is proposing an ACL of 7,000 mt and an annual catch target (ACT) of 4,000 mt under which the incidental catch of Pacific sardine in other CPS fisheries would be managed. Incidental catch under the ACT would also be subject to the following management controls to reduce targeting and potential discard of Pacific sardine: (1) A 40 percent by weight incidental catch rate when Pacific sardine are landed with other CPS until a total of 1,500 mt of Pacific sardine are landed, (2) after 1,500 mt have been caught the allowance would be reduced to 30 percent, and (3) when 4,000 mt is reached the incidental per landing allowance would be reduced to 5 percent for the remainder of the 2015-2016 fishing year. Additionally, the council adopted a 2 mt incidental per landing allowance in non-CPS fisheries. Because Pacific sardine is known to comingle with other CPS stocks, these incidental allowances were adopted to allow for the continued prosecution of these other important CPS fisheries and reduce the potential discard of sardine.

    The NMFS West Coast Regional Administrator would publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the date of attainment of any of the incidental catch levels described above and subsequent changes to allowable incidental catch percentages. Additionally, to ensure the regulated community is informed of any closure, NMFS will also make announcements through other means available, including fax, email, and mail to fishermen, processors, and state fishery management agencies.

    In the previous 3 fishing years the Quinault Indian Nation requested, and NMFS approved, set-asides for the exclusive right to harvest Pacific sardine in the Quinault Usual and Accustomed Fishing Area off the coast of Washington State, pursuant to the 1856 Treaty of Olympia (Treaty with the Quinault). For the 2015-2016 fishing season the Quinault Indian Nation has requested that NMFS provide a set-aside of 1,000 mt (3,000 mt less than was requested and approved in 2014-2015) and NMFS is considering the request.

    Detailed information on the fishery and the stock assessment are found in the report “Assessment of the Pacific Sardine Resource in 2015 for U.S.A. Management in 2015-2016” (see ADDRESSES).

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.

    These proposed specifications are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866 because they contain no implementing regulations.

    An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by section 3 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 603. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. The results of the analysis are stated below. For copies of the IRFA, and instructions on how to send comments on the IRFA, please see the ADDRESSES section above.

    On June 12, 2014, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an interim final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33467). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $19.0 to 20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 to 5.5 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 to 7.5 million. 78 FR 33656, 33660, 33666 (See Table 1). NMFS conducted its analysis for this action in light of the new size standards.

    The purpose of this proposed rule is to conserve the Pacific sardine stock by preventing overfishing, so that directed fishing may occur in future years. This is accomplished by implementing the 2015-2016 annual specifications for Pacific sardine in the U.S. EEZ off the Pacific coast. The small entities that would be affected by the proposed action are the vessels that fish for Pacific sardine as part of the West Coast CPS small purse seine fleet. As stated above, the U.S. Small Business Administration now defines small businesses engaged in finfish fishing as those vessels with annual revenues of $20.5 million or less. Under the former, lower standards, all entities subject to this action in previous years were considered small entities, and under the new standards they continue to be considered small. In 2014, there were approximately 81 vessels permitted to operate in the directed sardine fishery component of the CPS fishery off the U.S. West Coast; 58 vessels in the Federal CPS limited entry fishery off California (south of 39 N. lat.), and a combined 23 vessels in Oregon and Washington's state Pacific sardine fisheries. The average annual per vessel revenue in 2014 for the West Coast CPS finfish fleet was well below $20.5 million; therefore, all of these vessels therefore are considered small businesses under the RFA. Because each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed rule has an equal effect on all of these small entities and therefore will impact a substantial number of these small entities in the same manner. Therefore, this rule would not create disproportionate costs between small and large vessels/businesses.

    For the 2014-2015 fishing year, approximately 22,076 mt were available for harvest by the directed non-tribal commercial fishery (this includes 2,500 rolled over from the tribal set aside). Approximately 19,440 mt (approximately 3,378 mt in California and 16,023 mt in Oregon and Washington) of this allocation was harvested during the 2014-2015 fishing season, for an estimated ex-vessel value of $8.8 million.

    The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to annually set an OFL, ABC, ACL and HG or ACT for the Pacific sardine fishery based on the specified harvest control rules in the FMP applied to the current stock biomass estimate for that year. The derived annual HG or ACT is the level typically used to manage the principle commercial sardine fishery and is the harvest level typically used by NMFS for profitability analysis each year. As stated above, the FMP dictates that when the estimated biomass drops below a certain level (150,000 mt) that there is no HG. Therefore, purposes of profitability analysis, this action is essentially proposing that an HG of zero for the 2015-2016 Pacific sardine fishing season (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015). As there is no directed fishing for the 2015-2016 fishing year, the proposed rule will decrease small entities' potential profitability compared to last season.

    However, revenue derived from harvesting Pacific sardine is typically only one source of fishing revenue for a majority of the vessels that harvest Pacific sardine; as a result, the economic impact to the fleet from the proposed action cannot be viewed in isolation. From year to year, depending on market conditions and availability of fish, most CPS/sardine vessels supplement their income by harvesting other species. Many vessels in California also harvest anchovy, mackerel, and in particular squid, making Pacific sardine only one component of a multi-species CPS fishery. For example, market squid have been readily available to the fishery in California over the last three years with total annual ex-vessel revenue averaging approximately $66 million over that time, compared to an annual average ex-vessel from sardine of $16 million over that same time period. Additionally, some sardine vessels that operate off of Oregon and Washington also fish for salmon in Alaska or squid in California during times of the year when sardine are not available. The purpose of the proposed incidental allowances under this action are to ensure the vessels impacted by this sardine action can still access these other profitable fisheries while still limited the harvest of sardine.

    These vessels typically rely on multiple species for profitability because abundance of sardine, like the other CPS stocks, is highly associated with ocean conditions and different times of the year, and therefore are harvested at various times and areas throughout the year. Because each species responds to ocean conditions in its own way, not all CPS stocks are likely to be abundant at the same time; therefore, as abundance levels and markets fluctuate, it has necessitated that the CPS fishery as a whole rely on a group of species for its annual revenues. Therefore, although there will a reduction in sardine revenue for the small entities affected by this proposed action as compared to the previous season, it is difficult to predict exactly how this reduction will impact overall annual revenue for the fleet.

    No significant alternatives to this proposed rule exist that would accomplish the stated objectives of the applicable statutes and which would minimize any significant economic impact of this proposed rule on the affected small entities. The CPS FMP and its implementing regulations require NMFS to calculate annual harvest levels by applying the harvest control rule formulas to the current stock biomass estimate. Therefore, if the estimated biomass decreases or increases from one year to the next, so do the applicable quotas. Determining the annual harvest levels merely implements the established procedures of the FMP with the goal of continuing to provide expected net benefits to the nation, regardless of what the specific annual allowable harvest of Pacific sardine is determined to be.

    There are no reporting, record-keeping, or other compliance requirements required by this proposed rule. Additionally, no other Federal rules duplicate, overlap or conflict with this proposed rule.

    This action does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for purposes of the Paper Reduction Act.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12321 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    80 98 Thursday, May 21, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Agricultural Statistics Service Notice of Intent To Request Revision and Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection AGENCY:

    National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the intention of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to request revision and extension of a currently approved information collection, the Mink Survey. The target population will be pulled from farmers who have reported mink production in the past, trade magazines, or grower's association's lists. The questionnaire that NASS is planning to use is the same as what was used in previous years, with one additional pelt color class being added to both the producer and price questionnaires. Any additional changes to the questionnaires would result from requests by industry data users.

    DATES:

    Comments on this notice must be received by July 20, 2015 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number 0535-0212, by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include docket number above in the subject line of the message.

    E-fax: (855) 838-6382.

    Mail: Mail any paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions to: David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2024.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Hand deliver to: David Hancock, NASS Clearance Officer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 5336 South Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-2024.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    R. Renee Picanso, Associate Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, (202) 720-4333. Copies of this information collection and related instructions can be obtained without charge from David Hancock, NASS—OMB Clearance Officer, at (202) 690-2388 or at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Mink Survey.

    OMB Control Number: 0535-0212.

    Expiration Date of Approval: January 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Intent to Seek Approval to Revise and Extend an Information Collection for 3 years.

    Abstract: The primary objective of the National Agricultural Statistics Service is to prepare and issue State and national estimates of crop and livestock production, prices, and disposition. The Mink Survey collects data on the number of mink pelts produced, the number of females bred, and the number of mink farms. Mink estimates are used by the federal government to calculate total value of sales and total cash receipts, by State governments to administer fur farm programs and health regulations, and by universities in research projects. The current expiration date for this docket is January 31, 2016. NASS intends to request that the Mink Survey be approved for another 3 years.

    Authority:

    These data will be collected under the authority of 7 U.S.C. 2204(a). Individually identifiable data collected under this authority are governed by Section 1770 of the Food Security Act of 1985 as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2276, which requires USDA to afford strict confidentiality to non-aggregated data provided by respondents. This Notice is submitted in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.), and Office of Management and Budget regulations at 5 CFR part 1320.

    NASS also complies with OMB Implementation Guidance, “Implementation Guidance for Title V of the E-Government Act, Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002 (CIPSEA),” Federal Register, Vol. 72, No. 115, June 15, 2007, p. 33362.

    Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 10 minutes per response. NASS plans to mail out publicity materials with the questionnaires to inform producers of the importance of this survey. NASS will also use multiple mailings, followed up with phone and personal enumeration to increase response rates and to minimize data collection costs.

    Respondents: Farmers and ranchers.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 350.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 90 hours.

    Comments: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, technological, or other forms of information technology collection methods.

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

    Signed at Washington, DC, May 5, 2015. R. Renee Picanso, Associate Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12322 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-20-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security [Docket No. 150428403-5403-01] RIN 0694-XC024 Reporting for Calendar Year 2014 on Offsets Agreements Related to Sales of Defense Articles or Defense Services to Foreign Countries or Foreign Firms AGENCY:

    Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; annual reporting requirements.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice is to remind the public that U.S. firms are required to report annually to the Department of Commerce (Commerce) information on contracts for the sale of defense articles or defense services to foreign countries or foreign firms that are subject to offsets agreements exceeding $5,000,000 in value. U.S. firms are also required to report annually to Commerce information on offsets transactions completed in performance of existing offsets commitments for which offsets credit of $250,000 or more has been claimed from the foreign representative. This year, such reports must include relevant information from calendar year 2014 and must be submitted to Commerce no later than June 15, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Reports should be addressed to “Offsets Program Manager, U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Room 3878, Washington, DC 20230.”

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ronald DeMarines, Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, telephone: 202-482-3755; fax: 202-482-5650; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    Section 723(a)(1) of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (DPA) (50 U.S.C. app. 2172 (2009)), requires the President to submit an annual report to Congress on the impact of offsets on the U.S. defense industrial base. Section 723(a)(2) directs the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to prepare the President's report and to develop and administer the regulations necessary to collect offsets data from U.S. defense exporters.

    The authorities of the Secretary regarding offsets have been delegated to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security. The regulations associated with offsets reporting are set forth in part 701 of title 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Offsets are compensation practices required as a condition of purchase in either government-to-government or commercial sales of defense articles and/or defense services, as defined by the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. For example, a company that is selling a fleet of military aircraft to a foreign government may agree to offset the cost of the aircraft by providing training assistance to plant managers in the purchasing country. Although this distorts the true price of the aircraft, the foreign government may require this sort of extra compensation as a condition of awarding the contract to purchase the aircraft. As described in the regulations, U.S. firms are required to report information on contracts for the sale of defense articles or defense services to foreign countries or foreign firms that are subject to offsets agreements exceeding $5,000,000 in value. U.S. firms are also required to report annually information on offsets transactions completed in performance of existing offsets commitments for which offsets credit of $250,000 or more has been claimed from the foreign representative.

    Commerce's annual report to Congress includes an aggregated summary of the data reported by industry in accordance with the offsets regulations and the DPA (50 U.S.C. app. 2172 (2009)). As provided by section 723(c) of the DPA, BIS will not publicly disclose individual firm information it receives through offsets reporting unless the firm furnishing the information specifically authorizes public disclosure. The information collected is sorted and organized into an aggregate report of national offsets data, and therefore does not identify company-specific information.

    In order to enable BIS to prepare the next annual offset report reflecting calendar year 2014 data, U.S. firms must submit required information on offsets agreements and offsets transactions from calendar year 2014 to BIS no later than June 15, 2015.

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12394 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JT-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-533-843] Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review and Notice of Amended Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2010-2011 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On May 4, 2015, the United States Court of International Trade (the Court) issued Navneet II, 1 which sustained the Final Remand Results 2 that the Department of Commerce (the Department) issued in connection with Navneet I. 3 In the Final Remand Results, the Department recalculated the weighted-average dumping margin that was established for 51 companies that neither failed to cooperate with the agency nor were selected for individual investigation (hereinafter referred to as the non-selected respondents).4

    1See Navneet Publications (India) Ltd. et al. v. United States, Court No. 13-00204, Slip. Op. 15-41 (CIT May 4, 2015) (Navneet II).

    2See Final Results Of Redetermination Pursuant To Court Remand, Court No. 13-00204, Slip Op. 14-87 (December 4, 2014) (Final Remand Results), which is available at http://enforcement.trade.gov/remands/14-87.pdf.

    3See Navneet Publications (India) Ltd. v. United States, Court No. 13-00204, Slip Op. 14-87 (CIT July 22, 2014) (Navneet I).

    4See Final Remand Results at 12-17.

    Consistent with the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Timken, 5 as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, 6 the Department is notifying the public that the final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the Department's final results of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain lined paper products from India covering the period of review September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011 (POR).

    5See Timken Co. v. United States, 893 F.2d 337 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (Timken).

    6See Diamond Sawblades Mfrs. Coalition v. United States, 626 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (Diamond Sawblades).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: May 14, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cindy Robinson, AD/CVD Operations Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3797.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On April 15, 2013, the Department issued the Final Results. 7 Navneet Education Ltd. (Navneet) 8 and eight other companies 9 timely filed complaints with the Court and challenged certain aspects of the Final Results. In Navneet I, the Court remanded the Department's Final Results with respect to the Department's calculation of the 11.01 percent non-selected rate assigned to 51 non-selected respondents. The Department based the non-selected rate on the simple average of the two mandatory respondents' zero rates and two (out of four) of the 22.02 percent adverse facts available (AFA) rates assigned to the uncooperative respondents, which failed to respond to the Department's quantity and value questionnaire.10

    7See Certain Lined Paper Products from India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2010-2011, 78 FR 22232 (April 15, 2013) (Final Results) and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum (Final Decision Memorandum).

    8 Navneet Education Ltd. (Navneet) was formally known as Navneet Publications (India) Ltd. See Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review, 79 FR 35727 (June 24, 2014) (Navneet CCR Final Results).

    9 The other eight companies are: Marisa International; Riddhi Enterprises, Ltd.; Super Impex; Pioneer Stationary Pvt. Ltd.; SGM Paper Products; SAB International; Lodha Offset Limited; and Magic International Pvt. Ltd. By Court Order on June 20, 2013, Riddhi Enterprises, Ltd. and SAB International were dismissed from the litigation.

    10 See Navneet I at 19, referencing the Final Decision Memorandum at Comment 5.

    On July 22, 2014, the Court remanded the Department's Final Results and instructed the Department to reconsider the following two issues: (1) That the rate assigned to the non-selected companies should be supported by “substantial evidence,” and (2) that the rate reflects the “economic reality” and “pricing behavior” of the non-selected respondents.11

    11See Navneet I at 15.

    On December 4, 2014, the Department filed the Final Remand Results with the Court, in which it continued to find evidence of dumping during the POR, drew an inference that the behavior of uncooperative respondents reflects rational choice, and, thus, found it reasonable to assign an above de minimis margin to the non-selected respondents.12 In the Final Remand Results, the Department explained that this approach complied with the Court's holding in Navneet I that the non-selected margin be tied to the relevant factual circumstances of the administrative review and the economic reality of the non-selected respondents.13 On May 4, 2015, the Court entered judgment sustaining the Final Remand Results.14

    12See Final Remand Results 14-15.

    13Id.

    14See Navneet II at 11.

    Timken Notice

    In Timken, 893 F.2d at 341, as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, the CAFC held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act), the Department must publish a notice of a court decision that is not “in harmony” with a Department determination and must suspend liquidation of entries pending a “conclusive” court decision. The Court's judgment in Navneet II sustaining the Final Remand Results constitutes a final decision of the Court that is not in harmony with the Department's Final Results. This notice is published in fulfillment of the publication requirement of Timken.

    Amended Final Results

    Because there is now a final court decision, the Department is amending the Final Results with respect to Navneet and the other non-selected, cooperative exporters that are plaintiffs in this case. The revised weighted-average dumping margins for these exporters during the period September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011, are as follows:

    Weighted-Average Dumping Margin for Plaintiff Exporters Producer/exporter Weighted-average dumping margin
  • (percent)
  • Lodha Offset Limited 0.50 Magic International Pvt Ltd 0.50 Marisa International 0.50 Navneet Education Ltd 15 0.50 Pioneer Stationery Pvt. Ltd 0.50 SGM Paper Products 0.50 Super Impex 0.50

    Accordingly, the Department will continue the suspension of liquidation of the subject merchandise pending the expiration of the period of appeal or, if appealed, pending a final and conclusive court decision. In the event the Court's ruling is not appealed or, if appealed, upheld by the CAFC, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to assess antidumping duties on unliquidated entries of subject merchandise exported by the above listed exporters at the rate listed above.

    15 Navneet Education Ltd. is a successor in interest to Navneet Publications (India) Ltd. See Navneet CCR Final Results.

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    Since the Final Results, the Department has established a new cash deposit rate for Navneet Education Ltd. and Super Impex.16 Therefore, the cash deposit rate for these two companies does not need to be updated as a result of these amended final results The cash deposit rate will be the rate listed above for the remaining five companies listed above and subject to this remand.

    16See Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2011-2012, 79 FR 26205 (May 7, 2014); see also Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2012-2013, 80 FR 19278 (April 10, 2015).

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e), 751(a)(1), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12337 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD935 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Scoping Process AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS); notice of initiation of scoping process; notice of public scoping meetings; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council announces its intent to prepare, in cooperation with NMFS, either an amendment to the fishery management plan for golden tilefish or a new fishery management plan. In either case, the reason for action is to develop conservation and management measures for blueline tilefish off the Mid-Atlantic. To support this effort, the Council may prepare an environmental impact statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act to analyze the impacts of any proposed management measures. This notice announces a public process for determining the scope of issues to be addressed, for identifying concerns and potential alternatives related to management of blueline tilefish off the Mid-Atlantic, and for determining the appropriate level of environmental analysis. This notice alerts the interested public of the scoping process, the potential development of an environmental impact statement or environmental assessment as appropriate, and provides for public participation in that process. Five scoping hearings will be held in June 2015 for this action.

    DATES:

    The meetings will be held between June 1, 2015, and June 18, 2015, as described below. Written comments must be received on or before July 6, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    There will be five scoping meetings with the following dates/times/locations:

    1. Monday June 1, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Hyatt Place Long Island/East End. 451 E Main St, Riverhead, NY 11901. Telephone: (631) 208-0002.

    2. Tuesday June 2, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Congress Hall Hotel. 251 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204. Telephone: (888) 944-1816.

    3. Tuesday June 16, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Dare County Administrative Building. Commissioners Meeting Room, 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive, Manteo, NC 27954. Telephone: (252) 475-5700.

    4. Wednesday June 17, 2015, 6:00 p.m. Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront. 3001 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. Telephone: (757) 213-3000.

    5. Thursday, June 18, 5:00 p.m. Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. Eunice Q. Sorin Visitor & Conference Center. 12320 Ocean Gateway, Ocean City, Maryland 21842. Telephone: (410) 213-0552.

    Comment addresses: Written comments may be sent by any of the following methods:

    • Email to the following address: [email protected]; Include “Blueline Tilefish Scoping Comments” in the subject line (recommended); there will also be an online comment submission form at http://www.mafmc.org/actions/blueline-tilefish.

    • Mail or hand-deliver to Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, Delaware 19901. Mark the outside of the envelope “Blueline Tilefish Scoping Comments”; or

    • Fax to (302) 674-5399.

    • Comments may also be provided verbally at any of the public scoping meetings.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; telephone: (302) 526-5255. The MAFMC's Web site, www.mafmc.org (see “Current Issues”) also has details on the meeting locations and background materials. A scoping informational document and presentation recording will be posted to http://www.mafmc.org/actions/blueline-tilefish no later than May 25, 2015.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) manages blueline tilefish south of the Virginia/North Carolina border. There are currently (as of May 11, 2015) no management measures for blueline tilefish in Federal waters north of North Carolina. Virginia and Maryland have instituted regulations for state waters, but catches in any Federal waters north of North Carolina may be landed from Delaware north without restriction. Blueline tilefish are likely susceptible to overfishing due to their life history (relatively long-lived, sedentary, slow growing, and late maturing) so the MAFMC is considering developing conservation and management measures. These measures could be considered via an amendment to the MAFMC's Golden Tilefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), or a new FMP for blueline tilefish and/or other deep-water fish such as sand tilefish, snowy grouper, and black-bellied rosefish. Management measures could include a definition of the management unit, as well as acceptable biological catches, annual catch limits, essential fish habitat, trip limits and/or minimum fish sizes for the commercial or recreational fisheries, etc.

    For waters north of North Carolina, in response to recent catch increases, the MAFMC has already requested NMFS take emergency action to implement a 300-lb (136-kg) (whole weight) commercial trip limit and a seven-fish per person recreational possession limit. This request was the result of a February 25, 2015, MAFMC meeting, the details of which may be found at: http://www.mafmc.org/briefing/2015/february-2014-blueline-tilefish-webinar-meeting. These emergency measures are intended to prevent depletion of blueline tilefish off the Mid-Atlantic on an interim basis (for a maximum of 366 days) while the Council develops long-term management measures through the normal Magnuson-Stevens Act process.

    The SAFMC has also requested that NMFS (via an emergency rule) extend management measures recently enacted in the Southeastern Region (March 30, 2015; 80 FR 16583) north to apply to all Federal waters off the U.S. East Coast. Because any emergency rule can only be in effect for a maximum of 366 days, the MAFMC is moving ahead with scoping for an amendment or new FMP to develop long-term management and conservation measures for blueline tilefish off the Mid-Atlantic.

    This is the first and best opportunity for members of the public to raise concerns related to the scope of issues that will be considered in the Council's action. The MAFMC needs your input both to identify management issues and develop effective alternatives. Potential management measures could include a definition of the management unit, as well as acceptable biological catches, annual catch limits, essential fish habitat, trip limits and/or minimum fish sizes for the commercial or recreational fisheries, and/or other measures that may be deemed appropriate. Your comments early in the FMP/amendment development process will help us address issues of public concern in a thorough and appropriate manner. Comment topics could include the scope of issues in the FMP or amendment, concerns and potential alternatives related to blueline tilefish management. Comments can be made during the scoping hearings as detailed above or in writing. After scoping, the MAFMC plans to develop a range of management alternatives to be considered and prepare a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) and/or other appropriate environmental analyses. A new FMP would require an EIS, while an amendment to the existing Golden Tilefish FMP may require an EIS or an Environmental Assessment. These analyses will consider the impacts of the management alternatives being considered, as required by National Environmental Policy Act. Following a review of any comments on the draft analyses, the MAFMC will then choose preferred management measures for submission with a Final EIS or Environmental Assessment to the Secretary of Commerce for review and consideration for approval. Approved management measures would be implemented through publication of proposed and final rules, which include additional opportunity for public comment.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12261 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION [Docket No. CFPB-2015-0021] Request for Information Regarding Student Loan Servicing AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau or CFPB) is seeking comments from the public related to the market for student loan servicing. The submissions to this request for information will serve to assist market participants and policymakers on potential options to improve borrower service, reduce defaults, develop best practices, assess consumer protections, and spur innovation.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before July 13, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CFPB-2015-0021, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Email: [email protected] Include Docket No. CFPB-2015-0021 in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002.

    Instructions: All submissions should include the agency name and docket number for this proposal. Because paper mail in the Washington, DC area and at the Bureau is subject to delay, commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically. In general, all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments will be available for public inspection and copying at 1275 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20002, on official business days between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern standard time. You can make an appointment to inspect the documents by telephoning (202) 435-7275.

    All comments, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, should not be included. Comments generally will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general inquiries, submission process questions or any additional information, please contact Monica Jackson, Office of the Executive Secretary, at 202-435-7275.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is engaged in a joint effort with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to identify initiatives to strengthen student loan servicing. This request seeks comments related to the critical role that servicing plays in facilitating repayment of student loans, in order to improve customer service, identify innovative practices and business models, and assess the current framework that exists regarding the consumer protection for student loan borrowers in repayment.

    The submissions to this request for information may serve to assist federal and state agencies in prioritizing resources and to assist financial services providers in developing best practices. The public comments may also be used to inform a report required by a Presidential Memorandum signed on March 10, 2015.1

    1 The White House, Presidential Memorandum—Student Aid Bill of Rights (March 10, 2015), available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/10/presidential-memorandum-student-aid-bill-rights.

    The deadline for submission of comments is July 13, 2015.

    The Bureau encourages comments from the public, including:

    • Student loan borrowers;

    • Organizations representing students and student loan borrowers;

    • Innovators, technology providers, and recent entrants into the student loan market;

    • Institutions of higher education and affiliated parties;

    • Financing services providers, including but not limited to lenders and servicers in the mortgage, credit card, and student loan markets;

    • Trust administrators of student loan asset-backed securities;

    • Credit reporting agencies;

    • Debt collectors;

    • Organizations promoting financial education;

    • Civil rights groups; and

    • Nationally recognized statistical rating organizations.

    Please note that the Bureau is not soliciting individual student account information in response to this notice and request for information, nor is the Bureau seeking personally identifiable information (PII) regarding student accounts from the parties or any third party.

    All comments, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, should not be included. Comments generally will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information.

    Part A: Issues Related to Student Loan Repayment The Student Loan Market

    In the last decade, the student loan market has undergone rapid growth and change. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the Bureau) estimates that there are over 40 million borrowers with student loans who collectively owe over $1.2 trillion.2 Student debt is the largest category of unsecured debt owed by American consumers.

    2 U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Portfolio Summary, Data Center: Federal Student Loan Portfolio, accessed on 3/30/2015, available at https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/student/portfolio; Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Department of Education, Private Student Loans (2012), available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/private-student-loans-report/; and U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Annual Report 2014 (2014), available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/2014report/fsa-report.pdf.

    Compared to other large markets of consumer financial products (such as residential mortgages and credit cards),3 availability of market data is quite limited, particularly for private student loans, which grew rapidly in the years leading up to the financial crisis.4 Based on the Bureau's analysis of various sources, such as consumer credit panels, audited financial statements, and consumer surveys, both the number and proportion of student loan borrowers in a repayment status has grown.

    3 For example, under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, most loan-level mortgage application, origination, and purchase data is currently subject to public disclosure, stripped of certain information to protect borrower privacy. The CFPB developed and maintains a web tool to allow the public to access and analyze HMDA data. See Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/hmda. In addition, data from housing GSEs and mortgage-backed securities filings shed significant light on loan-level performance. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency regularly publishes a mortgage metrics report, detailing loan modification performance and other key servicing data. See, for example, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Mortgage Metrics Report for 2014 Q4 (March 2015), available at http://www.occ.gov/publications/publications-by-type/other-publications-reports/mortgage-metrics/mortgage-metrics-q4-2014.pdf.

    4 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Department of Education, Private Student Loans (2012), available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/private-student-loans-report/.

    EN21MY15.012

    While the features and borrower characteristics of each type of student loan may vary, the three major types of student loans currently outstanding, as described below, are generally serviced by the same market participants.

    The three main types of post-secondary education loans under which borrowers have outstanding balances are loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan program (FFELP), loans made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) program, and private student loans. Direct Loans and private student loans are still available for new originations.6

    5 U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Annual Report (2007-2014), available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/index.html.

    6 There are additional Federal programs under Title IV which also authorize student loans. For example, one such program finances loans made directly by certain post-secondary education institutions through their financial aid offices. See 20 U.S.C. 1087aa et seq. Another offers grants to those who pledge to become teachers. If the recipients do not become teachers, then the disbursed funds are converted from grants to loans. See 20 U.S.C. 1070g et seq.

    Federal Family Education Loans: More than $380 billion 7 in outstanding student loans were made under FFELP.8 While FFELP loans were generally originated using private capital, they were guaranteed by a governmental or not-for-profit entity, and reinsured by the Federal government. These loans are serviced either by the loan holders themselves or by a third-party student loan servicer pursuant to contracts with the loan holders. A noteworthy portion of these loans serve as collateral for asset-backed securities.9 Pursuant to the 2010 SAFRA Act, the origination of new guaranteed loans under FFELP was suspended.

    7 U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Portfolio Summary, Data Center: Federal Student Loan Portfolio, accessed on 5/6/2015, available at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/student/portfolio.

    8 20 U.S.C. 1078(b), (c).

    9See, for example, Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation: Overview of FFELP and FFELP ABS Transactions (June 18, 2012), available at https://www.navient.com/assets/about/investors/webcasts/2012FFELPOverviewvFinal.pdf.

    Federal Direct Loans: Pursuant to SAFRA, the Department of Education shifted primarily to direct lending, providing loans directly to borrowers under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program.10 As of the end of calendar year 2014, 28.5 million borrowers collectively owed approximately $744 billion in outstanding Direct Loans.11 Direct Loans are serviced by third parties that contract with the Department of Education pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA).12 Preceding the suspension of new FFELP originations, many of the FFELP student loan servicers were awarded servicing contracts to begin servicing loans held by the Department of Education, including loans made under the Direct Loan program.13

    10See Public Law 111-152, secs. 2101-2213, 124 Stat. 1071 (2010). The Direct Loan Program actually began in 1992, see Public Law 102-325, 106 Stat. 569 (1992), but Federal Direct loans constituted only a small portion of Federal student lending before the enactment of the SAFRA Act in 2010.

    11 U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Portfolio Summary, Data Center: Federal Student Loan Portfolio, accessed on 5/7/2015, available at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/student/portfolio.

    12 20 U.S.C. 1087f(b).

    13 In 2008, the enactment of the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (ECASLA) authorized the Secretary of Education to take extraordinary measures to ensure students could continue to borrow amid turmoil in the capital markets. Under this authority, the Department of Education acquired a large volume of loans made by private lenders through FFELP and assigning the servicing to certain third parties. See Pub. L. 110-227; following the termination of the FFEL program, third-party servicers were awarded additional Direct Loan volume through this contract. For further discussion, see U.S. Department of Education, Loan Servicing Update (July 2012) available at www.ifap.ed.gov/presentations/attachments/NASFAA2012LoanServicingUpdate.ppt.

    Private Student Loans: The student loan market includes private student loans, which are not originated pursuant to Title IV of the HEA. Most private student loans are typically originated by very large depository institutions and specialty student loan companies. A substantial portion of private student loans serve as collateral for asset-backed securities. The market for private student loans is opaque, as market participants generally do not make available key origination and performance information, and reporting requirements on outstanding balances and performance are extremely limited.

    The vast majority of student loan servicing activity is now concentrated among large student loan servicers that service all three types of student loans.14

    14 For further discussion of student loan servicing market composition, see Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Final Rule: Defining Larger Participants of the Student Loan Servicing Market (December 2013), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201312_cfpb_student-servicing-rule.pdf.

    The Student Loan Servicing Business Model

    More than 40 million Americans with student loan debt depend on student loan servicers as their primary point of contact for their student loans. A servicer is often different than the lender or loan holder, and borrowers almost always lack control or choice over which company services their loan. Student loan servicers' duties typically include managing borrowers' accounts, processing monthly payments, and communicating directly with borrowers.15 These duties may also include informing borrowers about loan repayment options and facilitating enrollment in alternative repayment plans and other benefits, including options to assist federal student loan borrowers experiencing financial hardship.16

    15 The Bureau defined student loan servicing as (1) receiving loan payments (or receiving notification of payments) and applying payments to the borrower's account pursuant to the terms of the post-secondary education loan or of the contract governing the servicing; (2) during periods when no payments are required, maintaining account records and communicating with borrowers on behalf of loan holders; or (3) interactions with borrowers, including activities to help prevent default, conducted to facilitate the foregoing activities. See 12 CFR 1090.106.

    16See, for example, 20 U.S.C. 1098e.

    When problems arise because of servicing problems, student loan borrowers may face a range of different consequences. They may miss a payment, owe more money because of additional interest on principal, or face future difficulties with credit because of a poor payment history.

    For the majority of student loan borrowers who make payments on time each month and never contact their servicer for additional assistance, loan servicing generally may be limited to accepting and applying monthly payments and awarding benefits earned by satisfying specific loan terms (e.g. interest rate reductions for enrolling in auto-debit or making a series of on-time monthly payments). These borrowers also depend on their student loan servicers to accurately report their payment history to the credit bureaus. Adequate student loan servicing is critical for these borrowers to establish a good credit history through their timely student loan payments, in order to ensure that they are positioned to participate fully in the marketplace for other financial products and services.17

    17 In addition, certain consumer protections included in Title IV of the Higher Education Act require student loan borrowers to remit on-time monthly payments under certain repayment arrangements in order to obtain loan forgiveness. These repayment arrangements may require student loan servicers to certify income documentation on an annual basis in order for borrowers to obtain the maximum benefit. In some cases, loan forgiveness is also contingent upon certain types of employment. Student loan servicers are responsible for evaluating the timeliness of monthly payments, evaluating whether employment qualifies a borrower for certain benefits and applying these benefits to borrowers' accounts. Depending on the program, high-quality student loan servicing over a period of 5, 10, 20 or 25 years is critical for these borrowers to realize benefits provided by statute. See, for example, 20 U.S.C. 1078-10 and 20 U.S.C. 1087e(m).

    Student loan borrowers facing unemployment or other financial hardship need adequate loan servicing for a different reason. Student loan servicers assist these borrowers with enrolling in alternative repayment plans, obtaining deferments or forbearances, or requesting a modification of loan terms. For these borrowers, proper loan servicing may be the key to successfully avoid default and ultimately perform on the loan. When borrowers face difficulties, loan servicers can help borrowers avoid default, minimize damage to borrowers' credit, and ensure that borrowers can find sustainable solutions that keep them on a long-term path to future financial success. In addition, adequate loan servicing also helps to ensure that owners of the loans are repaid.

    Financial Incentives for Student Loan Servicers

    The Bureau estimates that there are nearly 8 million student loan borrowers in default, representing over $110 billion in balances.18 In addition, the Department of Education estimates that another 3 million Direct Loan borrowers are at least 30 days past due on one or more student loans, comprising over $58 billion in balances.19 As the number of borrowers with defaulted or delinquent student loans has grown,20 it has prompted questions about what steps servicers should take to achieve greater success in minimizing defaults and curing delinquencies. For example, it appears that few, if any, private student lenders and loan servicers have developed transparent, widely-offered flexible repayment options to mitigate defaults for borrowers in distress.21

    18 As of the first quarter of FY15, 7.3 million federal student loan borrowers were in default on more than $106 billion in federal student loans. See, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Portfolio Summary, Data Center: Federal Student Loan Portfolio, accessed on 5/7/2015, available at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/student/portfolio; According to a 2012 study of the private student loan market published by the U.S. Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 850,000 private student loans with an outstanding principal balance of over $8 billion were in default. See U.S. Department of Education and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Private Student Loans (2012), available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/private-student-loans-report/.

    19 U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Portfolio Summary, Data Center: Federal Student Loan Portfolio, accessed on 3/30/2015, available at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/student/portfolio.

    20 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, A closer look at the trillion (August 5, 2013), available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/a-closer-look-at-the-trillion/.

    21 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Annual Report of the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman (2014), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201410_cfpb_report_annual-report-of-the-student-loan-ombudsman.pdf.

    While federal student loans feature an array of flexible repayment options, it is not clear whether third-party student loan servicers, particularly those servicing Federal Family Education Loans, have adequate economic incentive to enroll borrowers in these options to avoid default. For both private and federal student loans, the compensation model used in most third-party servicing contracts provides student loan servicers with a flat monthly fee per account serviced.22 Although this fee may adjust based on a loan's repayment status, fees are generally fixed on a monthly basis and do not rise or fall depending on the level of service a particular borrower requires in a given month.

    22 This monthly servicing fee may be set as a flat dollar amount per month per account, or set based on a percentage of a borrower's aggregate principal balance. In both cases, the fee paid to student loan servicers may vary depending on repayment status but generally do not vary depending on the level of service provided in a given month. See, for example, First Marblehead Corporation, Prospectus Supplement: The National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-3 (September 17, 2007), available at http://www.snl.com/interactive/lookandfeel/4094003/NCSLT_2007_3_FPS.PDF and U.S. Department of Education, Title IV Redacted Contract Awards 12-13, available at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ED/FSA/CA/FSA-TitleIV-09/listing.html. Contracts fix monthly compensation on a per-borrower basis, and the compensation depends on the repayment status of each borrower being serviced. See also U.S. Department of Education, Student Aid Administration Fiscal Year 2015 Request, at AA-15, available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget15/justifications/aa-saadmin.pdf. This estimates the average cost per-borrower to be $1.67 per month, based on the contractual prices and the proportion of borrowers with different repayment statuses.

    The Regulatory Landscape for Student Loan Servicing

    In recent years, policymakers have undertaken broad-based legislative and regulatory efforts to strengthen applicable federal consumer financial laws protecting consumers in the servicing of mortgages and credit cards. For student loan borrowers, there is no existing, comprehensive federal statutory or regulatory framework providing uniform standards for the servicing of all student loans.23 However, there are limited protections for certain federal student loan borrowers related to certain aspects of the repayment process.24

    23 In 2014, the Bureau expanded its examination program for student loan servicing to supervise both large depository institutions and larger nonbank student loan servicers for compliance with federal consumer law, including the prohibition against unfair, deceptive and abusive practices under the Dodd-Frank Act. This is the first examination program at the federal level focused on both bank and nonbank actors in the student loan servicing market. See Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Education Loan Examination Procedures (December 2013), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201312_cfpb_exam-procedures_education-loans.pdf.

    24See, e.g., 34 CFR part 682 for certain disclosures and other requirements for companies servicing FFELP loans.

    There may be variation in the level of service delivered by student loan servicers depending on the type of loan borrowed, the identity of lender, or the company selected to service the loan. The statutory and regulatory framework for student loan servicing, and the gaps in that framework, may contribute to this variation.

    Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA)

    Title IV of HEA authorizes the federal student loan programs and establishes a framework for conduct by and oversight of companies participating in FFELP, including student loan servicers contracted by holders of FFELP loans to service these loans. This framework establishes a number of conditions that loan holders and service providers must meet in order for federal loan guarantees to remain in effect, including arranging for periodic independent financial audits and complying with program requirements established in implementing regulations.25

    Congress has amended Title IV of HEA periodically since its enactment, creating a set of flexible repayment plans, loan cancellation options, and other protections for borrowers with federal student loans.26 Student loan servicers are responsible for administering these benefits and protections. In addition, these amendments have expanded the extraordinary collection tools available to recover defaulted federal student loans, including extra-judicial wage garnishment, tax refund offset, and seizure of federal payments, such as certain benefits administered by the Social Security Administration.27

    25See, e.g., 34 CFR 682.401; 682.416. In addition, HEA establishes a number of conditions related to the origination of federal student loans, including specific requirements related to disclosure and counseling at the time of origination and prior to entering repayment.

    26See, for example, Pub. L. 110-84.

    27 For example, the Higher Education Technical Amendments of 1991 eliminated the statute of limitations for lawsuits to collect of federal student loan debt. See Pub. L. 102-26. In addition, a number of other federal laws govern the collection of debts owed to the federal government. See, for example, Pub. L. 104-134.

    Amendments to the Higher Education Act Included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008

    In 2008, Congress enacted HEOA, reauthorizing HEA and amending Title IV to provide additional protections for borrowers with loans made through FFELP. Implementing regulations require student loan servicers to provide certain notices to borrowers with FFELP loans during the course of repayment, including notices related to account terms, repayment plans, and servicing transfers.28 These regulations create basic compliance requirements as a precondition for student loan servicers to maintain eligibility to participate in FFELP.

    28See Pub. L. 110-315. For example, servicers must provide borrowers with a notice of servicing transfer containing information about the new servicer 45 days after the effective date of transfer—a protection that has been triggered for more than 10 million student loan borrowers since 2010. This requirement of notice does not require any notice to the borrower prior to the effective date of transfer. In contrast, protections offered to mortgage borrowers under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires notice of a servicing transfer 15 days prior to and 15 days after the effective date of transfer.

    Amendments to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) Included in HEOA

    HEOA also amended TILA to create new protections for borrowers with private education loans, largely related to the origination of these loans.29 These protections include safeguards to mitigate the risk that private student lenders will extend credit to borrowers to cover expenses beyond the total cost of attendance and requirements for schools entering into preferred lender arrangements with lenders seeking to market private loans to students.30

    29 Pub. L. 110-315, 15 U.S.C. 1650.

    30 TILA and its implementing regulation, Regulation Z, explicitly exempt credit extended pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act from requirements established for private education loans. See 15 U.S.C. 1650a(7)(A)(i).

    Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

    FCRA and its implementing regulation, Regulation V, require entities that furnish information to consumer reporting agencies to have reasonable policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information they furnish.31 While furnishing is generally a voluntary activity,32 federal student loan servicers have an affirmative duty to furnish. Title IV of HEA requires that certain participants in the student loan market furnish information about federal student loans to consumer reporting agencies.33

    31See 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681x; and 12 CFR part 1022.

    32See 15 U.S.C. 1681s and 12 CFR part 1022, App. E (“The Bureau encourages voluntary furnishing of information to consumer reporting agencies.”).

    33See, for example, 20 U.S.C. 1080a.

    Risks for Consumers Repaying Student Loan Debt

    In July 2011, the Bureau launched an examination program to supervise education lending and servicing at the largest depository institutions.34 In December 2013, the Bureau finalized a rule expanding its supervisory authority to include large nonbank participants in the student loan servicing market—the companies that perform more than 70 percent of all nonbank student loan servicing activity, including those student loan servicers contracted by the Department of Education to service the federally-owned loan portfolio.35 Nonbank entities perform the vast majority of student loan servicing activity.36 Historically, these entities have not been subject to federal or state licensing requirements or supervision for compliance with federal consumer protection laws.

    34 In December 2012, the Bureau published the examination procedures used in examinations of student lending at these institutions. See Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB Releases Exam Procedures for Student Loans (2012), available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-releases-exam-procedures-for-student-loans/.

    35 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Final Rule: Defining Larger Participants of the Student Loan Servicing Market (December 2013), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201312_cfpb_student-servicing-rule.pdf.

    36 For further discussion of student loan servicing market composition, see Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Final Rule: Defining Larger Participants of the Student Loan Servicing Market (December 2013), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201312_cfpb_student-servicing-rule.pdf.

    In October 2011, the Secretary of the Treasury designated a student loan ombudsman within the Bureau, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The Bureau's student loan ombudsman is required to submit certain reports to the Director of the Bureau, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Education related to student loan complaints.37 These reports have focused on private student loans and highlighted a range of consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau regarding servicing issues, including:

    37See 12 U.S.C. 5535. In addition, the Higher Education Act established a Student Loan Ombudsman at the U.S. Department of Education to assist borrowers with federal student loans. See 20 U.S.C. 1018.

    Payment posting: Some consumers have reported that it takes servicers several days to process payments and servicers may charge interest on the outstanding principal during that processing time. Consumers have complained that servicers may also apply payments to an account well after they debit funds from a borrower's bank account. Consumers note that some servicers may take several days to process payments submitted online, when other financial services companies are able to credit such payments upon receipt.

    Processing prepayments: Consumers may attempt to prepay their loans in order to reduce the amount of interest owed over the life of the loan. But many consumers have expressed confusion about how to pay off their loans early. For example, borrowers have complained that servicers apply payments in excess of the amount due across all their loans, not to the highest-interest rate loan that they would prefer to pay off first. These processing problems may result from insufficient investment in a servicing platform's information technology infrastructure.

    Processing partial payments: When consumers have multiple loans with one servicer and are unable to pay all of the loans on their bill in full, borrowers have reported that many servicers instruct them to make whatever payment they can afford. Many complaints have described how servicers often divide up the partial payment and apply it evenly across all of the loans in their account. This may maximize the late fees charged to the consumer.

    Paperwork and account information: Consumers have reported experiencing lost paperwork submitted to process applications for forbearance or alternative payment plans. Borrowers have reported that servicers do not correct errors in a timely fashion. Consumers have also reported encountering limited access to basic account information, including their payment history. Some borrowers have reported difficulty when seeking to determine how their payments have been applied to interest and principal, particularly when loans are grouped together for billing purposes.

    Servicing transfers: Consumers have noted many servicing interruptions following a change in servicer. Many of these consumers were unaware that their loans had been transferred to a new servicer until the point at which they encountered a problem. Consumers have explained that, following a change in servicer, they experience interruptions when receiving billing statements, notices, or other routine communications. Consumers have also noted that they were charged late fees because borrowers mailed their payments to their old servicers. Consumers have complained that, in some cases, servicers did not process payments correctly post-transfer, if the consumer mailed a check to the new servicer containing account information from the old servicer.

    Customer service: Consumers have complained that servicing personnel may not be adequately trained to provide assistance or may be unaware of resources available to borrowers in distress. This problem may be exacerbated at companies that service many different loan portfolios for third-party lenders. Consumers have reported that servicers transferred them to multiple departments, and, in some cases, none were responsive or empowered to provide a clear answer. Consumers have also complained about being unable to reach appropriate service staff members to correct a mistake in how a payment was applied to their account. Other consumers have complained about conflicting instructions from different employees of the same servicer.

    Repayment incentives: It is common for lenders to offer various incentives to borrowers in marketing materials prior to origination. These might include interest rate or principal reductions for engaging in activities that increase the likelihood of repayment, such as graduation or enrollment in an auto-debit program. But consumers have complained that some servicers place unexpected obstacles when borrowers seek to apply these benefits.

    Issues related to co-signers, including acceleration of performing loans: Consumers identify a range of issues specific to co-signed student loans, including problems related to access to basic account information for co-signers and problems related to co-signer release, an advertised benefit of many private loans that some consumers find is prohibitively complicated to obtain. In addition, many consumers assume that the death of a co-signer, often a parent or grandparent, will result in the release of the co-signer's obligation to repay. But many private student loan contracts include provisions that have been interpreted to provide the lender with the option to immediately demand the full loan balance upon death of the co-signer. Many private student loan contracts also include provisions that have been interpreted to allow the lender to place a loan in default if the borrower's co-signer files for bankruptcy.

    Borrowers have submitted complaints detailing how they face loan acceleration, including consequences such as credit damage and frequent debt collection calls, even if the loan was in good standing prior to and while the co-signer is in bankruptcy, or upon a co-signer's death. Acceleration may be triggered when data from probate and other court record scans are matched with a company's customer database, without regard to whether the borrower is in good standing.

    Benefits for members of the military: Servicemembers have identified problems they encountered when accessing the protections granted to them under federal rules, including the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The hurdles they describe range from not being able to get the information they need, to being met with roadblocks when they do try to pursue their benefits.

    As noted in these reports, consumer complaints are not necessarily representative of typical experiences of student loan borrowers. However, examination and investigative activities have revealed that problems may not be limited to individual consumers filing complaints. For example, in 2014, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) addressed alleged misconduct with one large student loan servicer for illegal practices regarding student loan payment processing.38 The FDIC found violations of a federal law prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices with regard to student loan borrowers through the servicer's following actions:

    38 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC Announces Settlement with Sallie Mae for Unfair and Deceptive Practices and Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (May 2014), available at http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2014/pr14033.html.

    • Inadequately disclosing its payment allocation methodologies to borrowers while allocating borrowers' underpayments across multiple loans in a manner that maximizes late fees; and

    • Misrepresenting and inadequately disclosing in its billing statements how borrowers could avoid late fees.

    In addition, the Department of Justice joined with the FDIC to enter an order providing $60 million in restitution for more than 60,000 servicemembers in an action against the same company, related to its awarding of benefits under the SCRA to active duty members of the military.39 The FDIC found illegal conduct, including:

    39See Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC Announces Settlement with Sallie Mae for Unfair and Deceptive Practices and Violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (May 2014), available at http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2014/pr14033.html; and U.S. Department of Justice, United States v. Navient Solutions, Inc., Navient DE Corporation and Sallie Mae Bank (May 2014), available at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/documents/salliecomp.pdf.

    • Unfairly conditioning receipt of benefits under the SCRA upon requirements not found in the law;

    • Improperly advising servicemembers that they must be deployed in order to receive benefits under the SCRA; and

    • Failing to provide complete SCRA relief to servicemembers after having been put on notice of these borrowers' active duty status.

    While supervising for compliance with federal consumer financial laws, the Bureau has also identified illegal practices through its examination program. Bureau examiners found one or more student loan servicers were: 40

    40See Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Supervisory Highlights: Fall 2014 (2014), available at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/supervisory-highlights-fall-2014.

    Misrepresenting minimum payments: Bureau examiners found that one or more servicers inflated the minimum payment that was due on periodic statements and online account statements. These inflated numbers included amounts that were in deferment and not actually due.

    Charging improper late fees: CFPB examiners found one or more servicers were unfairly charging late fees when payments were received during the grace period. Like many other types of loans, many student loan contracts have grace periods after the due date. If a payment is received after the due date, but during the grace period, the promissory note stated that late fees would not be charged.

    Failing to provide accurate tax information: CFPB examiners found cases where student loan servicers failed to provide consumers with information essential for deducting student loan interest payments on their tax filings. The servicers impeded borrowers from accessing this information and misrepresented information on the consumers' online account statements. This practice may have caused some consumers to lose up to $2,500 in tax deductions.

    Misleading consumers about bankruptcy protections: CFPB examiners found that some servicers told consumers student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. While student loans are more difficult to discharge in bankruptcy than most other types of loans, it is possible to discharge a student loan if the borrower affirmatively asserts and proves “undue hardship” in a court. Servicer communications with borrowers asserted or implied that student loans were never dischargeable.

    Making illegal debt collection calls to consumers at inconvenient times: Examiners found that one or more student loan servicers routinely made debt collection calls to delinquent borrowers early in the morning or late at night. For example, examiners identified more than 5,000 calls made at inconvenient times during a 45-day period, which included 48 calls made to one consumer.

    Presidential Memorandum on a Student Aid Bill of Rights

    On March 10, 2015, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum titled the “Student Aid Bill of Rights.” 41 The memorandum was addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Education, Commissioner of Social Security, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council. The memorandum directed certain executive agencies to undertake a number of steps to improve student loan borrowers' experience in repayment, with a particular focus on enhancing student loan servicing. The memorandum requires the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to issue a report to the President “after assessing the potential applicability of consumer protections in the mortgage and credit card markets to student loans, [on] recommendations for statutory or regulatory changes in this area, including, where appropriate, strong servicing standards.”

    41 The White House, Presidential Memorandum—Student Aid Bill of Rights (March 10, 2015), available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/03/10/presidential-memorandum-student-aid-bill-rights/.

    Policymakers Have Established a Framework To Strengthen Servicing Protections for Mortgage and Credit Card Borrowers

    The Bureau has observed similarities between the servicing problems encountered by student loan borrowers and those experienced by borrowers with other financial products. Loan servicing generally includes many common functions, irrespective of the underlying consumer financial product, including account maintenance, billing and payment processing, customer service, and managing accounts for customers experiencing financial distress.42

    42 There are also noteworthy differences between the servicing of mortgages, credit cards and student loans. These include but are not limited to differences related to the servicing of loans secured by real estate compared to unsecured loans, and practices unique to open-ended products with replenishing lines of credit, commonly used in repeated transactions.

    During and in the wake of the financial crisis, Congress, state policymakers, law enforcement officials, and federal financial regulators sought to address a broad range of loan servicing problems in the credit card and mortgage markets. Several large mortgage servicers reached settlements with State and Federal regulators to address a range of troubling practices.43

    43 For example, in 2012, the attorneys general of forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and the federal government reached an agreement with five large mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. See U.S. Department of Justice, National Mortgage Settlement, available at http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/public_affairs/consumer_info/nms/; In addition, there have been a number of cases of alleged improper treatment of military families, including cases where mortgage servicers conducted allegedly wrongful foreclosures in violation of the SCRA, See U.S. Department of Justice, Recent Accomplishments of the Housing and Civil Enforcement Division, available at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/whatnew.php (summarizing the enforcement actions concerning the Servicemember Civil Relief Act).

    Mortgage Servicing

    Congress has passed several significant legislative and regulatory interventions to protect mortgage borrowers from illegal and deceptive mortgage servicing practices. In 1968 and 1974, Congress passed TILA and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (RESPA), respectively. Taken together, these statutes provide additional disclosure requirements and regulate certain acts associated with consumer risk and harm.44 TILA and RESPA also provide a private right of action and damages in certain circumstances for certain violations.45 Over the past nearly 50 years, Congress has amended both TILA and RESPA on numerous occasions to add additional protections for consumers.46

    44 In addition to TILA and RESPA, Congress enacted the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) in 1994 as an amendment to TILA, establishing certain disclosures and protections related to high-cost mortgages. See Pub. L. 103-325.

    45 15 U.S.C. 1640; 12 U.S.C. 2605.

    46See CFPB Consumer Law and Regulations, RESPA Procedures—TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures (applicable for examinations after the August 2015 effective date), and Mortgage Servicing Requirements (January 2014), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201503_cfpb_regulation-x-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act.pdf (summarizing amendments to RESPA); See also, CFPB Consumer Law and Regulations, TILA Procedures—TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures (applicable for examinations after the August 2015 effective date), and Higher-Priced Mortgage Loan Appraisals (January 2014), Escrow Accounts (January 2014), and Mortgage Servicing Requirements (January 2014), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201503_cfpb_truth-in-lending-act.pdf (summarizing amendments to TILA).

    In 2010, Congress again intervened by providing additional protections through the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act gave the Bureau authority to promulgate regulations to implement new mortgage servicing protections following the wake of the financial crisis and granted the Bureau with rule-making, supervision, and enforcement authority over covered financial institutions.47 The Bureau implemented a series of new rules to significantly improve consumer protections for mortgage borrowers.48 The rules address critical servicer practices including error resolution, prompt crediting of payments, and providing payoff statements. They also include requirements relating to servicer policies and procedures, early intervention for delinquent borrowers, continuity of contact, and procedures for evaluating and responding to loss mitigation applications. These rules protect consumers from detrimental actions by mortgage servicers and give consumers better tools and information when dealing with mortgage servicers. For example, the mortgage servicing rules include:

    47 Public Law 111-203.

    48See CFPB Consumer Law and Regulations, RESPA Procedures—TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures (applicable for examinations after the August 2015 effective date), and Mortgage Servicing Requirements (January 2014), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201503_cfpb_regulation-x-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act.pdf (summarizing amendments to RESPA); see also, CFPB Consumer Law and Regulations, TILA Procedures—TILA RESPA Integrated Disclosures (applicable for examinations after the August 2015 effective date), and Higher-Priced Mortgage Loan Appraisals (January 2014), Escrow Accounts (January 2014), and Mortgage Servicing Requirements (January 2014), available at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201503_cfpb_truth-in-lending-act.pdf (summarizing amendments to TILA).

    • Notice of transfer of loan servicing. If a lender or servicer transfers a loan's servicing to a new servicer, the prior servicer must provide a notice to the borrower no less than 15 days before the effective date of transfer, and the transferee servicer must provide a notice not more than 15 days after the effective date of transfer, with limited exceptions.49 In addition, during the 60-day period beginning on the effective date of transfer, the servicer cannot treat a consumer's payment as late for any purpose (and cannot charge a late fee) if the consumer has made a timely payment to the prior servicer.50

    49 12 CFR 1024.33(b).

    50 12 CFR 1024.33(c).

    • Timely transfer of documents to new servicer. Mortgage servicers are required to maintain policies and procedures reasonably designed to facilitate the transfer of information during servicing transfers.51 These policies should be tailored to ensure timely transfer of all documents and information in the possession or control of the prior servicer relating to the transferred loan to the new servicer.

    51 12 CFR 1024.38(a), (b)(4).

    • Payoff statements. A servicer must provide a payoff statement, specifying the amount needed to pay the loan in full as of a particular date, within seven business days after receiving the consumer's written request.52

    52 12 CFR 1026.36(c)(3).

    • Error resolution procedures. Generally, mortgage servicers must respond to written notices from consumers asserting a servicing error, such as charges for late fees that the servicer lacks a reasonable basis to impose.53 Within five days of a mortgage servicer receiving a written notice of error, the servicer must provide a timely written response acknowledging receipt.54 Then the servicer must correct the error or conduct a reasonable investigation and provide a written notice that the error has been corrected or conduct a reasonable investigation and provide the borrower a written notification that no error has occurred, along with the rationale behind the determination, and a statement of the borrower's right to request documents relied upon by the servicer and information on how to request such documents.55

    53 12 CFR 1024.35(a), (b).

    54 12 CFR 1024.35(d).

    55 12 CFR 1024.35(e).

    • Continuity of contact. Mortgage servicers must maintain policies and procedures designed to assign designated personnel to respond to the consumer's inquiries, and, as applicable, assist the consumer with available loss mitigation options.56 This gives the delinquent consumers continuity of contact and the ability to access information about the mortgage without being transferred to multiple customer service representatives.

    56 12 CFR 1024.40(a).

    • Record retention. Mortgage servicers are required to retain certain records that document actions taken regarding the mortgage loan account until one year after the date the loan is discharged or servicing is transferred.57 Records required to be preserved include a schedule of all transactions debited or credited, any notes created by the servicer reflecting communications with the borrowers about the mortgage, and copies of any documents provided by the consumer to the servicer in accordance with error resolution or loss mitigation procedures.58

    57 12 CFR 1024.38(c)(1).

    58 12 CFR 1024.38(c)(2).

    • Early intervention for delinquent borrowers. Mortgage servicers must make a good faith effort to establish live contact with a borrower no later than the 36th day of a borrower's delinquency.59 No later than the 45th day of delinquency, a servicer must provide a written early intervention notice.60

    59 12 CFR 1024.39(a).

    60 12 CFR 1024.39(b).

    Credit Cards

    In 2009, Congress enacted the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD Act), establishing new protections for consumers with credit cards.61 The CARD Act included a number of changes to credit card servicing and payment processing practices. For example, these changes include:

    61 Pub. L. 111-24. Consumers with credit cards had a number of servicing protections in place under TILA prior to the enactment of the CARD Act, including those related to error resolution, limits on liability and periodic statements.

    • Timely posting of payments. Credit card companies must credit all payments received by 5 p.m. on the day they are received.62 If they are received by 5 p.m. on the due date, payments are generally considered to be on-time.

    62 15 U.S.C. 1666c(a).

    • Periodic billing statements. Credit card companies must have reasonable procedures designed to ensure that billing statements are mailed or delivered at least 21 days before a payment is due.63 In addition, credit card companies must disclose on the billing statement how long it would take the consumer, including how much it would cost, to pay the full balance on the card by paying only the required minimum payments.64 The statement must also disclose the monthly payment required to repay the full balance in three years, and the resulting total cost to the consumer, assuming no additional transactions.65

    63 15 U.S.C. 1666b(a).

    64 15 U.S.C. 1637(b)(11)(B)(i) and (ii).

    65 15 U.S.C. 1637(b)(11)(B)(iii).

    • Application of Payments. Credit card companies, upon receipt of a payment in excess of the minimum payment amount due, must first apply the excess to the card balance bearing the highest interest rate, and then to each successive balance bearing the next highest rate of interest, until the payment is exhausted.66

    66 15 U.S.C. 1666c(b)(1).

    Part B: Questions Related to Student Loan Servicing

    The Bureau is interested in responses in the following general areas, as well as the specific questions below. Part A of this Request for Information (RFI) provides a general overview of the problems experienced by consumers when repaying student debt.

    In the following section, we offer commenters a series of questions to consider when responding to this RFI. Responses may include answers to the following categories of questions. Part One of this section solicits feedback on questions related to general practices in the student loan servicing industry, including industry practices for borrowers in distress. Part Two seeks comments on the applicability of consumer protections from other consumer financial product markets, including the markets for servicing credit cards and mortgages. Part Three solicits feedback on the availability of data about student loan performance and borrower characteristics during repayment. Respondents are encouraged to provide responses to any of the broad categories of questions outlined below.

    Part One: General Questions on Common Industry Practices Related to Student Loan Repayment

    The following section seeks to solicit input on common practices, policies, and procedures in the student loan servicing market. Respondents may wish to address any structural features of the student loan servicing market as they relate to specific practices, including but not limited to:

    • The traditional compensation model for third-party student loan servicing, including compensation related to default aversion and alternative repayment options;

    • Information systems used by student loan servicers, including information systems used to process alternative repayment options, servicing transfers, and furnishing of credit information; or

    • Existing federal and state statutory or regulatory protections for student loan borrowers in repayment.

    Respondents may also wish to highlight effective or innovative approaches to delivering service, including:

    • Practices by incumbents or new entrants in the student loan servicing market;

    • Practices by loan servicers in other markets, including but not limited to servicing practices for credit cards and mortgages; or

    • Alternative business models to traditional loan servicing that could reduce costs, increase recoveries, or enhance transparency for borrowers.

    Practices Related to Student Loan Repayment

    (1) Please describe the extent to which issues related to the following common student loan servicing policies and procedures should inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing, including but not limited to:

    a. Processing, allocation, and application of payments (including partial payments and prepayments);

    b. The imposition and disclosure of late fees, including the impact of late fees across billing groups;

    c. Transfer of loans between lenders, loan holders, and student loan servicers;

    d. The complaint resolution process (including the consumers' ability to adequately request and receive accurate and timely responses for information and corrections related to their account);

    e. Furnishing of credit information to credit reporting agencies (including the appropriateness, adequacy, and accuracy of the information furnished);

    f. The impact of a single late payment on borrowers' future abilities to avail themselves of repayment benefits, such as interest rate reductions for enrolling in auto-debit;

    g. Disclosure, accessibility, and availability of refinance products;

    h. Disclosure, accessibility, and availability of options to release a co-signer from their legal obligation to repay a co-signed student loan; or

    i. Disclosure, accessibility, and availability of options to discharge or reduce student loan debt in the event of the death or disability of a borrower or co-signer.

    Practices Related to Student Loan Repayment for Borrowers in Distress

    (2) Please describe the extent to which issues related to the following common student loan servicing policies and procedures should inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing for borrowers in distress, including but not limited to:

    a. Procedures servicers utilize to ensure that borrowers can avail themselves of alternative repayment options;

    b. The circumstances in which a fee occurs or should be permissible, and the manner of disclosure of servicing-related fees, including those imposed for modifications or cessation of payment (e.g. forbearance or deferment);

    c. The offering and disclosure of variable rate private loans that increase the interest rate based on borrower behavior, including missed payments;

    d. Policies and procedures related to acceleration of debts (including the availability and disclosures of co-signer release policies);

    e. Disclosure, accessibility, and availability of affordable modification options; or

    f. The adequacy and clarity of communication regarding certain borrower rights to discharge debt (e.g., in cases of school misconduct, borrower disability).

    Impact of Practices Related to Student Loan Repayment for Borrower Segments With Unique Characteristics

    (3) Please identify any unique issues that are specific to certain segments of the student loan borrower population related to the common student loan servicing practices, operations, policies, and procedures described above. Responses should consider borrower segments with unique characteristics, including but not limited to servicemembers, veterans, and their families; first-generation college attendees; current or former attendees of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) or Minority-Servicing Institutions (MSI); and older Americans.

    Part Two: Applicability of Consumer Protections From Other Consumer Financial Product Markets

    Respondents may wish to evaluate existing loan servicing protections for consumers in other markets, including protections for consumers with mortgages and credit cards. The following questions seek to solicit feedback on any conduct requirements required by statute, regulation, consent decree or other means that should inform policymakers and market participants when considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing. Respondents may wish to consider aspects of loan servicing in these markets that are common across products and may also wish to note differences between types of loan servicing that may make the delivery of service unique to a particular market. Responses need not address all questions in this section and need not be limited to the specific provisions identified below.

    Requirements Related to Mortgage Servicing Practices

    (4) Describe any mortgage servicing standards or other provisions under RESPA, TILA or the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) that should inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing. Responses need not be limited to requirements related to:

    a. Payment handling. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to payment handling, including payoff requests or prompt crediting of payments, and to periodic statements, including the timing of periodic statements or specific periodic statement disclosures for delinquent borrowers.

    b. Servicing transfers. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers in the event of a servicing transfer, including requirements related to the timing of notices in the event of a transfer of servicing, record retention requirements for the transferor servicer, or prohibitions against certain late fees and treating certain payments as late for a fixed period following the transfer of servicing.

    c. Error resolution. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to error resolution and requests for information, including notices required upon receipt of a written notice of error or request for information, requirements related to investigations and error resolution, requirements related to the production of requested information, and notices required if requested information is not available.

    d. Interest rate adjustment notifications. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to interest rate adjustment notifications, including notice of interest rate adjustment prior to the first payment at a new rate and notice of rate adjustment prior to the first payment due after the rate adjusts, if payment will change.

    e. Loan counseling. Specific conduct requirements for creditors related to homeownership counseling, including the timely provision of information about homeownership counseling organizations or requirements related to the confirmation of consumer's completion of homeownership counseling prior to making a loan that permits negative amortization to a first-time borrower.

    Requirements Related to Mortgage Servicing for Borrowers in Distress

    (5) Describe any mortgage servicing standards or other provisions under RESPA, TILA, or HOEPA that should inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing for distressed borrowers. Responses need not be limited to specific conduct related to:

    a. Live contact. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to outreach to delinquent borrowers, including the requirement for mortgage servicers to establish or make good faith efforts to establish live contact with borrower early in borrowers' delinquency.

    b. Loss mitigation information. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to the disclosure of loss mitigation options, including the requirement for mortgage servicers to maintain policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that servicer personnel assigned to a delinquent borrower provide the borrower with accurate information about loss mitigation options and actions the borrower must take to be evaluated for such loss mitigation options.

    c. Timing requirements for foreclosure filings. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to timing for foreclosure filings, including the specific prohibition on mortgage servicers from making the first notice or filing required by applicable law for any judicial or non-judicial foreclosure process until after a borrower becomes delinquent for a certain period of time. Respondents may wish to contrast these requirements with conduct requirements in place related to servicing student loans in late-stage delinquency.

    d. Assignment of continuity of contact personnel. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to ensuring borrowers can access customer service personnel, including the requirement for mortgage servicers to maintain policies and procedures reasonably designed to achieve the objective of assigning continuity of contact personnel (which can be one or a team of personnel) to a delinquent borrower who will be available via telephone, and will provide a live response to a borrower immediately or in a timely manner.

    e. Conduct by continuity of contact personnel. Specific conduct requirements for mortgage servicers related to customer service provided by continuity of conduct personnel, including the requirement for mortgage servicers to have reasonable policies and procedures reasonably designed to ensure that assigned continuity of contact personnel retrieve in a timely manner written information the borrower provided to the servicer (or prior servicers) in connection with a loss mitigation application and provide such information to other persons required to evaluate a borrower for loss mitigation options made available by the servicer, if applicable.

    f. Prohibition on recommending default. Specific conduct requirements for creditors related to conditions under which a creditor can recommend refinancing of a high-cost mortgage, including a prohibition on recommending default on an existing loan.

    g. Prohibition on certain fees. Specific conduct requirements for creditors related to fees charged to borrowers, including the requirement that creditors, servicers and assignees cannot charge a fee to modify, defer, renew, extend, or amend a high-cost mortgage, the restriction of late fees to four percent of the past due payment and rules for imposing late fees when a consumer resumes making payments after missing one or more payments, or the limitation on the imposition of fees for payoff.

    Requirements Related to Servicing Practices in the Credit Card Market

    (6) Describe any protections afforded to consumers with credit cards, including but not limited to protections under the Credit CARD Act of 2009 (15 U.S.C. 1637), to inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing. Responses should consider, but should not be limited to:

    a. Notice of rate increases and significant changes. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to written notice of an increase in an annual percentage rate or any other significant change, including the requirement that such notice be sent 45 days prior to the effective date of the rate increase or change.

    b. Notice of certain penalties for late payments. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to written notices required in response to borrowers' failure to make a minimum payment within 60 days of the due date, including the notice requirement triggered when a card issuer increases the APR or fees.

    c. Timing of periodic statements. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to the timing of periodic statements, including the requirement that a creditor may not treat a payment on an open-end consumer credit plan as late for any purpose, unless the creditor has adopted reasonable procedures designed to ensure that each periodic statement is mailed or delivered to the consumer no later than 21 days before the payment due date.

    d. Posting of payments. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to the posting of payments, including the requirement that credit card companies credit or treat as on time all payments received by 5 p.m. on the day they are received.

    e. Fees for processing payments. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to fees for processing payments, including the requirement that a creditor may not impose a separate fee to allow the borrower to repay an extension of credit or finance charge, such as a fee for processing a payment, unless such payment involves an expedited service by a service representative of the creditor.

    f. Application of payments. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to the application of payments, including the requirement that credit card companies upon receipt of a payment in excess of the minimum payment amount due, must first apply the excess to the card balance bearing the highest interest rate, and then to each successive balance bearing the next highest rate of interest, until the payment is exhausted.

    g. Limitations on changes to fees, charges and annual percentage rates. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to certain changes to terms, including the requirement that a card issuer may not elect to increase the annual percentage rate or assess fees or other charges, with some exceptions.

    h. Disclosures related to payments and interest charges. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to disclosures about payment application and interest charges, including the requirement that credit card issuer provide disclosures on consumers' periodic statements warning them that if they make only minimum payments on their accounts, they will pay more in interest, and it will take longer to pay off their account balance.

    i. Online publication of certain documents. Specific conduct requirements for card issuers related to the publication of certain documents online, including the requirement for a creditor to establish and maintain an Internet site and post the written agreement between the creditor and the consumer for each credit card account under an open-end consumer credit plan and that the creditor provide in electronic format the credit card agreement on the creditor's Web site.

    Other Requirements Related to Loan Servicing

    (7) To what extent should the specific conduct requirements included in settlements between financing services providers and state law enforcement agencies inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing? Respondents may wish to address, but need not be limited to, specific requirements contained in the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS), including protections related to members of the military and their families.

    (8) Describe any other standards of conduct required by statute, regulation, consent decree or other means that should inform policymakers and market participants when considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing, including but not limited to, provisions related to:

    a. Payment handling and allocations;

    b. Periodic statement requirements;

    c. Disclosures required on periodic statements;

    d. Servicing transfers;

    e. Dispute resolution procedures;

    f. Request for information;

    g. Interest rate adjustment notifications;

    h. The imposition of fees;

    i. Imposition of interest rate penalties in response to changes in customer behavior;

    j. The availability and accessibility of affordable repayment options; or

    k. The ability for a lender to place a borrower or co-signer in default based on consumer behavior other than missed payments.

    (9) Describe the extent to which the existing statutory or regulatory protections afforded to consumers under the following laws should inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing:

    a. Truth in Lending Act;

    b. Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act;

    c. Fair Credit Reporting Act;

    d. Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;

    e. Electronic Funds Transfer Act;

    f. Higher Education Act; or

    g. Federal Trade Commission Act.

    Part Three: Impact of Limits on Availability of Data About Student Loan Servicing and Student Loan Repayment on Borrowers

    The following section seeks to solicit input about the availability of data on student loan performance and on borrower characteristics during repayment. Respondents should consider existing data sources and gaps in availability that should inform policymakers and market participants considering options to improve the quality of student loan servicing.

    (10) To what extent do available data and reports about student loan repayment reveal usage and specific risks to student loan borrowers, including those related to:

    a. Loan performance, delinquency, and default;

    b. Utilization of income-driven payment plans and other alternative repayment options; or

    c. Utilization of repayment options that result in temporary cessation of payment, including deferment and forbearance.

    (11) To what extent do gaps in available data create problems for policymakers or other stakeholders seeking to evaluate consumer risks as it relates to student loan servicing?

    (12) To what extent are publicly available data sets in other consumer financial markets (e.g., the Bureau's Home Mortgage Disclosure Act microdata, the OCC's monthly mortgage metrics, and the Bureau's Credit Card Agreement Database) instructive as policymakers consider ways to better afford the public and regulators the ability monitor trends in the market and assess consumer risks?

    Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 5511(c).

    Dated: May 15, 2015. Christopher D'Angelo, Chief of Staff, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12276 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-25-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0052] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to alter a System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to alter a system of records, DWHS E02, entitled “Freedom of Information Act Case Files” in its inventory of record systems subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. Information is being collected and maintained in this system for the purpose of processing FOIA requests and administrative appeals; for participating in litigation regarding agency action on such requests and appeals; and for assisting the DoD in carrying out any other responsibilities under FOIA.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before June 22, 2015. This proposed action will be effective the date following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cindy Allard, Chief, OSD/JS Privacy Office, Freedom of Information Directorate, Washington Headquarters Service, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155, or by phone at (571) 372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Office Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/.The proposed system report, as required by U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on May 15, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. DWHS E02 System name:

    Freedom of Information Act Case Files (January 28, 2013, 78 FR 5783).

    Changes: System name:

    Delete entry and replace with “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Case Files.”

    System location:

    Delete entry and replace with “Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) records: Freedom of Information Division, Executive Services Directorate, Washington Headquarters Services, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-3100.

    DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) records: Department of Defense Education Activity, Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center, Executive Services Office, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-1400.”

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals who have requested documents under the provisions of the FOIA from the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff (OSD/JS), and the DoDEA, FOIA Requester Service Centers; individuals whose requests and/or records have been processed under the FOIA and referred by other Federal agencies; and attorneys representing individuals submitting such requests.”

    Categories of records in the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “Records created or compiled in response to FOIA requests and administrative appeals, i.e., original requests and administrative appeals (including requesters name, mailing address, FOIA case number, date and subject of the request, with some requesters also voluntarily submitting additional information such as telephone numbers and email addresses), responses to such requests and administrative appeals; all related memoranda, correspondence, notes, and other related or supporting documentation; and copies of requested records and records under administrative appeal.”

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “5 U.S.C. 552, Freedom of Information Act; 10 U.S.C. 113, Secretary of Defense; DoD Directive 5400.07, DoD Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program; DoD Regulation 5400.7-R, DoD Freedom of Information Act Program; and Administrative Instruction 108, Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff (JS) Freedom of information Act (FOIA) Program.”

    Purpose(s):

    Delete entry and replace with “Information is being collected and maintained for the purpose of processing FOIA requests and administrative appeals; for participating in litigation regarding agency action on such requests and appeals; and for assisting the DoD in carrying out any other responsibilities under the FOIA.”

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    Delete entry and replace with “In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, these records may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    To the National Archives and Records Administration, Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), to the extent necessary to fulfill its responsibilities in 5 U.S.C. 552(h), to review administrative agency policies, procedures and compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and to facilitate OGIS' offering of mediation services to resolve disputes between persons making FOIA requests and administrative agencies.

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

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

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

    Data Breach Remediation Purposes Routine Use: A record from a system of records maintained by a Component may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) The Component suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of the information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Component has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Component or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Components efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the OSD compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of DoD blanket routine uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gov/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx”.

    Retrievability:

    Delete entry and replace with “Retrieved by name of requester, subject matter, date of request, and FOIA request case number.”

    System manager(s) and address:

    Delete entry and replace with “WHS records: Chief, Freedom of Information Division, Executive Services Directorate, Washington Headquarters Services, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    DoDEA records: Chief, Department of Defense Education Activity, Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center, Executive Services Office, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-1400.”

    Notification procedure:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking to determine whether information about themselves is contained in this system of records should address written inquiries to:

    WHS records: Chief, Freedom of Information Division, Executive Services Directorate, Washington Headquarters Services, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    DoDEA records: Chief, Department of Defense Education Activity, Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center, Executive Services Office, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-1400.

    Signed written requests should include the requester's name, mailing address, and name and number of this system of records notice.”

    Record access procedures:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking access to information about themselves contained in this system of records should address written inquiries to:

    WHS records: Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center, Office of Freedom of Information, Washington Headquarters, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    DoDEA records: Department of Defense Education Activity, Freedom of Information Act Requester Service Center, Executive Services Office, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22350-1400.

    Note:

    For DoDEA records, a non-custodial parent or legal guardian requesting records pertaining to his or her minor child or ward must also provide evidence of that relationship. For example, such parent or legal guardian may provide a copy of a divorce decree or a child custody or guardianship order that includes the child's name.

    Requests for information should be in writing, signed, and provide evidence of the requester's identity, such as a copy of a photo ID or passport or similar document bearing the requesters signature. Requests must contain the requesters name, mailing address, FOIA case number, name and number of this system of records notice and be signed.”

    Contesting record procedures:

    Delete entry and replace with “The OSD rules for accessing records, for contesting contents and appealing initial agency determinations are published in OSD Administrative Instruction 81; 32 CFR part 311; or may be obtained from the system manager.”

    Record source categories:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals who submit initial requests and administrative appeals pursuant to the FOIA; the agency records searched in the process of responding to such requests and appeals; DoD personnel assigned to handle such requests and appeals; other agencies or entities that have referred to the DoD requests concerning DoD records or that have consulted with the DoD regarding the handling of particular requests; submitters of records; and information from those that have provided assistance to the DoD in making FOIA access determinations.”

    Exemptions claimed for the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “During the course of a FOIA action, exempt materials from other systems of records may, in turn, become part of the case records in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those other systems of records are entered into this FOIA case record, WHS, and the DoDEA, hereby claim the same exemptions for the records from those other systems that are entered into this system, as claimed for the original primary systems of records which they are a part.

    An exemption rule for this system has been promulgated in accordance with requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(1), (2), and (3), (c), and (e) and published in 32 CFR part 311. For additional information contact the system manager.”

    [FR Doc. 2015-12334 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DoD-2015-OS-0053] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Logistics Agency, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Logistics Agency announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by July 20, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

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

    Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to Christopher Hall, Office of Small Business Programs, Program Manager, Procurement Technical Assistance Program, Defense Logistics Agency (email: [email protected]), Phone: (703) 767-3297.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Procurement Technical Assistance Center Cooperative Agreement Performance Report; DLA Form 1806; OMB Control Number 0704-0320.

    Needs and Uses: The information collection requirement is necessary as the Defense Logistics Agency uses the report as the principal instrument for measuring the performance of Cooperative Agreement awards made under 10 U.S.C. chapter 142.

    Affected Public: Not-for-profit institutions; state, local or tribal government; individuals or households.

    Annual Burden Hours: 2,660.

    Number of Respondents: 95.

    Responses per Respondent: 4.

    Annual Responses: 380.

    Average Burden per Response: 7 hours.

    Frequency: Quarterly.

    Each cooperative agreement award recipient submitted goals and objectives in their application that were subsequently incorporated into their cooperative agreement awards. The level of achievement of these goals and the funds expended in the process of conducting the program is measured by the report. The government's continued funding of a cooperative agreement and the decision to exercise an option award for a cooperative agreement award is based to a significant degree on the award holder's current performance as measured by the report. Information from the report is also used to identify programs that may be in need of assistance and/or increased surveillance.

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12345 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DoD-2015-OS-0051] Privacy Act of 1974; System of Records AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary of Defense, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice to alter a System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense proposes to alter a system of records, DCIO 01, entitled “Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Security/Information Assurance Records” to facilitate the sharing of DIB cybersecurity threat information and best practices to DIB companies to enhance and supplement DIB participant capabilities to safeguard DoD information that resides on, or transits, DIB unclassified information systems. When incident reports are received, DoD Cyber Crime Center (DC3) personnel analyze the information reported for cyber threats and vulnerabilities in order to develop response measures as well as improve U.S. Government and DIB understanding of advanced cyber threat activity. DoD may work with a DIB company on a more detailed, digital forensics analysis or damage assessment, which may include sharing of additional electronic media/files or information regarding the incident or the affected systems, networks, or information.

    DATES:

    Comments will be accepted on or before June 22, 2015. This proposed action will be effective the date following the end of the comment period unless comments are received which result in a contrary determination.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

    * Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    * Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate of Oversight and Compliance, Regulatory and Audit Matters Office, 9010 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-9010.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cindy Allard, Chief, OSD/JS Privacy Office, Freedom of Information Directorate, Washington Headquarters Service, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155, or by phone at (571) 372-0461.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Office of the Secretary of Defense notices for systems of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, have been published in the Federal Register and are available from the address in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at the Defense Privacy and Civil Liberties Division Web site at http://dpcld.defense.gov/.

    The proposed system report, as required by U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, was submitted on May 15, 2015, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to paragraph 4c of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” dated February 8, 1996 (February 20, 1996, 61 FR 6427).

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. DCIO 01

    Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Security/Information Assurance Records (May 18, 2012, 77 FR 29616).

    Changes: System name:

    Delete entry and replace with “Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cybersecurity (CS) Activities Records.”

    System location:

    Delete entry and replace with “Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cybersecurity Program, 6000 Defense Pentagon, ATTN: DIB CS Program, Washington, DC 20301-6000.

    DoD Cyber Crime Center, 911 Elkridge Landing Road, Linthicum, MD 21090-2991.”

    Categories of records in the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “DIB company point of contact information includes name, company name and mailing address, work division/group, work email, and work telephone number.”

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Delete entry and replace with “10 U.S.C. 2224, Defense Information Assurance Program; 44 U.S.C. 3544, Federal Agency Responsibilities; Public Law 113-58, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, Section 1632, Reporting on Cyber Incidents with Respect to Networks and Information Systems of Operationally Critical Contractors (10 U.S.C. Chapter 19, Cyber Matters); Presidential Policy Directive PPD-21, Critical Infrastructure, Security and Resilience; DoD Directive (DoDD) 3020.40, DoD Policy and Responsibilities for Critical Infrastructure; DoDD 5505.13E, DoD Executive Agent (EA) for the DoD Cyber Crime Center (DC3); DoD Manual 3020.45, Defense Critical Infrastructure Program (DCIP): DoD Mission-Based Critical Asset Identification Process (CAIP); and DoD Instruction 5205.13, Defense Industrial Base (DIB) Cyber Security/Information Assurance (CS/IA) Activities.”

    Purpose(s):

    Delete entry and replace with “To facilitate the sharing of DIB cybersecurity threat information and best practices to DIB companies to enhance and supplement DIB participant capabilities to safeguard DoD information that resides on, or transits, DIB unclassified information systems. When incident reports are received, DoD Cyber Crime Center (DC3) personnel analyze the information reported for cyber threats and vulnerabilities in order to develop response measures as well as improve U.S. Government and DIB understanding of advanced cyber threat activity. DoD may work with a DIB company on a more detailed, digital forensics analysis or damage assessment, which may include sharing of additional electronic media/files or information regarding the incident or the affected systems, networks, or information.”

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    Delete entry and replace with “In addition to the disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, the records contained herein may specifically be disclosed outside the DoD as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    DIB company point of contact information may be provided to other participating DIB companies to facilitate the sharing of information and expertise related to the DIB CS Program including cyber threat information and best practices, and mitigation strategies.

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

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

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

    The DoD Blanket Routine Uses set forth at the beginning of the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff compilation of systems of records notices may apply to this system. The complete list of the DoD blanket routine uses can be found online at: http://dpcld.defense.gove/Privacy/SORNsIndex/BlanketRoutineUses.aspx

    Any release of information contained in this system of records outside the DoD will be compatible with the purpose(s) for which the information is collected and maintained.”

    Retrievability:

    Delete entry and replace with “DIB Company POC information is retrieved primarily by company name and work division/group and secondarily by individual POC name.

    DIB cyber incident reports are primarily retrieved by incident number but may also be retrieved by company name. They are not retrieved by the individual name.”

    Safeguards:

    Delete entry and replace with “Records are accessed by personnel with security clearances who are properly screened, trained, under a signed confidentiality agreement, and determined to have `need to know'. Access to records requires DoD Common Access Card (CAC) and PIN. Physical access controls include security guards, identification badges, key cards, cipher locks, and combination locks.”

    System manager(s) and address:

    Delete entry and replace with “Director, DIB Cybersecurity, 6000 Defense Pentagon, ATTN: DIB CS Program, Washington, DC 20301-6000.”

    Notification procedure:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking to determine whether this system of records contains information on themselves should address written inquiries to Director, DIB Cybersecurity Office, 6000 Defense Pentagon, ATTN: DIB CS Program, Washington, DC 20301-6000.

    Signed, written requests should contain the individual's name, and company name and work division/group.”

    Record access procedures:

    Delete entry and replace with “Individuals seeking access to information about themselves contained in this system of records should address a written request to the Office of the Secretary of Defense/Joint Staff (OSD/JS), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requester Service Center, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155.

    Signed, written requests should contain the individual's name, company name and work division/group, and the name and number of this system of records notice.”

    Record source categories:

    Delete entry and replace with “The individual and participating DIB companies.”

    [FR Doc. 2015-12324 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD Sunshine Act Notice AGENCY:

    Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the provisions of the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b, notice is hereby given of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board's (Board) public business meeting described below. The Board invites any interested persons or groups to present any comments, technical information, or data concerning issues related to the matters to be considered.

    DATES:

    9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., June 3, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, 625 Indiana Avenue NW., Room 352, Washington, DC 20004.

    Status:

    Open. The Board has determined that an open meeting furthers the public interest underlying the Board's mission and the Government in the Sunshine Act.

    Matters To Be Considered:

    The meeting will proceed in accordance with the meeting agenda, which is posted on the Board's public Web site at www.dnfsb.gov. The Board is expected to open the meeting with Board Member statements. The Board will then hear testimony from the three Office Directors. First, the General Manager will provide testimony on the existing Board performance metrics. Next, the Acting General Counsel will discuss existing Board policies and their underlying basis. Finally, the Technical Director will examine the Board's technical organizational structure and basis. The General Manager is then expected to provide an overview of planned responses to matters raised in recent organizational assessments conducted by outside entities. These include assessments by LMI and by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Office of the Inspector General, which serves as the Board's inspector general. The Board will then entertain comments, if any, from the public. Following a lunch break, the Board is then expected to engage in deliberations in accordance with the Board's procedures concerning meetings. The open meeting will adjourn at 3:00 p.m.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mark Welch, General Manager, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, 625 Indiana Avenue NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004-2901, (800) 788-4016. This is a toll-free number.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Public participation in the meeting is invited from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Requests to speak may be submitted in writing or by telephone. The Board asks that commenters describe the nature and scope of their oral presentations. Those who contact the Board prior to close of business on June 2, 2015, will be scheduled to speak. At the beginning of the meeting, the Board will post a schedule for speakers at the entrance to the meeting room. Anyone who wishes to comment or provide technical information or data may do so in writing, either in lieu of, or in addition to, making an oral presentation. Documents will be accepted at the meeting. The meeting record will close when the meeting is adjourned at 3:00 p.m. The meeting will be presented live through Internet video streaming. A link to the meeting will be available on the Board's Web site (www.dnfsb.gov). A transcript of the meeting, along with a DVD video recording, will be made available by the Board for viewing on the Board's public Web site, and in the reading room of the Board's Washington, DC office.

    Date: May 18, 2015. Jessie H. Roberson, Vice Chairman.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12393 Filed 5-19-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3670-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Board for Education Sciences; Announcement of an Open Meeting AGENCY:

    Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of an open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of an upcoming meeting of the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES). The notice also describes the functions of the Committee. Notice of this meeting is required by Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and is intended to notify the public of their opportunity to attend the meeting.

    DATES:

    The NBES meeting will be held on June 8, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    80 F Street NW., Large Board Room, Washington, DC 20001.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ellie Pelaez, Designated Federal Official, NBES, U.S. Department of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue NW., Room 600 E, Washington, DC 20208; phone: (202) 219-0644; fax: (202) 219-1402; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NBES's Statutory Authority and Function

    The National Board for Education Sciences is authorized by Section 116 of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA), 20 U.S.C. 9516. The Board advises the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) on, among other things, the establishment of activities to be supported by the Institute and the funding for applications for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements for research after the completion of peer review. The Board also reviews and evaluates the work of the Institute.

    Meeting Agenda

    On June 8, 2015, starting at 9:00 a.m., the Board meeting will commence and members will approve the agenda. From 9:05 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., the Board will hear presentations from the Commissioners of the IES Centers for Education Research, Special Education Research, Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, and Education Statistics. This session will be followed by a question and answer period regarding the Commissioners' reports. A break will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

    The Board meeting will resume from 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. when the Board will discuss “Improving Education: The Research Road Ahead.” Susanna Loeb, Vice Chairperson of NBES, will provide opening remarks followed by a panel discussion with Anthony Bryk, NBES member and President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; Tom Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education and Economics, Harvard University; and James Kemple, The Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Roundtable discussion by board members will take place after the panel discussion. The meeting will break for lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    From 1:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., the board will participate in a discussion on the Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs). Ruth Neild, Commissioner, National Center on Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance, will provide opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion with Barbara Foorman, Francis Eppes Professor of Education and Director of the REL Southeast, Florida State University; Nikola Filby, Director of the REL West, WestEd; and Neal Finkelstein, Associate Director of the REL West, WestEd. Roundtable discussion by board members will take place after the panel discussion. A break will take place from 2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    The meeting will resume at 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the Board will discuss the “Nexus between Student Drug Use and Students Achievement.” Thomas Brock, Commissioner, National Center for Education Research, will provide opening remarks, followed by a panel discussion.

    Closing remarks will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., with adjournment scheduled for 4:15 p.m.

    Submission of Comments Regarding the Board's Policy Recommendations

    There will not be an opportunity for public comment. However, members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments related to NBES to Ellie Pelaez (see contact information above). A final agenda is available from Ellie Pelaez (see contact information above) and is posted on the Board Web site http://ies.ed.gov/director/board/agendas/index.asp.

    Access to Records of the Meeting

    The Department will post the official report of the meeting on the NBES Web site no later than 90 days after the meeting. Pursuant to the FACA, the public may also inspect the materials at 555 New Jersey Avenue NW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC, by emailing [email protected] or by calling (202) 219-0644 to schedule an appointment.

    Reasonable Accommodations

    The meeting site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you will need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify the contact person listed in this notice by or before June 1, 2015. Although we will attempt to meet a request received after June 1, 2015, we may not be able to make available the requested auxiliary aid or service because of insufficient time to arrange it.

    Electronic Access to This Document

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

    Authority:

    Section 116 of the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA), 20 U.S.C. 9516.

    Sue Betka, Acting Director, Institute of Education Science.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12320 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Announcement of an Open Public Meeting AGENCY:

    National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE or Council), U.S. Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Announcement of an Open Public Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice sets forth the schedule of an upcoming public meeting conducted by the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE). Notice of the meeting is required by section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and intended to notify the public of its opportunity to attend.

    DATES:

    The NACIE meeting will be held on June 1-2, 2015; June 1, 2015—9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time, June 2, 2015—9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time.

    The meeting location is in Washington, DC.

    ADDRESSES:

    U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20202.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tina Hunter, Designated Federal Official, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: 202-205-8527. Fax: 202-205-0310.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NACIE's Statutory Authority and Function: The National Advisory Council on Indian Education is authorized by § 7141 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Council is established within the Department of Education to advise the Secretary of Education on the funding and administration (including the development of regulations, and administrative policies and practices) of any program over which the Secretary has jurisdiction and includes Indian children or adults as participants or programs that may benefit Indian children or adults, including any program established under Title VII, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Council submits to the Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of the Council that includes recommendations the Council considers appropriate for the improvement of Federal education programs that include Indian children or adults as participants or that may benefit Indian children or adults, and recommendations concerning the funding of any such program.

    One of the Council's responsibilities is to develop and provide recommendations to the Secretary of Education on the funding and administration (including the development of regulations, and administrative policies and practices) of any program over which the Secretary has jurisdiction that can benefit Indian children or adults participating in any program which could benefit Indian children.

    All attendees must RSVP for the meeting and sign up to provide a public comment no later than May 29, 2015. Speakers will be allowed to provide comments for no more than five (5) minutes. Members of the public interested in submitting written comments may do so via email at [email protected] Comments should pertain to the work of NACIE and/or the Office of Indian Education.

    Meeting Agenda: The purpose of the meeting is to convene the Council to continue its responsibilities for developing recommendations to the Secretary of Education on the funding and administration (including the development of regulations, and administrative policies and practices) of any program over which the Secretary has jurisdiction and includes Indian children or adults as participants or programs that may benefit the Indian children or adults, including any programs under Title VII, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and conduct discussions on the development of the report to Congress that should be submitted no later than June 30, 2015.

    Access to Records of the Meeting: The Department will post the official report of the meeting on the OESE Web site at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/index.html?src=oc 21 days after the meeting. Pursuant to the FACA, the public may also inspect the materials at the Office of Indian Education, United States Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Saving Time or by emailing [email protected] or by calling Terrie Nelson on (202) 401-0424 to schedule an appointment.

    Reasonable Accommodations: The hearing site is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you will need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in an alternate format), notify Terrie Nelson no later than May 25, 2015. Although we will attempt to meet a request received after request due date, we may not be able to make available the requested auxiliary aid or service because of insufficient time to make arrangements.

    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.

    Authority:

    The National Advisory Council on Indian Education is authorized by Section 7141 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

    Deborah S. Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12265 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 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: EC15-141-000.

    Applicants: Vantage Commodities Financial Services II, LLC, Iron Energy LLC.

    Description: Application for disposition of jurisdictional facilities of Iron Energy, LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/14/15.

    Accession Number: 20150514-5227.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/4/15.

    Docket Numbers: EC15-142-000.

    Applicants: energy.me midwest llc, Agera Energy LLC.

    Description: Joint Application for Authorization Under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and Request for Confidential Treatment and Waivers of energy.me midwest llc and Agera Energy LLC.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5130.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2137-012; ER15-103-003; ER14-2799-004; ER14-2798-004; ER14-25-008; ER14-2187-006; ER12-645-012; ER12-164-010; ER12-161-011; ER11-4046-011; ER11-4044-012; ER11-3872-013; ER10-2764-011; ER10-2141-012; ER10-2140-012; ER10-2139-012; ER10-2138-012; ER10-2136-009; ER10-2135-009; ER10-2134-009; ER10-2133-012; ER10-2132-011; ER10-2131-012; ER10-2130-011; ER10-2129-009; ER10-2128-011; ER10-2127-011; ER10-2125-012; ER10-2124-011.

    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, Sheldon Energy LLC, Spindle Hill Energy LLC, Spring Canyon Energy LLC, Stony Creek Energy LLC, Willow Creek Energy LLC, Wolverine Creek Energy LLC, Vantage Wind Energy LLC.

    Description: Notification of Change in Facts of Beech Ridge Energy LLC, et. al.

    Filed Date: 5/14/15.

    Accession Number: 20150514-5219.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/4/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-3071-005; ER10-3074-005; ER10-3075-005; ER10-3076-005; ER10-3077-005; ER15-876-002; ER14-1342-002.

    Applicants: CalPeak Power—Border LLC, CalPeak Power—Enterprise LLC, CalPeak Power—Panoche LLC, CalPeak Power—Vaca Dixon LLC, CalPeak Power LLC, Malaga Power, LLC, Midway Peaking, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of the CalPeak Project Companies.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5122.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER12-91-009.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Ohio, Inc., Duke Energy Kentucky, Inc., PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: Compliance Filing ER12-91 and ER12-92 to be effective 1/1/2012.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5191.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2852-001.

    Applicants: Westar Energy, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: Compliance Filing, Revising Formula Rate Protocols, TFR to be effective 3/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/14/15.

    Accession Number: 20150514-5198.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/4/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1012-001.

    Applicants: L'Anse Warden Electric Company.

    Description: Compliance filing per 35: Tariff Amendment to be effective 4/7/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1718-000.

    Applicants: Chanarambie Power Partners, LLC, Condon Wind Power, LLC, Storm Lake Power Partners II, LLC, Storm Lake Power Partners I LLC, Lake Benton Power Partners LLC, ALLETE Clean Energy, Inc., ALLETE, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Notice of Non-Material Change in Status to be effective 7/13/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/14/15.

    Accession Number: 20150514-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/4/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1719-000.

    Applicants: R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Normal filing to be effective 4/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/14/15.

    Accession Number: 20150514-5199.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/4/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1720-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): GIA and Distribution Service Agreement with Golden Solar to be effective 5/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5002.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1721-000.

    Applicants: energy.me midwest llc.

    Description: Initial rate filing per 35.12 Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 7/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5046.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1722-000.

    Applicants: Longview Power, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Seller Category and Miscellaneous Tariff Revisions to be effective 5/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5081.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1723-000.

    Applicants: Lost Hills Solar, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Lost Hills Solar Tariff Amendment Filing to be effective 5/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5114.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1724-000.

    Applicants: Blackwell Solar, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Blackwell Solar Tariff Amendment Filing to be effective 5/16/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5119.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1725-000.

    Applicants: WSPP Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): Normal filing Schedule Q to be effective 7/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5121.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1726-000.

    Applicants: Geodyne Energy, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Withdrawal per 35.15: Geodyne Tariff Cancellation to be effective 5/31/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5176.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1727-000.

    Applicants: Nevada Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): OATT Revisions to Schedule 7 to be effective 7/14/2015.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5188.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1728-000.

    Applicants: BIF II Safe Harbor Holdings, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) rate filing per 35.13(a)(2)(iii): BIF II Safe Harbor MBR Filing to be effective 5/16/2014.

    Filed Date: 5/15/15.

    Accession Number: 20150515-5192.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/5/15.

    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 15, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12297 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPPT-2013-0677; FRL-9927-42] Receipt of Test Data Under the Toxic Substances Control Act AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    EPA is announcing its receipt of test data submitted pursuant to a test rule issued by EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). As required by TSCA, this document identifies each chemical substance and/or mixture for which test data have been received; the uses or intended uses of such chemical substance and/or mixture; and describes the nature of the test data received. Each chemical substance and/or mixture related to this announcement is identified in Unit I. under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For technical information contact: Kathy Calvo, Chemical Control Division (7405M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (202) 564-8089; email address: [email protected]

    For general information contact: The TSCA-Hotline, ABVI-Goodwill, 422 South Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14620; telephone number: (202) 554-1404; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Chemical Substances and/or Mixtures

    Information about the following chemical substances and/or mixtures is provided in Unit IV.:

    A. 2-Butenedioic acid (2E)-, di-C8-18-alkyl esters (CAS RN 68610-90-2).

    B. Phenol, 2,4-bis(1-methyl-1-phenylethyl)-6-[2-(2-nitrophenyl)diazenyl]- (CAS RN 70693-50-4).

    II. Federal Register Publication Requirement

    Section 4(d) of TSCA (15 U.S.C. 2603(d)) requires EPA to publish a notice in the Federal Register reporting the receipt of test data submitted pursuant to test rules promulgated under TSCA section 4 (15 U.S.C. 2603).

    III. Docket Information

    A docket, identified by the docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPPT-2013-0677, has been established for this Federal Register document that announces the receipt of data. Upon EPA's completion of its quality assurance review, the test data received will be added to the docket for the TSCA section 4 test rule that required the test data. Use the docket ID number provided in Unit IV. to access the test data in the docket for the related TSCA section 4 test rule.

    The docket for this Federal Register document and the docket for each related TSCA section 4 test rule is available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov or in person at the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Docket (OPPT Docket), Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), West William Jefferson Clinton Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OPPT Docket is (202) 566-0280. Please review the visitor instructions and additional information about the docket available at http://www.epa.gov/dockets.

    IV. Test Data Received

    This unit contains the information required by TSCA section 4(d) for the test data received by EPA.

    A. 2-Butenedioic acid (2E)-, di-C8-18-alkyl esters (CAS RN 68610-90-2)

    1. Chemical Use(s): Industrial manufacturing lubricant.

    2. Applicable Test Rule: Chemical testing requirements for third group of high production volume chemicals (HIPV3), 40 CFR (799.5089).

    3. Test Data Received: The following listing describes the nature of the test data received. The test data will be added to the docket for the applicable TSCA section 4 test rule and can be found by referencing the docket ID number provided. EPA reviews of test data will be added to the same docket upon completion.

    a. Physical/Chemical Properties (A1, A2, A3, A3, A4, A4, A5). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    b. Ready Biodegradation (B). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    c. Aquatic Toxicity Studies (Fish) (Daphnid) (Algal) (C1). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    d. Mammalian Toxicity—Acute (D). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    e. Mammalian Toxicity—Genotoxicity Studies (E1, E2). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    B. Phenol, 2,4-bis(1-methyl-1-phenylethyl)-6-[2-(2-nitrophenyl)diazenyl]- (CAS RN 70693-50-4)

    1. Chemical Use(s): UV absorber or light stabilizer for plastics.

    2. Applicable Test Rule: Chemical testing requirements for third group of high production volume chemicals (HIPV3), 40 CFR (799.5089).

    3. Test Data Received: The following listing describes the nature of the test data received. The test data will be added to the docket for the applicable TSCA section 4 test rule and can be found by referencing the docket ID number provided. EPA reviews of test data will be added to the same docket upon completion.

    a. Aquatic Toxicity (Algal) (C). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    b. Aquatic Toxicity (Chronic Daphnid) (C1). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    c. Mammalian Toxicity—Genotoxicity Acute (E1). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    d. Mammalian Toxicity—Genotoxicity (E2). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    e. Mammalian Toxicity—Repeat Dose/Reproductive/Developmental Studies (F1). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    f. Mammalian Toxicity—Acute (D). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    g. IUCLID Data Summary containing Physical and Chemical Properties, Biodegradation, and Toxicity Endpoints (A1-5) (B) (C) (C). The docket ID number assigned to this data is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2009-0112.

    Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.

    Dated: May 13, 2015. Maria J. Doa, Director, Chemical Control Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12336 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Notice of Proposals To Engage in or To Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking Activities

    The companies listed in this notice have given notice under the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA) (12 U.S.C. 1461 et seq.) and Regulation LL (12 CFR part 238) or Regulation MM (12 CFR part 239) to engage de novo, or to acquire or control voting securities or assets of a company, including the companies listed below, that engages either directly or through a subsidiary or other company, in a nonbanking activity that is described in § 238.53 or 238.54 of Regulation LL (12 CFR 238.53 or 238.54) or § 239.8 of Regulation MM (12 CFR 239.8). Unless otherwise noted, these activities will be conducted throughout the United States.

    Each notice is available for inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The notice also will be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the question whether the proposal complies with the standards of section 10(c)(4)(B) of HOLA (12 U.S.C. 1467a(c)(4)(B)).

    Unless otherwise noted, comments regarding the applications must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than June 5, 2015.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of New York (Ivan Hurwitz, Vice President) 33 Liberty Street, New York, New York 10045-0001

    1. Synchrony Financial, Stamford, Connecticut; to retain the following subsidiaries: Retail Finance Credit Services, LLC, Stamford, Connecticut; Retail Finance International Holdings, Inc., Draper, Utah; Synchrony Holding Company, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Synchrony Financial Canada Company, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Synchrony Financial Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Synchrony International Services Private Limited, Madhapur, India; Synchrony Global Services Philippines, Inc., Muntinlupa City, Philippines; CareCredit LLC, Costa Mesa, California; Retail Finance Servicing, LLC, Draper, Utah; Blue Trademark Holding, LLC, Stamford, Connecticut; Synchrony International Resource Management, LLC, Draper, Utah; RFS Holding, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut; SBFE, LLC, Beachwood, Ohio; and thereby indirectly engage in extending credit and servicing loans; servicing activities; holding or managing properties used by a subsidiary savings association; community development activities; commercial and other banking activities outside the United States; financing, including commercial financing, consumer financing, mortgage banking, and factoring outside the United States; and furnishing or performing management services for a subsidiary savings association; pursuant to sections 238.51(b)(1), (4), and (6) of Regulation LL. Synchrony Financial also proposes to control a mobile commerce software development company that engages in data processing, pursuant to section 238.51(b)(6) of Regulation LL.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, May 18, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12319 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies

    The companies listed in this notice have applied to the Board for approval, pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C. 1841 et seq.) (BHC Act), Regulation Y (12 CFR part 225), and all other applicable statutes and regulations to become a bank holding company and/or to acquire the assets or the ownership of, control of, or the power to vote shares of a bank or bank holding company and all of the banks and nonbanking companies owned by the bank holding company, including the companies listed below.

    The applications listed below, as well as other related filings required by the Board, are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The applications will also be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing on the standards enumerated in the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1842(c)). If the proposal also involves the acquisition of a nonbanking company, the review also includes whether the acquisition of the nonbanking company complies with the standards in section 4 of the BHC Act (12 U.S.C. 1843). Unless otherwise noted, nonbanking activities will be conducted throughout the United States.

    Unless otherwise noted, comments regarding each of these applications must be received at the Reserve Bank indicated or the offices of the Board of Governors not later than June 15, 2015.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (Dennis Denney, Assistant Vice President) 1 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, Missouri 64198-0001:

    1. Commerce Bank and Trust Holding Company Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Topeka, Kansas; to acquire up to 30.20 percent of the voting shares of Commerce Bank and Trust Holding Company, and thereby indirectly acquire voting shares of CoreFirst Bank & Trust, both in Topeka, Kansas.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, May 18, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12318 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company

    The notificants listed below have applied under the Change in Bank Control Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)) and § 225.41 of the Board's Regulation Y (12 CFR 225.41) to acquire shares of a bank or bank holding company. The factors that are considered in acting on the notices are set forth in paragraph 7 of the Act (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(7)).

    The notices are available for immediate inspection at the Federal Reserve Bank indicated. The notices also will be available for inspection at the offices of the Board of Governors. Interested persons may express their views in writing to the Reserve Bank indicated for that notice or to the offices of the Board of Governors. Comments must be received not later than June 5, 2015.

    A. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta (Chapelle Davis, Assistant Vice President) 1000 Peachtree Street NE., Atlanta, Georgia 30309:

    1. Anthony J. Burnett, William E. Collins, Sr., William E. Collins, Jr., Martha Sue Collins, Tom J. Eskridge, Jr., and Connie E. Eskridge, all of Vernon, Alabama, and J. Steven Roy and Traci L. Roy, both of Dothan, Alabama; to acquire voting shares of Citizens Southern Bancshares, Inc., and thereby indirectly acquire voting shares of Citizens State Bank, both in Vernon, Alabama.

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, May 18, 2015. Michael J. Lewandowski, Associate Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12317 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6210-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families [CFDA Number: 93.652] Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Cooperative Agreement to the American Public Human Services Association for the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC) in Washington, DC AGENCY:

    Children's Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source cooperative agreement to the American Public Human Services Association on behalf of its' affiliate, the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact On the Placement of Children to scale the successful pilot National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) system to a national level.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Children's Bureau (CB) announces the award of a single-source cooperative agreement in the amount of $1,200,000 for each of 3 years to the American Public Human Services Association for its affiliate the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC), Washington, DC, for the national expansion of the NEICE to improve the administrative efficiency in the interstate process of the ICPC nationally. The ICPC establishes uniform legal and administrative procedures governing the interstate placement of children for the purposes of foster care, adoption and residential placement in all 52 member jurisdictions of the ICPC.

    Award funds will support the development of the NEICE beyond the original six pilot sites to include all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The NEICE system was previously developed as a pilot project through the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation with funding directed through The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). Implementation of a national inter-jurisdictional Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) electronic system is intended to improve the administrative efficiency in the interstate process via the ICPC.

    The AAICPC as an affiliate of the APHSA is uniquely positioned to scale up this project due to their governance of the placement of children across state lines for purposes of foster care, adoption and residential placements.

    DATES:

    The first year of this 3 year project will begin June 1, 2015 and end May 31, 2016. Pending the availability of grant funds, the same level will be made available for 2 subsequent years to complete the expansion of the NEICE.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    June Dorn, National Adoption Specialist, Division of Capacity Building, 1250 Maryland Avenue SW., Suite 8150, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: 202-205-9540; Email: [email protected]

    Statutory Authority:

    The statutory authority is title II, section 203(b) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 (42 U.S.C. 5113(b)(3)), as most recently amended by CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010.

    Mark Greenberg, Acting Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12418 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Community Living [CFDA Number: 84.133B-6] Final Priority. National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Final priority.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living announces a priority for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) Program administered by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). Specifically, we announce a priority for an RRTC on Outcomes Measurement for Home and Community Based Services. The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2015 and later years. We take this action to focus research attention on an area of national need. We intend for this priority to contribute to improved home and community based services for individuals with disabilities.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: This priority is effective June 22, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5133, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7532 or by email: [email protected]

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, including international activities, to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act).

    Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    The purpose of the RRTCs, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topical areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, policymakers and other research stakeholders. Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/rrtc/index.html#types.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2)(A).

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

    We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for this program in the Federal Register on February 25, 2015 (80 FR 10099). That notice contained background information and our reasons for proposing the particular priority.

    There are differences between the proposed priority and this final priority.

    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the notice of proposed priority, one party submitted comments on the proposed priority.

    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes. In addition, we do not address general comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priority.

    Analysis of the Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priority since publication of the NPP follows.

    Comment: One commenter asked whether the RRTC's work should apply to elderly users of home and community based services (HCBS), as well as people with disabilities who use HCBS.

    Discussion: NIDILRR's priority does not specify the age range of people with disabilities who are to be the focus of the RRTC's work. Throughout the priority we refer to people with disabilities, or people with disabilities who use or receive HCBS. NIDILRR's ultimate intent is to build HCBS outcomes measurement capacity that is relevant to HCBS recipients of all ages. Given the early stage of outcomes development work in this area, the limited resources of this RRTC, and the broad populations served by HCBS, it is up to applicants to describe their target population(s) of HCBS users. The peer review process will determine the merits of each application.

    Changes: None.

    Comment: One commenter agreed with the priority's requirement that measures to be developed by the RRTC should minimize data collection burden on HCBS recipients. At the same time, the commenter noted the critical importance of gathering information directly from HCBS users to determine the impact of those services on the quality of their lives. The commenter cautioned NIDILRR and the eventual RRTC against minimizing data collection burden to such an extent that data on HCBS users' experiences and outcomes aren't available for such quality improvement purposes.

    Discussion: NIDILRR agrees with the commenter that gathering outcomes information directly from HCBS recipients is critically important. The priority consistently emphasizes the importance of creating outcome measurement tools that focus on HCBS users' experiences and outcomes. By requiring the RRTC to minimize data collection burden on HCBS end users, NIDILRR is simply recognizing the potential for lengthy, duplicative, and overly burdensome data collection methods. With this requirement we are also highlighting the existence of advanced item-scaling and person-centered measurement techniques such as computerized adaptive tests, as well as the existence of administrative data that can be relevant to the measurement of person-centered outcomes.

    Changes: None.

    Comment: One commenter noted that different groups of HCBS users have different needs, and that the importance placed on different outcome domains may vary across subgroups of HCBS users. The commenter questioned whether the measures developed by the RRTC should be tailored to the needs of subgroups of HCBS users.

    Discussion: NIDILRR agrees with the commenter that different subgroups of HCBS users may have outcome domains that are particularly important to them. Given the early stage of outcomes development work in this area, the limited resources of this RRTC, and the broad populations served by HCBS, it is up to applicants to describe their target population(s) of HCBS users. It is also up to applicants to describe the extent to which their proposed outcomes development work will address potential variation in how subgroups prioritize different HCBS outcome domains. The peer review process will determine the merits of each application.

    Changes: None.

    Comment: One commenter asked whether NIDILRR intends the RRTC to evaluate interventions to determine whether they are associated with positive HCBS outcomes.

    Discussion: NIDILRR does not intend the RRTC to evaluate interventions to determine whether they are associated with positive HCBS outcomes. The primary intent of the research requirements under paragraph (a) is the development and testing of HCBS outcome measures—which will serve as infrastructure for future testing of interventions.

    Changes: NIDILRR has made minor modifications to paragraph (a) to clarify that our intent for this RRTC is the development and testing of HCBS outcome measures—and not the testing of HCBS interventions.

    Comment: One commenter recommended that the RRTC be required to provide technical assistance to a range of stakeholders, with the aim of promoting the use of new HCBS outcomes measures and resulting data for HCBS system improvement.

    Discussion: NIDILRR agrees that technical assistance toward promoting the use of new HCBS outcomes measures is an important task for the RRTC. In the opening paragraph of the priority we state that “Ultimately, the RRTC's development of non-medical, person-centered outcome measures is intended to inform the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of Federal and state policies and programs related to the delivery of HCBS to people with disabilities.” Paragraph (b)(3) requires direct collaboration with a wide range of stakeholder groups to develop, evaluate, or implement strategies to increase the use of new HCBS outcomes measures. Similarly, paragraph (c)(1) requires the provision of technical assistance related to HCBS outcome and measurement.

    Changes: None.

    Comment: One commenter recommended that the RRTC develop data formats that are accessible to a range of stakeholders.

    Discussion: The primary aim of this priority is the development and testing of person-centered HCBS outcome measures that generate data that is reliable, valid, and usable. This foundational work of creating reliable and valid HCBS outcomes measures precedes the development of databases and multiple data formats. While some applicants may choose to specify the formats of data that new outcomes measures can generate, the RRTC has no basis for requiring all applicants to take this step.

    Changes: None.

    Final Priority

    The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living establishes a priority for the RRTC on Outcomes Measurement for Home and Community Based Services. The RRTC will engage in research, development, and testing of measures to assess the quality of HCBS in terms of the person-centered outcomes achieved by people with disabilities who use the services in home and community settings. The RRTC will also engage in knowledge translation, development of informational products, and dissemination to enhance the field's capacity to measure the extent to which HCBS leads to improved outcomes in community living and independent living areas that are important to people with disabilities and other stakeholders.

    Ultimately, the RRTC's development of non-medical, person-centered outcome measures is intended to inform the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of Federal and state policies and programs related to the delivery of HCBS to people with disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to these outcomes by:

    (a) Identifying or developing measures, and then testing the reliability, validity, and usability of those proposed measures to assess the person-centered outcomes of individuals with disabilities who are receiving home and community-based services. HCBS measures developed under this priority must be non-medical and must focus on the end-users' experience of community living, independent living, social integration, community participation, and other similar outcomes. The measures developed under this priority must also be designed to minimize data collection burden on HCBS recipients. Possible methods for minimizing this burden include, but are not limited to, use of relevant administrative data, modifying administrative data to include person-centered goals as well as fields to assess progress toward those goals, and use of advanced item-scaling and person-centered measurement techniques that can be implemented as computerized adaptive tests (CAT).

    (b) Increasing incorporation of the RRTC's HCBS outcome measures into practice and policy. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by—

    (1) Working closely with NIDILRR and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at each stage of the measure development and testing processes to ensure that its activities are informing and informed by other HCBS quality initiatives taking place within ACL and other relevant Federal and state agencies. This specifically includes the work taking place under the National Quality Forum's work with the Department of Health and Human Services (http://www.qualityforum.org/ProjectDescription.aspx?projectID=77692).

    (2) Developing procedures and mechanisms for applying HCBS outcome measures in policy and service delivery settings to maximize quality and appropriateness of HCBS from the end-user perspective.

    (3) Collaborating with stakeholder groups to develop, evaluate, or implement strategies to increase utilization of new HCBS outcome measures. Stakeholder groups include but, are not limited to, people with disabilities, Federal- and state-level policymakers; home and community based service providers; advocacy organizations; and Centers for Independent Living.

    (4) Collaborating with relevant NIDILRR-sponsored knowledge translation grantees to help promote the uptake of RRTC products by relevant stakeholders and embed the outcome measures into the overall health care measurement system.

    (c) Serving as a national resource center related to person-centered measurement of HCBS outcomes:

    (1) Disseminating information and providing technical assistance related to HCBS outcome and quality measurement to policymakers, service providers, people with disabilities and their representatives, and other key stakeholders; and

    (2) Providing relevant and appropriate training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-service training, to HCBS providers, researchers and quality-measurement personnel, and other disability service providers, to facilitate more effective delivery of HCBS to people with disabilities. This training may be provided through conferences, workshops, public education programs, in-service training programs, and similar activities.

    Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).

    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the application meets the priority (45 CFR part 75); or (2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (45 CFR part 75).

    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (45 CFR part 75).

    This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:

    This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    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 ACL 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 18, 2015. John Tschida, Director, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12308 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Community Living Notice of Intent To Award a Single Source Non-competing Continuation Cooperative Agreement for Eight Grant Projects Under the “Part A: The Enhanced ADRC Options Counseling Program” Funded in 2012 AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In 2012, ACL, in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), issued a special funding opportunity known as the “Part A: The Enhanced ADRC Options Counseling Program” (Part A). The Part A grants were awarded to eight states (CT, MA, MD, NH, OR, VT, WI and WA) to develop a NWD System in their state so the federal partners could leverage the experience and models emerging in these states to serve as the basis for the development of national standards. The one year extension will enable the 8 Part A state grantees to continue their work with ACL, CMS and VHA specifically to further refine the tools, metrics and key elements of a NWD System and pilot the Person Centered Counseling training program.

    DATES:

    Estimated Project Period—September 30, 2015 through September 30, 2016.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Program Name: No Wrong Door System/Aging and Disability Resource Centers

    Award Amount:

    • $135,000 to Connecticut Department of Social Services • $135,000 to Maryland Department of Aging • $135,000 to Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs • $135,000 to New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services • $135,000 to State of Oregon • $135,000 to Vermont Agency of Human Services • $135,000 to Washington State Department of Social & Health Services • $135,000 to Wisconsin Department of Health Services

    Project Period: 9/30/2015 to 9/30/2016

    Award Type: Cooperative Agreement

    Statutory Authority:

    The statutory authority for grants under this funding opportunity is contained in Title IV of the Older Americans Act (OAA) (42U.S.C. 3032), as amended by the Older Americans Act Amendments of 2006, P.L. 109-365. Title II Section 202b of the OAA (Pub. L. 109-365) specifically authorizes the Assistant Secretary for Aging to work with the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to: “implement in all states Aging and Disability Resource Centers.”

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 93.048 Discretionary Projects

    I. Program Description

    ACL, in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) have supported state efforts to create “one-stop-shop” access programs for people seeking long term services and supports (LTSS) through a No Wrong Door (NWD) System. A NWD System makes it easy for people of all ages, disabilities and income levels to learn about and access the services and supports they need. A NWD System also provides states with a vehicle for better coordinating and integrating existing multiple access functions associated with their various state administered programs that pay for LTSS.

    Justification: In order to achieve original goals of the funding opportunity, ACL with its federal partners will utilize this additional time and funds to continue to work with the Part A grantees using a learning collaborative approach to pilot the Person Centered Counseling training program and further refine the key elements for the NWD System, along with a set of tools, metrics, and best practices, all states could use to develop a single “high performing” NWD system of Access to LTSS that would effectively serve all populations.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information or comments regarding this action, contact Lori Gerhard, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, Center for Consumer Access and Self-Determination, Office of Integrated Programs, One Massachusetts Avenue, NW. Washington, DC 20001; telephone (202) 357-3443; fax (202) 357-3469; email [email protected]

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Kathy Greenlee, Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12312 Filed 5-20-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4154-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Community Living Applications for New Awards; National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Overview Information: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC)— Outcomes Measurement for Home and Community Based Services.

    Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2015.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133B-6. DATES:

    Applications Available: May 21, 2015.

    Note: On July 22, 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA was effective immediately. One provision of WIOA transferred the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) from the Department of Education to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, NIDRR's name was changed to the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). For FY 2015, all NIDILRR priority notices will be published as ACL notices, and ACL will make all NIDILRR awards. During this transition period, however, NIDILRR will continue to review grant applications using Department of Education tools. NIDILRR will post previously-approved application kits to grants.gov, and NIDILRR applications submitted to grants.gov will be forwarded to the Department of Education's G-5 system for peer review. We are using Department of Education application kits and peer review systems during this transition year in order to provide for a smooth and orderly process for our applicants.

    Date of Pre-Application Meeting: June 11, 2015.

    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: June 25, 2015.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 20, 2015.

    Full Text of Announcement I. Funding Opportunity Description

    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, including international activities to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology. The Program's activities are designed to maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act).

    Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    The purpose of the RRTCs, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topical areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, policymakers and other research stakeholders. Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/rrtc/index.html#types.

    Priorities: There are two priorities for the grant competition announced in this notice. The General RRTC Requirements priority is from the notice of final priorities for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132). Priority two is from the notice of final priority for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

    Absolute Priorities: For FY 2015 and any subsequent year in which we make awards from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 45 CFR part 75 we consider only applications that meet these program priorities.

    These priorities are:

    Priority 1—General RRTC Requirements.

    Note: The full text of this priority is included in the notice of final priorities for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132) and in the application package for this competition.

    Priority 2—RRTC on Outcomes Measurement for Home and Community Based Services.

    Note: The full text of this priority is included in the notice of final priority published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register and in the application package for this competition.

    Program Authority:

    29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).

    Applicable Regulations: (a) The Department of Health and Human Services General Administrative Regulations in 45 CFR part 75 (b) Audit Requirements for Federal Awards in 45 CFR part 75 Subpart F; (c) 45 CFR part 75 Non-procurement Debarment and Suspension; (d) 45 CFR part 75 Requirement for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance); (e) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 350; The notice of final priorities for the RRTC Program published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132); and (g) The notice of final priority for this program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.

    II. Award Information

    Type of Award: Discretionary grants.

    Estimated Available Funds: $875,000.

    Contingent upon the availability of funds and the quality of applications, we may make additional awards in FY 2015 and any subsequent year from the list of unfunded applicants from this competition.

    Maximum Award: $875,000.

    We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding the Maximum Amount. The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register.

    Estimated Number of Awards: 1.

    The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice.

    Project Period: 60 months.

    We will reject any application that proposes a project period exceeding 60 months. The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living may change the project period through a notice published in the Federal Register.

    III. Eligibility Information

    1. Eligible Applicants: States; public or private agencies, including for-profit agencies; public or private organizations, including for-profit organizations; IHEs; and Indian tribes and tribal organizations.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching: This competition does not require cost sharing or matching.

    IV. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Package: You can obtain an application package via grants.gov, or by contacting Marlene Spencer: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5133, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7532 or by email: [email protected]

    If you request an application from Marlene Spencer, be sure to identify this competition as follows: CFDA number 84.133B-6.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission: Requirements concerning the content of an application, together with the forms you must submit, are in the application package for the competition announced in this notice.

    Notice of Intent to Apply: Due to the open nature of the RRTC priority announced here, and to assist with the selection of reviewers for this competition, NIDILRR is requesting all potential applicants submit a letter of intent (LOI). The submission is not mandatory and the content of the LOI will not be peer reviewed or otherwise used to rate an applicant's application.

    Each LOI should be limited to a maximum of four pages and include the following information: (1) The title of the proposed project, the name of the applicant, the name of the Project Director or Principal Investigator (PI), and the names of partner institutions and entities; (2) a brief statement of the vision, goals, and objectives of the proposed project and a description of its proposed activities at a sufficient level of detail to allow NIDILRR to select potential peer reviewers; (3) a list of proposed project staff including the Project Director or PI and key personnel; (4) a list of individuals whose selection as a peer reviewer might constitute a conflict of interest due to involvement in proposal development, selection as an advisory board member, co-PI relationships, etc.; and (5) contact information for the Project Director or PI. Submission of a LOI is not a prerequisite for eligibility to submit an application.

    NIDILRR will accept the optional LOI via mail (through the U.S. Postal Service or commercial carrier) or email, by June 25, 2015. The LOI must be sent to: Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 550 12th Street SW., Room 5133, PCP, Washington, DC 20202; or by email to: [email protected]

    For further information regarding the LOI submission process, contact Marlene Spencer at (202) 245-7532. Page Limit: The application narrative (Part III of the application) is where you, the applicant, address the selection criteria that reviewers use to evaluate your application. We recommend that you limit Part III to the equivalent of no more than 100 pages, using the following standards:

    • A “page” is 8.5″ x 11″, on one side only, with 1″ margins at the top, bottom, and both sides.

    • Double space (no more than three lines per vertical inch) all text in the application narrative. You are not required to double space titles, headings, footnotes, references, and captions, or text in charts, tables, figures, and graphs.

    • Use a font that is either 12 point or larger or no smaller than 10 pitch (characters per inch).

    • Use one of the following fonts: Times New Roman, Courier, Courier New, or Arial.

    The recommended page limit does not apply to Part I, the cover sheet; Part II, the budget section, including the narrative budget justification; Part IV, the assurances and certifications; or the one-page abstract, the resumes, the bibliography, or the letters of support. However, the recommended page limit does apply to all of the application narrative section (Part III).

    Note: Please submit an appendix that lists every collaborating organization and individual named in the application, including staff, consultants, contractors, and advisory board members. We will use this information to help us screen for conflicts of interest with our reviewers.

    An applicant should consult NIDRR's Long-Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2013-2017 (78 FR 20299) (Plan) when preparing its application. The Plan is organized around the following research domains: (1) Community Living and Participation; (2) Health and Function; and (3) Employment.

    3. Submission Dates and Times:

    Applications Available: May 21, 2015.

    Date of Pre-Application Meeting: Interested parties are invited to participate in a pre-application meeting and to receive information and technical assistance through individual consultation with NIDILRR staff. The pre-application meeting will be held on June 11, 2015. Interested parties may participate in this meeting by conference call with NIDILRR staff from the Administration for Community Living between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., Washington, DC time. NIDILRR staff also will be available from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the same day, by telephone, to provide information and technical assistance through individual consultation. For further information or to make arrangements to participate in the meeting via conference call or to arrange for an individual consultation, contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice.

    Deadline for Notice of Intent to Apply: June 25, 2015.

    Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: July 20, 2015.

    Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically using the Grants.gov Apply site (Grants.gov). For information (including dates and times) about how to submit your application electronically, or in paper format by mail delivery if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, please refer to section IV. 7. Other Submission Requirements of this notice.

    We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements.

    Individuals with disabilities who need an accommodation or auxiliary aid in connection with the application process should contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice. If the Department provides an accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability in connection with the application process, the individual's application remains subject to all other requirements and limitations in this notice.

    4. Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372.

    5. Funding Restrictions: We reference regulations outlining funding restrictions in the Applicable Regulations section of this notice.

    6. Data Universal Numbering System Number, Taxpayer Identification Number, and System for Award Management: To do business with the Department of Health and Human Services, you must—

    a. Have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN);

    b. Register both your DUNS number and TIN with the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)), the Government's primary registrant database;

    c. Provide your DUNS number and TIN on your application; and

    d. Maintain an active SAM registration with current information while your application is under review by the Department and, if you are awarded a grant, during the project period.

    You can obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet. A DUNS number can be created within one-to-two business days.

    If you are a corporate entity, agency, institution, or organization, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. If you are an individual, you can obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. If you need a new TIN, please allow two to five weeks for your TIN to become active.

    The SAM registration process can take approximately seven business days, but may take upwards of several weeks, depending on the completeness and accuracy of the data entered into the SAM database by an entity. Thus, if you think you might want to apply for Federal financial assistance under a program administered by the Department, please allow sufficient time to obtain and register your DUNS number and TIN. We strongly recommend that you register early.

    Note: Once your SAM registration is active, you will need to allow 24 to 48 hours for the information to be available in Grants.gov and before you can submit an application through Grants.gov.

    If you are currently registered with SAM, you may not need to make any changes. However, please make certain that the TIN associated with your DUNS number is correct. Also note that you will need to update your registration annually. This may take three or more business days.

    Information about SAM is available at www.SAM.gov. To further assist you with obtaining and registering your DUNS number and TIN in SAM or updating your existing SAM account, we have prepared a SAM.gov Tip Sheet, which you can find at: http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/apply/sam-faqs.html.

    In addition, if you are submitting your application via Grants.gov, you must (1) be designated by your organization as an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR); and (2) register yourself with Grants.gov as an AOR. Details on these steps are outlined at the following Grants.gov Web page: www.grants.gov/web/grants/register.html.

    7. Other Submission Requirements: Applications for grants under this competition must be submitted electronically unless you qualify for an exception to this requirement in accordance with the instructions in this section.

    a. Electronic Submission of Applications.

    Applications for grants under Outcomes Measurement for Home and Community Based Services, CFDA Number 84.133B-6, must be submitted electronically using the Governmentwide Grants.gov Apply site at www.Grants.gov. Through this site, you will be able to download a copy of the application package, complete it offline, and then upload and submit your application. You may not email an electronic copy of a grant application to us.

    We will reject your application if you submit it in paper format unless, as described elsewhere in this section, you qualify for one of the exceptions to the electronic submission requirement and submit, no later than two weeks before the application deadline date, a written statement to the Department that you qualify for one of these exceptions. Further information regarding calculation of the date that is two weeks before the application deadline date is provided later in this section under Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement.

    You may access the electronic grant application for the RRTC on Outcomes Measurement for Home and Community Based Services competition at www.Grants.gov. You must search for the downloadable application package for this competition by the CFDA number. Do not include the CFDA number's alpha suffix in your search (e.g., search for 84.133, not 84.133B).

    Please note the following:

    • When you enter the Grants.gov site, you will find information about submitting an application electronically through the site, as well as the hours of operation.

    • Applications received by Grants.gov are date and time stamped. Your application must be fully uploaded and submitted and must be date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system no later than 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. Except as otherwise noted in this section, we will not accept your application if it is received—that is, date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system—after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. We do not consider an application that does not comply with the deadline requirements. When we retrieve your application from Grants.gov, we will notify you if we are rejecting your application because it was date and time stamped by the Grants.gov system after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date.

    • The amount of time it can take to upload an application will vary depending on a variety of factors, including the size of the application and the speed of your Internet connection. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not wait until the application deadline date to begin the submission process through Grants.gov.

    • You should review and follow the Education Submission Procedures for submitting an application through Grants.gov that are included in the application package for this competition to ensure that you submit your application in a timely manner to the Grants.gov system. You can also find the Education Submission Procedures pertaining to Grants.gov under News and Events on the Department's G5 system home page at http://www.G5.gov.

    • You will not receive additional point value because you submit your application in electronic format, nor will we penalize you if you qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, as described elsewhere in this section, and submit your application in paper format.

    • You must submit all documents electronically, including all information you typically provide on the following forms: The Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the Department of Education Supplemental Information for SF 424, Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs (ED 524), and all necessary assurances and certifications.

    • You must upload any narrative sections and all other attachments to your application as files in a PDF (Portable Document) read-only, non-modifiable format. Do not upload an interactive or fillable PDF file. If you upload a file type other than a read-only, non-modifiable PDF or submit a password-protected file, we will not review that material. Additional, detailed information on how to attach files is in the application instructions.

    • Your electronic application must comply with any page-limit requirements described in this notice.

    • After you electronically submit your application, you will receive from Grants.gov an automatic notification of receipt that contains a Grants.gov tracking number. (This notification indicates receipt by Grants.gov only, not receipt by the Department.) The Department then will retrieve your application from Grants.gov and send a second notification to you by email. This second notification indicates that the Department has received your application and has assigned your application a PR/Award number (an ED-specified identifying number unique to your application).

    • We may request that you provide us original signatures on forms at a later date.

    Application Deadline Date Extension in Case of Technical Issues with the Grants.gov System: If you are experiencing problems submitting your application through Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov Support Desk, toll free, at 1-800-518-4726. You must obtain a Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number and must keep a record of it.

    If you are prevented from electronically submitting your application on the application deadline date because of technical problems with the Grants.gov system, we will grant you an extension until 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, the following business day to enable you to transmit your application electronically. You also may mail your application by following the mailing instructions described elsewhere in this notice.

    If you submit an application after 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in section VII of this notice and provide an explanation of the technical problem you experienced with Grants.gov, along with the Grants.gov Support Desk Case Number. We will accept your application if we can confirm that a technical problem occurred with the Grants.gov system and that the problem affected your ability to submit your application by 4:30:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, on the application deadline date. The Department will contact you after a determination is made on whether your application will be accepted.

    Note: The extensions to which we refer in this section apply only to the unavailability of, or technical problems with, the Grants.gov system. We will not grant you an extension if you failed to fully register to submit your application to Grants.gov before the application deadline date and time or if the technical problem you experienced is unrelated to the Grants.gov system.

    Exception to Electronic Submission Requirement: You qualify for an exception to the electronic submission requirement, and may submit your application in paper format, if you are unable to submit an application through the Grants.gov system because—

    • You do not have access to the Internet; or

    • You do not have the capacity to upload large documents to the Grants.gov system; and

    • No later than two weeks before the application deadline date (14 calendar days or, if the fourteenth calendar day before the application deadline date falls on a Federal holiday, the next business day following the Federal holiday), you mail or fax a written statement to the Department, explaining which of the two grounds for an exception prevents you from using the Internet to submit your application.

    If you mail your written statement to the Department, it must be postmarked no later than two weeks before the application deadline date. If you fax your written statement to the Department, we must receive the faxed statement no later than two weeks before the application deadline date.

    Address and mail or fax your statement to: Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5133, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. FAX: (202) 245-7323.

    Your paper application must be submitted in accordance with the mail instructions described in this notice.

    b. Submission of Paper Applications by Mail.

    If you qualify for an exception to the elect