Federal Register Vol. 80, No.99,

Federal Register Volume 80, Issue 99 (May 22, 2015)

Page Range29529-29935
FR Document

80_FR_99
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
80 FR 29784 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The Options Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Concerning the Implementation of New Risk Models in Order To Support the Clearance and Settlement of Asian-Style Flexibly Structured Options and Flexibly Structured Cliquet OptionsPDF
80 FR 29762 - In the Matter of Composite Solutions, Inc., Ruby Creek Resources, Inc., and Voyager Entertainment International Inc.; Order of Suspension of TradingPDF
80 FR 29664 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
80 FR 29760 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 29723 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; STIVARGAPDF
80 FR 29627 - Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality AwardPDF
80 FR 29629 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29614 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 26-Atlanta, Georgia; Authorization of Production Activity; Mizuno USA, Inc. (Golf Clubs), Braselton, GeorgiaPDF
80 FR 29749 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Consent Decree Under the Clean Air ActPDF
80 FR 29614 - Low Enriched Uranium From France: Final Results of Changed Circumstances ReviewPDF
80 FR 29725 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
80 FR 29733 - Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Hiawatha National Forest, Gladstone, MIPDF
80 FR 29732 - Notice of Inventory Completion: The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 29635 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015PDF
80 FR 29735 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 29711 - Medicare Program; Announcement of the Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment (HOP Panel) Meeting on August 24-25, 2015PDF
80 FR 29726 - Collection of Information Under Review by Office of Management and BudgetPDF
80 FR 29714 - Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Continued Approval of The Joint Commission's Hospice Accreditation ProgramPDF
80 FR 29620 - Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final DeterminationPDF
80 FR 29733 - Notice of Inventory Completion: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology, Indianapolis, IN; CorrectionPDF
80 FR 29729 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Production of Material or Provision of Testimony by HUD in Response to Demands in Legal Proceedings Among Private LitigantsPDF
80 FR 29615 - Xanthan Gum From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of 2013 Antidumping Duty New Shipper ReviewPDF
80 FR 29617 - Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final DeterminationPDF
80 FR 29789 - Fifteenth Meeting: RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC)PDF
80 FR 29614 - Approval of Subzone Status; Roger Electric Corporation; Bayamon, Puerto RicoPDF
80 FR 29602 - Information Collection; Community Forest and Open Space ProgramPDF
80 FR 29717 - Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29793 - Genomic Medicine Program Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29756 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS); Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Metallurgy and Reactor Fuels; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29701 - Environmental Impact Statements; Notice of AvailabilityPDF
80 FR 29628 - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 29630 - Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingsPDF
80 FR 29756 - Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Thermal-Hydraulic Phenomena; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29757 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS); Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Planning and Procedures; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29759 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) Meeting of the ACRS Subcommittee on Reliability and PRA; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29758 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) Meeting of The ACRS Subcommittee on Regulatory Policies and Practices; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29757 - Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29713 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29710 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29662 - Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 29706 - Notice of Proposals To Engage in or To Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking ActivitiesPDF
80 FR 29660 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public MeetingsPDF
80 FR 29628 - New England Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 29631 - South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC); Public MeetingPDF
80 FR 29663 - Procurement List Additions and DeletionsPDF
80 FR 29664 - Procurement List Proposed AdditionsPDF
80 FR 29727 - Revision of Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review: TSA Pre✓® Application ProgramPDF
80 FR 29752 - Proposal Review Panel for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29750 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Employee Retirement Income Security Act Procedure 1976-1: Advisory Opinion ProcedurePDF
80 FR 29709 - Agency Forms Undergoing Paperwork Reduction Act ReviewPDF
80 FR 29664 - Reserve Forces Policy Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 29699 - Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.; Notice of FilingPDF
80 FR 29700 - Sweetwater Hydroelectric, Inc.; Sweetwater Hydroelectric, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29700 - Mill Shoals Hydro Company, Inc.; High Shoals, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29700 - Consolidated Hydro New Hampshire, Inc.; West Hopkinton Hydro, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29700 - Copenhagen Associates, Copenhagen Hydro, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29695 - El Dorado Hydro; El Dorado Hydro, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29696 - Beaver Valley Power Company; Beaver Valley Power Company, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29696 - El Dorado Hydro; Elk Creek Hydro, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29699 - Hydro Development Group, Inc.; Hydro Development Group Acquisition, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29698 - Southeast Alaska Power Agency; Notice of Availability of Environmental AssessmentPDF
80 FR 29698 - Hydro Development Group, Inc., Hydro Development Group Acquisition, LLC; Notice of Transfer of ExemptionPDF
80 FR 29701 - City of Kaukauna; Notice of Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene and ProtestsPDF
80 FR 29698 - Grand Coulee Project Hydroelectric Authority; Notice of Surrender of Preliminary PermitPDF
80 FR 29667 - Antrim County; Notice of Availability of Environmental AssessmentPDF
80 FR 29706 - Nice-Pak Products, Inc.; Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public CommentPDF
80 FR 29634 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Northeast Multispecies Amendment 16NPDF
80 FR 29660 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29539 - Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy ActPDF
80 FR 29666 - Electricity Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 29667 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge ReservationPDF
80 FR 29790 - Buy America Waiver NotificationPDF
80 FR 29787 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Request and Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29529 - Updated Statements of Legal Authority for the Export Administration RegulationsPDF
80 FR 29732 - Notice of Public Meeting, Dakotas Resource Advisory Council MeetingPDF
80 FR 29752 - Submission for OMB Review, Comment Request, Proposed Collection: General Clearance for Guidelines, Applications, and Reporting FormsPDF
80 FR 29791 - Notice of Intent To Open a Coordinated Remedy Program Proceeding for the Replacement of Certain Takata Air Bag InflatorsPDF
80 FR 29749 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Firearms and Explosives Services Division Customer Service SurveyPDF
80 FR 29747 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Notification of Change of Mailing or Premise AddressPDF
80 FR 29748 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Transactions Among Licensees/Permittees and Transactions Among Licensees and Holders of User PermitsPDF
80 FR 29747 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Notification to Fire Safety Authority of Storage of Explosive MaterialsPDF
80 FR 29746 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Certification of CompliancePDF
80 FR 29750 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Application for an Amended Federal Firearms LicensePDF
80 FR 29555 - Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing MaterialsPDF
80 FR 29699 - Notice of Commission Staff AttendancePDF
80 FR 29696 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
80 FR 29533 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, WAPDF
80 FR 29534 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WAPDF
80 FR 29562 - Commencement of Assessment of Annual ChargesPDF
80 FR 29702 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29793 - Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29705 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
80 FR 29665 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Migrant Student Information Exchange (MSIX) User Guide and Application FormPDF
80 FR 29625 - National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
80 FR 29625 - Open Meeting of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory BoardPDF
80 FR 29626 - Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction MeetingPDF
80 FR 29703 - Application for Final Commitment for a Long-Term Loan or Financial Guarantee in Excess of $100 Million: AP088976XXPDF
80 FR 29702 - Application for Final Commitment for a Long-Term Loan or Financial Guarantee in Excess of $100 Million: AP088934XXPDF
80 FR 29703 - Application for Final Commitment for a Long-Term Loan or Financial Guarantee in Excess of $100 Million: AP088734XXPDF
80 FR 29767 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Board Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Floor Broker Due DiligencePDF
80 FR 29762 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Miami International Securities Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Amend Exchange Rule 515APDF
80 FR 29781 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Y-Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change, and Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend Rule 11.2 To State That the BATS Y-Exchange, Inc. Will Not Designate for Trading Any Security Admitted to Unlisted Trading Privileges on the Exchange Unless That Security Satisfies Certain Liquidity RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29769 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; BATS Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change, and Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend Rule 11.2 To State That the BATS Exchange, Inc. Will Not Designate for Trading Any Security Admitted to Unlisted Trading Privileges on the Exchange Unless That Security Satisfies Certain Liquidity RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29772 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGA Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change, and Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend Rule 11.2 To State That EDGA Exchange, Inc. Will Not Designate for Trading Any Security Admitted to Unlisted Trading Privileges on the Exchange Unless That Security Satisfies Certain Liquidity RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29778 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; EDGX Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change, and Amendment No. 1 Thereto, To Amend Rule 11.2 To State That EDGX Exchange, Inc. Will Not Designate for Trading Any Security Admitted to Unlisted Trading Privileges on the Exchange Unless That Security Satisfies Certain Liquidity RequirementsPDF
80 FR 29662 - Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Application for Exempted Fishing PermitPDF
80 FR 29708 - Notice and Request for Comment on Local Contracting Preference InterpretationPDF
80 FR 29762 - Product Change-Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
80 FR 29617 - Export Trade Certificate of ReviewPDF
80 FR 29721 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Substances Prohibited From Use in Animal Food or FeedPDF
80 FR 29721 - Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29719 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Record Retention Requirements for the Soy Protein and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Health ClaimPDF
80 FR 29722 - Advisory Committee; Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee; RenewalPDF
80 FR 29721 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Guidance for Industry: Notification of a Health Claim or Nutrient Content Claim Based on an Authoritative Statement of a Scientific BodyPDF
80 FR 29719 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Announcement of Office of Management and Budget Approval; Requests for Inspection by an Accredited Person Under the Inspection by Accredited Persons ProgramPDF
80 FR 29716 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for Office of Management and Budget Review; Comment Request; Petition To Request an Exemption From 100 Percent Identity Testing of Dietary Ingredients: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary SupplementsPDF
80 FR 29724 - Determination of Regulatory Review Period for Purposes of Patent Extension; FLUCELVAXPDF
80 FR 29720 - Determination That VAGIFEM (Estradiol) Vaginal Tablets, 25 Micrograms, Was Not Withdrawn From Sale for Reasons of Safety or EffectivenessPDF
80 FR 29792 - St. James Federal Savings and Loan Association, St. James, Minnesota; Approval of Conversion ApplicationPDF
80 FR 29716 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29745 - Certain Recombinant Factor VIII Products; Institution of InvestigationPDF
80 FR 29725 - Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health Notice of MeetingPDF
80 FR 29790 - Public Hearing To Determine Whether Fiat Chrysler Has Reasonably Met Its Obligations To Remedy Recalled Vehicles and To Notify NHTSA, Owners, and Purchasers of RecallsPDF
80 FR 29761 - New Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 29759 - Amendment to Postal ProductPDF
80 FR 29775 - BMO Funds, Inc. and BMO Asset Management Corp.; Notice of ApplicationPDF
80 FR 29786 - SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging CompaniesPDF
80 FR 29753 - Uranerz Energy Corporation; Consideration of Approval of Transfer of LicensePDF
80 FR 29751 - Arts Advisory Panel MeetingsPDF
80 FR 29600 - Use of Non-LSC Funds, Transfer of LSC Funds, Program Integrity; Subgrants and Membership Fees or Dues; Cost Standards and Procedures-Extension of Comment PeriodPDF
80 FR 29787 - MASSACHUSETTS Disaster #MA-00064 Declaration of Economic InjuryPDF
80 FR 29792 - Agency Information Collection (Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals) Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
80 FR 29704 - Information Collection Being Reviewed by the Federal Communications CommissionPDF
80 FR 29705 - FCC To Hold Open Commission Meeting Thursday, May 21, 2015PDF
80 FR 29535 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Illinois; Emission Limit Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Ozone, 2010 NO2PDF
80 FR 29592 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Florida Infrastructure Requirements for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality StandardsPDF
80 FR 29537 - Modification of the Designations of the Caribbean Ocean Dredged Material Disposal SitesPDF
80 FR 29740 - Information Collection Activities: Relief or Reduction in Royalty Rates; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29743 - Information Collection Activities: Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODUs) NTL; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29738 - Information Collection Activities: Pollution Prevention and Control; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29736 - Information Collection Activities: Plans and Information; Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29551 - Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Harmonization of the Destination Control StatementsPDF
80 FR 29554 - Additional Improvements and Harmonization of Export Clearance ProvisionsPDF
80 FR 29565 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Exports and Temporary Imports Made to or on Behalf of a Department or Agency of the U.S. Government; Procedures for Obtaining State Department Authorization To Export Items Subject to the Export Administration Regulations; Revision to the Destination Control Statement; and Other ChangesPDF
80 FR 29530 - Russian Sanctions: Revisions and Clarifications for Licensing Policy for the Crimea Region of UkrainePDF
80 FR 29571 - Victim and Witness AssistancePDF
80 FR 29622 - Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair ValuePDF
80 FR 29730 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities To Assist the HomelessPDF
80 FR 29841 - Requirements for Blood and Blood Components Intended for Transfusion or for Further Manufacturing UsePDF
80 FR 29602 - Announcement of Grant Application DeadlinesPDF
80 FR 29569 - Community Supervision: Administrative Sanctions and GPS Monitoring as a Supervision ToolPDF
80 FR 29731 - Notice of Availability of the Winnemucca District Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision, NevadaPDF
80 FR 29609 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
80 FR 29795 - Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Revisions to Deeming Authority Survey, Certification, and Enforcement ProceduresPDF
80 FR 29907 - Procurement, Management, and Administration of Engineering and Design Related ServicesPDF
80 FR 29589 - Great Lakes-Regulated Navigation Areas and Safety ZonesPDF
80 FR 29582 - Higher Volume Port Area-State of WashingtonPDF

Issue

80 99 Friday, May 22, 2015 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Forest Service

See

Rural Utilities Service

Safety Enviromental Enforcement Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Global Positioning Systems for Mobile Offshore Drilling Units Notice to Lessees, 29743-29745 2015-12303 Plans and Information, 29736-29737 2015-12300 Pollution Prevention and Control, 29738-29740 2015-12302 Relief or Reduction in Royalty Rates, 29740-29743 2015-12304 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29709-29710 2015-12479 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Revisions to Deeming Authority Survey, Certification, and Enforcement Procedures, 29796-29840 2015-12087 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29710-29711, 29713-29714 2015-12497 2015-12498 Medicare and Medicaid Programs: The Joint Commission's Hospice Accreditation Program; Continued Approval, 29714-29715 2015-12524 Meetings: Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment, 29711-29713 2015-12527 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29716 2015-12392 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA, 29534 2015-12434 Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, WA, 29533-29534 2015-12435 PROPOSED RULES Higher Volume Port Areas: Washington, 29582-29589 2015-11760 Regulated Navigation Areas and Safety Zones: Great Lakes, 29589-29592 2015-11804 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29726-29727 2015-12525 Commerce Commerce Department See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29609-29614 2015-12140
Committee for Purchase Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled NOTICES Procurement List; Additions and Deletions, 29663-29664 2015-12489 2015-12490 Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 29664 2015-12585 Comptroller Comptroller of the Currency NOTICES Conversion Applications: St. James Federal Savings and Loan Association, St. James, MN, 29792 2015-12395 Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission PROPOSED RULES Safety Standards: Architectural Glazing Materials, 29555-29562 2015-12438 Court Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia PROPOSED RULES Community Supervision: Administrative Sanctions and GPS Monitoring as a Supervision Tool, 29569-29571 2015-12204 Defense Department Defense Department PROPOSED RULES Victim and Witness Assistance, 29571-29582 2015-12256 NOTICES Meetings: Reserve Forces Policy Board, 29664-29665 2015-12478 Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Migrant Student Information Exchange User Guide and Application Form, 29665-29666 2015-12426 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Meetings: Electricity Advisory Committee, 29666-29667 2015-12458 Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge Reservation, 29667 2015-12457
Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Illinois; Emission Limit Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS, 29535-29537 2015-12355 Caribbean Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites; Modifications of Designations, 29537-29539 2015-12335 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Florida Infrastructure Requirements for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards, 29592-29600 2015-12350 NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.; Weekly Receipts, 29701-29702 2015-12508 Export Import Export-Import Bank NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29702-29703 2015-12430 Applications for Long-Term Loans or Financial Guarantees in Excess of $100 million, 29702-29704 2015-12420 2015-12421 2015-12422 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration NOTICES Meetings: RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee, 29789-29790 2015-12517 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29704-29705 2015-12365 2015-12427 Meetings: Open Commission Meeting, 29705-29706 2015-12364 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Assessment of Annual Charges, 29562-29565 2015-12432 NOTICES Applications: City of Kaukauna; Badger-Rapide Croche Hydroelectric Project, 29701 2015-12465 Combined Filings, 29696-29698 2015-12436 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Antrim County; Elk Rapids Hydroelectric Project, 29667-29695 2015-12463 Southeast Alaska Power Agency; Swan Lake Hydroelectric Project, 29698-29699 2015-12468 Exemption Transfers: Beaver Valley Power Co.; Beaver Valley Power Co., LLC, 29696 2015-12471 Consolidated Hydro New Hampshire, Inc.; West Hopkinton Hydro, LLC, 29700 2015-12474 Copenhagen Associates; Copenhagen Hydro, LLC, 29700 2015-12473 El Dorado Hydro; El Dorado Hydro, LLC, 29695-29696 2015-12472 El Dorado Hydro; Elk Creek Hydro, LLC, 29696 2015-12470 Hydro Development Group, Inc.; Hydro Development Group Acquisition, LLC, 29698-29699 2015-12467 2015-12469 Mill Shaols Hydro Co., Inc.; High Shoals, LLC, 29700 2015-12475 Sweetwater Hydroelectric, Inc.; Sweetwater Hydroelectric, LLC, 29700 2015-12476 Filings: Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc., 29699 2015-12477 Staff Attendances, 29699 2015-12437 Surrenders of Preliminary Permits: Grand Coulee Project Hydroelectric Authority, 29698 2015-12464 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration RULES Procurement, Management, and Administration of Engineering and Design Related Services, 29908-29935 2015-12024 NOTICES Buy America Waivers, 29790 2015-12456 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Proposals to Engage in or to Acquire Companies Engaged in Permissible Nonbanking Activities, 29706 2015-12495 Federal Trade Federal Trade Commission NOTICES Consent Orders: Nice-Pak Products, Inc.; Analysis to Aid Public Comment, 29706-29708 2015-12462 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Requirements for Blood and Blood Components Intended for Transfusion or for Further Manufacturing Use, 29842-29906 2015-12228 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Notification of a Health Claim or Nutrient Content Claim Based on an Authoritative Statement of a Scientific Body, 29721 2015-12400 Petition to Request an Exemption From 100 Percent Identity Testing of Dietary Ingredients; etc., 29716-29717 2015-12398 Record Retention Requirements for the Soy Protein and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Health Claim, 29719-29720 2015-12402 Requests for Inspection by an Accredited Person Under the Inspection by Accredited Persons Program, 29719 2015-12399 Substances Prohibited From Use in Animal Food or Feed, 29721 2015-12404 Charter Renewals: Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee, 29722-29723 2015-12401 Determinations that Products Were Not Withdrawn from Sale for Reasons of Safety or Effectiveness: VAGIFEM Vaginal Tablets, 25 Micrograms, 29720-29721 2015-12396 Meetings: Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee, 29721-29722 2015-12403 Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee, 29717-29719 2015-12512 Regulatory Review Periods for Patent Extensions: FLUCELVAX, 29724-29725 2015-12397 STIVARGA, 29723-29724 2015-12577 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Approvals of Subzone Status: Roger Electric Corp.; Bayamon, PR, 29614 2015-12516 Production Activities: Mizuno USA, Inc., Foreign-Trade Zone 26, Atlanta, GA, 29614 2015-12550 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Community Forest and Open Space Program, 29602 2015-12515 Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council RULES Procedures for Disclosure of Records under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act, 29539-29550 2015-12459 NOTICES Local Contracting Preference Interpretation; Request for Comment, 29708-29709 2015-12408 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Transportation Security Administration

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Production of Material or Provision of Testimony by HUD in Response to Demands in Legal Proceedings Among Private Litigants, 29729 2015-12521 Federal Properties Suitable as Facilities to Assist the Homeless, 29730-29731 2015-12231 Industry Industry and Security Bureau RULES Export Administration Regulations: Statements of Legal Authority; Updates, 29529-29530 2015-12453 Russian Sanctions: Revisions and Clarifications for Licensing Policy for the Crimea Region of Ukraine, 29530-29533 2015-12267 PROPOSED RULES Export Administration Regulations: Destination Control Statements; Harmonization, 29551-29554 2015-12298 Export Clearance Provisions; Additional Improvements and Harmonization, 29554-29555 2015-12296 Interior Interior Department See

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Low Enriched Uranium from France, 29614-29615 2015-12547 Xanthan Gum from the People's Republic of China, 29615-29617 2015-12520 Determinations of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Steel Nails from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 29622-29625 2015-12254 Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Korea, 29620-29622 2015-12523 Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey, 29617-29619 2015-12519 Export Trade Certificates of Review, 29617 2015-12405 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Recombinant Factor VIII Products, 29745-29746 2015-12390 Justice Department Justice Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for an Amended Federal Firearms License, 29750 2015-12440 Certification of Compliance, 29746-29747 2015-12441 Firearms and Explosives Services Division Customer Service Survey, 29749-29750 2015-12445 Notification of Change of Mailing or Premise Address, 29747-29748 2015-12444 Notification to Fire Safety Authority of Storage of Explosive Materials, 29747 2015-12442 Transactions among Licensees/Permittees and Transactions Among Licensees and Holders of User Permits, 29748-29749 2015-12443 Consent Decrees under the Clean Air Act, 29749 2015-12549 Labor Department Labor Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Employee Retirement Income Security Act Procedure 1976-1; Advisory Opinion Procedure, 29750-29751 2015-12483 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Meetings: Dakotas Resource Advisory Council, 29732 2015-12452 Records of Decisions: Winnemucca District Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision, Nevada, 29731-29732 2015-12190 Legal Legal Services Corporation PROPOSED RULES Use of Non-LSC Funds, Transfer of LSC Funds, Program Integrity; Subgrants and Membership Fees or Dues; Cost Standards and Procedures, 29600-29601 2015-12371 National Endowment for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts NOTICES Meetings: Arts Advisory Panel, 29751-29752 2015-12374 National Foundation National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities See

National Endowment for the Arts

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: General Clearance for Guidelines, Applications, and Reporting Forms, 29752 2015-12451
National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Coordinated Remedy Program Proceedings: Replacement of Certain Takata Air Bag Inflators, 29791-29792 2015-12449 Meetings: Determine Whether Fiat Chrysler has Reasonably Met its Obligations to Remedy Recalled Vehicles and Notify National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Owners, and Purchasers of Recalls, 29790-29791 2015-12386 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, 29626-29627 2015-12423 Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, 29627-29628 2015-12571 Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board, 29625 2015-12424 National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee, 29625-29626 2015-12425 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: National Cancer Institute, 29725 2015-12542 Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health, 29725-29726 2015-12389 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29629-29630, 29660 2015-12460 2015-12565 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Northeast Multispecies Amendment 16, 29634-29635 2015-12461 Domestic Fisheries; General Provisions: Applications for Exempted Fishing Permit, 29662 2015-12411 Meetings: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 29628-29629 2015-12507 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 29660-29662 2015-12494 New England Fishery Management Council, 29628 2015-12493 Pacific Fishery Management Council, 29630-29631 2015-12506 South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 29631-29634 2015-12492 Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, 29662-29663 2015-12496 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, 29635-29660 2015-12531 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Inventory Completions: Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI; Correction, 29735-29736 2015-12529 Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology, Indianapolis, IN; Correction, 29733 2015-12522 The American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; Correction, 29732-29733 2015-12532 Repatriation of Cultural Items: Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Hiawatha National Forest, Gladstone, MI, 29733-29735 2015-12533 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Proposal Review Panel for Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, 29752-29753 2015-12484 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES License Transfers: Uranerz Energy Corp., 29753-29756 2015-12375 Meetings: Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, 29757-29758 2015-12501 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Subcommittee on Metallurgy and Reactor Fuels, 29756 2015-12509 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Subcommittee on Planning and Procedures, 29757 2015-12504 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Subcommittee on Regulatory Policies and Practices, 29758-29759 2015-12502 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Subcommittee on Reliability and PRA, 29759 2015-12503 Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Subcommittee on Thermal-Hydraulic Phenomena, 29756-29757 2015-12505 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 29760-29762 2015-12383 2015-12384 2015-12385 2015-12581 Postal Products; Amendments, 29759-29760 2015-12382 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: Parcel Return Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 29762 2015-12406 2015-12407 Rural Utilities Rural Utilities Service NOTICES Funding Availability: Grant Application Deadlines, 29602-29609 2015-12222 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: BMO Funds, Inc. and BMO Asset Management Corp., 29775-29778 2015-12381 Meetings: SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, 29786-29787 2015-12379 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: BATS Exchange, Inc., 29769-29772 2015-12414 BATS Y-Exchange, Inc., 29781-29783 2015-12415 Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc., 29767-29769 2015-12417 EDGA Exchange, Inc., 29772-29775 2015-12413 EDGX Exchange, Inc., 29778-29781 2015-12412 Miami International Securities Exchange, LLC, 29762-29766 2015-12416 The Options Clearing Corp., 29784-29786 2015-12636 Trading Suspension Orders: Composite Solutions, Inc., et al., 29762 2015-12587 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Disaster Declarations: Massachusetts; Economic Injury, 29787 2015-12370 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 29787-29789 2015-12454 State Department State Department PROPOSED RULES International Traffic in Arms: Exports and Temporary Imports Made to or on Behalf of a Department or Agency of the U.S. Government; etc., 29565-29569 2015-12295 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Security Transportation Security Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: TSA PreCheck Application Program, 29727-29729 2015-12485 Treasury Treasury Department See

Comptroller of the Currency

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals; Correction, 29792-29793 2015-12369 Meetings: Genomic Medicine Program Advisory Committee, 29793 2015-12511 Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, 29793 2015-12428 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Health and Human Services Department, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 29796-29840 2015-12087 Part III Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 29842-29906 2015-12228 Part IV Transportation Department, Federal Highway Administration, 29908-29935 2015-12024 Reader Aids

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

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80 99 Friday, May 22, 2015 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Parts 730, 736 and 746 [Docket No. 150511438-5438-01] RIN 0694-AG62 Updated Statements of Legal Authority for the Export Administration Regulations AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule updates the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) legal authority paragraphs in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to cite a Presidential notice extending an emergency declared pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This is a procedural rule that only updates authority paragraphs of the EAR. It does not alter any right, obligation or prohibition that applies to any person under the EAR.

DATES:

The rule is effective May 22, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

William Arvin, Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, Email [email protected], Telephone: (202) 482-2440.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The authority for parts 730, 736 and 746 of the EAR (15 CFR parts 730, 736 and 744) rests, in part, on Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004—Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting the Export of Certain Goods to Syria (69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p. 168) and on annual notices by the President continuing that emergency. This rule updates the authority paragraphs in 15 CFR parts 730, 736 and 746 to cite the Notice of May 6, 2015 (80 FR 26815, May 8, 2015), which continues that emergency. This rule is purely procedural and makes no changes other than to revise CFR authority citations to make them current. It does not change the text of any section of the EAR, nor does it alter any right, obligation or prohibition that applies to any person under the EAR.

Export Administration Act

Although the Export Administration Act expired on August 20, 2001, the President, through Executive Order 13222 of August 17, 2001, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783 (2002), as amended by Executive Order 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013) and as extended by the Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014), has continued the Export Administration Regulations in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701). BIS continues to carry out the provisions of the Export Administration Act, as appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, pursuant to Executive Order 13222 as amended by Executive Order 13637.

Rulemaking Requirements

1. Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). This rule does not impose any regulatory burden on the public and is consistent with the goals of Executive Order 13563. This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Control Number. This rule does not involve any collection of information.

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

4. The Department finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act requiring prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because they are unnecessary. This rule only updates legal authority citations. It clarifies information and is non-discretionary. This rule does not alter any right, obligation or prohibition that applies to any person under the EAR. Because these revisions are not substantive changes, it is unnecessary to provide notice and opportunity for public comment. In addition, the 30-day delay in effectiveness otherwise required by 5 U.S.C. 553(d) is not applicable because this rule is not a substantive rule. Because neither the Administrative Procedure Act nor any other law requires that notice and an opportunity for public comment be given for this rule, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) are not applicable.

List of Subjects 15 CFR Part 730

Administrative practice and procedure, Advisory committees, Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Strategic and critical materials.

15 CFR Part 736

Exports.

15 CFR Part 746

Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, parts 730, 736 and 746 of the EAR (15 CFR parts 730-774) are amended as follows:

PART 730—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 730 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 10 U.S.C. 7420; 10 U.S.C. 7430(e); 22 U.S.C. 287c; 22 U.S.C. 2151 note; 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 30 U.S.C. 185(s), 185(u); 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 42 U.S.C. 6212; 43 U.S.C. 1354; 15 U.S.C. 1824a; 50 U.S.C. app. 5; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 11912, 41 FR 15825, 3 CFR, 1976 Comp., p. 114; E.O. 12002, 42 FR 35623, 3 CFR, 1977 Comp., p. 133; E.O. 12058, 43 FR 20947, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12214, 45 FR 29783, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 256; E.O. 12851, 58 FR 33181, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 608; E.O. 12854, 58 FR 36587, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 179; E.O. 12918, 59 FR 28205, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 899; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 12947, 60 FR 5079, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 356; E.O. 12981, 60 FR 62981, 3 CFR, 1995 Comp., p. 419; E.O. 13020, 61 FR 54079, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 219; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13099, 63 FR 45167, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 208; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13224, 66 FR 49079, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 786; E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p 168; E.O. 13637 of March 8, 2013, 78 FR 16129 (March 13, 2013); Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of September 17, 2014, 79 FR 56475 (September 19, 2014); Notice of November 7, 2014, 79 FR 67035 (November 12, 2014); Notice of January 21, 2015, 80 FR 3461 (January 22, 2015); Notice of May 6, 2015, 80 FR 26815 (May 8, 2015).

PART 736—[AMENDED] 2. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 736 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 2151 note; E.O. 12938, 59 FR 59099, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 950; E.O. 13020, 61 FR 54079, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 219; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p. 168; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of November 7, 2014, 79 FR 67035 (November 12, 2014); Notice of May 6, 2015, 80 FR 26815 (May 8, 2015).

PART 746—[AMENDED] 3. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 746 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 287c; Sec 1503, Pub. L. 108-11, 117 Stat. 559; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 12854, 58 FR 36587, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 614; E.O. 12918, 59 FR 28205, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 899; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p 168; Presidential Determination 2003-23 of May 7, 2003, 68 FR 26459, May 16, 2003; Presidential Determination 2007-7 of December 7, 2006, 72 FR 1899 (January 16, 2007); Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of May 6, 2015, 80 FR 26815 (May 8, 2015).

Dated: May 18, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-12453 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Parts 738, 740, and 746 [Docket No. 150302205-5205-01] RIN 0694-AG54 Russian Sanctions: Revisions and Clarifications for Licensing Policy for the Crimea Region of Ukraine AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issues this final rule to amend the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to facilitate Internet-based communications with persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine. This final rule allows exports or reexports without a license to the Crimea region of Ukraine of software that is necessary to enable the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, provided that such software is designated EAR99, or is classified as mass market software under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 5D992.c of the EAR, and provided further that such software is widely available to the public at no cost to the user. This final rule is being published simultaneously with the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issuance of General License No. 9, which authorizes the export or reexport from the United States or by U.S. persons to the Crimea region of Ukraine of certain services and software incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet. This action is consistent with the U.S. Government's policy to promote personal communications between the people in Crimea and the outside world.

Lastly, this final rule makes clarifications to the EAR with respect to the addition of the Crimea region of Ukraine provisions in a final rule published on January, 29, 2015, to the EAR. These clarifications are in response to requests that BIS received for guidance on applying these provisions.

DATES:

This rule is effective May 22, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Eileen Albanese, Director, Office of National Security and Technology Transfer Controls, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce, Phone: (202) 482-0092, Fax: (202) 482-482-3355, Email: [email protected] For emails, include “Russia” in the subject line.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On January 29, 2015, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published the final rule Russian Sanctions: Licensing Policy for the Crimea Region of Ukraine (80 FR 4776) (hereinafter the “January 29 rule”). The January 29 rule imposed additional sanctions that implemented U.S. policy toward Russia.

Specifically, the January 29 rule imposed a license requirement for the export and reexport to the Crimea region of Ukraine, and the transfer within the Crimea region of Ukraine, of all items subject to the EAR, other than food and medicine designated as EAR99. The January 29 rule also added other provisions specific to the Crimea region of Ukraine. This action was consistent with the goals and objectives of Executive Order 13685.

Background for Executive Order 13685

This Order took additional steps to address the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13660 of March 6, 2014 (as expanded by Executive Order 13661 of March 16, 2014 and Executive Order 13662 of March 20, 2014), finding that the actions and policies of the Government of the Russian Federation with respect to Ukraine—including the deployment of Russian Federation military forces in the Crimea region of Ukraine—undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, and thereby constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.

In part, Executive Order 13685 prohibits certain transactions with respect to the Crimea region of Ukraine, including the export, reexport, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a U.S. person, of any goods, services or technology to the Crimea region of Ukraine. Under Section 10 of Executive Order 13685, all agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the Order.

Permitted Exports and Reexports of Certain Software to the Crimea Region of Ukraine

This final rule published today makes additional changes to the EAR for the Crimea region of Ukraine. Specifically, in § 746.6, this final rule revises paragraph (a) (license requirements) to add an additional sentence that allows exports or reexports without a license to the Crimea region of Ukraine and transfers (in-country) within the Crimean region of Ukraine of certain software (described further below) that is necessary to enable the exchange of personal communications over the Internet.

This change to the license requirements, in addition to relieving a regulatory burden on exporters, reexporters, and transferors of such software, may also facilitate Internet-based communication between people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine and other people around the world. Facilitating such Internet-based communication with the people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine is in the United States' national security and foreign policy interests because it helps the people of the Crimea region of Ukraine communicate with the outside world. Persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine may use such Internet-based communication to describe their situation directly and counter any false messages being propagated by those currently exercising control over the Crimea region of Ukraine.

By creating an opportunity for the people of the Crimea region of Ukraine to draw attention to these issues, this final rule may reduce the ability of Russia, and those acting on Russia's behalf in the Crimea region of Ukraine, to control the narrative of local events. In addition, creating an opportunity for people in the Crimea region of Ukraine to draw attention to these issues may also encourage other countries to join with the United States and other like-minded countries currently imposing sanctions on Russia as a result of their activities in the Crimea region of Ukraine and other parts of eastern Ukraine, which is also in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

This final rule is being published simultaneously with the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issuance of General License No. 9—Exportation of Certain Services and Software Incident to Internet-Based Communications Authorized. This general license authorizes the export or reexport, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by U.S. persons to the Crimea region of Ukraine of certain services incident to the exchange of personal communications over the Internet, such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing, and blogging, provided that such services are publicly available at no cost to the user, subject to certain exclusions. General License 9 further authorizes, in relevant part, the export or reexport, directly or indirectly, from the United States or by U.S. persons, wherever located, to persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine of software necessary to enable the services described above, provided that such software is designated as EAR99 or is classified as mass market software under ECCN 5D992.c of the EAR, and provided further that such software is widely available to the public at no cost to the user, subject to certain exclusions. See http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/ukraine_gl9.pdf BIS is publishing this rule to make § 746.6(a) of the EAR consistent with OFAC's new general license. This rule revises § 746.6(a) to allow license-free treatment of software that is necessary to enable the exchange of personal communications over the Internet only if such software is designated EAR99 or is classified as mass market software under ECCN 5D992.c of the EAR, and provided further that such software is widely available to the public at no cost to the user.

Other Clarifications To the EAR for the Crimea Region of Ukraine

In addition to the changes described above, this final rule also makes clarifications to the EAR with respect to the addition of the Crimea region of Ukraine provisions to the EAR. These clarifications are in response to requests that BIS received for guidance on applying these provisions. These clarifications do not change policy as it relates to the Crimea region of Ukraine provisions added to the EAR in the January 29 rule, but rather provide guidance on how BIS interprets them. These questions primarily arise because Crimea is not a country, so the public had questions in regards to how to apply certain EAR provisions that are generally tied to countries when they involve the Crimea region of Ukraine.

New Footnote To Clarify Application of Country Groups for Crimea Region of Ukraine

In Supplement No. 1 to part 740—Country Groups, this final rule adds a footnote 3 to the entry for Ukraine. The new footnote clarifies that for purposes of the Country Group provisions under the EAR, the Crimea region of Ukraine uses the same Country Group designations as the country of Ukraine. This is because the Crimea region of Ukraine is not a country. The Country Groups are also closely tied to the use of license exceptions, so the new footnote also clarifies that the only license exceptions that may be used for the Crimea region of Ukraine are those specified in § 746.6(c). Similar to footnote 8 that was added to the Commerce Country Chart in Supplement No. 1 to part 738 in the January 29 rule, footnote 3 makes the public aware of the additional requirements under § 746.6 that apply to the `Crimea region of Ukraine,' including limitations on the use of license exceptions. The new footnote also includes the same definition of `Crimea region of Ukraine' that appears in footnote 8 to the Commerce Country Chart and this rule's revision to § 746.6.

New Note To Clarify Application of Deemed Exports and Deemed Reexports for Crimea Region of Ukraine

In § 746.6 (Crimea region of Ukraine), this final rule adds a paragraph (a)(2) to clarify that for purposes of applying the EAR deemed export and deemed reexport requirements for foreign nationals located in or from the Crimea region of Ukraine, the nationality of the foreign national (as determined by accepted methods, such as looking to the passport or other nationality documents recognized by the United States Government) is what is used for purposes of determining whether a license is required under the EAR. For example, if a foreign national is in the United States and has a Ukrainian passport, the person releasing the technology or software source code would use Ukraine for purposes of determining the EAR license requirements and would not need to determine whether the person was from the Crimea region of Ukraine. For releases of technology in the Crimea region to foreign nationals of any country other than Ukraine, the nationality of the foreign national is used for determining deemed reexport license requirements. For example, a release of technology or software source code to a Russian national located in the Crimea region of Ukraine would use Russia for purposes of determining the EAR license requirements. BIS makes this clarification because of requests received from the public for guidance on how to apply the Crimea region of Ukraine license requirements in the deemed export and deemed reexport contexts. Note that nothing in this rule affects licensing requirements for the provision of goods and services under the OFAC regulations, 31 CFR parts 500-599.

Export Administration Act

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

Rulemaking Requirements

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

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

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

4. The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) requiring notice of proposed rulemaking, the opportunity for public comment and a delay in effective date are inapplicable to the changes described above under the heading Permitted exports and reexports of certain software to the Crimea region of Ukraine because this regulation involves a military or foreign affairs function of the United States. (See 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1)). BIS implements this rule to advance U.S. policy toward Russia and therefore promote U.S. national security or foreign policy objectives by immediately facilitating Internet-based communications with persons in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Delay in publication and the rule's effective date to allow for notice and comment would frustrate those objectives. This change to the license requirements, in addition to relieving a regulatory burden of exporters, reexporters and transferors of such software, may also facilitate Internet-based communication between people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine and other people around the world. Facilitating such Internet-based communication with the people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine is in U.S. national security and foreign policy interests because it helps create a potentially uncontrolled access point to the outside world for the people of the Crimea region of Ukraine. They may use such Internet-based communication to highlight their plight and to counter any false messages being propagated by those currently exercising control over the Crimea region of Ukraine. By creating an opportunity for the people of the Crimea region of Ukraine to draw attention to these issues, this final rule may increase pressure on Russia and those acting on Russia's behalf in the Crimea region of Ukraine to stop such activities, or at least to allow a counter version of local events. In addition, creating an opportunity for people in the Crimea region of Ukraine to draw attention to these issues may also encourage other countries to join with the United States and other like-minded countries currently imposing sanctions on Russia as a result of their activities in the Crimea region of Ukraine and other parts of eastern Ukraine, which is also in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. Further, no other law requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment be given for this rule. Because a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be given for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are not applicable. Accordingly, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required and none has been prepared.

5. The Department finds for the changes described under the heading Other Clarifications to the EAR for the Crimea region of Ukraine that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) to waive the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act requiring prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because they are unnecessary. These changes included in this final rule are limited to clarifications to what was included in the final rule published on January 29, 2015. These revisions are non-substantive, or are limited to only clarifying the regulations to ensure consistency with the intent of the January 29 rule; therefore, providing an additional opportunity for public comment on these corrections is unnecessary.

In addition, BIS finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) because it will allow the clarifications to go into effect immediately, which will reduce the potential for confusion among the public and make sure all members of the public are aware of how BIS interprets these Crimea region of Ukraine provisions as they relate to other EAR provisions.

List of Subjects 15 CFR Part 738

Exports.

15 CFR Part 740

Administrative practice and procedure, Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

15 CFR Part 746

Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, parts 738, 740, and 746 of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) are amended as follows:

PART 738—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 738 continues to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 10 U.S.C. 7420; 10 U.S.C. 7430(e); 22 U.S.C. 287c; 22 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 30 U.S.C. 185(s), 185(u); 42 U.S.C. 2139a; 42 U.S.C. 6212; 43 U.S.C. 1354; 15 U.S.C. 1824a; 50 U.S.C. app. 5; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014).

2. Supplement No. 1 to part 738 is amended by revising footnote 8 to read as follows: Supplement No. 1 to Part 738—Commerce Country Chart

8 See § 746.6 for additional license requirements for export and reexports to the Crimea region of Ukraine and transfers (in-country) within the Crimea region of Ukraine for all items subject to the EAR, other than food and medicine designated as EAR99 and certain EAR99 or ECCN 5D992.c software for Internet-based communications. The Crimea region of Ukraine includes the land territory in that region as well as any maritime area over which sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction is claimed based on purported annexation of that land territory.

PART 740—[AMENDED] 3. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 740 continues to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; E.O. 13026, 61 FR 58767, 3 CFR, 1996 Comp., p. 228; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014).

4. Supplement No. 1 to part 740 is amended by: a. Adding footnote designation “3” to “Ukraine” in Country Group A; and b. Adding footnote 3 to Country Group A to read as follows: Supplement No. 1 to Part 740—Country Groups

3 For purposes of this supplement, as well as any other EAR provision that references the Country Groups, the designations for Ukraine also apply to the Crimea region of Ukraine. See § 746.6(c) for an exhaustive listing of license exceptions that are available for the Crimea region of Ukraine. No other EAR license exceptions are available for the Crimea region of Ukraine. The Crimea region of Ukraine includes the land territory in that region as well as any maritime area over which sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction is claimed based on purported annexation of that land territory.

PART 746—[AMENDED] 5. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 746 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 287c; Sec 1503, Pub. L. 108-11, 117 Stat. 559; 22 U.S.C. 6004; 22 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 7210; E.O. 12854, 58 FR 36587, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 614; E.O. 12918, 59 FR 28205, 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 899; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; E.O. 13338, 69 FR 26751, 3 CFR, 2004 Comp., p 168; Presidential Determination 2003-23 of May 7, 2003, 68 FR 26459, May 16, 2003; Presidential Determination 2007-7 of December 7, 2006, 72 FR 1899 (January 16, 2007); Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014); Notice of May 6, 2015, 80 FR 26815 (May 8, 2015).

6. Section 746.6 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
§ 746.6 Crimea region of Ukraine.

(a) License requirements—(1) General prohibition. As authorized by Section 6 of the Export Administration Act of 1979, a license is required to export or reexport any item subject to the EAR to the Crimea region of Ukraine and the transfer within the Crimea region of Ukraine except food and medicine designated as EAR99 or software that is necessary to enable the exchange of personal communications over the Internet (such as instant messaging, chat and email, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, Web browsing, and blogging), provided that such software is designated EAR99 or is classified as mass market software under Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) 5D992.c of the EAR, and provided further that such software is widely available to the public at no cost to the user. The `Crimea region of Ukraine' includes the land territory in that region as well as any maritime area over which sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction is claimed based on purported annexation of that land territory.

(2) For purposes of applying the EAR deemed export and deemed reexport requirements for foreign nationals located in or from the Crimea region of Ukraine, the nationality of the foreign national (as determined by accepted methods, such as looking to the passport or other nationality document(s) recognized by the United States Government) is what is used for purposes of determining whether a license is required for a deemed export or deemed reexport. For any other export, reexport or transfer (in-country), see the license requirements specified in paragraph (a).

Dated: May 14, 2015. Eric L. Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security.
[FR Doc. 2015-12267 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0464] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, WA AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Washington State Department of Transportation Montlake Bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal, mile 5.2, at Seattle, WA. The deviation is necessary to accommodate the University of Washington, and University of Washington Bothell commencement ceremony traffic. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position to accommodate the timely movement of vehicular traffic.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 9:30 a.m. on June 13, 2015 to 6:15 p.m. on June 14, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0464] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The University of Washington, through the Washington Department of Transportation, has requested that the Montlake Bridge bascule span remain closed-to-navigation position, and need not open to vessel traffic to facilitate timely movement of commencement vehicular traffic.

The Montlake Bridge across the Lake Washington Ship Canal, at mile 5.2, in the closed position provides 30 feet of vertical clearance throughout the navigation channel, and 46 feet of vertical clearance throughout the center 60-feet of the bridge; vertical clearance references to the Mean Water Level of Lake Washington.

The normal operating schedule for Montlake Bridge operates in accordance with 33 CFR 117.1051(e) which requires the bridge to open on signal, except that the bridge need not open for vessels less than 1,000 gross tons between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The deviation period is from 9:30 a.m. on June 13, 2015 to 6:15 p.m. on June 14, 2015. The deviation allows the bascule span of the Montlake Bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on June 13, 2015, and from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. on June 14, 2015. Waterway usage on the Lake Washington Ship Canal ranges from commercial tug and barge to small pleasure craft.

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

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

Dated: May 15, 2015. Steven M Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-12435 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0463] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Duwamish Waterway, Seattle, WA AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Spokane Street Swing Bridge across the Duwamish Waterway, mile 0.3, at Seattle, WA. The deviation is necessary to enable timely completion of new electrical equipment. This deviation allows the drawbridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position for marine traffic.

DATES:

This deviation is effective from 8 a.m. to Noon on June 1, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2015-0463] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has requested a deviation from the operating schedule of Spokane Street Swing Bridge to install new electrical equipment. SDOT chose this date and time to coordinate a work day during a low tide to minimize any impacts with waterway traffic. The Spokane Street Bridge is located in the Duwamish Waterway, mile 0.3, at Seattle, WA, and provides 55 feet of vertical clearance at center span, and 44 feet of vertical clearance at the east and west sides of the navigation channel while in the closed position. Vessels have unlimited vertical clearance with the swing span in the fully open position. Vertical clearances are referenced to mean high-water elevation.

The deviation period is from 8 a.m. to Noon on June 1, 2015. The deviation allows the Spokane Street Swing Bridge across the Duwamish Waterway, mile 0.3, at Seattle, WA, to remain in the closed-to-navigation position and need not open for maritime traffic from 8 a.m. to Noon on June 1, 2015.

The normal operating schedule for the bridge is in 33 CFR 117.1041, which specifies that the draws of each bridge across the Duwamish Waterway shall open on signal. The deviation period is effective from 8 a.m. to Noon on June 1, 2015, and allows the drawbridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position. Vessel traffic on the Duwamish waterway consists of vessels ranging from small pleasure craft, sailboats, small tribal fishing boats, and commercial tug and tow, and mega yachts.

Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at any time, but are requested to transit at a minimum safe speed with no wake for worker safety. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies, and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessels can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

Dated: May 15, 2015. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2015-12434 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R05-OAR-2011-0969; EPA-R05-OAR-2012-0991; EPA-R05-OAR-2013-0435; FRL-9927-94-Region-5] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Illinois; Emission Limit Infrastructure SIP Requirements for the 2008 Ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve some elements of state implementation plan (SIP) submissions from Illinois regarding the infrastructure requirements of section 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for the 2008 ozone, 2010 nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and 2010 sulfur dioxide (SO2) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The infrastructure requirements are designed to ensure that the structural components of each state's air quality management program are adequate to meet the state's responsibilities under the CAA. In this action, EPA is specifically approving infrastructure requirements concerning emission limits and other control measures. The proposed rulemaking associated with today's final action was published on February 27, 2015, and EPA received no comments during the comment period, which ended on March 30, 2015.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on June 22, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established dockets for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2011-0969 (2008 ozone infrastructure SIP elements), Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2012-0991 (2010 NO2 infrastructure SIP elements), and Docket ID No. EPA-R05-OAR-2013-0435 (2010 SO2 infrastructure SIP elements). All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., Confidential Business Information or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly-available only in hard copy. Publicly-available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, Air and Radiation Division, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604. This facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays. We recommend that you telephone Sarah Arra at (312) 886-9401 before visiting the Region 5 office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Sarah Arra, Environmental Scientist, Attainment Planning and Maintenance Section, Air Programs Branch (AR-18J), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, 77 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604, (312) 886-9401, [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

I. What is the background of these SIP submissions? II. What is our response to comments received on the proposed rulemaking? III. What action is EPA taking? IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews. I. What is the background of these SIP submissions? A. What state SIP submission does this rulemaking address?

This rulemaking addresses three submissions from December 31, 2012, and a January 9, 2015, clarification from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) intended to address all applicable infrastructure requirements for the 2008 ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS.

B. Why did the state make these SIP submissions?

Under sections 110(a)(1) and (2) of the CAA, states are required to submit infrastructure SIPs to ensure that their SIPs provide for implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the NAAQS, including the 2008 ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS. These submissions must contain any revisions needed for meeting the applicable SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2), or certifications that their existing SIPs for the NAAQS already meet those requirements.

EPA has highlighted this statutory requirement in multiple guidance documents, including the most recent guidance document entitled “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and (2)” issued on September 13, 2013.

C. What is the scope of this rulemaking?

EPA is acting upon the SIP submissions from Illinois that address the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2008 ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS. The requirement for states to make a SIP submission of this type arises out of CAA section 110(a)(1). Pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must make SIP submissions “within 3 years (or such shorter period as the Administrator may prescribe) after the promulgation of a national primary ambient air quality standard (or any revision thereof),” and these SIP submissions are to provide for the “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of such NAAQS. The statute directly imposes on states the duty to make these SIP submissions, and the requirement to make the submissions is not conditioned upon EPA's taking any action other than promulgating a new or revised NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that “[e]ach such plan” submission must address.

In this specific rulemaking, EPA is only taking action on the CAA 110(a)(2)(A) requirements of these submittals. The majority of the other infrastructure elements were finalized in an October 16, 2014 (79 FR 62042), rulemaking.

II. What is our response to comments received on the proposed rulemaking?

The proposed rulemaking associated with today's final action was published on February 27, 2015 (80 FR 10652), and EPA received no comments during the comment period, which ended on March 30, 2015.

III. What action is EPA taking?

To meet the infrastructure element under CAA section 110(a)(2)(A), IEPA has identified rules and regulations that provide control measures and limit emissions of pollutants relevant to the 2008 ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS. For the reasons discussed in our proposed rulemaking, EPA is taking final action to approve, as proposed, Illinois' submittal certifying that its current SIP is sufficient to meet the required infrastructure element under CAA section 110(a)(2)(A) for the 2008 ozone, 2010 NO2, and 2010 SO2 NAAQS.

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Under section 307(b)(1) of the CAA, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by July 21, 2015. Filing a petition for reconsideration by the Administrator of this final rule does not affect the finality of this action for the purposes of judicial review nor does it extend the time within which a petition for judicial review may be filed, and shall not postpone the effectiveness of such rule or action. This action may not be challenged later in proceedings to enforce its requirements. (See section 307(b)(2).)

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

Dated: May 13, 2015. Susan Hedman, Regional Administrator, Region 5.

40 CFR part 52 is amended as follows:

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

42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

2. Section 52.745 is amended by revising paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
§ 52.745 Section 110(a)(2) infrastructure requirements.

(e) Approval and Disapproval—In a December 31, 2012, submittal, Illinois certified that the State has satisfied the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) through (H), and (J) through (M) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS except for 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). EPA is approving Illinois' submission addressing the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (C) with respect to enforcement, (D)(i)(II) with respect to visibility protection, (D)(ii), (E) except for state board requirements, (F) through (H), (J) except for prevention of significant deterioration, and (K) through (M). EPA is disapproving Illinois' submission addressing the prevention of significant deterioration, in (C), (D)(i)(II), and the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) portion of (J). EPA is not taking action on the state board requirements of (E). Although EPA is disapproving portions of Illinois' submission addressing the prevention of significant deterioration, Illinois continues to implement the Federally promulgated rules for this purpose as they pertain to (C), (D)(i)(II), and the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) portion of (J).

(f) Approval and Disapproval—In a December 31, 2012, submittal, Illinois certified that the state has satisfied the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) through (H), and (J) through (M) for the 2010 nitrogen dioxide (NO2) NAAQS. EPA is approving Illinois' submission addressing the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (C) with respect to enforcement, (D)(i)(I), (D)(i)(II) with respect to visibility protection, (D)(ii), (E) except for state board requirements, (F) through (H), (J) except for prevention of significant deterioration, and (K) through (M). EPA is disapproving Illinois' submission addressing the prevention of significant deterioration, in (C), (D)(i)(II), and the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) portion of (J). EPA is not taking action on the state board requirements of (E). Although EPA is disapproving portions of Illinois' submission addressing the prevention of significant deterioration, Illinois continues to implement the Federally promulgated rules for this purpose as they pertain to (C), (D)(i)(II), and the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) portion of (J).

(g) Approval and Disapproval—In a December 31, 2012, submittal, Illinois certified that the state has satisfied the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) through (H), and (J) through (M) for the 2010 sulfur dioxide (SO2) NAAQS except for 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I). EPA is approving Illinois' submission addressing the infrastructure SIP requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A), (B), (C) with respect to enforcement, (D)(i)(II) with respect to visibility protection, (D)(ii), (E) except for state board requirements, (F) through (H), (J) except for prevention of significant deterioration, and (K) through (M). EPA is disapproving Illinois' submission addressing the prevention of significant deterioration, in (C), (D)(i)(II), and the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) portion of (J). EPA is not taking action on the state board requirements of (E). Although EPA is disapproving portions of Illinois' submission addressing the prevention of significant deterioration, Illinois continues to implement the Federally promulgated rules for this purpose as they pertain to (C), (D)(i)(II), and the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) portion of (J).

[FR Doc. 2015-12355 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 228 [EPA-R2-OW-2014-0587; FRL-9928-04-Region 2] Modification of the Designations of the Caribbean Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

Through this rulemaking, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is modifying the designations for the five Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Sites (ODMDS) around Puerto Rico (San Juan Harbor, PR ODMDS; Yabucoa Harbor, PR ODMDS; Ponce Harbor, PR ODMDS; Mayaguez Harbor, PR ODMDS; Arecibo Harbor, PR ODMDS). Currently, each of the ODMDS is restricted to only allow disposal of dredged material from the specific harbor for which it is named. This modification removes the restriction that limits eligibility for disposal at each of the disposal sites based solely on the geographic origin of the dredged material. The modifications to the site designations do not actually authorize the disposal of any particular dredged material at any site. All proposals to dispose of dredged material at any of the designated sites will continue to be subject to project-specific reviews and must still be demonstrated to satisfy the criteria for ocean dumping before any material is authorized for disposal. This rulemaking was taken to provide long-term flexibility for management of any dredged material that may potentially be derived from maintenance, development, or emergency activities in areas outside those harbors provided for in the original designations. The modifications to the site designations are for an indefinite period of time. Each ODMDS will continue to be monitored to ensure that significant unacceptable, adverse environmental impacts do not occur as a result of dredged material disposal at the site.

DATES:

This final rule is effective on June 22, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R02-OW-2014-0587. All documents in the docket are listed on the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy by appointment at the Dredging, Sediment and Oceans Section (CWD), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, 290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. This Docket Facility is open from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The Docket telephone number is 212-637-3799.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mark Reiss, Clean Water Division Region 2 (24th Floor), Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway New York, NY 10007; telephone number: 212-637-3799; fax number: 212-637-3891; email address: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents I. Background II. Final Action III. Regulatory Reviews IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

Section 102(c) of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) of 1972, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1401 et seq., gives the Administrator of EPA the authority to designate sites where ocean disposal may be permitted. On October 1, 1986, the Administrator delegated the authority to designate ocean disposal sites to the Regional Administrator of the Region in which the sites are located. These modifications are being made pursuant to that authority. EPA is conducting this rulemaking to remove the geographic restrictions on the origin of the dredged material that can be disposed from the designations of the San Juan Harbor, PR Ponce Harbor, PR, Yabucoa Harbor, PR, Mayaguez Harbor, PR and Arecibo Harbor, PR ODMDSs.

The site modifications in this action provide the Corps, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, municipal, and private entities with greater long term flexibility in managing dredged materials outside the specific harbors provided for in the original designations.

The background for today's action is discussed in detail in EPA's October 14, 2014, proposal (79 FR 61591). The EPA received two comments on the proposed rule that supported the rulemaking. One of the letters raised some general concerns about the need to ensure that sensitive marine habitats are not adversely impacted by activities allowed by this rulemaking.

Modification of the designation of ocean disposal sites under 40 CFR part 228 is essentially a preliminary, planning measure. The practical effect of such a designation is only to require that if future ocean disposal activity is permitted and/or authorized (in the case of Corps projects) under 40 CFR part 227, then such disposal should normally be consolidated at the designated sites (see 33 U.S.C. 1413(b).) Modification of the designation of an ocean disposal site does not authorize any actual disposal and does not preclude EPA or the Corps from finding available and environmentally preferable alternative means of managing dredged materials, or from finding that certain dredged material is not suitable for ocean disposal under the applicable regulatory criteria.

This modification provides flexibility for management of dredged material from areas outside the harbors provided for in the original designations. However, it should be emphasized that modification of the designations of the ODMDS does not constitute or imply Corps' or EPA's approval of open water disposal of dredged material from any specific project. Before disposal of dredged material at any site may commence, Essential Fish Habitat and Endangered Species Act consultations must be completed, and EPA and the Corps must evaluate the proposal and authorize disposal according to the ocean dumping regulatory criteria (40 CFR part 227). All projects proposed for disposal at the ODMDS will be subject to review and comment by the relevant resource agencies and the public to ensure that any concerns regarding potential impacts associated with transport of material from the project area to the ODMDS are addressed before they are authorized for disposal. All transport and disposal activities must adhere to the strict provisions and restrictions laid out for each site in its Site Monitoring and Management Plan, which include specific monitoring and management requirements to avoid impacts to sensitive habitats. Finally, EPA has the right to disapprove the actual disposal, if it determines that environmental requirements under the MPRSA (including required Essential Fish Habitat and Endangered Species Act consultations) have not been met.

Enabling management of the additional dredged materials at monitored designated sites restricts impacts to those areas and minimizes the potential for using other near shore discharge strategies with potentially greater impacts to the marine environment. As such, this rulemaking would afford additional protection of aquatic organisms at individual, population, community, or ecosystem levels of ecological structures and sensitive marine habitats will not be adversely impacted by activities allowed by this rulemaking.

II. Final Action

The EPA hereby modifies the designations of Arecibo Harbor PR Ocean Disposal Site, Mayaguez Harbor PR Ocean Disposal Site, Ponce Harbor PR Ocean Disposal Site, San Juan Harbor PR Ocean Disposal Site and Yabucoa Harbor PR Ocean Disposal Site by removing the geographic restrictions on the origin of dredged material that can be managed at each site. This modification is made pursuant to MPRSA section 102(c). These ocean disposal sites are located in ocean waters off Puerto Rico outside the harbors corresponding to their names.

III. Regulatory Reviews

Details of the regulatory requirements of this rule are in EPA's October 14, 2014, proposed rule, 79 FR 61591. To summarize, this final rule complies as follows:

—It complies with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332) under the doctrine of functional equivalency; the EPA has relied on information from the final Environmental Impact Statement in its consideration and application of ocean dumping criteria to modification of the designations of the San Juan Harbor, PR Ponce Harbor, PR, Yabucoa Harbor, PR, Mayaguez Harbor, PR and Arecibo Harbor, PR dredged material sites; —It complies with the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2), regarding consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service in that modification of the designations of the ocean disposal sites is not expected to adversely affect any threatened or endangered species or their critical habitat; —It complies with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996 regarding consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service in that modification of the designations of the ocean disposal sites is not expected to have significant impacts to marine fishery resources; and —It complies with the Coastal Zone Management Act, regarding federal activities that affect a state's coastal zone in that the Corps will submit Coastal Zone Consistency determinations to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for individual projects proposing to dispose at the sites. IV. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

Details of the applicability of executive orders and statutory provisions to this rule are in EPA's October 14, 2014, proposed rule, 79 FR 61591. To summarize, this final rule complies with applicable executive orders and statutory provisions as follows:

—It is not a “significant regulatory action” subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993); —It does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq; —It 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); —It does not contain any unfunded mandate or significantly or uniquely affect small governments, as described in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-4); —It does not have Federalism implications as specified in Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999); —It is not an economically significant regulatory action based on health or safety risks subject to Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997); —It has no Tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000); —It is not an economically significant regulatory action subject to Executive Order 12866 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), and does not present a disproportionate risk to children; —It is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and so is not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355 (May 22, 2001) ; —It is not subject to requirements of Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-113, 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272 note) as it does not involve technical standards; —It will not have a disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations subject to Executive Order 12898 (59 FR 7629); — EPA has written this rulemaking in plain language to be consistent with the Plain Language Directive of Executive Order 12866; and — It will provide additional protection of aquatic organisms and therefore advances the objective of Executive Order 13158 (65 FR 34909, May 31, 2000) to protect marine areas.

The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. The EPA will submit a report containing this action and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 228

Environmental protection, Water pollution control.

Authority:

33 U.S.C. 1412 and 1418.

Dated: April 20, 2015. Judith A. Enck, Regional Administrator, Region 2.

In consideration of the foregoing, EPA hereby amends part 228, chapter I of title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

PART 228—CRITERIA FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF DISPOSAL SITES FOR OCEAN DUMPING 1. The authority citation for part 228 continues to read as follows: Authority:

33 U.S.C. 1412 and 1418.

2. Section 228.15 is amended by revising paragraphs (d)(10)(vi), (d)(11)(vi), (d)(12)(vi), (d)(13)(vi), and (d)(14)(vi) to read as follows:
§ 228.15 Dumping sites designated on a final basis.

(d) * * *

(10) * * *

(vi) Restriction: Disposal shall be limited to dredged material.

(11) * * *

(vi) Restriction: Disposal shall be limited to dredged material.

(12) * * *

(vi) Restriction: Disposal shall be limited to dredged material.

(13) * * *

(vi) Restriction: Disposal shall be limited to dredged material.

(14) * * *

(vi) Restriction: Disposal shall be limited to dredged material.

[FR Doc. 2015-12335 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
GULF COAST ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION COUNCIL 40 CFR Part 1850 [Docket Number: 105002015-1111-05] Procedures for Disclosure of Records Under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act AGENCY:

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule sets forth the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council's (Council) regulations regarding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Privacy Act (PA), and declassification and public availability of national security information. The FOIA and PA require each agency to promulgate regulations implementing the provisions of those laws and this Final Rule fulfills that mandate, facilitating public access to Council records.

DATES:

This rule becomes effective on June 22, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

The Council posted all comments on the proposed FOIA and PA regulations on its Web site, http://www.restorethegulf.gov/, without change, including any business or personal information provided, such as names, addresses, email addresses, or telephone numbers. All comments received are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jeffrey Roberson at 202-482-1315.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

The RESTORE Act, Public Law 112-141 (July 6, 2012), codified at 33 U.S.C. 1321(t) and note, makes funds available for the restoration and protection of the Gulf Coast Region through a new trust fund in the Treasury of the United States, known as the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund). The Trust Fund will contain 80 percent of the administrative and civil penalties paid by the responsible parties after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. These funds will be invested and made available through five components of the RESTORE Act.

Two of the five components, the Comprehensive Plan and Spill Impact Components, are administered by the Council, an independent federal entity created by the RESTORE Act. Under the Comprehensive Plan Component (33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(2)), 30 percent of funds in the Trust Fund (plus interest) are available to develop a Comprehensive Plan to restore the ecosystem and the economy of the Gulf Coast Region. Under the Spill Impact Component (33 U.S.C. 1321(t)(3)), 30 percent of funds in the Trust Fund will be disbursed to the five Gulf Coast States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) or their administrative agents based on an allocation formula established by the Council by regulation based on criteria in the RESTORE Act.

II. Public Comments and Summary of Changes to Final Rule

On February 9, 2015, the Council proposed a draft rule implementing its obligations to make records available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA). 80 FR 6934. The FOIA regulations govern third-party requests for information controlled by the Council. The PA regulations govern first-party requests for his or her own information. The Council provided a public comment period of 30 days and received comments from four separate commenters, three citizens and one Federal agency. The recommendations contained in the four comments are summarized below section by section, along with the Council's responses to the recommendations. The Council also posted all comments on its Web site, http://www.restorethegulf.gov/, without change, including any business or personal information provided, such as names, addresses, email addresses, or telephone numbers. All comments received are part of the public record and subject to public disclosure.

Section-by-Section Analysis Section 1850.1 Purpose and Scope

The agency commenter suggested that the Council include language clarifying the intersection of FOIA and the PA. The Council accepts this comment and the suggested language can be found in the last paragraph of section 1850.1.

Section 1850.2 Definitions

The agency commenter suggested adding three new definitions: FOIA public liaison, requester category, and fee waiver. The Council accepts this comment and the definitions can be found at new paragraphs 1850.2(i), (j), and (s).

Section 1850.4 Public Reading Room

One commenter asked whether documents will be placed online for the public to access without request. The Council is committed to making documents of interest to the public available online in its public reading room on its Web site, http://www.restorethegulf.gov. This commitment is documented in section 1850.4 of these regulations. No change was made to the regulations in response to this comment.

Section 1850.5 Requirements for Making Requests

The agency commenter suggested that the Council's wording of paragraph 1850.5(b) where the Council describes its process for contacting a requester to narrow the scope of a request has a negative connotation. The agency commenter suggested alternative text that the Council has incorporated into paragraph 1850.5(b).

The agency commenter also suggested adding two paragraphs to the end of section 1850.5 to help explain the interaction of the Council's FOIA and PA regulations and the effect on a request for Council records pertaining to another individual of submitting proof of death or a notarized authorization to access records by that individual. The Council accepts this comment and the paragraphs can be found at new paragraphs 1850.5(e) and (f).

Section 1850.6 Responding to Records

The agency commenter suggested consistency edits to paragraph 1850.6(a) to keep the terminology of simple and complex track processing consistent. The Council accepts this comment and the revised language can be found in paragraph 1850.6(a).

The agency commenter recommended that the Council modify paragraph 1850.6(c)(1) to include a requirement that the Council Records Management Officer provide the requester with a unique tracking number, an estimated date of completion (once the request is perfected) and a fee estimate (when applicable). The agency commenter also suggested that the Council include in its acknowledgment to the requester a brief description of the subject of the request to aid both the requester and the Council in keeping track of multiple pending requests. The Council accepts these comments and revised language can be found in the final two sentences of paragraph 1850.6(c)(1).

The agency commenter recommended that the Council include in the list of required elements in a denial letter a description of the exemption(s) applied. The Council accepts this comment and the revised language can be found at 1850.6(e)(1).

The agency commenter also recommended adding a new subsection to paragraph 1850.6(e) that addresses requirements under the FOIA to indicate, if technically feasible, the precise amount of information deleted at the place in the record where the deletion was made, and to indicate the exemption under which a deletion is made on the released portion of the record unless including that information would harm an interest protected by the exemption. The Council accepts this comment and the new subsection can be found at 1850.6(e)(3).

One commenter suggested broadening the language of paragraph 1850.6(h) to provide more leeway to respond to a request electronically rather than only by mail. The Council accepts this comment and paragraph 1850.6(h) has been modified accordingly.

The same commenter suggested revising subsection 1850.6(h)(3) to clarify that retrieving data from a database or running a report from a database is permissible. The Council accepts this comment and subsection 1850.6(h)(3) has been modified accordingly.

One commenter asked whether records will be transferred to another agency in the future and how the public will be informed of any such transfer. Section 1850.6(f) of these regulations discusses the Council's procedures for referring documents to another agency when that other agency is the originating agency. Whenever the Council refers any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another agency, it will notify the requester of the referral and inform the requester of the name of the agency to which the record was referred, including that agency's FOIA contact information. No change was made to the regulations in response to this comment.

Section 1850.7 Appeals

One commenter suggested that the Council remove requirements that an appellant include in his/her appeal a copy of the original request and the initial determination. The commenter suggested that these additional requirements are beyond the strict requirements of the statute and could create unnecessary burdens on potential appellants, including possibly leading to the rejection of an appeal based on the failure to include such documentation. The commenter also pointed out that this sort of requirement is rare among agencies. In the alternative, the commenter suggested that the Council could include language encouraging but not requiring the inclusion of such additional documentation in an appeal. The Council accepts this comment and has revised section 1850.7(c) to remove this requirement; instead the Council has included language encouraging submission of the original request and initial determination when filing an appeal. The Council is also clarifying in section 1850.7(c) that the appellant may submit as much or as little information as he/she wishes, so long as the determination that is being appealed is clearly identified.

The agency commenter suggested that the Council amend section 1850.7 to add language discussing the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) and the services provided by that office. The Council accepts this comment and has added a new paragraph (3) to section 1850.7(f) that contains language recommended by the commenter and the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy. See http://www.justice.gov/oip/blog/foia-post-2010-oip-guidance-notifying-requesters-mediation-services-offered-ogis.

Section 1850.9 Maintenance of Files

The agency commenter suggested including language explaining how long the Council will retain records related to FOIA requests and why. The agency commenter also suggested clarifying that material responsive to a FOIA request may not be disposed of or destroyed while the request or related appeal or lawsuit is pending even if otherwise authorized for disposition under an approved records retention schedule. The Council accepts this comment and new language was incorporated into 1850.9.

One commenter asked whether Council record schedules will be clear for the public to understand. While these regulations do not establish any record retention schedules, the Council does endeavor to make all its regulations and internal processes clear to the public. At this time the Council uses the government-wide record retention schedules promulgated by the National Archives and Records Administration (http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/grs.html). No change was made to the regulations in response to this comment.

Section 1850.10 Fees

One commenter noted that the rate the Council intends to charge as a fee when conducting reviews of records includes the actual salary rate of the employee involved plus 16 percent to cover benefits and wondered whether this was affordable for most U.S. citizens. The review fee is only applicable to commercial use requests so most individual U.S. citizens would not be subject to the fee. See section 1850.10(b)(4). Further, the FOIA directs agencies to develop fee schedules that reflect direct costs of search, duplication, or review. The Council's review fee rate is based on the actual time an employee spends reviewing documents potentially responsive to a request. These costs include salary and attendant benefits. The Council has calculated that 16 percent reasonably represents the benefit costs of its employees. No change was made to the regulations in response to this comment.

One commenter asked whether the Council would charge fees if the Council does not process the FOIA request in a timely manner. Consistent with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(viii), no search fee will be charged to a requester if the Council does not comply with the statutory time limits of the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)) unless unusual or exceptional circumstances apply to the processing of the request. Further, no duplication fees will be charged to requesters in the fee category of a representative of the news media or an educational or noncommercial scientific institution when the Council does not comply with the statutory time limits of the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)) unless unusual or exceptional circumstances apply to the processing of the request. Language related to not charging fees in this these circumstances is already included at section 1850.10(b)(5)(vi) and (vii). No change was made to the regulations in response to this comment.

Other

The Council also received one comment that expressed general support for the proposed regulations and noted that the regulations strike a balance between permitting access to government records and protecting potentially national security information. No change was made to the regulations in response to this comment.

In addition to the modifications discussed above, the Council has made minor formatting changes and corrected typographical errors in the zip code for the Council, the citation for one of the authorities under which the Council is issuing this rule, and an internal cross-reference in section 1850.6(f).

After considering public comments, the Council now issues the regulations as a final rule. The rule will take effect on June 22, 2015.

III. Procedural Requirements A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) generally requires agencies to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute, unless the agency certifies that this Interim Final Rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Council hereby certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Under the FOIA, agencies may recover only the direct costs of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating the records processed for requesters. Thus, the fees the Council assesses are typically nominal. Further, the number of “small entities” that make FOIA requests is relatively small compared to the number of individuals who make such requests.

B. Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not contain a “collection of information” as defined by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)).

C. Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

As an independent federal entity that is composed of, in part, six federal agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Army, Commerce, and Interior, the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 are inapplicable to this rule.

List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 1850

Administrative practice and procedure, Freedom of Information, Privacy, Public information, Classified information.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council adds part 1850 to 40 CFR chapter VIII, to read as follows:

PART 1850—AVAILABILITY OF RECORDS Sec. Subpart A—Production or Disclosure Under the Freedom of Information Act 1850.1 Purpose and scope. 1850.2 Definitions. 1850.3 General provisions. 1850.4 Public reading room. 1850.5 Requirements for making requests. 1850.6 Responding to requests. 1850.7 Appeals. 1850.8 Authority to determine. 1850.9 Maintenance of files. 1850.10 Fees. 1850.11 Requests for confidential treatment of business information. 1850.12 Requests for access to confidential commercial or financial information. 1850.13 Classified information. Subpart B—Production or Disclosure Under the Privacy Act 1850.31 Purpose and scope. 1850.32 Definitions. 1850.33 Procedures for requests pertaining to individual records in a record system. 1850.34 Times, places, and requirements for identification of individuals making requests. 1850.35 Disclosure of requested information to individuals. 1850.36 Special procedures: Medical records. 1850.37 Request for correction or amendment to record. 1850.38 Council review of request for correction or amendment to record. 1850.39 Appeal of initial adverse agency determination on correction or amendment. 1850.40 Disclosure of record to person other than the individual to whom it pertains. 1850.41 Fees. 1850.42 Penalties. Authority:

33 U.S.C. 1321(t); 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. 552a.

Subpart A—Production or Disclosure Under the Freedom of Information Act
§ 1850.1 Purpose and scope.

This subpart contains the regulations of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), as amended. These regulations supplement the FOIA, which provides more detail regarding requesters' rights and the records the Council may release.

The regulations of this subpart provide information concerning the procedures by which records may be obtained from the Council. Official records of the Council made available pursuant to the requirements of the FOIA shall be furnished to members of the public only as prescribed by this subpart. Information routinely provided to the public as part of a regular Council activity (for example, press releases) may be provided to the public without following this subpart.

The FOIA applies to third-party requests for documents concerning the general activities of the Government, and of the Council in particular. When a U.S. citizen or an individual lawfully admitted for permanent residence requests access to his or her own records, he/she is making a first-person Privacy Act request, not a FOIA request, subject to subpart B of these rules. The Council maintains records about individuals under the individual's name or personal identifier. Although the Council determines whether a request is a FOIA request or a Privacy Act request, the Council processes requests in accordance with both laws. This provides the greatest degree of lawful access to requesters while safeguarding individuals' personal privacy.

§ 1850.2 Definitions.

(a) Commercial Use Request means a request from or on behalf of one who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made.

(b) Confidential Commercial Information means commercial or financial information, obtained by the Council from a submitter, that may contain information exempt from release under Exemption 4 of FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4).

(c) Council means to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

(d) Days, unless stated as “calendar days,” are business days and do not include Saturday, Sunday, or federal holidays.

(e) Direct costs means those expenses the Council actually incurs in searching for and duplicating (and, in the case of commercial requesters, reviewing) documents in response to a request made under § 1850.5. Direct costs include, for example, the labor costs of the employee performing the work (the basic rate of pay for the employee, plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating duplicating machinery. Not included in direct costs are overhead expenses such as costs of space and heating or lighting of the facility in which the documents are stored.

(f) Duplication means the making a copy of a document, or other information contained in it, necessary to respond to a FOIA request. Copies may take the form of paper, microfilm, audio-visual materials, or electronic records, among others. The Council shall honor a requester's specified preference of form or format of disclosure if the record is readily reproducible with reasonable efforts in the requested form or format.

(g) Educational institution means a preschool, a public or private elementary or secondary school, or an institution of undergraduate higher education, graduate higher education, professional education, or an institution of vocational education that operates a program of scholarly research.

(h) Fee category means one of the three categories that agencies place requesters in for the purpose of determining whether a requester will be charged fees for search, review and duplication. The three fee categories are:

(1) Commercial requesters;

(2) Non-commercial scientific or educational institutions or news media requesters; and

(3) All other requesters.

(i) Fee waiver means the waiver or reduction of processing fees if a requester can demonstrate that certain statutory standards are satisfied, including that the information is in the public interest and is not requested for a commercial interest.

(j) FOIA Public Liaison means an agency official who is responsible for assisting in reducing delays, increasing transparency and understanding of the status of requests, and assisting in the resolution of disputes.

(k) News means information about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.

(l) Noncommercial scientific institution means an institution that is not operated on a “commercial” basis (as that term is used in this section) and which is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

(m) Perfected request means a written FOIA request that meets all of the criteria set forth in § 1850.5.

(n) Reading room means a location where records are available for review pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2).

(o) Records under the FOIA include all Government records, regardless of format, medium or physical characteristics, and electronic records and information, audiotapes, videotapes, Compact Disks, DVDs, and photographs.

(p) Records Management Officer means the person designated by the Executive Director of the Council to oversee all aspects of the Council's records management program, including FOIA.

(q) Representative of the news media, or news media requester, means any person or entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public that actively gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes the work to an audience. Examples of news-media entities are television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large, and publishers of periodicals that disseminate “news” and make their products available through a variety of means to the general public including news organizations that disseminate solely on the Internet. To be in this category, a requester must not be seeking the requested records for a commercial use. A request for records that supports the news-dissemination function of the requester shall not be considered to be for a commercial use. A “freelance journalist” shall be regarded as working for a news-media entity if the journalist can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by the entity. A publication contract would be the clearest proof, but the Council shall also look to the past publication record of a requester in making this determination. The Council's decision to grant a requester media status will be made on a case-by-case basis based upon the requester's intended use of the material.

(r) Requester means any person, partnership, corporation, association, or foreign or State or local government, which has made a request to access a Council record under FOIA.

(s) Requester category means one of the three categories in which agencies place requesters to determine whether the agency will charge a requester fees for search, review, and duplication. The categories include commercial requesters, non-commercial scientific or educational institutions or news media requesters, and all other requesters.

(t) Review means the examination of a record located in response to a request in order to determine whether any portion of it is exempt from disclosure. Review time includes processing any record for disclosure, such as doing all that is necessary to prepare the record for disclosure, including the process of redacting it and marking any applicable exemptions. Review costs are recoverable even if a record ultimately is not disclosed. Review time includes time spent obtaining and considering any formal objection to disclosure made by a business submitter under § 1850.12 but does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions.

(u) Search means the process of looking for and retrieving documents or information that is responsive to a request. Search time includes page-by-page or line-by-line identification of information within documents and also includes reasonable efforts to locate and retrieve information from records maintained in electronic form or format.

(v) Submitter means any person or entity from whom the Council obtains confidential commercial information, directly or indirectly.

(w) Unusual circumstances include situations in which the Council must:

(1) Search for and collect the requested agency records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

(2) Search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are the subject of a single request; or

(3) Consult with another Federal agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the FOIA request.

§ 1850.3 General provisions.

The Council shall prepare an annual report to the Attorney General of the United States regarding its FOIA activities in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(e).

§ 1850.4 Public reading room.

The Council maintains an electronic public reading room on its Web site, http://www.restorethegulf.gov, which contains the records FOIA requires the Council to make available for public inspection and copying, as well as additional records of interest to the public.

§ 1850.5 Requirements for making requests.

(a) Type of records made available. The Council shall make available upon request, pursuant to the procedures in this section and subject to the exceptions set forth in FOIA, all records of the Council that are not available under § 1850.4. The Council's policy is to make discretionary disclosures of records or information otherwise exempt from disclosure under FOIA unless the Council reasonably foresees that such disclosure would harm an interest protected by one or more FOIA exemptions, or otherwise prohibited by law. This policy does not create any enforceable right in court.

(b) Procedures for requesting records. A request for records shall reasonably describe the records in a way that enables Council staff to identify and produce the records with reasonable effort. The requester should include as much specific information as possible regarding dates, titles, and names of individuals. In cases where the request requires production of voluminous records, or is not reasonably described, a Council representative may suggest the requester, or the individual acting on the requester's behalf, to verify the scope of the request and, if possible, narrow the request. Once narrowed, the Council will process the request. All requests must be submitted in writing (including by email, fax or mail) to the Council's Records Management Officer. Requesters shall clearly mark a request as a “Freedom of Information Act Request” or “FOIA Request” on the front of the envelope or in the subject line of the email.

(c) Contents of request. The request, at minimum, shall contain the following information:

(1) The name, telephone number, and non-electronic address of the requester;

(2) Whether the requested information is intended for commercial use, or whether the requester represents an education or noncommercial scientific institution, or news media; and

(3) A statement agreeing to pay the applicable fees, identifying any fee limitation desired, or requesting a waiver or reduction of fees that satisfies § 1850.10(j)(1) to (3).

(d) Perfected requests. The requester must meet all the requirements in this section to perfect a request. The Council will only process perfected requests.

(e) Requests by an individual for Council records pertaining to that individual. An individual who wishes to inspect or obtain copies of Council records that pertain to that individual must file a request in accordance with subpart B of this part.

(f) Requests for Council records pertaining to another individual. Where a request for records pertains to a third party, a requester may receive greater access by submitting a notarized authorization signed by that individual or a declaration by that individual made in compliance with the requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C. 1746, authorizing disclosure of the records to the requester, or by submitting proof the individual is deceased (e.g. a copy of the death certificate or an obituary). The Council may require a requester to supply additional information if necessary to verify that a particular individual has consented to disclosure.

(g) Requesters may submit a request for records, expedited processing or waiver of fees by writing directly to the Records Management Officer via email at [email protected], or first class United States mail at 500 Poydras Street, Suite 1117, New Orleans, LA 70130.

(h) Any Council officer or employee who receives a written Freedom of Information Act request shall promptly forward it to the Records Management Officer. Any Council officer or employee who receives an oral request under the Freedom of Information Act shall inform the person making the request that it must be in writing and also inform such person of the provisions of this subpart.

§ 1850.6 Responding to requests.

(a) Receipt and processing. The date of receipt for any request, including one that is addressed incorrectly or that is referred to the Council by another agency, is the date the Council actually receives the request. The Council normally will process requests in the order they are received. However, in the Records Management Officer's discretion, the Council may use two or more processing tracks by distinguishing between simple and more complex requests based on the number of pages involved, or some other measure of the amount of work and/or time needed to process the request, and whether the request qualifies for expedited processing as defined by paragraph (d) of this section. When using multi-track processing, the Records Management Officer may provide requesters in the complex track(s) with an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests to qualify for the simple track and faster processing.

(b) Authorization. The Records Management Officer and other persons designated by the Council's Executive Director are solely authorized to grant or deny any request for Council records.

(c) Timing. (1) When a requester submits a request in accordance with § 1850.5, the Records Management Officer shall inform the requester of the determination concerning that request within 20 days from receipt of the request, unless “unusual circumstances” exist, as defined in § 1850.2(w). The Records Management Officer also shall provide requesters with a unique tracking number, an estimated date of completion (once the request is perfected), and a fee estimate (when applicable). The Records Management Officer shall also include in the Council's acknowledgment letter a brief description of the subject of the request.

(2) When additional time is required as a result of “unusual circumstances,” as defined in § 1850.2(w), the Records Management Officer shall, within the statutory 20 day period, issue to the requester a brief written statement of the reason for the delay and an indication of the date on which it is expected that a determination as to disclosure will be forthcoming. If more than 10 additional days are needed, the requester shall be notified and provided an opportunity to limit the scope of the request or to arrange for an alternate time frame for processing the request.

(3) The Council may toll the statutory time period to issue its determination on a FOIA request one time during the processing of the request to obtain clarification from the requester. The statutory time period to issue the determination on disclosure is tolled until the Council receives the information reasonably requested from the requester. The Council may also toll the statutory time period to issue the determination to clarify with the requester issues regarding fees. There is no limit on the number of times the agency may request clarifying fee information from the requester.

(d) Expedited processing. (1) A requester may request expedited processing by submitting a statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of that person's knowledge and belief, that demonstrates a compelling need for records, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(E)(v).

(2) The Records Management Officer will notify a requester of the determination to grant or deny a request for expedited processing within ten days of receipt of the request. If the Records Management Officer grants the request for expedited processing, the Council staff shall process the request as soon as practicable subject to § 1850.10(d) and (e). If the Records Management Officer denies the request for expedited processing, the requester may file an appeal in accordance with the process described in § 1850.7.

(3) The Council staff will give expedited treatment to a request when the Records Management Officer determines the requester has established one of the following:

(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment reasonably could be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;

(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if made by an individual primarily engaged in disseminating information;

(iii) The loss of substantial due process rights;

(iv) A matter of widespread and exceptional media interest raising possible questions about the Federal government's integrity which affects public confidence; or

(4) These procedures for expedited processing also apply to requests for expedited processing of administrative appeals.

(e) Denials. If the Records Management Officer denies the request in whole or part, the Records Management Officer will inform the requester in writing and include the following:

(1) A brief statement of the reason(s) for the denial, including applicable FOIA exemption(s) and a description of those exemptions;

(2) An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld;

(3) If technically feasible, the precise amount of information deleted at the place in the record where the deletion was made, and the exemption under which a deletion is made on the released portion of the record, unless including that information would harm an interest protected by the exemption;

(4) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial of the request;

(5) The requester's right to appeal any such denial and the title and address of the official to whom such appeal is to be addressed; and

(6) The requirement that the appeal be received within 45 days of the date of the denial.

(f) Referrals to another agency. (1) When the Council receives a request for a record (or a portion thereof) in its possession that originated with another Federal agency subject to the FOIA, the Council shall, except as provided in paragraph (f)(4) of this section, refer the record to that agency for direct response to the requester. However, if the Council and the originating agency jointly agree that the Council is in the best position to respond regarding the record, then the record may be handled as a consultation.

(2) Whenever the Council refers any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another agency, it shall document the referral, maintain a copy of the record that it refers, and notify the requester of the referral and inform the requester of the name of the agency to which the record was referred, including that agency's FOIA contact information.

(3) The Council's response to an appeal will advise the requester that the 2007 FOIA amendments created the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. A requester may contact OGIS in any of the following ways: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road—OGIS, College Park, MD 20740, ogis.archives.gov, Email: [email protected], Telephone: 202-741-5770, Facsimile: 202-741-5769, Toll-free: 1-877-684-6448.

(4) The referral procedure is not appropriate where disclosure of the identity of the agency, typically a law enforcement agency or Intelligence Community agency, to which the referral would be made could harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption, such as the exemptions that protect personal privacy and national security interests. In such instances, in order to avoid harm to an interest protected by an applicable exemption, the Council shall coordinate with the originating agency to seek its views on the disclosability of the record. The release determination for the record that is the subject of the coordination shall then be conveyed to the requester by the Council.

(g) Consulting with another agency. In instances where a record is requested that originated with the Council and another agency has a significant interest in the record (or a portion thereof), the Council shall consult with that agency before responding to a requester. When the Council receives a request for a record (or a portion thereof) in its possession that originated with another agency that is not subject to the FOIA, the Council shall consult with that agency before responding to the requester.

(h) Providing responsive records. (1) Council staff shall send a copy of records or portions of records responsive to the request to the requester by regular United States mail to the address indicated in the request or by email to the email address provided by the requester, unless the requester makes other acceptable arrangements or the Council deems it appropriate to send the records by other means. The Council shall provide a copy of the record in any form or format requested if the record is readily reproducible in that form or format. The Council need not provide more than one copy of any record to a requester.

(2) The Records Management Officer shall provide any reasonably segregable portion of a record that is responsive to the request after redacting those portions that are exempt under FOIA or this section.

(3) The Council is not required to create, compile, prepare or obtain from outside the Council a record to satisfy a request. Retrieving data from a Council database or running a report from a database is permissible.

(i) Prohibition against disclosure. Except as provided in this subpart, no member or employee of the Council shall disclose or permit the disclosure of any non-public information of the Council to any person (other than Council members, employees, or agents properly entitled to such information for the performance of their official duties), unless required by law to do so.

§ 1850.7 Appeals.

(a) Requesters may administratively appeal an adverse determination regarding a request by writing directly to the General Counsel via email at [email protected] or first class United States mail at 500 Poydras Street, Suite 1117, New Orleans, LA 70130. Administrative appeals sent to other individuals or addresses are not considered perfected. An adverse determination is a denial of a request and includes decisions that: The requested record is exempt, in whole or in part; the information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; the requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has previously been destroyed; or the requested record is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester. Adverse determinations also include denials involving fees or fee waiver matters or denials of requests for expedited processing.

(b) FOIA administrative appeals must be in writing and should contain the phrase “FOIA Appeal” on the front of the envelope or in the subject line of the electronic mail.

(c) Appellants are encouraged to include a copy of the original request and the initial denial (if any) in the appeal. The appeal letter may include as much or as little related information as the appellant wishes, as long as it clearly identifies the component determination (including the assigned request number, if known) that is being appealed.

(d) Requesters submitting an administrative appeal of an adverse determination must ensure that the Council receives the appeal within 45 days of the date of the denial letter.

(e) Upon receipt of an administrative appeal, Council staff shall inform the requester within 20 days of the determination on that appeal.

(f) The determination on an appeal shall be in writing and, when it denies the appeal, in whole or in part, the letter to the requester shall include:

(1) A brief explanation of the basis for the denial, including a list of the applicable FOIA exemptions and a description of how they apply;

(2) A statement that the decision is final for the Council;

(3) Notification that judicial review of the denial is available in the district court of the United States in the district in which the requester resides, or has his or her principal place of business, or in which the agency records are located, or in the District of Columbia; and

(4) The name and title or position of the official responsible for denying the appeal.

§ 1850.8 Authority to determine.

The Records Management Officer or Council Executive Director, when receiving a request pursuant to these regulations, shall grant or deny such request. That decision shall be final, subject only to administrative appeal as provided in § 1850.7. The Council General Counsel shall deny or grant an administrative appeal requested under § 1850.7.

§ 1850.9 Maintenance of files.

The Records Management Officer shall maintain files containing all material required to be retained by or furnished to them under this subpart. The Council shall preserve all correspondence pertaining to the FOIA requests that it receives, as well as copies of all requested records, until a General Records Schedule (GRS) published by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or another NARA-approved records schedule authorizes the office to dispose of or destroy the records. All materials identified as responsive to a FOIA request will be retained while the request or a related appeal or lawsuit is pending even otherwise authorized for disposal or destruction under a GRS or other NARA-approved records schedule. The material shall be filed by a unique tracking number.

§ 1850.10 Fees.

(a) Generally. Except as provided elsewhere in this section, the Records Management Officer shall assess fees where applicable in accordance with this section for search, review, and duplication of records requested. The Records Management Officer shall also have authority to furnish documents without any charge or at a reduced charge if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(b)(1) Fee schedule; waiver of fees. The fees applicable to a request for Council records pursuant to § 1850.5 are set forth in the following uniform fee schedule:

Service Rate (i) Manual search Actual salary rate of employee involved, plus 16 percent of salary rate to cover benefits. (ii) Computerized search Actual direct cost, including operator time. (iii) Duplication of records: (A) Paper copy reproduction $0.05 per page. (B) Other reproduction (e.g., computer disk or printout, microfilm, microfiche, or microform) Actual direct cost, including operator time. (iv) Review of records (including redaction) Actual salary rate of employee involved, plus 16 percent of salary rate to cover benefits.

(2) Search. (i) The Council shall charge search fees for all requests, subject to the limitations of paragraph (b)(5) of this section. The Records Management Officer shall charge for time spent searching for responsive records, even if no responsive record is located or if the Records Management Officer withholds records located as entirely exempt from disclosure. Search fees shall equal the direct costs of conducting the search by the Council employee involved, plus 16 percent of the salary rate to cover benefits.

(ii) For computer searches of records, the Council will charge requesters the direct costs of conducting the search. In accordance with paragraph (f) of this section, however, the Council will charge certain requesters no search fee and certain other requesters are entitled to the cost equivalent of two hours of manual search time without charge. These direct costs include the costs attributable to the salary of an operator/programmer performing a computer search.

(3) Duplication. The Council will charge duplication fees to all requesters, subject to the limitations of paragraph (b)(5) of this section. The fee for a paper photocopy of a record (no more than one copy of which need be supplied) is 5 cents per page. The Records Management Officer will charge the requester for the direct costs, including operator time, of making copies produced by computer, such as tapes or printouts. The Records Management Officer will charge a requester the direct costs of providing other forms of duplication.

(4) Review. The Council will charge review fees to requesters who make a commercial use request. Review fees generally are limited to the initial record review, i.e., the review done when the Records Management Officer determines whether an exemption applies to a particular record at the initial request level. The Council will not charge a requester for additional review at the administrative appeal level. Review fees consist of the direct costs of conducting the review by the Council employee involved, plus 16 percent of the salary rate to cover benefits.

(5) Limitations on charging fees. (i) The Council will not charge a search fee for requests from educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media.

(ii) The Council will not charge a search fee or review fee for a quarter-hour period unless more than half of that period is required for search or review.

(iii) The Council will not charge a fee to a requester whenever the total fee calculated under this paragraph is $25 or less for the request.

(iv) Except for requesters seeking records for a commercial use, the Council will provide without charge the first 100 pages of duplication (or the cost equivalent) and the first two hours of search.

(v) The provisions of paragraphs (b)(5)(iii) and (iv) of this section work together. This means that for requesters other than those seeking records for a commercial use, no fee shall be charged unless the cost of search is in excess of two hours plus the cost of duplication in excess of 100 pages totals more than $25.

(vi) No search fees shall be charged to a requester when the Council does not comply with the statutory time limits at 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) in which to respond to a request, unless unusual or exceptional circumstances (as those terms are defined by the FOIA) apply to the processing of the request.

(vii) No duplication fees shall be charged to requesters in the fee category of a representative of the news media or an educational or noncommercial scientific institution when the Council does not comply with the statutory time limits at 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) in which to respond to a request, unless unusual or exceptional circumstances (as those terms are defined by the FOIA) apply to the processing of the request.

(c) Payment procedures. All requesters shall pay the applicable fee before the Council sends copies of the requested records, unless the Records Management Official grants a fee waiver. Requesters must pay fees by check or money order made payable to the “Treasury of the United States.” Checks and money orders should be mailed to 500 Poydras Street, Suite 1117, New Orleans, LA 70130.

(d) Advance notification of fees. If the estimated charges exceed $25, the Records Management Officer shall notify the requester of the estimated amount, unless the requester has indicated a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. Upon receipt of such notice, the requester may confer with the Records Management Officer to reformulate the request to lower the costs. Council staff shall suspend processing the request until the requester provides the Records Management Officer with a written guarantee that the requester will make payment upon completion of processing (i.e., upon completion of the search, review and duplication, but prior the Council sending copies of the requested records to the requester).

(e) Advance payment. The Records Management Officer shall require advance payment of any fee estimated to exceed $250. The Records Management Officer also shall require full payment in advance where a requester has previously failed to pay a fee in a timely fashion. If an advance payment of an estimated fee exceeds the actual total fee by $1 or more, the Council shall refund the difference to the requester. The Council shall suspend the processing of the request and the statutory time period for responding to the request until the Records Management Officer receives the required payment.

(f) Categories of uses. The fees assessed depend upon the fee category. In determining which category is appropriate, the Records Management Officer shall look to the identity of the requester and the intended use set forth in the request for records. Where a requester's description of the use is insufficient to make a determination, the Records Management Officer may seek additional clarification before categorizing the request.

(1) Commercial use requester: The fees for search, duplication, and review apply.

(2) Educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media requesters: The fees for duplication apply. The Council will provide the first 100 pages of duplication free of charge.

(3) All other requesters: The fees for search and duplication apply. The Council will provide the first two hours of search time and the first 100 pages of duplication free of charge.

Category Chargeable fees (i) Commercial Use Requesters Search, Review, and Duplication. (ii) Education and Non-commercial Scientific Institution Requesters Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 100 pages). (iii) Representatives of the News Media Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 100 pages). (iv) All Other Requesters Search and Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 2 hours of search and first 100 pages of duplication).

(g) Nonproductive search. The Council may charge fees for search even if no responsive documents are found.

(h) Interest charges. The Records Management Officer may assess interest charges on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st calendar day following the date the Council sent the bill to the requester. The Council will charge interest at the rate prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717 on fees payable in accordance with this section. The Council will follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset.

(i) Aggregated requests. A requester may not file multiple requests at the same time solely in order to avoid payment of fees. If the Council reasonably believes that a request, or a group of requesters acting in concert, is attempting to break down a request into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, the Council may aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly. The Records Management Officer may reasonably presume that one requester making multiple requests on the same topic within a 30-day period has done so to avoid fees.

(j) Waiver or reduction of fees. To seek a waiver, a requester shall include the request for waiver or reduction of fees, and the justification for such based on the factors set forth in this paragraph, with the request for records to which it pertains. If a requester requests a waiver or reduction and has not indicated in writing an agreement to pay the applicable fees, the time for responding to the request for Council records shall not begin until the Records Management Officer makes a determination regarding the request for a waiver or reduction of fees.

(1) Records responsive to a request shall be furnished without charge, or at a reduced rate below that established in paragraph (b) of this section, where the Council determines, after consideration of all available information, that the requester has demonstrated that:

(i) Disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government; and

(ii) Disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(2) In deciding whether disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government, the Council will consider the following factors:

(i) The subject of the request: Whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the Government. The subject of the requested records must concern identifiable operations or activities of the Federal government, with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated.

(ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed: Whether the disclosure is “likely to contribute” to an understanding of Government operations or activities. The disclosable portions of the requested records must be meaningfully informative about government operations or activities in order to be “likely to contribute” to an increased public understanding of those operations or activities. The disclosure of information that already is in the public domain, in either the same or a substantially identical form, would not be likely to contribute to such an understanding.

(iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the public: Whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. A requester's expertise in the subject area as well as his or her ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public shall be considered. It shall be presumed that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration. Merely providing information to media sources is insufficient to satisfy this consideration.

(iv) The significance of the contribution to public understanding: Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute “significantly” to public understanding of Government operations or activities. The public's understanding of the subject in question prior to disclosure must be significantly enhanced by the disclosure.

(3) To determine whether disclosure of the requested information is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, the Council will consider the following factors:

(i) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. The Council shall consider any commercial interest of the requester (with reference to the definition of “commercial use request” in § 1850.2(b)), or of any person on whose behalf the requester may be acting, that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. Requesters shall be given an opportunity to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration.

(ii) The primary interest in disclosure: Whether any identified commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently great, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure if “primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” A fee waiver or reduction is justified if the public interest standard (paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section) is satisfied and the public interest is greater than any identified commercial interest in disclosure. The Council shall presume that if a news media requester has satisfied the public interest standard, the public interest is the primary interest served by disclosure to that requester. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely compile and market Government information for direct economic return shall not be presumed to primarily serve the public interest.

(4) A request for a waiver or reduction of fees shall include a clear statement of how the request satisfies the criteria set forth in paragraphs (j)(2) and (3) of this section, insofar as they apply to each request. The burden shall be on the requester to present evidence or information in support of a request for a waiver or reduction of fees.

(5) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a fee waiver, a waiver shall be granted for those records.

(6) The Records Management Officer shall make a determination on the request for a waiver or reduction of fees and shall notify the requester accordingly. A denial may be appealed to the General Counsel in accordance with § 1850.7.

§ 1850.11 Requests for confidential treatment of business information.

(a) Submission of request. Any submitter of information to the Council who desires confidential treatment of business information pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4) shall file a request for confidential treatment with the Council at the time the information is submitted or within a reasonable time after submission. These designations will expire ten years after the date of submission unless the submitter requests, and provides justification for, a longer period.

(b) Form of request. Each request for confidential treatment of business information shall state in reasonable detail the facts supporting the commercial or financial nature of the business information and the legal justification under which the business information should be protected. Conclusory statements indicating that release of the information would cause competitive harm generally are not sufficient to justify confidential treatment.

(c) Designation and separation of confidential material. A submitter shall clearly mark all information it considers confidential as “PROPRIETARY” or “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” in the submission and shall separate information so marked from other information submitted. Failure by the submitter to segregate confidential commercial or financial information from other material may result in release of the nonsegregated material to the public without notice to the submitter.

§ 1850.12 Requests for access to confidential commercial or financial information.

(a) Notice to submitters. The Council shall provide a submitter with prompt notice of a FOIA request or administrative appeal that seeks its business information whenever required under paragraph (b) of this section, except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, in order to give the submitter an opportunity under paragraph (c) of this section to object to disclosure of any specified portion of that information. The notice shall either describe the business information requested or include copies of the requested records containing the information. If notification of a large number of submitters is required, notification may be made by posting or publishing the notice in a place reasonably likely to accomplish notification.

(b) When notice is required. Notice shall be given to the submitter whenever:

(1) The submitter has designated the information in good faith as protected from disclosure under FOIA exemption (b)(4); or

(2) The Council has reason to believe that the information may be protected from disclosure under FOIA exemption (b)(4).

(c) Opportunity to object to disclosure. The Council shall allow a submitter seven days from the date of receipt of the written notice described in paragraph (a) of this section to provide the Council with a statement of any objection to disclosure. The statement must identify any portions of the information the submitter requests to be withheld under FOIA exemption (b)(4), and describe how each qualifies for protection under the exemption: That is, why the information is a trade secret, or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential. If a submitter fails to respond to the notice within the time frame specified, the submitter will be considered to have no objection to disclosure of the information. Information a submitter provides under this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.

(d) Notice of intent to disclose. The Council shall consider a submitter's objections and specific grounds under the FOIA for nondisclosure in deciding whether to disclose business information. If the Council decides to disclose business information over a submitter's objection, the Council shall give the submitter written notice via certified mail, return receipt requested, or similar means, which shall include:

(1) A statement of reason(s) why the submitter's objections to disclosure were not sustained;

(2) A description of the business information to be disclosed; and

(3) A statement that the Council intends to disclose the information seven days from the date the submitter receives the notice.

(e) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements of paragraphs (a) and (d) of this section shall not apply if:

(1) The Council determines that the information is exempt and will be withheld under a FOIA exemption, other than exemption (b)(4);

(2) The information has been lawfully published or has been officially made available to the public;

(3) Disclosure of the information is required by statute (other than the FOIA) or by a regulation issued in accordance with Executive Order 12600; or

(4) The designation made by the submitter under this section or § 1850.11 appears obviously frivolous, except that, in such a case, the Council shall provide the submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the information seven days from the date the submitter receives the notice.

(f) Notice to requester. The Council shall notify a requester whenever it provides the submitter with notice and an opportunity to object to disclosure; whenever it notifies the submitter of its intent to disclose the requested information; and whenever a submitter files a lawsuit to prevent the disclosure of the information.

(g) Notice of lawsuits. Whenever a requester files a lawsuit seeking to compel the disclosure of confidential commercial information, the Council shall promptly notify the submitter.

§ 1850.13 Classified information.

In processing a request for information classified under Executive Order 13526 or any other Executive Order concerning the classification of records, the information shall be reviewed to determine whether it should remain classified. Ordinarily the Council or other Federal agency that classified the information should conduct the review, except that if a record contains information that has been derivatively classified by the Council because it contains information classified by another agency, the Council shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request to the agency that classified the underlying information. Information determined to no longer require classification shall not be withheld on the basis of FOIA exemption (b)(1) (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1)), but should be reviewed to assess whether any other FOIA exemption should be invoked. Appeals involving classified information shall be processed in accordance with § 1850.7.

Subpart B—Production or Disclosure Under the Privacy Act
§ 1850.31 Purpose and scope.

This subpart contains the regulations of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) implementing the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a. It sets forth the basic responsibilities of the Council under the Privacy Act (the Act) and offers guidance to members of the public who wish to exercise any of the rights established by the Act with regard to records maintained by the Council. Council records that are contained in a government-wide system of records established by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the General Services Administration (GSA), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Labor (DOL) for which those agencies have published systems notices are subject to the publishing agency's Privacy Act regulations. Where the government-wide systems notices permit access to these records through the employing agency, an individual should submit requests for access to, for amendment of or for an accounting of disclosures to the Council in accordance with § 1850.33.

§ 1850.32 Definitions.

(a) For purposes of this subpart, the terms individual, maintain, record, and system of records shall have the meanings set forth in 5 U.S.C. 552a(a).

(b) Working days are business days and do not include Saturday, Sunday, or federal holidays.

§ 1850.33 Procedures for requests pertaining to individual records in a record system.

(a) Any person who wishes to be notified if a system of records maintained by the Council contains any record pertaining to him or her, or to request access to such record or to request an accounting of disclosures made of such record, shall submit a written request, either in person or by mail, in accordance with the instructions set forth in the system notice published in the Federal Register. The request shall include:

(1) The name of the individual making the request;

(2) The name of the system of records (as set forth in the system notice to which the request relates);

(3) Any other information specified in the system notice;

(4) When the request is for access to records, a statement indicating whether the requester desires to make a personal inspection of the records or be supplied with copies by mail; and

(5) Any additional information required by § 1850.34 for proper verification of identity or authority to access the information.

(b) Requests pertaining to records contained in a system of records established by the Council and for which the Council has published a system notice should be submitted to the person or office indicated in the system notice. Requests pertaining to Council records contained in the government-wide systems of records listed below should be submitted as follows:

(1) For systems OPM/GOVT-1 (General Personnel Records), OPM/GOVT-2 (Employee Performance File System Records), OPM/GOVT-3 (Records of Adverse Actions and Actions Based on Unacceptable Performance), GSA/GOVT-4 (Contracted Travel Services Program), OPM/GOVT-5 (Recruiting, Examining and Placement Records), OPM/GOVT-6 (Personnel Research and Test Validation Records), OPM/GOVT-7 (Applicant Race, Sex, National Origin, and Disability Status Records), OPM/GOVT-9 (Files on Position Classification Appeals, Job Grading Appeals and Retained Grade or Pay Appeals), OPM/GOVT-10 (Employee Medical File System Records) and DOL/ESA-13 (Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Federal Employees' Compensation File), or any other government-wide system of record not specifically listed, to the [email protected]]; and

(2) For systems OGE/GOVT-1 (Executive Branch Public Financial Disclosure Reports and Other Ethics Program Records), OGE/GOVT-2 (Confidential Statements of Employment and Financial Interests) and MSPB/GOVT-1 (Appeal and Case Records), to the General Counsel at [email protected]

(c) Any person whose request for access under paragraph (a) of this section is denied, may appeal that denial in accordance with § 1850.39.

§ 1850.34 Times, places, and requirements for identification of individuals making requests.

(a) If a person submitting a request for access under § 1850.33 has asked that the Council authorize a personal inspection of records pertaining to that person, and the appropriate Council official has granted that request, the requester shall present himself or herself at the time and place specified in the Council's response or arrange another, mutually convenient time with the appropriate Council official.

(b) Prior to personal inspection of the records, the requester shall present sufficient personal identification (e.g., driver's license, employee identification card, social security card, credit cards). If the requester is unable to provide such identification, the requester shall complete and sign in the presence of a Council official a signed statement asserting his or her identity and stipulating that he or she understands that knowingly or willfully seeking or obtaining access to records about another individual under false pretenses is a misdemeanor punishable by fine up to $5,000.

(c) Any person who has requested access under § 1850.3 to records through personal inspection, and who wishes to be accompanied by another person or persons during this inspection, shall submit a written statement authorizing disclosure of the record in such person's or persons' presence.

(d) If an individual submitting a request by mail under § 1850.33 wishes to have copies furnished by mail, he or she must include with the request a signed and notarized statement asserting his or her identity and stipulating that he or she understands that knowingly or willfully seeking or obtaining access to records about another individual under false pretenses is a misdemeanor punishable by fine up to $5,000.

(e) A request filed by the parent of any minor or the legal guardian of any incompetent person shall: State the relationship of the requester to the individual to whom the record pertains; present sufficient identification; and, if not evident from information already available to the Council, present appropriate proof of the relationship or guardianship.

(f) A person making a request pursuant to a power of attorney must possess a specific power of attorney to make that request.

(g) No verification of identity will be required where the records sought are publicly available under the Freedom of Information Act.

§ 1850.35 Disclosure of requested information to individuals.

(a) Upon receipt of request for notification as to whether the Council maintains a record about an individual and/or request for access to such record:

(1) The appropriate Council official shall acknowledge such request in writing within 10 working days of receipt of the request. Wherever practicable, the acknowledgement should contain the notification and/or determination required in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(2) The appropriate Council official shall provide, within 30 working days of receipt of the request, written notification to the requester as to the existence of the records and/or a determination as to whether or not access will be granted. In some cases, such as where records have to be recalled from the Federal Records Center, notification and/or a determination of access may be delayed. In the event of such a delay, the Council official shall inform the requester of this fact, the reasons for the delay, and an estimate of the date on which notification and/or a determination will be forthcoming.

(3) If access to a record is granted, the determination shall indicate when and where the record will be available for personal inspection. If a copy of the record has been requested, the Council official shall mail that copy or retain it at the Council to present to the individual, upon receipt of a check or money order in an amount computed pursuant to § 1850.41.

(4) When access to a record is to be granted, the appropriate Council official will normally provide access within 30 working days of receipt of the request unless, for good cause shown, he or she is unable to do so, in which case the requester shall be informed within 30 working days of receipt of the request as to those reasons and when it is anticipated that access will be granted.

(5) The Council shall not deny any request under § 1850.33 concerning the existence of records about the requester in any system of records it maintains, or any request for access to such records, unless that system is exempted from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

(6) If the Council receives a request pursuant to § 1850.33 for access to records in a system of records it maintains which is so exempt, the appropriate Council official shall deny the request.

(b) Upon request, the appropriate Council official shall make available an accounting of disclosures pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), unless that system is exempted from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

(c) If a request for access to records is denied pursuant to paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, the determination shall specify the reasons for the denial and advise the individual how to appeal the denial in accordance with § 1850.39. All appeals must be submitted in writing to the General Counsel at [email protected]

(d) Nothing in 5 U.S.C. 552a or this subpart allows an individual access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.

§ 1850.36 Special procedures: Medical records.

In the event the Council receives a request pursuant to § 1850.33 for access to medical records (including psychological records) and the appropriate Council official determines disclosure could be harmful to the individual to whom they relate, he or she may refuse to disclose the records directly to the requester but shall transmit them to a physician designated by that individual.

§ 1850.37 Request for correction or amendment to record.

(a) Any person who wishes to request correction or amendment of any record pertaining to him or her that is contained in a system of records maintained by the Council, shall submit that request in writing in accordance with the instructions set forth in the system notice for that system of records. If the request is submitted by mail, the envelope should be clearly labeled “Personal Information Amendment.” The request shall include:

(1) The name of the individual making the request;

(2) The name of the system of records as set forth in the system notice to which the request relates;

(3) A description of the nature (e.g., modification, addition or deletion) and substance of the correction or amendment requested; and

(4) Any other information specified in the system notice.

(b) Any person submitting a request pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section shall include sufficient information in support of that request to allow the Council to apply the standards set forth in 5 U.S.C. 552a(e) requiring the Council to maintain accurate, relevant, timely, and complete information.

(c) All requests to amend pertaining to personnel records described in § 1850.33(b) shall conform to the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section and may be directed to the appropriate officials as indicated in § 1850.33(b). Such requests may also be directed to the system manager specified in the OPM's systems notices.

(d) Any person whose request under paragraph (a) of this section is denied may appeal that denial in accordance with § 1850.39.

§ 1850.38 Council review of request for correction or amendment to record.

(a) When the Council receives a request for amendment or correction under § 1850.37(a), the appropriate Council official shall acknowledge that request in writing within 10 working days of receipt. He or she shall promptly either:

(1) Determine to grant all or any portion of a request for correction or amendment; and:

(i) Advise the individual of that determination;

(ii) Make the requested correction or amendment; and

(iii) Inform any person or agency outside the Council to whom the record has been disclosed, and where an accounting of that disclosure is maintained in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(c), of the occurrence and substance of the correction or amendments; or

(2) Inform the requester of the refusal to amend the record in accordance with the request; the reason for the refusal; and the procedures whereby the requester can appeal the refusal to the General Counsel of the Council in accordance with § 1850.39.

(b) If the Council official informs the requester of the determination within the 10-day deadline, a separate acknowledgement is not required.

(c) In conducting the review of a request for correction or amendment, the Council official shall be guided by the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(e).

(d) In the event that the Council receives a notice of correction or amendment from another agency that pertains to records maintained by the Council, the Council shall make the appropriate correction or amendment to its records and comply with paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section.

(e) Requests for amendment or correction of records maintained in the government-wide systems of records listed in § 1850.35(c) shall be governed by the appropriate agency's regulations cited in that paragraph.

§ 1850.39 Appeal of initial adverse agency determination on correction or amendment.

(a) If a request for correction or amendment of a record in a system of records maintained by the Council is denied, the requester may appeal the determination in writing to the General Counsel at [email protected]

(b) The General Counsel shall make a final determination with regard to an appeal submitted under paragraph (a) of this section not later than 30 working days from the date on which the individual requests a review, unless for good cause shown, this 30-day period is extended and the requester is notified of the reasons for the extension and of the estimated date on which a final determination will be made. Such extensions will be used only in exceptional circumstances and will not normally exceed 30 working days.

(c) In conducting the review of an appeal submitted under paragraph (a) of this section, the General Counsel shall be guided by the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(e).

(d) If the General Counsel determines to grant all or any portion of a request on an appeal submitted under paragraph (a) of this section, he or she shall so inform the requester, and the appropriate Council official shall comply with the procedures set forth in § 1850.38(a)(1)(ii) and (iii).

(e) If the General Counsel determines in accordance with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section not to grant all or any portion of a request on an appeal submitted under paragraph (a) of this section, he or she shall inform the requester:

(1) Of this determination and the reasons for it;

(2) Of the requester's right to file a concise statement of reasons for disagreement with the determination of the General Counsel;

(3) That such statements of disagreement will be made available to anyone to whom the record is subsequently disclosed, together with (if the General Counsel deems it appropriate) a brief statement summarizing the General Counsel's reasons for refusing to amend the record;

(4) That prior recipients of the disputed record will be provided with a copy of the statement of disagreement together with (if the General Counsel deems it appropriate) a brief statement of the General Counsel's reasons for refusing to amend the record, to the extent that an accounting of disclosure is maintained under 5 U.S.C. 552a(c); and

(5) Of the requester's right to file a civil action in Federal district court to seek a review of the determination of the General Counsel in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(g).

(f) The General Counsel shall ensure that any statements of disagreement submitted by a requester are made available or distributed in accordance with paragraphs (e)(3) and (4) of this section.

§ 1850.40 Disclosure of record to person other than the individual to whom it pertains.

The Counsel shall not disclose any record which is contained in a system of records it maintains, by any means of communication to any person or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of the individual to whom the record pertains, unless the disclosure is authorized by one or more provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(b).

§ 1850.41 Fees.

(a) No fee shall be charged for searches necessary to locate records. No charge shall be made if the total fees authorized are less than $1.00. Fees shall be charged for services rendered under this subpart as follows:

(1) For copies made by photocopy—$0.05 per page (maximum of 10 copies). For copies prepared by computer, such as tapes or printouts, the Council will charge the direct cost incurred by the agency, including operator time. For other forms of duplication, the Council will charge the actual costs of that duplication.

(2) For attestation of documents—$25.00 per authenticating affidavit or declaration.

(3) For certification of documents—$50.00 per authenticating affidavit or declaration.

(b) All required fees shall be paid in full prior to issuance of requested copies of records. Requesters must pay fees by check or money order made payable to the “Treasury of the United States.”

§ 1850.42 Penalties.

The criminal penalties which have been established for violations of the Privacy Act of 1974 are set forth in 5 U.S.C. 552a(i). Penalties are applicable to any officer or employee of the Council; to contractors and employees of such contractors who enter into contracts with the Council, and who are considered to be employees of the Council within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552a(m); and to any person who knowingly and willfully requests or obtains any record concerning an individual from the Council under false pretenses.

Will D. Spoon, Program Analyst, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
[FR Doc. 2015-12459 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-EA-P
80 99 Friday, May 22, 2015 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 758 [Docket No. 150107020-5160-01] RIN 0694-AG47 Export Administration Regulations (EAR): Harmonization of the Destination Control Statements AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

This proposed rule would revise the destination control statement in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to harmonize the statement required for the export of items subject to the EAR with the destination control statement in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

This proposed rule is published in conjunction with the publication of a Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls proposed rule revising the destination control statement in the ITAR. Both proposed rules being published today by the Departments of Commerce and State are part of the President's Export Control Reform Initiative. This proposed rule is also part of Commerce's retrospective regulatory review plan under Executive Order (E.O.) 13563 (see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for availability of the plan).

DATES:

The Bureau of Industry and Security will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 6, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

• By the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The identification number for this rulemaking is BIS-2015-0013.

• By email directly to [email protected] Include RIN 0694-AG47 in the subject line.

• By mail or delivery to Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2099B, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230. Refer to RIN 0694-AG47.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For questions about this rule, contact Timothy Mooney, Regulatory Policy Division, Office of Exporter Services, Bureau of Industry and Security, at 202-482-2440 or email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The EAR currently requires exporters to include a destination control statement, specified in § 758.6 (Destination control statement and other information furnished to consignees) of the EAR, on certain export control documents that accompany a shipment for most exports. The purpose of this statement is to alert other parties outside the United States that receive the item that the item is subject to the EAR, the item was exported in accordance with the EAR, and that diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.

The ITAR, under § 123.9(b)(1), also includes the same type of destination control statement requirement, but specific to the ITAR context and with slightly different text than what is used under the EAR, although the purpose of the destination control statement requirements is the same under both sets of export control regulations. As a general principle under the Export Control Reform (ECR) implementation that is currently underway, wherever the ITAR and EAR have provisions that are intended to achieve the same purpose, the U.S. Government is making an effort to harmonize those provisions, except when circumstances exist that require that those provisions remain different. The destination control statement requirements under the ITAR and the EAR are an example of requirements that can and should be harmonized to reduce the burden on exporters, improve compliance, and ensure the regulations are achieving their intended purpose for use under the U.S. export control system, specifically under the transactions “subject to the ITAR” and “subject to the EAR.” The proposed harmonization changes to be made to the EAR are described below under the heading “Harmonization of destination control statement.

Harmonization of Destination Control Statement

This proposed rule would revise § 758.6 of the EAR to harmonize the destination control statement requirement text with § 123.9(b)(1) of the ITAR. This change would be made to facilitate implementation of the President's Export Control Reform Initiative, which has transferred thousands of formerly ITAR controlled defense article parts and components, along with other items, to the Commerce Control List in the EAR under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce.

This change in jurisdiction for many of the parts and components for military systems has increased incidence of exporters' shipping articles subject to both the ITAR and the EAR in the same shipment. Both regulations have a mandatory destination control statement that must be on the export control documents for shipments that include items subject to those regulations. This has caused confusion to exporters as to which statement to include on such mixed shipments, or whether to include both. Harmonizing these statements is intended to ease the regulatory burden on exporters.

This change is also being made to harmonize the two sets of regulations, the EAR and the ITAR, per the President's instructions. While the creation of a single export control list and licensing agency would require legislation, the President has directed BIS and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls at the Department of State to undertake all available actions to prepare for consolidation as a single agency with a single set of regulations. Harmonization, to the extent possible, is one important step for preparing both regulators and the regulated public.

The harmonization of the destination control statement would include the following proposed changes to the EAR. The heading of § 758.6 of the EAR would remain the same. However, the provisions currently under paragraph (b) would be moved to a new paragraph (a)(2).

Further, regarding proposed new paragraph (a)(2), this paragraph would specify that the ECCN for each 9x515 or “600 series” item being exported must be included, which is the same requirement that is currently in paragraph (b), although it would be slightly shortened because the introductory text of paragraph (a) would specify some of the requirements that previously were included in paragraph (b), specifically the documents for which the 9x515 and “600 series” classification must be included on under this section. These documents are the same as those documents that the destination control statement would be included on, so this change would shorten and simplify this section by moving the text of paragraph (b) to paragraph (a)(2). This change would reduce the number of documents that this classification would need to be included on to conform with the destination control statement changes described below.

The proposed new introductory text paragraph (a) would specify that the exporter shall incorporate the information specified under paragraph (a)(1) (destination control statement) and (a)(2) (ECCN for each 9x515 or “600 series” item being exported) as an integral part of the commercial invoice and contractual documentation, when such contractual documentation exists. This proposed change would mean this section of the EAR would no longer include a requirement to include the destination control statement on the air waybill, bill of lading or other export control documents, and would instead focus the requirement on the two documents—the commercial invoice and contractual documentation. This rule proposes requiring the destination control statement on the commercial invoice and contractual documentation because these two documents are the most likely to travel with the item from its time of export from the United States to its ultimate destination and ultimate consignee. The intent of the destination control statement requirement is to ensure that the statement reaches the ultimate destination and ultimate consignee of the item, so requiring the destination control statement to be included on such documentation, when it exists, would be more likely to achieve the intended purpose of this provision. At the same time, the requirement would have the added benefit of reducing the number of documents on which exporters would be responsible for entering the destination statement. Consistent with the current destination control statement provisions, this rule would not require an EAR destination control statement for exports of EAR99 items or items exported under License Exception BAG or GFT. Any other export from the United States of any item on the CCL would require the destination statement as specified in paragraph (a)(1) and any export of a 9x515 or “600 series” ECCN would also need to be specified on those two documents as specified in paragraph (a)(2), when they exist.

The text of the harmonized destination control statement would be specified under revised paragraph (a)(1) of § 758.6 of the EAR. The new destination control statement would not include EAR-specific language, but rather would adopt language that would be equally applicable under the ITAR as well as the EAR. The first sentence of the statement would specify that “these items are controlled and authorized by the U.S. Government for export only to the specified country of ultimate destination for use by the end-user herein identified.” This first sentence is intended to alert the person outside the United States receiving the item that the item is subject to U.S. export laws and regulations and was authorized by the U.S. Government for export. In addition, the first sentence would specify that the U.S. Government only authorized the export to the specified country of ultimate destination and for use by the specified end-user. The new destination control statement would use the term authorized, but in the context of this EAR paragraph “authorized” would also include exports that were designated under No License Required (NLR).

The second sentence of the new harmonized destination control statement would focus on alerting the persons receiving the items that they may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise be disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized end-user or consignee(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations. Similar to the first sentence, this proposed second sentence adopts common language that can be used under the ITAR and the EAR. The application of this second sentence would be different under the ITAR and the EAR due to the different types of authorizations and other approvals in the respective regulations, as well as other differences, such as the de minimis requirements in the EAR, which is not provided for in the ITAR. But the advantage of the proposed text is that it would adopt a new harmonized destination control statement, while at the same time still being flexible enough to not impact other ITAR or EAR provisions that do warrant differentiation, such as the availability of de minimis provisions, which are available under the EAR, but because of statutory limitations in the Arms Export Control Act are not available under the ITAR.

Adoption of a new harmonized destination control statement would simplify export clearance requirements for exporters because they would not have to decide which destination control statement to include, especially for mixed shipments containing both ITAR and EAR items.

An exporter would still need to go through all of the steps to determine jurisdiction, classification, license requirements, and to obtain and use the proper authorization under the respective regulations, prior to moving on to the respective export clearance requirements under the ITAR or EAR. This is important to remember when evaluating these proposed changes because the regulations need to be reviewed and evaluated in the context in which they are intended to be applied, including the steps for determining the applicable export control requirements under the ITAR and the EAR. For those parties outside the United States that would be receiving items under this new destination control statement, although the new destination control statement is not ITAR or EAR specific, in the case of the USML the classification of the USML items would be required on the documentation. This classification would alert the parties that the items are subject to the ITAR. For military items under the EAR, because of the proposed requirement in paragraph (a)(2)(which is currently required under paragraph (b)) of § 758.6 of the EAR, anyone receiving a “600 series” military item or an ECCN 9x515 item would know that specific item was subject to the EAR because the classification information would also need to be included on the same documentation. For other EAR items, there would not be a requirement to include the classification information, although BIS does encourage the inclusion of that information as a good export compliance practice.

Removal of Paragraph (c)

BIS proposes removing paragraph (c) of § 758.6 in this rule. Paragraph (c) was added recently (January 23, 2015, 80 FR 3463) and requires a special DCS for items controlled under ECCNs for crime control columns 1 and 3 or regional stability column 2 reasons when those items are destined to India. BIS proposes removing this requirement because the benefit for this requirement in paragraph (c) is outweighed by the added complexity to the EAR of including this country specific requirement. Therefore, consistent with the purpose of the retrospective regulatory review, BIS proposes removing paragraph (c).

As required by Executive Order (EO) 13563, BIS intends to review this rule's impact on the licensing burden on exporters. Commerce's full retrospective regulatory review plan is available at: http://open.commerce.gov/news/2011/08/23/plan-retrospective-analysis-existing-rules. Data are routinely collected on an ongoing basis, including through the comments to be submitted and through new information and results from Automated Export System data. These results and data have formed, and will continue to form, the basis for ongoing reviews of the rule and assessments of various aspects of the rule. As part of its plan for retrospective analysis under E.O. 13563, BIS intends to conduct periodic reviews of this rule and to modify, or repeal, aspects of this rule, as appropriate, and after public notice and comment. With regard to a number of aspects of this rule, assessments and refinements will be made on an ongoing basis. This is particularly the case with regard to possible modifications that will be considered based on public comments described above.

Export Administration Act

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

Rulemaking Requirements

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

2. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor is subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information, subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) (PRA), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. This regulation involves collections previously approved by the OMB under control numbers 0694-0122, “Licensing Responsibilities and Enforcement.” This rule does not alter any information collection requirements; therefore, total burden hours associated with the PRA and OMB control number 0694-0122 are not expected to increase as a result of this rule. You may send comments regarding the collection of information associated with this rule, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to Jasmeet K. Seehra, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by email to [email protected], or by fax to (202) 395-7285.

3. This rule does not contain policies with Federalism implications as that term is defined under E.O. 13132.

4. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., generally requires an agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to the notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) or any other statute, unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Under section 605(b) of the RFA, however, if the head of an agency certifies that a rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, the statute does not require the agency to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis. Pursuant to section 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation, Department of Commerce, certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if promulgated, will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Number of Small Entities

BIS does not collect data on the size of entities that apply for and are issued export licenses. Although BIS is unable to estimate the exact number of small entities that would be affected by this rule, it acknowledges that this rule would affect some unknown number.

Economic Impact

This proposed rule is part of the Administration's Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative. The destination control statement is an existing regulatory requirement under the EAR that exporters must use for export clearance purposes for most export transactions that are subject to the EAR.

The improvements to the export control system being implemented under ECR have resulted in reduced burdens on exporters, including small businesses, because the military items moved to the CCL now have the availability of more flexible EAR authorizations and availability of de minimis provisions among other advantages for exporters of items that have moved from the USML to the CCL. However, the existing destination control statement requirements impose an unnecessary burden on exporters of mixed shipments (shipments that include items subject to the EAR and ITAR). The current provisions create ambiguity for exporters on which destination control statement to use for such mixed shipments, which imposes unnecessary administrative costs and burdens on such exporters. The proposed changes in this rule would relieve this burden by adopting a harmonized destination control statement under the EAR. The corresponding Department of State proposed rule would adopt a harmonized destination control statement under the ITAR. This proposed harmonized destination control statement would result in time savings for exporters when they determine their export clearance requirements. These proposed changes would also reduce the economic impact on exporters, including small businesses, because it would make it easier for exporters to comply with this export clearance requirement under the EAR and the ITAR for specific transactions and would also simplify the export control clearance requirements associated with mixed transactions.

In practice, the greatest impact of this rule on small entities would likely be reduced administrative costs and reduced delay for exports of items. Therefore, this proposed rule would not cause any economic impact and would result in no additional compliance cost. On the contrary, this proposed rule would reduce compliance costs.

Conclusion

BIS is unable to determine the precise number of small entities that would be affected by this rule. Based on the facts and conclusions set forth above, BIS believes that any burdens imposed by this rule would be offset by the improvements made to harmonization of the destination control statement under the EAR and the ITAR. For these reasons, the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this rule, if adopted in final form, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

List of Subjects in 15 CFR Part 758

Administrative practice and procedure, Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, Part 758 of the Export Administration Regulations (15 CFR parts 730-774) is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 758—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for 15 CFR part 758 continues to read as follows: Authority:

50 U.S.C. app. 2401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; E.O. 13222, 66 FR 44025, 3 CFR, 2001 Comp., p. 783; Notice of August 7, 2014, 79 FR 46959 (August 11, 2014).

2. Section 758.6 is revised to read as follows:
§ 758.6 Destination control statement and other information furnished to consignees.

(a) The exporter shall incorporate the following information as an integral part of the commercial invoice and contractual documentation, when such contractual documentation exists, whenever items on the Commerce Control List are exported, unless the export may be made under License Exception BAG or GFT (see part 740 of the EAR):

(1) For any item on the Commerce Control List being exported, the following statement: “These items are controlled and authorized by the U.S. Government for export only to the specified country of ultimate destination for use by the end-user herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized end-user or consignee(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations” and

(2) The ECCN for each 9x515 or “600 series” item being exported.

(b) [Reserved]

Dated: May 13, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-12298 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security 15 CFR Part 758 [Docket No. 150220163-5163-01] RIN 0694-AG51 Additional Improvements and Harmonization of Export Clearance Provisions AGENCY:

Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce.

ACTION:

Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) requests comments for how the export clearance requirements under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) can be improved, including how the EAR export clearance provisions can be better harmonized with the export clearance requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This ANPR is part of Commerce's retrospective regulatory review and ongoing harmonization efforts being undertaken by Commerce and State as part of Export Control Reform (ECR) implementation. This ANPR is also part of Commerce's retrospective regulatory review plan under Executive Order (EO) 13563 (see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for availability of the plan).

DATES:

The Bureau of Industry and Security will accept comments on this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking until July 6, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

• By the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. The identification number for this rulemaking is BIS-2015-0012.

• By email directly to [email protected] Include RIN 0694-AG51 in the subject line.

• By mail or delivery to Regulatory Policy Division, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 2099B, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230. Refer to RIN 0694-AG51.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For questions about this ANPR, contact Timothy Mooney, Regulatory Policy Division, Office of Exporter Services, Bureau of Industry and Security, at 202-482-2440 or email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) requests comments for how the requirements under part 758 (Export clearance) of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR parts 730-774) can be improved, including how the EAR export clearance provisions can be better harmonized with the export clearance requirements under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) (22 CFR parts 120-130). This ANPR is part of Commerce's retrospective regulatory review and ongoing harmonization efforts being undertaken by Commerce and State as part of Export Control Reform (ECR) implementation. Commerce's full retrospective regulatory review plan is available at: http://open.commerce.gov/news/2011/08/23/commerce-plan-analysis-existing-rules.

Harmonization of Export Clearance Provisions

The President's Export Control Reform (ECR) Initiative has transferred thousands of formerly ITAR controlled defense article parts and components, along with other items, to the Commerce Control List in the EAR under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce. The EAR includes part 758, which specifies requirements for export clearance under the EAR. As part of ECR implementation, BIS has made certain changes to part 758 to address the addition of the 9x515 and “600 series” ECCNs to the CCL (see the EAR final rules published on April 16, 2013 (78 FR 22660), May 13, 2014 (79 FR 27418) and November 12, 2014 (79 FR 67055)), along with other changes to the EAR to account for the 9x515 and “600 series” ECCNs being added to the EAR.

As a general principle, under the ECR implementation that is currently underway, wherever the ITAR and EAR have provisions that are intended to achieve the same purpose the U.S. Government is making an effort to harmonize those provisions, except when there is a reason why those provisions should remain different. The export clearance requirements under the ITAR and the EAR are an example of requirements that may for certain provisions be harmonized to reduce the burden on exporters, improve compliance with the export clearance requirements, and ensure the export clearance requirements are achieving their intended purpose for use under the U.S. export control system, specifically under the transactions “subject to the ITAR” and “subject to the EAR.”

Request for Comments on Additional Improvement and Harmonization of Export Clearance Provisions

BIS is considering further revisions to part 758 of the EAR as part of Commerce's retrospective regulatory review and ongoing harmonization efforts being undertaken by Commerce and State as part of ECR implementation. As part of this review effort for how part 758 can be improved to make these provisions more effective and to assist BIS in developing regulatory changes to improve these provisions of the EAR, BIS requests comments on these potential future changes described under paragraphs (A) through (E). Export control documents in paragraphs (A) through (C) include the commercial invoice and contractual documentation.

A. Require ECCNs on export control documents. The ECCN for all 9x515 and “600 series” items is currently required to be identified on the export control documents, along with the destination control statement. BIS is considering requiring that the ECCN be identified for all items on the Commerce Control List. This would not include items that are designated EAR99.

B. Require identification of country of ultimate destination on export control documents. BIS is considering requiring that the country of ultimate destination be identified on the export control documents. This requirement would mirror the requirement in the ITAR and BIS believes that this would only impact a small number of exports where additional actions would be needed by exporters, because in most cases, the export control documents already identify the country of ultimate destination.

C. Require license number or export authorization symbol on export control documents. BIS is also considering requiring that the license number or export authorization symbol be identified on export control documents. This proposed revision would require that the license number, license exception code, or no license required designation be entered on the export control documents. BIS specifically requests comments on the application of this requirement to mixed authorization and mixed jurisdiction shipments.

D. Require AES filing for exports to Canada for items controlled for NS, MT, NP and CB. BIS seeks comments on the potential impact and feasibility of changing section 758.1 under paragraph (b) to require EEI filing in the AES for all exports to Canada of items controlled for National Security (NS), Missile Technology (MT), Nuclear Nonproliferation (NP), and Chemical & Biological Weapons (CB) reasons, regardless of license requirements (meaning regardless of whether the export was authorized under a license, license exception, or designated as no license required). Because of the AES filing exemption for non-licensed items to Canada, BIS currently has little visibility into the movement of these items into Canada, except for exports to Canada that involve a licensed item (see paragraph (b)(2) of section 758.1), a 9x515 or “600 series” item (see paragraph (b)(3) of section 758.1) or are to be transhipped to a third country (see paragraph (b)(6) of section 758.1) which do require EEI filing in the AES. Therefore, BIS is seeking information that would help us determine:

—The volume of trade that would be impacted by this filing requirement; —if this filing requirement would be beneficial and practical or detrimental and burdensome for industry; —if this filing requirement would have a commercial impact on exporters; and —if there are alternative methods to collecting or accessing this data.

E. Other suggestions for improving and harmonizing export clearance requirements. Any other suggestions for improving the EAR export clearance requirements, including suggestions where additional harmonization should be considered for the export clearance requirements under the EAR and ITAR to ease the regulatory burden on exporters and make the provisions more effective would be helpful to receive in response to this ANPR. These suggestions can apply to any export clearance provision under part 758 of the EAR or any other EAR provisions that relate to export clearance requirements.

Comments should be submitted to BIS as described in the ADDRESSES section of this ANPR by July 6, 2015. BIS will consider all comments submitted in response to this ANPR that are received before the close of the comment period. Comments received after the end of the comment period will be considered if possible, but their consideration cannot be assured. BIS will not accept public comments accompanied by a request that a part or all of the material be treated confidentially because of its business proprietary nature or for any other reason. BIS will return such comments and materials to the persons submitting the comments and will not consider them. All public comments in response to this ANPR must be in writing and will be a matter of public record, and will be available for public inspection and copying on the BIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reading Room at http://efoia.bis.doc.gov/index.php/electronic-foia/index-of-documents.

Dated: May 13, 2015. Kevin J. Wolf, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-12296 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 1201 [CPSC Docket No. CPSC-2012-0049] Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials AGENCY:

Consumer Product Safety Commission.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC” or “Commission”) is proposing an amendment to the Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials (16 CFR part 1201) to clarify certain test procedures specified in the standard. The CPSC proposes to replace the testing procedures for glazing materials in certain architectural products, set forth in 16 CFR 1201.4, with the testing procedures contained in the voluntary standard, ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2, American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials Used in Buildings—Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test.

DATES:

Written comments must be received by July 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. CPSC-2012-0049, by any of the following methods:

Electronic Submissions: Submit electronic comments to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. The Commission does not accept comments submitted by electronic mail (email), except through www.regulations.gov. The Commission encourages you to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, as described above.

Written Submissions: Submit written submissions by mail/hand delivery/courier to: Office of the Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814; telephone (301) 504-7923.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this notice. All comments received may be posted without change, including any personal identifiers, contact information, or other personal information provided, to: http://www.regulations.gov. Do not submit confidential business information, trade secret information, or other sensitive or protected information that you do not want to be available to the public. If furnished at all, such information should be submitted in writing.

Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to: http://www.regulations.gov, and insert the docket number CPSC-2012-0049, into the “Search” box, and follow the prompts.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Brian Baker, Project Manager, Division of Mechanical Engineering, Directorate for Laboratory Sciences, Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 5 Research Place, Rockville, MD 20850; telephone: 301-987-2289; [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background A. Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials

On January 6, 1977 (42 FR 1427), as amended on June 20, 1977 (42 FR 31164), the Commission issued the Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials under the Consumer Product Safety Act (“CPSA”) to reduce or eliminate risks of injuries associated with walking, running, or falling through or against glazing materials (“CPSC standard”). The standard applies to glazing materials used or intended for use in any of the following architectural products:

(1) Storm doors or combination doors;

(2) Doors (both exterior and interior);

(3) Bathtub doors and enclosures;

(4) Shower doors and enclosures; and

(5) Sliding glass doors (patio-type).

The standard applies to glazing materials and architectural products incorporating glazing materials that are produced or distributed for sale to or for the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of consumers in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence or in recreational, school, public, or other buildings or parts thereof. The standard was codified at 16 CFR part 1201.

The standard exempts the following products, materials, and uses:

(1) Wired glass used in doors or other assemblies to retard the passage of fire where required by federal, state, local, or municipal fire ordinance;

(2) Louvers of jalousie doors;

(3) Openings of doors which a 3 inch diameter sphere is unable to pass;

(4) Carved glass (as defined in section 1201.2(a)(36)), dalle glass (as defined in § 1201.2(a)(37)), or leaded glass (as defined in section 1201.2(a)(14)), which is used in doors and glazed panels (as defined in sections 1201.2(a)(7) and (a)(10)) if the glazing material meets all of the following criteria:

(i) The coloring, texturing, or other design qualities or components of the glazing material cannot be removed without destroying the material; and

(ii) The primary purpose of such glazing is decorative or artistic; and

(iii) The glazing material is conspicuously colored or textured so as to be plainly visible and plainly identifiable as aesthetic or decorative rather than functional (other than for the purpose of admitting or controlling admission of light components or heat and cold); and

(iv) The glazing material, or assembly into which it is incorporated, is divided into segments by conspicuous and plainly visible lines.

(5) Glazing materials used as curved glazed panels in revolving doors; and

(6) Commercial refrigerator cabinet glazed doors. 16 CFR 1201.1(c).

On September 27, 1978, (43 FR 43704), the Commission amended the standard to clarify the definitions, description of test apparatus, and test procedures in the standard. The Commission stated that under the CPSA, when an amendment to a consumer product safety rule involves a material change, the procedures in section 7 and 9 apply. 15 U.S.C. 2058(h). The Commission determined, however, that the amendments to the definitions, test apparatus, and test procedures did not involve a material change to the standard because they did not affect the basic purpose and provisions of the standard. (42 FR 53798, 53799 (Oct. 3, 1977); 43 FR 43704 (Sept. 27, 1978.) Accordingly, the Commission did not apply the provisions of sections 7 and 9 of the CPSA. However, the Commission provided notice and comment under the informal rulemaking procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. 553, before issuing a final rule.

The Commission subsequently revoked portions of the standard that prescribed requirements for “glazed panels” (45 FR 67383, August 28, 1980); an accelerated environmental durability test for plastic glazing materials intended for outdoor exposure (45 66002, October 6, 1980); and a modulus of elasticity test, a harness test, and an indoor aging test applicable to plastic glazing materials (47 FR 27853, June 28, 1982). 16 CFR 1201.1(d) n.1. Tempered glass, wired glass, and annealed glass are also exempt from the accelerated environmental durability tests. 16 CFR 1201.4(a)(2).

The testing procedures currently set forth in 16 CFR 1201.4 require impact tests and accelerated environment durability tests for non-exempted materials, which are intended to determine if glazing materials used in these architectural products meet safety requirements designed to reduce or eliminate unreasonable risks of death or serious injury to consumers when glazing material is broken by human contact. The testing procedures further describe the testing equipment and apparatus required to be used, and the test result interpretation methodology to be employed in determining if the glazing materials being tested meet the safety requirements of the standard.

B. Petition Request

On June 26, 2012, the Commission received a petition from the Safety Glazing Certification Council (“SGCC” or “petitioner”), requesting that the Commission initiate rulemaking to replace the testing procedures for glazing materials in certain architectural products, as set forth in 16 CFR 1201.4, with the testing procedures contained in the voluntary standard, ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2, American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials Used in Buildings—Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test (the ANSI standard). SGCC stated that consumers and the glazing industry would be better served if the test procedures for glazing materials used in architectural products set forth in 16 CFR 1201.4 were replaced with the ANSI standard test procedures because the ANSI test procedures are more efficient and modern. The petitioner asserts that the testing procedures set forth in section 1201.4 were promulgated in 1977, and they have not been updated or clarified, as necessary. The petitioner stated that the ANSI standard for glazing materials has been updated periodically (in 1984, 1994, 2004, and 2009), unlike the CPSC standard, and that these updates include modifications in testing equipment and procedures. Petitioner asserted that the absence of updates to the CPSC standard during a period in which the ANSI standard was revised four times has resulted in different testing methods and qualifying procedures that have created confusion in the industry regarding which test methodology must be used in what circumstance. Petitioner claimed that the existence of overlapping but divergent CPSC and voluntary standards has resulted in manufacturers paying for duplicative testing.

On August 30, 2012, notice of the petition was published in the Federal Register (77 FR 52625). The Commission received five comments, all supporting the petitioner's request to amend the existing test procedures with the ANSI standard. The petition was referred to the Commission's staff for evaluation. On April 3, 2013, CPSC staff submitted a briefing package to the Commission evaluating the petition, including the feasibility of integrating the test procedures of the ANSI standard into the CPSC standard.1 On April 9, 2013, the Commission voted to grant the petition.

1http://www.cpsc.gov//Global/Newsroom/FOIA/CommissionBriefingPackages/2013/ArchitecturalGlazingPetitionBriefingPackage.pdf.

On May 6, 2015, CPSC staff submitted a briefing package to the Commission recommending that the Commission issue a proposed amendment to 16 CFR 1201.4 that would replace the testing procedures set forth in the CPSC mandatory standard for glazing materials in certain architectural products, with the testing procedures contained in the voluntary standard, ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2. The staff's briefing package is available on the CPSC's Web site at: http://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Newsroom/FOIA/CommissionBriefingPackages/2015/Proposed-Rule-to-Amend-the-Safety-Standard-for-Architectural-Glazing-Material.pdf.

C. Statutory Authority

The proposed amendment to the CPSC standard would clarify certain test procedures specified in the mandatory standard. Under section 9 (h) of the CPSA, if an amendment of a consumer product safety rule “involves a material change,” 15 U.S.C. 2058(h), the Commission must make certain findings, including a finding that the amendment is “reasonably necessary to prevent or reduce an unreasonable risk of injury associated with such product”; the expected benefits of the amended rule “bear a reasonable relationship to its costs”; and the amended rule imposes “the least burdensome requirement which prevents or adequately reduces the risk of injury for which the rule is being promulgated.” Id. §§ 2056(a); 2058(a)-(g). If the amendment does not constitute “a material change” for purposes of section 9(h) of the CPSA, the Commission is not required to make the findings that are otherwise required for the amendment of a consumer product safety rule.

When the Commission previously amended the CPSC standard to clarify the definitions and the description of test apparatus and test procedures in the architectural glazing standard, the Commission determined that the amendments to the definitions, test apparatus, and test procedures did not involve a material change to the standard because the changes did not affect the basic purpose and provisions of the standard. (43 FR 43704, September 27, 1978). However, the Commission did not elaborate on what changes might affect the basic purpose of a standard.

To assess what types of changes may result in a material change for the proposed amendment, the Commission looked to other statutory language for guidance. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) directed the Commission to establish protocols and standards to test children's products for testing and certification purposes “when there has been a material change in the product's design or manufacturing process.” 15 U.S.C. 2063(d)(2)(B). The Commission's regulation implementing this provision defines “material change” as: “any change in the product's design, manufacturing process or sourcing of component parts that . . . could affect a product's ability to comply with the applicable rules, bans, standards or regulations.” 16 CFR 1107.2. This definition contemplates that certain changes would not be considered “material” if changes are not significant enough to potentially impact the product's ability to comply with applicable standards and regulations.

The basis for the Commission's findings in promulgating the standard for architectural glazing was that unreasonable risks of injury are associated with architectural glazing materials used in certain architectural glazing products. In assessing the question of whether unreasonable risks of injury or injury potential are associated with architectural glazing materials, the Commission balanced the degree, nature, and frequency of injury against the potential effect of the standard on the ability of architectural glazing materials to meet the need of the public and the effect of the standard on the cost, utility, and availability of architectural glazing materials to meet that need. 16 CFR 1201.1(d)(5).

Consistent with this prior analysis, for the proposed amendment, the Commission has reviewed whether the proposed amendment would alter the original basic purpose of the rule addressing an unreasonable risk of injury associated with architectural glazing materials, including whether the proposed amendment would have an important or significant impact on the safety of consumers or on the burdens imposed on the regulated industry. In particular, to assess whether the basic purpose and provisions of the standard would be altered, the Commission compared the existing CPSC test procedures in the mandatory standard with the ANSI test procedures. The basic purpose of 16 CFR 1201.4 is to provide test procedures that will assess the safety of architectural glazing materials. The mandatory standard was promulgated to reduce or eliminate risks of injuries associated with walking, running, or falling through or against glazing materials in storm doors, doors (both exterior and interior), shower and bathtub doors and enclosures, and sliding or patio-type doors. The adoption of the ANSI test procedures will not alter that purpose. As discussed in section II below, the proposed amended testing procedures will clarify the existing test procedures and update references to current test methods.

In addition, the Commission reviewed whether there would be an important or significant impact on the safety of consumers. As discussed in section IV below, CSPC staff's review showed that almost all of the samples tested both to 16 CFR 1201.1 and the ANSI standard passed both standards; only a small number of samples tested (5 out of more than 3,500) failed the CPSC standard testing, but passed when tested to the voluntary standard. Thus, the proposed amendment is unlikely to have an important or significant impact on the safety of consumers because testing to either standard provided consistent and comparable test results.

The Commission also reviewed whether there would be any important or significant impact on the burdens imposed on the regulated industry. As discussed in section V below, CPSC staff's review showed existing widespread compliance with the ANSI standard. Therefore, the data did not show that adoption of the ANSI test procedures would impose any additional burdens on the regulated industry. In fact, a slight reduction in the burdens imposed on the regulated industry is likely because the proposed amendment would reduce confusion in the industry regarding applicable test procedures. Moreover, adoption of the ANSI test procedures likely will make testing of the architectural glazing materials more efficient, less costly, and reduce redundant testing for manufacturers who currently comply with the ANSI standard, as well as the CPSC mandatory standard.

Accordingly, as provided under section 9(h) of the CPSA, the Commission believes that the proposed amendment replacing the test procedures specified in the CPSC mandatory standard with the test procedures in the ANSI standard would not involve a material change requiring the procedures under sections 7 and 9 of the CPSA. However, because the proposed amendment would make revisions to an existing standard, the Commission is providing notice and comment under the informal rulemaking procedures of the APA, 5 U.S.C. 553, before issuing a final rule.

II. The Proposed Amendment A. No Change in Scope

The proposed amendment would replace the test procedures in the CPSC standard at 16 CFR 1201.4 with the ANSI test procedures. The ANSI standard covers certain products, materials, and uses that are exempt from the CPSC standard. The proposed amendment would not change the scope of products, materials, or uses covered by the CPSC standard.

The CPSC standard currently exempts: Wired glass used in doors or other assemblies to retard the passage of fire where required by federal, state, local, or municipal fire ordinance; louvers of jalousie doors; openings of doors which a 3 inch diameter sphere is unable to pass; carved glass, dalle glass, or leaded glass; glazing materials used as curved glazed panels in revolving doors; and commercial refrigerator cabinet glazed doors. 16 CFR 1201.1(c). In addition, the test procedures at 16 CFR 1201.4(a)(2) do not provide for accelerated environmental durability testing of plastic glazing materials because those tests were removed from 16 CFR part 1201 by the Commission in the early 1980s. (45 FR 66002, October 6, 1980). Moreover, tempered glass, wired glass, and annealed glass are not required to be subjected to the accelerated environmental durability tests. Id. at § 1201.4(a)(2).

In contrast, the ANSI standard does not exempt any specific glazing materials. The ANSI testing procedures include testing for materials and products that are not covered by the CPSC standard: Plastic glazing and fire-resistant wire-glass. Accordingly, the ANSI standard includes tests for certain items, such as fire-resistant wired glass and accelerated environmental durability testing for plastic glazing, which are otherwise exempt from the CPSC standard. Although the ANSI standard does not specifically exempt tempered glass, wired glass, and annealed glass from the accelerated environmental durability tests, the ANSI standard only requires plastic glazing and organic coated glass to be subjected to the accelerated environmental durability test. Tests in the ANSI standard that apply to materials, products, or uses that are exempt from the CPSC standard would not be included in the proposed amendment.

In the proposed amendment, the Commission does not propose to alter the scope or exemptions provided in the CPSC standard; materials that are exempt from 16 CFR part 1201 would continue to be exempt, and those exempt materials would not be subject to the ANSI test procedures. The proposed amendment, however, would adopt the ANSI standard for the remaining test procedures in the CPSC standard.

B. Test Procedures for Glazing Materials

The proposed amendment replacing the CPSC test procedures in 16 CFR 1201.4 with the ANSI test procedures will clarify the existing test procedures and update references to current test methods.

1. Obsolete References Will Be Replaced With Updated Test Methods

Currently, 16 CFR 1201.4(b)(3)(ii) refers to obsolete ASTM standard practices and equipment, which have been replaced in the ANSI standard (5.4.1.1, 5.4.1.2). For example, the simulated weathering test in the CPSC standard references two outdated ASTM standards:

• ASTM G26-70—Practice for Operating Light Exposure Apparatus (Xenon-Arc Type) With and Without Water for Exposure of Nonmetallic Materials, was withdrawn by ASTM in 2000, and replaced with ASTM G155—Practice for Operating Xenon Arc Light Apparatus for Exposure of Non-Metallic Materials.

• The obsolete 1970 edition of ASTM D2565-70—Practice for Xenon-Arc Exposure of Plastics Intended for Outdoor Applications, has been revised over the years; its current edition is ASTM D2565-99 (2008).

For manufacturers who test to both the 16 CFR 1201.4 and the ANSI standard, using these withdrawn and obsolete versions of current standards can result in increased costs and duplication of testing if manufacturers are required to test to the earlier versions of these editions to meet the regulation and also test to the current versions of these standard practice test procedures to meet the voluntary standard. Furthermore, the old standards referenced in 16 CFR 1201.4(b)(3)(ii) require obsolete test equipment that is currently not manufactured. By replacing the CPSC testing procedures with the updated references in the ANSI standard, the proposed amendment would allow the use of currently manufactured test equipment rather than the obsolete and outdated equipment referenced in section 1201.4(b)(3)(ii). The updated references would not involve a material change to the standard because changing these references to reflect current test methods would not alter the basic purpose of the CPSC standard.

2. The ANSI Impact Tests Are Similar to the Impact Tests in Section 1201.4(b)

Although ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 has been modified several times since the CPSC standard was published, the impact tests of 16 CFR 1201.4(b) and ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5) are similar. The CPSC standard shows drawings of a Glass Impact Test Structure (Figures 1-5) that is similar to the drawing of the Impact Test Frame drawing in ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (Figures 1-7), except for differences in the descriptive terms used for naming the parts of the test apparatus, i.e., Main Frame and Sub-Frame in ANSI Z97.1-2009,ε 2 versus 16 CFR 1201.4's Impact Test Structure and Test Specimen Mounting Frame. ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 provides enlarged drawings of the Impact Test Frame. Overall, the Glass Impact Test Structure of 16 CFR 1201.4 appears to be of similar construction to the ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 Impact Test Frame, except that ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 provides clearer assembly drawings.

The ANSI drawings are larger and clearer to use, which would benefit manufacturers. In addition, if the ANSI impact test procedures were adopted, manufacturers who currently test to both the CPSC standard and ANSI standard could avoid duplicative testing because the manufacturers would not need to conduct impact tests for both the CPSC standard and the ANSI standard. The proposed amendment adopting the ANSI test procedures would not involve a material change to the standard because the ANSI impact tests are comparable to the CPSC impact tests, but clearer construction drawings are provided in the ANSI standard.

3. The ANSI Test Procedures Clarify Specimen Categories, Methodology, and Quantity

The CPSC standard provides two impact categories, 150 foot-pound impact test (Category I) and 400 foot-pound impact test (Category II). 16 CFR 1201.4(d). The ANSI standard provides three impact categories (5.1.2.1): A 400 foot-pound impact test (Class A); a 150 foot-pound impact test (Class B); and a 100 foot-pound impact test (Class C) for fire-resistant wired glass. The proposed amendment would not result in a material change because the impact categories in the CPSC standard would remain the same and still include the 150 foot-pound impact test and 400 foot-pound impact test. The 100 foot-pound test in the ANSI standard only applies to fire-resistant wired glass, a product that is exempt from the CPSC standard. The Commission is not proposing to change the scope of the materials covered by the CPSC standard. Thus, manufacturers would not be required to follow the ANSI standard 100 foot-pound impact test (Class C) for fire-resistant wired glass because these materials remain exempt under the proposed amendment.

Both 16 CFR 1201.4(e)(1) and ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.1.4 (1)) permit using a 3-inch diameter steel sphere for evaluating any hole remaining in an impact tested specimen after the impact test for flat specimens. However, the standards differ because the CPSC standard requires that the specimen be evaluated in a horizontal position after the vertical test is completed. ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 requires that the impacted specimen remain in the vertical, upright as-impact tested position while being evaluated with the 3-inch diameter steel sphere. Adopting the ANSI test procedure does not constitute a material change in the test method because the basic purpose of the requirement is not altered; rather, the test procedure is clarified. Leaving the specimen in the vertical position makes it less likely that gravity or human error will contribute to the potential failure of a product.

In addition, the requirements for size classification of impact specimens at 16 CFR 1201.4(c)(2) does not specify the number of specimens to be impact tested; rather, the standard requires only that the largest size and each thickness offered by the manufacturer are to be tested. However, ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (4.4) requires that four specimens of each size and thickness are to be impact tested. Specifying the number of specimens to be tested would not involve a material change to the standard because the proposed amendment would not alter the basic purpose of the requirement; rather, the ANSI test method would clarify the number of specimens to be tested, which would help reduce confusion on the number of specimens to be tested and provide a clearer test for manufacturers.

4. The ANSI Test Procedures Clarify Procedures for Evaluating Tempered Glass Specimens

ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.2) has more specific procedures for evaluating tempered glass specimens than 16 CFR 1201.4(d). The ANSI standard specifies a procedure to evaluate tempered glass specimens that did not fracture as a result of the 400 foot-pound Class A impact test. In the CPSC standard, fragmented pieces of glass were evaluated, by size and weight, only if the specimen failed the impact test. The ANSI standard requires that all samples that have been impacted be subjected to a “Center Punch Fragmentation Test,” which requires purposely fracturing the unbroken impact-tested tempered glass specimen with a center punch and hammer. In both cases, the fractured pieces of the tempered glass specimen are evaluated by weighing the 10 largest fragments. A tempered glass specimen is considered to conform to both the CPSC standard and ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 as acceptable for use as safety glazing, if the 10 largest fragments weigh no more than the equivalent of 10 in2 of the original unbroken specimen; however, ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 requires that the pieces selected be no longer than 4 inches in length. Adopting the ANSI test procedures for evaluating tempered glass would not alter the basic purpose of the CPSC standard; rather, the ANSI Center Punch Fragmentation Test provides a more accurate and efficient way of measuring potential failures, which would further clarify the impact test for tempered glass for manufacturers.

5. Other Provisions

There are other testing procedures in the CPSC standard and the ANSI standard that are similar. Both standards have a boil test for laminated glass and similar requirements for testing for failure (1201.4(c)(3)(i); ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.3)). Both standards provide for accelerated environmental durability testing for organic coated glass (1201.4(d)(2)(B); ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.4)); adhesion tests for organic coated glass (1201.4(e)(ii)(B)(1); ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.4.2.2.1)); tensile strength tests for organic coated glass (1201.4(e)(ii)(B)(2); ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.4.2.2.2)); and impact testing of organic coated glazing materials for indoor service (1201.4(c)(3)(iii); ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 (5.4.3)). The similarities in the testing procedures between the two standards further support the adoption of the proposed ANSI testing procedures. The proposed amendment would not result in a material change because the tests are comparable; however, manufacturers who currently test to both the CPSC standard and ANSI standard could reduce confusion regarding which standard to follow, and avoid duplicative testing, if the Commission specified the use of the ANSI test procedures.

III. Injury Information

CPSC Staff reviewed the Injury and Potential Injury Incident (IPII), In-Depth Investigation IDI), and Death Certificate databases for injuries reported to the Commission and identified 430 incidents for the period from 1978 to 2014. Since 1978, 98 architectural glazing-related fatalities were reported to the CPSC. Shower doors and enclosures accounted for 64 percent of the injuries and deaths. Glass or partial glass storm doors accounted for 15 percent of the reported injuries and deaths, and “sliding glass” doors or doors only specified as “glass doors” accounted for 8 percent each of the reported injuries and deaths. At least two of the incidents involved wired glass, which is exempt from the CPSC standard.

In addition to reviewing the CPSC databases, CSPC staff also identified 9,942 cases that occurred during the period from 1991 through 2013, which involved injuries from architectural glazing products treated in the emergency departments of CPSC's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (“NEISS”) member hospitals. Staff determined that due to design changes within NEISS, estimates made before 1991 are not comparable. Based on these cases, staff computed a national estimate of 420,000 emergency department-treated injuries, with a coefficient of variance of 0.0648 percent. The 95 percent confidence interval for this estimate is 366,000 to 473,000. Ninety-six percent of the cases during the 1992 to 2013 period, which were reviewed by staff, involved lacerations. During this 20-year time period, the estimated number of emergency department-treated architectural glazing breakage incidents has declined.

Injury severity ranged from minor lacerations, abrasions, and contusions, to more severe laceration, puncture, and penetration injuries. The body part most often involved in these incidents was the arm (46.8%), followed by hand (30.1%), and head (8.6%). The incidents captured in NEISS suggest that the most severe injuries (i.e., injuries that necessitated transfer to another hospital or admission to the hospital where emergency room treatment was provided) represented approximately 5 percent of the total. Lacerations are the most common hazard associated with glazing failures, and can range from superficial to extreme in their severity. Severe injuries often require surgery and rehabilitation, which may result in the loss of motion, loss of sensation, or permanent disfigurement.

Although many incident reports lacked detailed information about the injury, a review of the incidents from the CPSC databases suggests that many of the injuries and deaths resulted from products that did not meet the CPSC standard; the deep laceration injuries and puncture and penetration wounds reported in these incidents, some of which were fatal, most likely resulted from large glass fragments from broken pieces of non-safety glass.

IV. Impact on Consumer Safety

To assess the potential effect of the proposed amendment on consumer safety, in January 2014, CPSC staff collected information on sample data from 16 SGCC-approved testing laboratories to assess the relative compliance of architectural glazing companies with 16 CFR 1201.4 and the ANSI standard. The 16 laboratories represented approximately 70 percent of the third party testing laboratories responsible for testing architectural glazing products. Specifically, the companies were asked if specimens that pass 16 CFR 1201.4 were ever noncompliant with ANSI standard, and if so, the frequency of such occurrence. Ninety percent of all responses stated that there had never been an instance in which a specimen that complied with the ANSI standard did not also comply with the requirements of 16 CFR 1201.4.

These data indicate that replacing the CPSC standard testing procedures with the testing procedures in the ANSI standard would not have an important or significant impact on consumer safety because only a small number of samples tested (5 out of more than 3,500) failed the CPSC standard testing, but passed when tested to the voluntary standard. Accordingly, the data show that testing to either standard provides consistent testing results, and adopting the ANSI standard would not significantly affect the testing results.

V. Burdens on Industry Generally

As discussed in section II, replacing the test procedures in 16 CFR 1201.4 with the ANSI standard test procedures will make product testing more efficient and avoid potentially redundant tests for manufacturers who currently comply with the voluntary and the CPSC standard. Moreover, there is already substantial compliance with the ANSI standard.

CPSC staff's review showed that there are about 250 manufacturers of architectural glazing materials and roughly 2,500 glazing material products certified annually. SGCC manages the certification testing for about 70 percent of the market. The remaining manufacturers conduct in-house testing or they contract testing through labs outside of SGCC. All but a small proportion of these manufacturers currently test to both the CPSC mandatory standard and the ANSI voluntary standard.

Most manufacturers in the architectural glazing industry certify their products to ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 and 16 CFR part 1201. Of the products certified through SGCC, 99 percent or 1,855 products were certified to both ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 and 16 CFR part 1201. Only 12 products (0.6%) were certified solely to ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2; seven products (0.4%) were certified solely to 16 CFR part 1201. CPSC staff's review of manufacturers from the Glass Association of North America (“GANA”), which consists of members that both do and do not participate in the SGCC program, indicated that of the 35 manufacturers that test their products outside of SGCC and provided certification information, 32 manufacturers certified to both standards, and only three manufacturers listed certification to just 16 CFR part 1201.

Based on CPSC staff's review, if the ANSI standard test procedures were adopted, the proposed amendment would not have an important or significant impact on the burdens imposed on the regulated industry. Almost all of the manufacturers already certify to the ANSI standard. Manufacturers currently testing to both the ANSI standard and the CPSC standard will probably experience a decrease in testing and certification costs because they would only need to follow one testing protocol to be certified to both standards. This reduces the number of samples that a manufacturer needs to fabricate for testing, which will directly reduce certification costs. In addition, for manufacturers who contract out their testing, shipping costs will be reduced, due to the smaller number of samples shipped. SGCC estimates that its customers each would save an average of $1,284 per product tested annually. Thus, the proposed amendment likely would lessen the impact on the burdens imposed on industry to meet the requirements of the CPSC standard.

VI. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (“RFA”) requires that proposed rules be reviewed for the potential economic impact on small entities, including small businesses. 5 U.S.C. 601-612. Section 603 of the RFA requires agencies to prepare and make available for public comment an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”), describing the impact of the proposed rule on small entities and identifying impact-reducing alternatives. The requirement to prepare an IRFA does not apply if the agency certifies that the rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Id. 605. Because the Commission expects that the economic effect on all entities will be minimal, the Commission certifies that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rule Would Apply

The U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) guidelines categorize manufacturers of flat glass as “small” if they have fewer than 1,000 employees; and they categorize manufacturers of products made with purchased glass as “small” if they have fewer than 500 employees. In cases where firms fall under both categories, the size standard for flat glass manufacturers is applied to classify the firm. Based upon these criteria, the number of small manufacturers and importers identified in the architectural glazing market is 104, including 10 firms of undetermined size. Of the 104 small manufacturers known to produce architectural glass, 84 certify their products through the SGCC and 20 certify their products through other in-house testing, or they contract the testing.

The expected impact of the proposed rule is to reduce the costs of certification for most manufacturers. The 102 of 104 small manufacturers currently testing to both the ANSI standard and the CPSC standard also will probably experience a decrease in testing and certification costs because they would only need to follow one testing protocol to be certified to both standards. This reduces the number of samples a manufacturer needs to fabricate for testing, thus directly reducing certification costs. In addition, for manufacturers who contract out their testing, shipping costs will be reduced, due to the smaller number of samples shipped.

SGCC estimates that its customers would each save an average of $1,284 per product tested annually. Two manufacturers outside SGCC's membership who currently test to both standards will also likely see cost savings. However, if these two manufacturers currently conduct their testing in-house, they do not incur the costs of shipping samples to SGCC; thus, the cost savings will be limited to the savings from fabricating fewer testing samples.

One of the two small domestic manufacturers that does not certify to both standards is listed under SGCC's certified products directory and tests products only to 16 CFR part 1201. SGCC's fees are structured so that testing to ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 and 16 CFR part 1201 currently cost the manufacturer the same. Thus, this manufacturer should not experience an increase in testing fees from aligning 16 CFR 1201.4's testing protocol with ANSI Z97.1-2009 2. However, there will probably be an increase in cost associated with the shipping and fabrication of the higher number of CPSC samples required to be tested under ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2.

Of those small manufacturers identified outside of SGCC, only one was found to have products tested only to 16 CFR 1201.4, according to certification information readily available. This small manufacturer contracts out to a lab for certification and the lab tests to both standards. Therefore, this small manufacturer should not incur any significant increase due to testing fees. However, this manufacturer could experience some increase in shipping and fabricating costs, as identified above.

In summary, 102 of 104 small architectural glazing producers (or about 98 percent of the small producers) would experience some slight cost savings, or no impact, due to the proposed amendment. Consequently, the Commission certifies that the proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the RFA.

VII. Environmental Considerations

Generally, the Commission's regulations are considered to have little or no potential for affecting the human environment, and environmental assessments and impact statements are not usually required. See 16 CFR 1021.5(a). The proposed rule is not expected to have an adverse impact on the environment and is considered to fall within the “categorical exclusion” for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act. 16 CFR 1021.5(c). However, the proposed rule will decrease the number of samples that most manufacturers are required to test, and will likely lead to a small, beneficial effect on the environment because waste produced by the manufacture of excess samples, and the transport of those samples, will be reduced.

VIII. Paperwork Reduction Act

Currently, there is no paperwork collection burden associated with 16 CFR part 1201, and the proposed amendment to the regulation does not create any new paperwork collection burdens. Thus, no paperwork burden is associated with the proposed rule, and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) does not apply.

IX. Executive Order 12988 (Preemption)

Section 26(a) of the CPSA, 15 U.S.C. 2075(a), provides that when a consumer product safety standard under this Act is in effect and applies to a risk of injury associated with a consumer product, no state or political subdivision of a state may either establish or continue in effect any provision of a safety standard or regulation which prescribes any requirements as to the performance, composition, contents, design, finish, construction, packaging, or labeling of such product, which are designed to deal with the same risk of injury associated with such consumer product, unless such requirements are identical to the requirements of the federal standard. Section 9(h) of the CPSA provides that the Commission may by rule amend any consumer product safety rule. Therefore, the preemption provision of section 26(a) of the CPSA would apply to any rule issued under section 9(h).

X. Effective Date

The APA generally requires that the effective date of a rule be at least 30 days after publication of a final rule. 5 U.S.C. 553(d). Accordingly, if a final rule is issued, the amendment will go into effect 30 days after publication of a final rule.

XI. Incorporation by Reference

The Commission proposes to incorporate by reference ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2. The Office of the Federal Register (“OFR”) has regulations concerning incorporation by reference. 1 CFR part 51. The OFR recently revised these regulations to require that, for a proposed rule, agencies must discuss in the preamble to the NPR, ways that the materials that the agency proposes to incorporate by reference are reasonably available to interested persons, or how the agency worked to make the materials reasonably available. In addition, the preamble to the proposed rule must summarize the material. 1 CFR 51.5(a).

In accordance with the OFR's requirements, section II of this preamble summarizes the ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 standard that the Commission proposes to incorporate by reference into 16 CFR part 1201. Interested persons may purchase a copy of ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2 from the following address. Attn: ANSI Customer Service Department, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036. The standard is also available for purchase from ANSI's Web site: http://webstore.ansi.org/RecordDetail.aspx?sku=ANSI+Z97.1-2009. A copy of the standard can also be inspected at CPSC's Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, telephone 301-504-7923.

XII. Request for Comments

The Commission invites interested persons to submit their comments to the Commission on any aspect of the proposed amendment. Comments should be submitted as provided in the instructions in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this notice.

List of Subjects in 16 CFR Part 1201

Administrative practice and procedure, Consumer protection, Imports, Labeling, Law enforcement, Incorporation by reference.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Consumer Product Safety Commission proposes to amend 16 CFR part 1201 as follows:

PART 1201—SAFETY STANDARD FOR ARCHITECTURAL GLAZING MATERIALS 1. The authority citation for part 1201 continues to read as follows: Authority:

Secs. 2, 3, 7, 9, 14, 19. Pub.L. 92-573, 86 Stat. 1212-17; (15 U.S.C. 2051, 2052, 2056, 2058, 2063, 2068).

§ 1201.4 [Amended]
2. Revise § 1201.4 to read as follows:

(a) Except as provided in § 1201.1(c) and (d), architectural glazing products shall be tested in accordance with all of the applicable test provisions of ANSI Z97.1-2009ε 2American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials Used in Building—Safety Performance Specifications and Methods of Test.” The Director of the Federal Register approves the incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. You may obtain a copy from ANSI Customer Service Department, 25 W 43rd Street, 4th Floor, New York NY, 10036. You may inspect a copy at the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Room 820, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, telephone 301-504-7923, or 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.

(b) [Reserved]

3. Remove Figures 1 through 5 to Subpart A of Part 1201. Dated: May 19, 2015. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary, Consumer Product Safety Commission.
[FR Doc. 2015-12438 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 11 [Docket No. RM15-18-000] Commencement of Assessment of Annual Charges AGENCY:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes to revise its regulations regarding when the Commission will commence assessing annual charges to hydropower licensees and exemptees, other than state or municipal entities, with respect to licenses and exemptions authorizing unconstructed projects and new capacity. Specifically, the Commission proposes to commence assessing annual charges two years from the effective date of the project license, exemption, or amendment authorizing new capacity, rather than on the date that project construction starts. The proposed revisions will provide administrative efficiency and promote certainty among licensees, exemptees, and Commission staff as to when annual charges will commence.

DATES:

Comments are due July 21, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Comments, identified by docket number, may be filed in the following ways:

• Electronic filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents created electronically using word processing software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format, rather than in a scanned format.

• Mail/Hand Delivery. Those unable to file electronically may mail or hand-deliver comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

Instructions: For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comment Procedures section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tara DiJohn (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8671, [email protected] Norman Richardson (Technical Information), Office of the Executive Director, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6219, [email protected] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

TABLE OF CONTENTS Paragraph

  • Number
  • I. Background 1. II. Proposed Revisions 8. III. Regulatory Requirements 13. A. Information Collection Statement 13. B. Environmental Analysis 14. C. Regulatory Flexibility Act 15. D. Comment Procedures 20. E. Document Availability 24. I. Background

    1. Section 10(e)(1) of the Federal Power Act (FPA),1 and section 3401 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986,2 require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) to, among other things, collect annual charges from licensees in order to reimburse the United States for the costs of administering Part I of the FPA. The Commission assesses these annual charges against licensees and exemptees of projects with more than 1.5 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity under section 11.1 of its regulations.3

    1 16 U.S.C. 803(e)(1) (2012).

    2 42 U.S.C. 7178 (2012).

    3 18 CFR 11.1 (2014).

    2. Currently, the Commission begins assessing these annual charges against licensees and exemptees with original licenses or exemptions authorizing unconstructed projects on the date project construction starts.4 The Commission also begins assessing annual charges for new capacity, authorized by a relicense 5 or an amendment of a license or exemption, on the date that the construction to enable such capacity starts.6 Because this proposed rule affects only projects with respect to which annual charges are assessed when project construction starts, we will not further discuss state or municipal projects, projects that do not have installed capacity that exceeds 1.5 MW, or constructed projects without newly authorized capacity.7

    4Id. (c)(5).

    5 We use the term “relicense” to refer to any new or subsequent license.

    6 18 CFR 11.1(c)(5) (2014). We refer to the addition of capacity and a reduction of capacity (on occasion, capacity is reduced as a result of construction, in which case annual charges are lowered) as “new capacity.”

    7 Licensees or exemptees that are state or municipal entities are already not assessed annual charges until project operation commences. 18 CFR 11.1(d)(6) (2014). As noted above, the Commission does not assess annual charges with respect to projects with installed capacity of less than or equal to 1.5 MW. Licensees or exemptees of constructed projects without new capacity are assessed annual charges immediately, because their entire capacity is already in place. See 18 CFR 11.1(c)(5) (2014).

    3. Recently, to determine when project construction starts for annual charges purposes, the Commission has included language in its orders requiring the licensee or exemptee to notify the Commission when project construction begins.8 Otherwise, the Commission has to contact the licensee or exemptee to determine that date.

    8See, e.g., Eagle Crest Energy Company, 147 FERC ¶ 61,220, at Article 207 (2014) (requiring the licensee to notify the Commission of the date when it starts construction of the unconstructed project); Wisconsin Electric Power Co., 144 FERC ¶ 62,268, at ordering para. (G) (2013) (requiring the licensee to notify the Commission of the date when it starts construction of the newly authorized capacity).

    4. Annual charges assessment should typically commence within two years of the effective date of the order issuing a license, exemption, or amendment adding capacity.9 Original licenses and relicenses require a licensee to start construction no later than two years from the effective license date pursuant to section 13 of the FPA.10 Similarly, exemptions of unconstructed projects include standard exemption Article 3, which allows the Commission to revoke an exemption if actual construction of the proposed generating facilities has not begun within two years.11 Amendments adding new capacity include an ordering paragraph that typically requires the licensee or exemptee to start construction within two years of the amendment's issuance date.12

    9 Unless otherwise specified, orders are effective on the date of issuance. 18 CFR 385.2007(c)(1) (2014). On occasion, a relicense is issued before the expiration of the prior license. In that circumstance, the effective date would not be the date of issuance and would instead be established in the order to coincide with the expiration of the prior license.

    10See 16 U.S.C. 806 (2012).

    11 18 CFR 4.94(c) (2014).

    12See, e.g., Northern States Power Co., 138 FERC ¶ 62,022, at ordering para. (E) (2012).

    5. In some cases, construction may not begin by the two-year deadline and therefore annual charges assessment may begin more than two years after the effective date (e.g., when a license's start of construction deadline is extended by the Commission for an additional period of no more than two years as permitted by section 13 of the FPA).13 In rare cases, the Commission has granted requests for stay of a license's start of construction deadline, or of an entire license, in certain narrowly circumscribed circumstances.14 On average, the Commission grants extensions and stays of a license's start of construction deadline 3.4 and zero 15 times per year, respectively.

    13 16 U.S.C. 806 (2012).

    14 Such circumstances may exist where there are preconditions to construction that are beyond a licensee's control but will likely be resolved within a definitive period of time. See City of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, 142 FERC ¶ 61,118, at PP 8-9 (2013) (staying the start of construction deadline where City presented sufficient proof it would not be able to timely start project construction for reasons outside of its control).

    15 From 2010 through 2014, the Commission granted three requests for stays of construction deadlines to municipal licensees with projects at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' dams.

    6. Similarly, exemptees may not begin construction by the deadline, and may request that the Commission extend the deadline to start construction. The Commission expects the prompt development of exemption projects and that exemption applicants will anticipate and solve problems that affect construction either before or during the time that they seek their exemptions.16 From 2010 through 2014, the Commission granted two extensions of start of construction deadlines, or on average 0.4 times per year, to exemptees.

    16Ralph and Raleigh Coppedge, 28 FERC ¶ 61,363, at 61,654 & n.11 (1984) (citing, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 1977-1981 ¶ 30,204, at 31,368 (1980). Exemption from All or Part of Part I of the Federal Power Act of Small Hydroelectric Power Projects With an Installed Capacity of Five Megawatts or Less, Order No. 106.

    7. Licensees and exemptees can experience delays and may request an extension of an amendment order's start of construction deadline as well. From 2010 through 2014, the Commission granted six initial extensions of a start of construction deadline, or an average of 1.2 extensions per year, to licensees granted amendments authorizing new capacity.

    II. Proposed Revisions

    8. The Commission proposes to revise section 11.1(c)(5) of its regulations regarding when it will commence assessing annual charges with respect to hydropower licenses and exemptions authorizing unconstructed projects and new capacity. Specifically, the Commission proposes to commence assessing annual charges two years from the effective date of an order issuing a license, exemption, or an amendment authorizing additional capacity, rather than on the date project construction starts.

    9. The Commission anticipates the proposed rule will provide administrative efficiency and foster certainty among licensees, exemptees, and Commission staff as to when annual charges will commence. Licensees and exemptees will no longer need to notify the Commission when project construction starts for the purpose of assessing annual charges and, in turn, the Commission will not have to contact the licensee or exemptee for this purpose.

    10. This proposed change, however, will affect those licensees and exemptees that do not start construction within two years. Annual charges will be assessed two years from the effective date of an order issuing a license, exemption, or an amendment authorizing additional capacity, regardless of whether the Commission has granted an extension of time for construction or a stay of the construction deadline.17 As noted above, on average, 5 (3.4 licenses + 0.4 exemptions + 1.2 license amendments) affected projects each year receive extensions of the start of construction deadline, and zero receive a stay of the start of construction deadline.18

    17 Additionally, this proposed change may affect any licensees and exemptees that utilize a phase-in approach for adding capacity.

    18 Stays of entire licenses, however, will continue to stay the assessment of annual charges.

    11. In addition, licensees and exemptees that do not start construction by the deadline established in their license or exemption, or as extended by the Commission, will be affected. If a licensee fails to start construction within two years of its license's effective date or as extended by the Commission, the Commission must terminate the license pursuant to section 13 of the FPA.19 Similarly, as noted above, standard exemption Article 3 states that the Commission may revoke an exemption if the exemptee fails to start construction within the time prescribed by the Commission. From 2010 through 2014, the Commission terminated one license, or an average of 0.2 licenses per year, and no exemptions. Therefore, we estimate that annually 0.2 licenses would have been assessed annual charges after the two-year deadline until their termination for failure to construct.

    19 16 U.S.C. 806 (2012).

    12. In sum, we anticipate that, on average, 5.2 (5 extensions + 0.2 terminations) licensees and/or exemptees per year will begin paying annual charges before starting construction or before the Commission terminates its license or revokes its exemption under the proposed rule.

    III. Regulatory Requirements A. Information Collection Statement

    13. The Paperwork Reduction Act 20 requires each federal agency to seek and obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval before undertaking a collection of information directed to ten or more persons or contained in a rule of general applicability. OMB regulations require approval of certain information collection requirements contemplated by proposed rules.21 The proposed revisions discussed above do not impose or alter existing reporting or recordkeeping requirements on applicable entities as defined by the Paperwork Reduction Act.22 Therefore, the Commission will submit this proposed rule to OMB for informational purposes only.

    20 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521 (2012).

    21See 5 CFR 1320.11 (2014).

    22 44 U.S.C. 3502(2)-(3) (2012).

    B. Environmental Analysis

    14. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.23 Commission actions concerning annual charges are categorically exempt from this requirement.24

    23Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47,897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 1986-1990 ¶ 30,783 (1987).

    24See 18 CFR 380.4 (a)(11) (2014).

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    15. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) 25 generally requires a description and analysis of proposed and final rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that accomplish the stated objectives of a proposed rule and minimize any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.26

    25 5 U.S.C. 601-612 (2012).

    26 5 U.S.C. 603(c) (2012).

    16. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size Standards develops the numerical definition of a small business.27 The SBA revised its size standard for electric utilities (effective January 22, 2014) from a standard based on megawatt hours to a standard based on the number of employees, including affiliates.28 Under SBA's current size standards, a hydroelectric generator is small if, including its affiliates, it employs 500 or fewer people.29 The Commission, however, currently does not require information regarding the number of individuals employed by hydroelectric generators to administer Part I of the FPA, and therefore, is unable to estimate the number of small entities using the new SBA definitions. Regardless, the Commission anticipates that the proposed rule will affect few small hydroelectric generators.

    27 13 CFR 121.101 (2014).

    28 SBA Final Rule on “Small Business Size Standards: Utilities,” 78 FR 77,343 (Dec. 23, 2013).

    29 13 CFR 121.201, Sector 22, Utilities (2014).

    17. As noted earlier, the proposed rule will only affect non-state or municipal licensed projects with an installed capacity exceeding 1.5 MW that are unconstructed or have newly authorized capacity. From 2010 through 2014, the Commission issued on average 3.6 original licenses and 0.4 exemptions per year authorizing unconstructed projects to affected licensees and exemptees, and 1.6 relicenses and 5 license amendments per year authorizing new capacity. In sum, on average a total of 10.6 licensees and exemptees may be affected by the proposed rule annually.

    18. Of the 10.6 total entities, only those that do not start construction within two years, or receive a stay of their license, will be negatively affected by the acceleration of annual charges. As noted above, on average, 5.2 affected licensees and/or exemptees per year do not start construction within two years. Conversely, small entities that would otherwise start construction before the two year mark after their effective date will benefit from the proposed rule as it delays the commencement of their annual charges.

    19. Accordingly, pursuant to section 605(b) of the RFA, the Commission certifies that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    D. Comment Procedures

    20. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due July 21, 2015. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM15-18-000, and must include the commenter's name, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address.

    21. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing formats. Documents created electronically using word processing software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned format. Commenters filing electronically do not need to make a paper filing.

    22. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    23. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.

    E. Document Availability

    24. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and print the contents of this document via the Internet through the Commission's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and in the Commission's Public Reference Room during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426.

    25. From the Commission's Home Page on the Internet, this information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket number field.

    26. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's Online Support at (202) 502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at [email protected], or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-8371, TTY (202) 502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at [email protected]

    List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 11

    Electric power, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Issued: May 14, 2015 Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend Part 11, Chapter I, Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 11—ANNUAL CHARGES UNDER PART I OF THE FEDERAL POWER ACT 1. The authority citation for Part 11 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 792-828c; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.

    2. Revise § 11.1(c)(5) to read as follows:
    § 11.1 Costs of administration.

    (c) * * *

    (5) For unconstructed projects, the assessments start two years after the effective date of the license or exemption. For constructed projects, the assessments start on the effective date of the license or exemption, except for any new capacity authorized therein. The assessments for new authorized capacity start two years after the effective date of the license, exemption, or amendment, authorizing such new capacity. In the event that assessment commences during a fiscal year, the charges will be prorated based on the date of commencement.

    [FR Doc. 2015-12432 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Parts 120, 123, 124, 125, and 126 RIN 1400-AC88 [Public Notice 9139] Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Exports and Temporary Imports Made to or on Behalf of a Department or Agency of the U.S. Government; Procedures for Obtaining State Department Authorization To Export Items Subject to the Export Administration Regulations; Revision to the Destination Control Statement; and Other Changes AGENCY:

    Department of State.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) effort, the Department of State is proposing to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to: clarify regulations pertaining to the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR); revise the licensing exemption for exports made to or on behalf of an agency of the U.S. government; revise the destination control statement in ITAR § 123.9 to harmonize the language with the EAR; and make several minor edits for clarity. The proposed revisions contained in this rule are part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under E.O. 13563.

    DATES:

    The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 6, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties may submit comments by one of the following methods:

    • Email: [email protected] with the subject line, “ITAR Amendment—To or on behalf of”;

    • Internet: At www.regulations.gov, search for this proposed rule by using this proposed rule's RIN (1400-AC88).

    Comments received after that date will be considered if feasible, but consideration cannot be assured. Those submitting comments should not include any personally identifying information they do not desire to be made public or information for which a claim of confidentiality is asserted because those comments and/or transmittal emails will be made available for public inspection and copying after the close of the comment period via the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls Web site at www.pmddtc.state.gov. Parties who wish to comment anonymously may do so by submitting their comments via www.regulations.gov, leaving the fields that would identify the commenter blank and including no identifying information in the comment itself. Comments submitted via www.regulations.gov are immediately available for public inspection.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. C. Edward Peartree, Director, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy, Department of State, telephone (202) 663-2792; email [email protected] ATTN: ITAR Amendment—To or on behalf of. The Department of State's full retrospective plan can be accessed at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/181028.pdf.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department proposes to make the following revisions in this rule:

    Items subject to the EAR: This proposed rule adds clarifying language to various provisions of the ITAR pertaining to the export of items subject to the EAR pursuant to a Department of State authorization, when such exports are made in conjunction with items subject to the ITAR. These revisions include guidance on the use of licensing exemptions for export of such items, as well as clarification that items subject to the EAR are not considered defense articles, even when exported under a license or other approval (to include exemptions, see § 120.20) issued by the Department of State.

    Items exported to or on behalf of an agency of the U.S. government: This proposed rule revises the licensing exemption language in ITAR § 126.4 to clarify when exports may be made to or on behalf of an agency of the U.S. government without a license. Additionally, the scope of this exemption is expanded in that it will allow for permanent exports, rather than only temporary exports. The Department seeks comments from the public on whether the proposed revision adequately eliminates ambiguity as to when the exemption may be applied, and whether it creates any unintended compliance burden.

    Revision to the Destination Control Statement: This proposed rule revises the destination control statement in ITAR § 123.9 to harmonize its language with the EAR. This change is being made to facilitate the President's Export Control Reform initiative, which has transferred thousands of formerly ITAR-controlled defense article parts and components, along with other items, to the Commerce Control List in the EAR under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce.

    This change in jurisdiction for many parts and components, along with other items, for military systems has increased the incidence of exporters shipping articles subject to both the ITAR and the EAR in the same shipment. Both regulations have a mandatory destination control statement that must be on the export control documents for shipments that include items subject to both sets of regulations. This has caused confusion to exporters as to which statement to include on mixed shipments, or whether to include both. Harmonizing these statements will ease the regulatory burden on exporters.

    Procedures for Obtaining State Department Authorization to Export Items Subject to the EAR: This proposed rule revises the ITAR in a number of places to clarify how parties may obtain authorization from the Department to export or retransfer items subject to the EAR. Section 120.5 is revised to clarify that items subject to the EAR may be authorized pursuant to an exemption with certain conditions. A new paragraph (d) is added to ITAR § 123.9 to clarify the requirements for retransferring items subject to the EAR pursuant to a letter of General Correspondence. Section 124.16 is revised to clarify that the special retransfer authorization of this section may be used for items subject to the EAR with certain conditions.

    Other changes in this rule: The Department proposes to make a number of minor edits to the ITAR that will address erroneous or outdated reporting requirements. This rule would remove the requirement to provide seven paper copies for various export license requests in §§ 124.7, 124.12, 124.14, 125.2, 125.7 and 126.9, which has not been necessary for many years due to the use of electronic license submissions, change the identification of the agency responsible for permanent import authorizations in § 123.4 from the Department of the Treasury to Department of Justice, and impose the Code of Federal Regulations paragraph structure on § 124.8. Additionally, the Department proposes removing the pilot filing requirement found in § 123.13, given that it does not take into account the practices of modern airport operations and is no longer necessary.

    Regulatory Analysis and Notices Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department of State is of the opinion that controlling the import and export of defense articles and services is a foreign affairs function of the United States government and that rules implementing this function are exempt from §§ 553 (rulemaking) and 554 (adjudications) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Although the Department is of the opinion that this rule is exempt from the rulemaking provisions of the APA, the Department is publishing this rule with a 45-day provision for public comment and without prejudice to its determination that controlling the import and export of defense services is a foreign affairs function.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Since the Department of State is of the opinion that this proposed rule is exempt from the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 553, there is no requirement for an analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This proposed rulemaking does not involve a mandate that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    The Department does not believe this rulemaking is a major rule as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804.

    Executive Orders 12372 and 13132

    This proposed rulemaking 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, it is determined that this proposed rulemaking does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do not apply to this proposed rulemaking.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributed impacts, and equity). These executive orders stress the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. These rules have been designated “significant regulatory actions,” although not economically significant, under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, this proposed rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    Executive Order 12988

    The Department of State has reviewed this proposed rulemaking in light of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate ambiguity, minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and reduce burden.

    Executive Order 13175

    The Department of State has determined that this proposed rulemaking will not have tribal implications, will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments, and will not preempt tribal law. Accordingly, the provisions of Executive Order 13175 do not apply to this proposed rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35. This rule removes provisions that previously required the applicant to provide seven additional copies for various export license requests. The Department believes that there will be little or no practical burden reduction since the use of electronic methods of filing has made the requirement for “seven copies” obsolete.

    The following information collections are affected by this rulemaking:

    1. Application/License for Permanent Export of Unclassified Defense Articles and Related Unclassified Technical Data, OMB Control No. 1405-0003;

    2. Application/License for Temporary Import of Unclassified Defense Articles, OMB Control No. 1405-0013;

    3. Application/License for the Permanent/Temporary Export or Temporary Import of Classified Defense Articles and Classified Technical Data, OMB Control No. 1405-0022;

    4. Application/License for Temporary Export of Unclassified Defense Articles, OMB Control No. 1405-0023;

    5. Application for Amendment to License for Export or Import of Classified or Unclassified Defense Articles and Related Technical Data OMB Control No. 1405-0092;

    6. Request for Approval of Manufacturing License Agreements, Technical Assistance Agreements, and Other Agreements, OMB Control No. 1405-0093;

    7. Request to Change End User, End Use and/or Destination of Hardware, OMB Control No. 1405-00173; and

    8. Request for Advisory Opinion, OMB Control No. 1405-0174.

    The Department is requesting public comment on its estimate that there will be little or no change in the burdens associated with these information collections as a result of this rulemaking.

    Date: Comments will be accepted until July 21, 2015.

    Addresses: Interested parties may submit comments within 60 days of the date of publication by one of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected], with the subject line “AC88 PRA Burden Reduction”;

    Internet: At www.regulations.gov; please search for this proposed rule by using this proposed rule's RIN (1400-AC88) and indicate that you are commenting on the paperwork burden change in any (or all) of the eight information collections identified above.

    List of Subjects 22 CFR Parts 120 and 125

    Arms and munitions, Classified information, Exports.

    22 CFR Part 123

    Arms and munitions, Exports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    22 CFR Part 124

    Arms and munitions, Exports, Technical assistance.

    22 CFR Part 126

    Arms and munitions, Exports.

    Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, Title 22, Chapter I, Subchapter M, parts 120, 123, 124, 125, and 126 are proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 120—PURPOSE AND DEFINITIONS 1. The authority citation for part 120 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 2, 38, and 71, Pub. L. 90-629, 90 Stat. 744 (22 U.S.C. 2752, 2778, 2797); 22 U.S.C. 2794; 22 U.S.C. 2651a; Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 1920; Pub. L. 111-266; Section 1261, Pub. L. 112-239; E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129.

    2. Section 120.5 is amended by revising the section heading and paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 120.5 Relation to regulations of other agencies; export of items subject to the EAR.

    (b) A license or other approval (see § 120.20) from the Department of State granted in accordance with this subchapter may also authorize the export of items subject to the EAR (see § 120.42). Items subject to the EAR may be exported pursuant to an exemption (see parts 124, 125, and 126 of this subchapter), provided the items subject to the EAR are for use in or with defense articles authorized under a license or other approval. Separate approval from the Department of Commerce is not required for these items when approved for export under a Department of State license or other approval. Those items subject to the EAR exported pursuant to a Department of State license or other approval would remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce for any subsequent transactions. The inclusion of items subject to the EAR on a Department of State license or other approval does not change the licensing jurisdiction of the items. (See § 123.1(b) of this subchapter for guidance on identifying items subject to the EAR in a license application to the Department of State.)

    PART 123—LICENSES FOR THE EXPORT AND TEMPORARY IMPORT OF DEFENSE ARTICLES 3. The authority citation for part 123 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 2, 38, and 71, Pub. L. 90-629, 90 Stat. 744 (22 U.S.C. 2752, 2778, 2797); 22 U.S.C. 2753; 22 U.S.C. 2651a; 22 U.S.C. 2776; Pub. L. 105-261, 112 Stat. 1920; Sec. 1205(a), Pub. L. 107-228; Section 1261, Pub. L. 112-239; E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129.

    4. Section 123.4 is amended by revising paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:
    § 123.4 Temporary import license exemptions.

    (a) * * *

    (4) Has been rejected for permanent import by the Department of Justice and is being returned to the country from which it was shipped; or

    5. Section 123.9 is amended by revising paragraphs (b)(1) and (2), and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 123.9 Country of ultimate destination and approval of reexports or retransfers.

    (b) * * *

    (1) The exporter must incorporate the following information as an integral part of the bill of lading, air waybill, or other shipping document, and the purchase documentation or invoice whenever defense articles are to be exported, retransferred, or reexported pursuant to a license or other approval under this subchapter:

    (i) The country of ultimate destination;

    (ii) The end-user;

    (iii) The license or other approval number or exemption citation; and

    (iv) The following statement: “These items are controlled and authorized by the U.S. government for export only to the country of ultimate destination for use by the end-user herein identified. They may not be resold, transferred, or otherwise be disposed of, to any other country or to any person other than the authorized end-user or consignee(s), either in their original form or after being incorporated into other items, without first obtaining approval from the U.S. government or as otherwise authorized by U.S. law and regulations.”

    (2) When exporting items subject to the EAR (see §§ 120.42 and 123.1(b) of this subchapter) pursuant to a Department of State license or other approval, the U.S. exporter must also provide the end-user and consignees with the appropriate EAR classification information for each item exported pursuant to a U.S. Munitions List “(x)” paragraph. This includes the Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) or EAR99 designation.

    (d) The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls may authorize reexport or retransfer of an item subject to the EAR provided that:

    (1) The item was initially exported, reexported or transferred pursuant to a Department of State license or other approval;

    (2) The item is for end-use in or with a defense article; and,

    (3) All requirements of paragraph (c) of this section are satisfied for the item subject to the EAR, as well as for the associated defense article.

    6. Revise § 123.13 to read as follows:
    § 123.13 Domestic aircraft shipments via a foreign country.

    A license is not required for the shipment by air of a defense article from one location in the United States to another location in the United States via a foreign country.

    PART 124—AGREEMENTS, OFF SHORE PROCUREMENT, AND OTHER DEFENSE SERVICES 7. The authority citation for part 124 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Sec. 2, 38, and 71, Pub. L. 90-629, 90 Stat. 744 (22 U.S.C. 2752, 2778, 2797); 22 U.S.C. 2651a; 22 U.S.C. 2776; Pub. L. 105-261; Section 1261, Pub. L. 112-239; E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129.

    8. Section 124.7 is amended by designating the introductory text as paragraph (a), adding and reserving paragraph (b), and revising paragraph (a)(1) to read as follows:
    § 124.7 Information required in all manufacturing license agreements and technical assistance agreements.

    (a) * * *

    (1) The agreement must describe the defense article to be manufactured and all defense articles to be exported, including any test and support equipment or advanced materials. They should be described by military nomenclature, contract number, National Stock Number, nameplate data, or other specific information. Only defense articles listed in the agreement will be eligible for export under the exemption in § 123.16(b)(1) of this subchapter. * * *

    (b) [Reserved]

    9. Section 124.8 is amended by designating the introductory text as paragraph (a) and adding and reserving paragraph (b), as follows:
    § 124.8 Clauses required both in manufacturing license agreements and technical assistance agreements.

    (b) [Reserved]

    10. Section 124.12 is amended by revising the introductory text of paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 124.12 Required information in letters of transmittal.

    (a) An application for the approval of a manufacturing license or technical assistance agreement with a foreign person must be accompanied by an explanatory letter. The explanatory letter shall contain:

    11. Section 124.14 is amended by revising the introductory text of paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 124.14 Exports to warehouses or distribution points outside the United States.

    (e) Transmittal letters. Requests for approval of warehousing and distribution agreements with foreign persons must be made by letter. The letter shall contain:

    12. Section 124.16 is revised to read as follows:
    § 124.16 Special retransfer authorizations for unclassified defense articles and defense services to member states of NATO and the European Union, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

    (a) The provisions of § 124.8(a)(5) notwithstanding, the Department may approve access to unclassified defense articles and items subject to the EAR (see § 120.42 of this subchapter) exported in furtherance of or produced as a result of a TAA/MLA, retransfer of technical data and defense services, and retransfer of technology subject to the EAR and authorized under a TAA/MLA, to individuals who are dual national or third-country national employees of the foreign signatory or its approved sub-licensees, provided that:

    (1) The transfer is to dual nationals or third-country nationals who are bona fide regular employees, directly employed by the foreign signatory or approved sub-licensees;

    (2) The individuals are exclusively of countries that are members of NATO, the European Union, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland;

    (3) Their employer is a signatory to the agreement or has executed a Non-Disclosure Agreement; and

    (4) The retransfer takes place completely within the physical territories of the countries listed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section or the United States.

    (b) Permanent retransfer of hardware is not authorized pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section.

    PART 125—LICENSES FOR THE EXPORT OF TECHNICAL DATA AND CLASSIFIED DEFENSE ARTICLES 13. The authority citation for part 126 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 2 and 38, Pub. L. 90-629, 90 Stat. 744 (22 U.S.C. 2752, 2778); 22 U.S.C. 2651a; E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129.

    14. Section 125.2 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 125.2 Exports of unclassified technical data.

    (a) License. A license (DSP-5) is required for the export of unclassified technical data unless the export is exempt from the licensing requirements of this subchapter. In the case of a plant visit, details of the proposed discussions must be transmitted to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls for an appraisal of the technical data.

    15. Section 125.7 is amended by revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:
    § 125.7 Procedures for the export of classified technical data and other classified defense articles.

    (b) An application for the export of classified technical data or other classified defense articles must be accompanied by a completed Form DSP-83 (see § 123.10 of this subchapter). All classified materials accompanying an application must be transmitted to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls in accordance with the procedures contained in the Department of Defense National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (unless such requirements are inconsistent with guidance provided by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, in which case the latter guidance must be followed).

    PART 126—GENERAL POLICIES AND PROVISIONS 16. The authority citation for part 126 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    Secs. 2, 38, 40, 42, and 71, Pub. L. 90-629, 90 Stat. 744 (22 U.S.C. 2752, 2778, 2780, 2791, and 2797); 22 U.S.C. 2651a; 22 U.S.C. 287c; E.O. 12918, 59 FR 28205; 3 CFR, 1994 Comp., p. 899; Sec. 1225, Pub. L. 108-375; Sec. 7089, Pub. L. 111-117; Pub. L. 111-266; Section 7045, Pub. L. 112-74; Section 7046, Pub. L. 112-74; E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129.

    17. Section 126.4 is revised to read as follows:
    § 126.4 Exports and temporary imports made to or on behalf of a department or agency of the U.S. government.

    (a) A license is not required for the export or temporary import of a defense article or the performance of a defense service, when made:

    (1) To a department or agency of the U.S. government for official use. Defense articles exported or temporarily imported under this provision may only be provided to a regular employee or contractor support personnel of the U.S. government;

    Note 1 to paragraph (a):

    Contractor support personnel means those U.S. persons who provide administrative, managerial, scientific or technical support under contract with a U.S. government department or agency within a U.S. government owned or operated facility or under the direct supervision of a regular U.S. government employee (e.g., Federally Funded Research and Development Center or Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance contractors). For purposes of this section, private security contractors are not considered contractor support personnel, and “direct supervision” refers to the control over the manner and means in which contractor support personnel conduct their day-to-day work activities as well as control over the contractor's access to defense articles authorized under this paragraph.

    Note 2 to paragraph (a):

    Any retransfer, reexport, disposal, or change in end-user of a defense article exported pursuant to this section must be performed in accordance with § 123.9 of this subchapter.

    (2)(i) By, or on behalf of, a department or agency of the U.S. government for carrying out any foreign assistance, cooperative project, or sales program authorized by law and subject to control by the President by other means, provided:

    (A) Items subject to the EAR and controlled for missile technology (MT) reasons (see § 742.5 of the EAR (15 CFR 742.5) are not authorized for export under this subsection; and

    (B) The United States government performs or directs all aspects of the transaction (export, carriage, and delivery abroad) or the export is covered by a U.S. government Bill of Lading.

    (ii) This section does not authorize a U.S. government agency to act as a transmittal agent on behalf of a private individual or firm, either as a convenience or in satisfaction of security requirements.

    Note to paragraph (a)(2):

    Approval of a foreign assistance, cooperative project, or sales program authorizing a U.S. government department and agency to permanently export a defense article described on the Missile Technology Control Regime Annex should be reviewed by the Missile Technology Export Committee, unless authorized by statutory authority providing export authority notwithstanding the Arms Export Control Act.

    (b) This section does not authorize any department or agency of the U.S. government to make any export that is otherwise prohibited by virtue of other administrative provisions or by any statute.

    (c) An Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing, required under § 123.22 of this subchapter, and a written statement by the exporter certifying that these requirements have been met must be presented at the time of export to the appropriate Port Directors of U.S. Customs and Border Protection or Department of Defense transmittal authority. For any export made pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the shipment documents (bill of lading, airway bill, or other transportation documents) must include the following statement:

    “For official use by [insert U.S. government department or agency]. Property will not enter the trade of the country to which it is shipped. No export license required per CFR Title 22, section 126.4. U.S. government point of contact: [insert name and telephone number]”.

    18. Section 126.9 is amended by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 126.9 Advisory opinions and related authorizations.

    (a) Advisory opinion. A person may request information from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls on whether it would likely grant a license or other approval for a particular defense article or defense service to a particular country. Such information from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls is issued on a case-by-case basis and applies only to the particular matters presented to the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. These opinions are not binding on the Department of State and may not be used in future matters before the Department. A request for an advisory opinion must be made in writing and must outline in detail the equipment, its usage, the security classification (if any) of the articles or related technical data, and the country or countries involved.

    Rose E. Gottemoeller, Under Secretary, Arms Control and International Security, Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12295 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-25-P
    COURT SERVICES AND OFFENDER SUPERVISION AGENCY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA 28 CFR Part 810 RIN 3225-AA00 Community Supervision: Administrative Sanctions and GPS Monitoring as a Supervision Tool AGENCY:

    Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA) is proposing to amend its current rule regarding the conditions of release requirements for offenders under CSOSA supervision. In addition, CSOSA will expand the language of the regulation to detail and provide notice of when CSOSA Community Supervision Officers will use electronic monitoring as a tool to assist in supervision.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted July 21, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Address all comments concerning this proposed rule to the Office of General Counsel, CSOSA, 13th Floor, 633 Indiana Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie Carrigg, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 220-5352 or by email at [email protected] Questions about this publication are welcome, but inquiries concerning individual cases cannot be answered over the telephone.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (CSOSA) is proposing to amend its regulations concerning the conditions of release requirements for offenders under CSOSA supervision. Specifically, these regulations pertain to the conditions of release that are imposed on an offender when under CSOSA supervision; specifically, the requirement to maintain a certain frequency of face-to-face contact with one's community supervision officer, and the conditions of release that are articulated in the accountability contract that the offender signs with CSOSA. These regulations also detail the consequences that an offender may face for violating the conditions of his or her supervision.

    With this amendment, CSOSA will revise the language to reflect that the regulations apply to probationers as well as parolees, and to offenders who are under supervised release. In addition, CSOSA will expand the language of the regulation to detail and provide notice of when CSOSA Community Supervision Officers will use electronic monitoring as a tool to assist in supervision. Currently, the regulations only reference electronic monitoring as an administrative sanction for an offender who has violated the general or specific conditions of release or who has engaged in criminal activity. The amended language will specify the circumstances under which electronic monitoring is used as a supervision tool, including but not limited to: instances when CSOSA's Community Supervision Services (CSS) Division issues directives to place offenders who fit a certain criminal behavioral pattern on electronic monitoring; and instances when CSS makes an individualized determination to place an offender on electronic monitoring based on an offender's noncompliance with the conditions of his supervised release or for other extenuating circumstances.

    Matters of Regulatory Procedure Administrative Procedure Act

    CSOSA is publishing the proposed rule for notice and comment as required by 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    Executive Order 12866

    CSOSA has determined that the proposed rule is not a significant rule within the meaning of Executive Order 12866.

    Executive Order 13132

    The proposed rule 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. Under Executive Order 13132, this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications requiring a Federalism Assessment.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact upon a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b).

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The proposed rule will not cause State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector, to spend $100,000,000 or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. No action under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 is necessary.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Subtitle E—Congressional Review Act)

    The proposed rule is not a “major rule” as defined by Section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 Subtitle E—Congressional Review Act), now codified at 5 U.S.C. 804(2). The rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies. Moreover, this is a rule of agency practice or procedure that does not substantially affect the rights or obligations of non-agency parties, and does not come within the meaning of the term “rule” as used in Section 804(3)(C), now codified at 5 U.S.C. 804(3)(C). Therefore, the reporting requirement of 5 U.S.C. 801 does not apply.

    Authority:

    D.C. Code 24-1233(b)(2)(B).

    List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 810

    Probation and parole.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, CSOSA proposes to revise 28 CFR part 810 to read as follows:

    Part 810—Community Supervision: Administrative Sanctions and GPS Monitoring as a Supervision Tool Sec. 810.1 Supervision contact requirements. 810.2 Accountability contract. 810.3 Consequences of violating the conditions of supervision. 810.4 Community supervision: Global Position System monitoring. Authority:

    Pub. L. 105-33, 111 Stat. 712 (D.C. Code 24-1233(b)(2)(B)).

    § 810.1 Supervision contact requirements.

    If you are an offender under supervision by the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia (“CSOSA”), CSOSA will establish a supervision level for you and your minimum contact requirement (that is, the minimum frequency of face-to-face interactions between you and a Community Supervision Officer (“CSO”)).

    § 810.2 Accountability contract.

    (a) Your CSO will instruct you to acknowledge your responsibilities and obligations of being under supervision (whether through probation, parole, or supervised release as granted by the releasing authority) by agreeing to an accountability contract with CSOSA.

    (b) The CSO is responsible for monitoring your compliance with the conditions of supervision. The accountability contract identifies the following specific activities constituting substance abuse or non-criminal violations of your conditions of supervision. The activities that constitute violations include, but are not limited to, the activities listed in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section.

    (1) Substance abuse violations. (i) Having a positive drug test.

    (ii) Failing to report for drug testing.

    (iii) Failing to appear for treatment sessions.

    (iv) Failing to complete inpatient/outpatient treatment programming.

    (2) Non-criminal violations. (i) Failing to report to the CSO.

    (ii) Leaving the judicial district without the permission of the CSO.

    (iii) Failing to work regularly or attend training and/or school.

    (iv) Failing to notify the CSO of a change of address and/or employment.

    (v) Frequenting places where controlled substances are illegally sold, used, distributed, or administered.

    (vi) Associating with persons engaged in criminal activity.

    (vii) Associating with a person convicted of a felony without the permission of the CSO.

    (viii) Failing to notify the CSO within 48 hours of being arrested or questioned by a law enforcement officer.

    (ix) Entering into an agreement to act as an informer or act in a confidential relationship with a law enforcement agency without the permission of the releasing authority.

    (x) Failing to adhere to any general or special condition of release.

    (c) The accountability contract will identify a schedule of administrative sanctions (see § 810.3(b)) that may be imposed for your first violation and for subsequent violations.

    (d) The accountability contract will provide for positive reinforcements for compliant behavior.

    § 810.3 Consequences of violating the conditions of supervision.

    (a) If your CSO has reason to believe that you are failing to abide by the general or specific conditions of release or you are engaging in criminal activity, you will be in violation of the conditions of your supervision. Your CSO may then impose administrative sanctions (see paragraph (b) of this section) and/or request a hearing by the releasing authority. This hearing may result in the revocation of your release or changes to the conditions of your release.

    (b) Administrative sanctions available to the CSO include, but are not limited to:

    (1) Agency or releasing authority reprimand (oral or written)

    (2) Daily check-in with Agency supervision for a specified period of time;

    (3) Increased group activities for a specified period of time;

    (4) Increased drug testing;

    (5) Increased supervision contact requirements;

    (6) Referral for substance abuse addiction or other specialized assessments;

    (7) Global Position System (GPS) monitoring for a specified period of time;

    (8) Community service for a specified number of hours;

    (8) Placement in a residential sanctions facility or residential treatment facility for a specified period of time; and

    (9) Travel restrictions.

    (c) You remain subject to further action by the releasing authority. For example, the releasing authority may override the imposition of any of the sanctions in paragraph (b) of this section and issue a warrant or summons if it finds that you are a risk to the public safety or that you are not complying in good faith with the sanctions (see 28 CFR 2.85(a)(15)).

    § 810.4 Community supervision: Global Position System monitoring.

    (a) In addition to being placed on Global Position System (GPS) monitoring as a condition of release (see 28 CFR 2.85(b); DC Code section 24-131(a)(3)), or as an administrative sanction, (see § 810.3(b)), CSOSA may place you on GPS monitoring as a tool to assist with your supervision. Circumstances under which a CSO may place you on GPS monitoring include, but are not limited to, the following events:

    (1) CSS-issued directives to place offenders who fit a certain profile on GPS monitoring. Pursuant to intelligence received or deterrence efforts initiated by law enforcement, CSOSA may elect to place a group of offenders that fit a certain criminal behavioral pattern on GPS monitoring. Separately, and as a result of information that is already in the Agency's possession, CSOSA may issue directives to supervision staff to place offenders who meet certain characteristics on GPS monitoring. In all of the aforementioned instances, the decision to place a group of offenders on GPS monitoring ultimately rests with CSOSA.

    (2) Individualized determinations to place offenders on GPS monitoring. CSOs make individualized determinations as to whether to place offenders on GPS monitoring. If an offender is engaged in behavior that puts the offender at a high risk for reoffending or for harm to the offender or others, the offender's CSO may elect to place that offender on GPS monitoring. In all of the aforementioned instances, the decision to place an offender on GPS monitoring ultimately lies with the CSO, although it is subject to review and approval by the CSO's supervisory chain of command.

    (b) Unless the releasing authority specifies a different timeframe, CSOSA will place an offender on GPS monitoring for an initial period of thirty (30) days. An offender's CSO may extend the monitoring period for up to ninety (90) days. Extensions past ninety (90) days may be done in thirty (30) day increments and must be reviewed and approved by a Supervisory CSO (SCSO).

    Dated: May 15, 2015. Diane Bradley, Assistant General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12204 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3129-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary 32 CFR Part 114 [Docket ID: DOD-2014-OS-0131] RIN 0790-AJ31 Victim and Witness Assistance AGENCY:

    Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)), DoD.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This regulatory action updates established policy, assigned responsibilities, and prescribed procedures for the rights of crime victims under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The rule discusses notification requirements and assistance available to victims and witnesses of crime, as well as annual reporting requirements on assistance provided across the DoD to victims and witnesses of crime.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before July 21, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and/or RIN 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 or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lt. Col. Ryan Oakley, Office of Legal Policy, 703-571-9301.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Defense is determined to assist victims and witnesses of violent crimes committed in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

    I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    a. This rule establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures to assist victims and witnesses of crimes committed in violation the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and updates established policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the rights of crime victims under the UCMJ and required mechanisms for enforcement. The rule also provides timely notification of information and assistance available to victims and witnesses of crime from initial contact through investigation, prosecution, confinement, and release, annual reporting requirements on assistance provided across the DoD to victims and witnesses of crime, and legal assistance for crime victims entitled to such services. The Military Services are required to provide legal counsel, known as Special Victims' Counsel/Victims' Legal Counsel (SVC/VLC), to assist victims of alleged sex-related offenses under Articles 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, and 125 of the UCMJ, who are eligible for legal assistance. The Military Services are also required to establish a special victim capability comprised of specially trained criminal investigators, judge advocates, paralegals, and victim/witness assistance personnel to support victims of covered special victim offenses. To de-conflict with “Special Victims' Counsel” programs, this distinct group of recognizable professionals will be referred to, at the DoD level, as the “Special Victim Investigation and Prosecution (SVIP)” capability.

    b. Authority: 10 U.S.C. chapter 47, the UCMJ; 10 U.S.C. 113, 1034, 1044, 1044e 1058, 1059, and 1408; 18 U.S.C. 1512 through 1514; sections 1701 and 1716 of Public Law 113-66, which strengthened the rights of victims of crimes committed under the UCMJ, and designated SVC/VLC for victims of covered offenses; section 573 of Public Law 112-239, which required the Military Services to establish a special victim capability comprised of specially trained investigators, judge advocates, paralegals, and victim witness assistance personnel to support victims of covered offenses; and section 533 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, which extended eligibility for SVC/VLC services to members of a reserve component of the armed forces.

    II. Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action in Question

    This rule describes the responsibilities that the USD(P&R), Inspector General of the Department of Defense, and DoD component heads have when dealing with the procedures described in the regulatory text. The rule also discusses procedures involving local responsible officials, comprehensive information and services to be provided to victims and witnesses, special victim investigation and prosecution (SVIP) capability, legal assistance for crime victims, and special victims' counsel programs.

    III. Costs and Benefits

    The combined cost of annual reporting requirements to the DoD and Military Services related to DoD victim and witness assistance programs (VWAP) is approximately $12,317. DoD VWAP programs are administered directly by the DoD Components, including the Military Services, at local installations and regional commands worldwide.

    (1) A complete victim and witness assistance policy, to ensure the consistent and effective management of DoD victim and witness assistance programs operated by DoD Components. The proposed rule updates and replaces DoD Directive 1030.01, “Victim and Witness Assistance” (April 13, 2004) (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/103001p.pdf), and DoD Instruction 1030.2 “Victim and Witness Procedures” (June 4, 2004) (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/103002p.pdf), to implement statutory requirements for the DoD victim assistance programs under the a single DoD instruction., which revises the rights for crime victims of offenses committed under the UCMJ, requires the Military Services to create enforcement mechanisms, provides for legal assistance for crime victims entitled to legal services, requires that Military Services to provide SVC/VLC to assist victims of covered offenses, and further implements the SVIP capability, which provides enhanced support to victims of sexual assault, serious domestic violence, and child abuse offenses. requiring each Military Service to establish a special victim capability comprised of specially trained criminal investigators, judge advocates, paralegals, and victim witness personnel to enhance support to victims of sexual assault, serious domestic violence, and child abuse offenses.

    VWAP provides guidance for assisting victims and witnesses of crime from initial contact through investigation, prosecution, confinement, and release, until the victim specifies to the local responsible official that he or she no longer requires or desires services. Particular attention is paid to victims of serious and violent crime, including child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

    (2) Strengthens the rights of crime victims in the military justice system and requires the establishment mechanisms for enforcement of these rights in each Military Department, in accordance with section 1701 of Public Law 113-66. These provisions ensure victims have a right to be reasonably heard at public hearings concerning the continuation of confinement before the trial of the accused, preliminary hearings under section 832 (Article 32) of the UCMJ, and court-martial proceedings relating to the Military Rules of Evidence (M.R.E.) 412, 513, and 514 of the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) (available at http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/mcm.pdf) and that all victims are treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy.

    (3) Orients victims and witnesses to the military justice system, about the military criminal justice process, on the role of the victim or witness in the process, and how the victim or witness can obtain additional information concerning the process and the case.

    (4) Provides timely notification of information and assistance available to victims and witnesses of crime from initial contact through investigation, prosecution, and confinement.

    (5) Enables victims to confer with the attorney for the U.S. Government in the case before preliminary and trial proceedings, and to express their views to the commander or convening authority as to disposition of the case.

    (6) Assists victims with prompt return of personal property held as evidence during a military criminal investigation and court-martial.

    (7) Provides eligible victims and military families with access to transitional compensation in accordance with Federal law and DoD Instruction 1342.24, “Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents,” May 23, 1995 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134224p.pdf).

    (8) Ensures victims are aware of procedures to receive restitution as provided in accordance with State, local, and federal crime victims' funds, and the procedures for applying for such funds. Restitution may also be available from, or offered by, an accused as a condition in the terms of a pretrial agreement, during the sentencing process, as a part of post-trial mitigation under Rule of Court-Martial 1105, of the MCM. Under Article 139, UCMJ, victims may also be provided with relief if the property loss or damage resulted from wrongful taking or willful damage by a member of the Armed Forces due to riotous, violent, or disorderly conduct.

    (9) Mandates compliance with DoD standards for victim assistance services in the military community established in DoD Instruction 6400.07 “Standards for Victim Assistance Services in the Military Community,” November 25, 2013 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/640007p.pdf).

    (10) Provides that crime victims who are entitled to military legal assistance under sections 1044 and 1044e of title 10, U.S.C., and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies, may consult with a military legal assistance attorney.

    (11) Provides legal counsel, known as Special Victims' Counsel or Victims' Legal Counsel (SVC/VLC), to assist victims of alleged sex-related offenses in accordance with Articles 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, and 125 of the UCMJ, and attempts to commit any of these offenses under Article 80 of the UCMJ, regardless of whether the report of the offense is restricted or unrestricted. Individuals entitled to SVC/VLC representation include any of the following:

    (a) Individuals eligible for military legal assistance under sections 1044 and 1044e of title 10, U.S.C., and as further prescribed by the Military Departments' and National Guard Bureau policies.

    (b) Members of a reserve component of the armed forces, in accordance with section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies.

    (12) Establishes a Special Victim Investigation and Prosecution (SVIP) capability in each Military Service comprised of specially trained criminal investigators, judge advocates, paralegals, and victim and witness assistance personnel to work with specially trained military criminal investigators to support victims of adult sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. To de-conflict with the names of SVC/VCL programs, this distinct group of recognizable professionals will be referred to as SVIP at the DoD level. Ensures SVIP training programs meet established DoD and Military Service standards for special prosecutors, paralegal, VWAP coordinators and providers, and legal support personnel.

    (13) Establishes local Victim and Witness Assistance Councils, when practicable, at each military installation, to ensure victim and witness service providers follow an interdisciplinary approach. This will ensure effective coordination between VWAP coordinators and DoD personnel providing related services, including sexual assault prevention and response coordinators, family advocacy personnel, military treatment facility health care providers and emergency room personnel, family service center personnel, chaplains, military equal opportunity personnel, judge advocates, SVC/VLCs, unit commanding officers, corrections personnel, and other persons designated by the Secretaries of the Military Departments.

    (14) Maintains annual reporting requirements on assistance provided across the DoD to victims and witnesses of crime, which will be provided to the Department of Justice Office of Victims of Crime and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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

    Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distribute impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This rule has been designated a “significant regulatory action,” although not economically significant, under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies assess anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule whose mandates require spending in any 1 year of $100 million in 1995 dollars, updated annually for inflation. In 2014, that threshold is approximately $141 million. This document will not mandate any requirements for State, local, or tribal governments, nor will it affect private sector costs.

    Public Law 96-354, “Regulatory Flexibility Act” (5 U.S.C. 601)

    The Department of Defense certifies that this proposed rule is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601) because it would not, if promulgated, have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended, does not require DoD to prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis.

    Public Law 96-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

    This proposed rule does not impose reporting or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

    Executive Order 13132 establishes certain requirements that an agency must meet when it promulgates a proposed rule (and subsequent final rule) that imposes substantial direct requirement costs on State and local governments, preempts State law, or otherwise has Federalism implications. This proposed rule will not have a substantial effect on State and local governments.

    List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 114

    Child welfare, Military law, Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    Accordingly, 32 CFR part 114 is proposed to be added to read as follows:

    PART 114—VICTIM AND WITNESS ASSISTANCE Sec. 114.1 Purpose. 114.2 Applicability. 114.3 Definitions. 114.4 Policy. 114.5 Responsibilities. 114.6 Procedures. Authority:

    10 U.S.C. chapter 47, 10 U.S.C. 113, 1034, 1044, 10443, 1058, 1059, and 1408, 18 U.S.C. 1512 through 1514, sections 1701 and 1706 of Pub. L. 113-66, 127 Stat. 672, section 573 of Pub. L. 112-239, 126 Stat. 1632, and section 533 of Pub. L. 113-291, 128 Stat. 3292.

    § 114.1 Purpose.

    This part:

    (a) Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures to assist victims and witnesses of crimes committed in violation of 10 U.S.C. chapter 47, also known and referred to in this part as the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

    (b) Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for:

    (1) The rights of crime victims under the UCMJ and required mechanisms for enforcement, in accordance with section 1701 of Public Law 113-66, “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014,” and in accordance with DoD standards for victim witness assistance services in the military community established in DoD Instruction 6400.07, “Standards for Victim Assistance Services in the Military Community,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/640007p.pdf).

    (2) Providing timely notification of information and assistance available to victims and witnesses of crime from initial contact through investigation, prosecution, confinement, and release, in accordance with 18 U.S.C. 1512 through 1514, 32 CFR part 286, DoD Instruction 1325.07, “Administration of Military Correctional Facilities and Clemency and Parole Authority,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/132507p.pdf), DoD Instruction 1342.24, “Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134224p.pdf), DoD Directive 7050.06, “Military Whistleblower Protection,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/705006p.pdf), and 10 U.S.C. 113, 1034, 1059, and 1408; and section 1706 of Public Law 113-66.

    (3) Annual reporting requirements on assistance provided across the DoD to victims and witnesses of crime.

    (c) Provides for legal assistance for crime victims entitled to such services pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1044, and 10 U.S.C. 1565b, and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies.

    (d) Incorporates section 573 of Public Law 112-239, “The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013,” January 2, 2013, requiring each Military Service to establish a special victim capability comprised of specially trained criminal investigators, judge advocates, paralegals, and victim and witness assistance personnel to support victims of covered special victim offenses. To de-conflict with SVC/VCL programs, this distinct group of recognizable professionals will be referred to, at the DoD level, as the Special Victim Investigation and Prosecution (SVIP) capability.

    (e) Incorporates the victim and witness portion of the special victim capability in accordance with) DoDI 5509.19, “Establishment of Special Victim Investigation and Prosecution (SVIP) Capability within the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations (MCIOs),” February 3, 2015 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/550519p.pdf), and Directive-type Memorandum (DTM) 14-003, “DoD Implementation of Special Victim Capability (SVC) Prosecution and Legal Support,” February 12, 2014, Incorporating Change 1, February 5, 2015

    (f) Incorporates section 1716 of Public Law 113-66, and section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2005 (NDAA 2005), requiring the Military Services to provide legal counsel, known as Special Victims' Counsel or Victims' Legal Counsel, (SVC/VLC) to assist victims of alleged sex-related offenses in accordance with Articles 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, 125 of the UCMJ, and attempts to commit any of these offenses under Article 80 of the UCMJ, who are eligible for legal assistance in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1044 and 1044e, and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies.

    § 114.2 Applicability.

    This part applies to OSD, the Military Departments, the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities within the DoD (referred to collectively in this part as the “DoD Components”).

    § 114.3 Definitions.

    Unless otherwise noted, these terms and their definitions are for the purpose of this part:

    Central repository. A headquarters office, designated by Service regulation, to serve as a clearinghouse of information on a confinee's status and to collect and report data on the delivery of victim and witness assistance, including notification of confinee status changes.

    Confinement facility victim/witness assistance coordinator. A staff member at a military confinement facility who is responsible for notifying victims and witnesses of changes in a confinee's status and reporting those notifications to the central repository.

    Court proceeding. A preliminary hearing held pursuant to Article 32 of the UCMJ; a hearing under Article 39a of the UCMJ; a court-martial; a military presentencing hearing; or a military appellate hearing. The providence (guilty plea) inquiry between the military judge and the accused when a pretrial agreement has been entered into between the accused and the convening authority, and conferences, such as those under Military Rule of Evidence 802, which occur between attorneys and the military judge, or between attorneys and Article 32 of the UCMJ preliminary hearing officers, or other official, are not court proceedings for purposes of this part. If all or part of a court proceeding has been closed to the public by the military judge, preliminary hearing officer, or other official, the victims and witnesses will still be notified of the closed hearing as provided in this part, and of the reasons for the closure. In such a case, the military judge, preliminary hearing officer, or other official may place reasonable limits on the reasons disclosed, if such limits are necessary to protect the safety of any person, the fairness of the proceeding, or are otherwise in the interests of national security.

    DoD Component responsible official. Person designated by each DoD Component head to be primarily responsible in the DoD Component for coordinating, implementing, and managing the victim and witness assistance program established by this part.

    Equal opportunity. The right of all persons to participate in, and benefit from, programs and activities for which they are qualified. These programs and activities will be free from social, personal, or institutional barriers that prevent people from rising to the highest level of responsibility possible. Persons will be evaluated on individual merit, fitness, and capability, regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or religion.

    Local responsible official. Person designated by the DoD Component responsible official who has primary responsibility for identifying victims and witnesses of crime and for coordinating the delivery of services described in this part through a multidisciplinary approach. The position or billet of the local responsible official will be designated in writing by Service regulation. The local responsible official may delegate responsibilities in accordance with this part.

    Local Victim and Witness Assistance Council. A regular forum held at the DoD installation, or regional command level, that promotes efficiencies, coordinates victim assistance-related programs, and assesses the implementation of victim assistance standards and victim assistance-related programs, in accordance with this part, DoD Instruction 6400.07, and any other applicable Service guidance.

    Military Department Clemency and Parole Board. In accordance with DoD Instruction 1325.07, a board which assists the Military Department Secretary as the primary authority for administration and execution of clemency, parole, and mandatory supervised release policy and programs.

    Military Services. Refers to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Reserve Components, which include the Army and Air National Guards of the United States.

    Protected communication. (1) Any lawful communication to a Member of Congress or an IG.

    (2) A communication in which a member of the Armed Forces communicates information that the member reasonably believes evidences a violation of law or regulation, including a law or regulation prohibiting sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds or other resources, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, when such communication is made to any of the following:

    (i) A Member of Congress, an IG, or a member of a DoD audit, inspection, investigation, or law enforcement organization.

    (ii) Any person or organization in the chain of command; or any other person designated pursuant to regulations or other established administrative procedures to receive such communications.

    Reprisal. Taking or threatening to take an unfavorable personnel action, or withholding or threatening to withhold a favorable personnel action, for making or preparing to make a protected communication.

    Restricted reporting. Defined in DoD Directive 6495.01, “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/649501p.pdf).

    Sexual assault forensic examiner. A health care provider who has specialized training through his or her military service, or has a nationally recognized certification to perform medical examinations to evaluate and collect evidence related to a sexual assault.

    Special victim investigation and prosecution (SVIP) capability. In accordance with section 573 of Public Law 112-239 and DoDI 5505.09, “Establishment of Special Victim Investigation and Prosecution (SVIP) Capability within the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations (MCIOs),” February 3, 2015 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/550519p.pdf), and Directive-type Memorandum (DTM), “DoD Implementation of Special Victim Capability (SVC) Prosecution and Legal Support,” February 12, 2014, Incorporating Change 1, February 5, 2015 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/DTM-14-003.pdf), a distinct, recognizable group of appropriately skilled professionals, consisting of specially trained and selected military criminal investigative organization (MCIO) investigators, judge advocates, victim witness assistance personnel, and administrative paralegal support personnel who work collaboratively to:

    (1) Investigate allegations of adult sexual assault, domestic violence involving sexual assault and/or aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm, and child abuse involving sexual assault and/or aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm.

    (2) Provide support for the victims of such covered offenses.

    Special victim offenses. The designated criminal offenses of sexual assault, domestic violence involving sexual assault, and/or aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm, and child abuse involving sexual assault and/or aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm, in accordance with the UCMJ. Sexual assault includes offenses under Articles 120 (rape and sexual assault general), 120b (rape and sexual assault of a child), and 120c (other sexual misconduct), or forcible sodomy under Article 25 of the UCMJ or attempts to commit such offenses under Article 80 of the UCMJ. Aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm, in relation to domestic violence and child abuse cases, includes an offense as specified under Article 128 of the UCMJ (assault). The Military Services and National Guard Bureau may deem other UCMJ offenses appropriate for SVIP support, based on the facts and circumstances of specific cases, and the needs of victims.

    Special Victims' Counsel/Victims' Legal Counsel (SVC/VLC). Legal counsel provided to assist eligible victims of alleged sex-related offenses pursuant to Article 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, and 125 of the UCMJ and attempts to commit any of these offenses under Article 80 of the UCMJ (or other offenses as defined by the Military Services), in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1044, 1044e, and 1565b; section 1716 of Public Law 113-66; and section 533 of the NDAA 2005.

    Specially trained prosecutors. Experienced judge advocates detailed by Military Department Judge Advocate Generals (TJAGs), the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or other appropriate authority to litigate or assist with the prosecution of special victim cases and provide advisory support to MCIO investigators and responsible legal offices. Before specially trained prosecutors are detailed, their Service TJAG, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or other appropriate authority has determined they have the necessary training, maturity, and advocacy and leadership skills to carry out those duties.

    Unrestricted reporting. Defined in DoD Directive 6495.01 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/649501p.pdf).

    Victim. A person who has suffered direct physical, emotional, or pecuniary harm as a result of the commission of a crime committed in violation of the UCMJ. Such individuals will include, but are not limited to:

    (1) Service members and their dependents.

    (2) When stationed outside the continental United States (CONUS), DoD civilian employees and contractors and their family members. This designation makes services, such as medical care in military medical facilities, available to them that are not available to DoD civilian employees, contractors, and their family members in stateside locations.

    (3) When a victim is under 18 years of age, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the term includes one of the following (in order of precedence): A spouse, legal guardian, parent, child, sibling, another family member, or another person designated by the court or the DoD Component responsible official, or designee. For a victim that is an institutional entity, an authorized representative of the entity. Federal Departments and State and local agencies, as entities, are not eligible for services available to individual victims.

    Victim assistance personnel. Personnel who are available to provide support and assistance to victims of crime and harassment consistent with their assigned responsibilities and in accordance with this part. They include part-time, full-time, collateral duty, and other authorized individuals, and may be domestic violence or sexual assault prevention and response coordinators (to include unit and uniformed victim advocates), Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, victim-witness assistance personnel, or military equal opportunity advisors.

    Victim assistance-related programs. The SAPR Program; FAP; and the VWAP. A complainant under the DoD MEO Program may be referred by the MEO office to one of the victim assistance-related programs for additional assistance.

    Witness. A person who has information or evidence about a criminal offense within the investigative jurisdiction of a DoD Component and who provides that knowledge to a DoD Component. When the witness is a minor, that term includes a parent or legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child. The term does not include a defense witness or an individual involved in the crime as an alleged perpetrator or accomplice.

    § 114.4 Policy.

    It is DoD policy that:

    (a) The DoD is committed to protecting the rights of victims and witnesses of crime and supporting their needs in the criminal justice process. The DoD Components will comply with all statutory and policy mandates and will take all additional actions within the limits of available resources to assist victims and witnesses of crime without infringing on the constitutional or other legal rights of a suspect or an accused.

    (b) DoD victim assistance services will focus on the victim and will respond, protect, and care for the victim from initiation of a report through offense disposition, if applicable, and will continue such support until the victim specifies to the local responsible official that he or she no longer requires or desires services.

    (c) Each DoD Component will provide particular attention and support to victims of serious, violent crimes, including child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. In order to ensure the safety of victims, and their families, victim assistance personnel shall respect the dignity and the privacy of persons receiving services, and carefully observe any safety plans and military or civilian protective orders in place.

    (d) Victim assistance services must meet DoD competency, ethical, and foundational standards established in DoD Instruction 6400.07, “Standards for Victim Assistance Services in the Military Community,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/640007p.pdf).

    (e) Making or preparing to make or being perceived as making or preparing to make a protected communication, to include reporting a violation of law or regulation, including a law or regulation prohibiting rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct, in violation of 10 U.S.C. 920 through 920c, sexual harassment, or unlawful discrimination, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1034, section 1709 of Public Law 113-66, and DoD Directive 7050.06, “Military Whistleblower Protection,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/705006p.pdf), shall not result in reprisal activity from management officials.

    (f) This part is not intended to, and does not, create any entitlement, cause of action, or defense at law or in equity, in favor of any person or entity arising out of the failure to accord to a victim or a witness the assistance outlined in this part. No limitations are hereby placed on the lawful prerogatives of the DoD or its officials.

    § 114.5 Responsibilities.

    (a) The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)):

    (1) Establishes overall policy for victim and witness assistance and monitors compliance with this part.

    (2) Approves procedures developed by the Secretaries of the Military Departments that implement and are consistent with this part.

    (3) Maintains the DoD Victim Assistance Leadership Council, in accordance with DoD Instruction 6400.07, which advises the Secretary of Defense on policies and practices related to the provision of victim assistance and provides a forum that promotes efficiencies, coordinates victim assistance-related policies, and assesses the implementation of victim assistance standards across the DoD's victim assistance-related programs.

    (b) The Director, DoD Human Resources Activity, through the Defense Manpower Data Center, and under the authority, direction, and control of the USD(P&R), assists in formulating a data collection mechanism to track and report victim notifications from initial contact through investigation to disposition, to include prosecution, confinement, and release.

    (c) The Inspector General of the Department of Defense (IG DoD):

    (1) Establishes investigative policy and performs appropriate oversight reviews of the management of the Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) by the DoD military criminal investigative organizations (MCIOs). This is not intended to substitute for the routine managerial oversight of the program provided by the MCIOs, the USD(P&R), the DoD Component heads, the DoD Component responsible officials, or the local responsible officials.

    (2) Investigates and oversees DoD Component Inspector General investigations of allegations or reprisal for making or preparing to make or being perceived as making or preparing to make a protected communication, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1034, and section 573 of Public Law 112-239.

    (c) The DoD Component heads:

    (1) Ensure compliance with this part, and establish policies and procedures to implement the VWAP within their DoD Components.

    (2) Designate the DoD Component responsible official for the VWAP, who will report annually to the USD(P&R) using DD Form 2706, “Victim and Witness Assistance Annual Report.”

    (3) Provide for the assignment of personnel in sufficient numbers to enable those programs identified in the 10 U.S.C. 113 note to be carried out effectively.

    (4) Designate a central repository for confinee information for each Military Service, and establish procedures to ensure victims who so elect are notified of changes in inmate status.

    (5) Maintain a Victim and Witness Assistance Council, when practicable, at each military installation, to ensure victim and witness service providers follow an interdisciplinary approach. These providers may include chaplains, sexual assault prevention and response personnel, family advocacy personnel, military treatment facility health care providers and emergency room personnel, family service center personnel, military equal opportunity personnel, judge advocates, SVC/VLCs, unit commanding officers, corrections personnel, and other persons designated by the Secretaries of the Military Departments.

    (6) Maintain training programs to ensure Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) providers receive instruction to assist them in complying with this part. Training programs will include specialized training for VWAP personnel assigned to the SVIP capability, in accordance with § 114.6(c).

    (7) Designate local responsible officials in writing in accordance with Military Service regulations and § 114.6(a)(1).

    (8) Maintain oversight procedures to ensure establishment of an integrated support system capable of providing the services outlined in § 114.6, and meet the competency, ethical, and foundational standards established in DoD Instruction 6400.07. Such oversight may include coverage by DoD Component Inspectors General, staff assistance visits, surveys, and status reports.

    (9) Establish mechanisms for ensuring that victims are notified of and afforded the rights specified in the UCMJ, including the rights specified in 10 U.S.C. 806b (Article 6b) and Rule of Court-Martial (R.C.M.) 306 in title 10 of the United States Code.

    (10) Establish mechanisms for the enforcement of the rights specified in the UCMJ, including mechanisms for the application for such rights and for consideration and disposition of applications for such rights. At a minimum, such enforcement mechanisms will include the designation of an authority within each Military Service to receive and investigate complaints relating to the provision or violation of such rights and the establishment of disciplinary sanctions for responsible military and civilian personnel who wantonly fail to comply with the requirements relating to such rights.

    § 114.6 Procedures.

    (a) Local responsible officials. Local responsible officials:

    (1) Will coordinate to ensure that systems are in place at the installation level to provide information on available benefits and services, assist in obtaining those benefits and services, and provide other services required by this section.

    (2) May delegate their duties as appropriate, but retain responsibility to coordinate the delivery of required services.

    (3) May use an interdisciplinary approach involving the various service providers listed in paragraph (b)(7) of this section, to coordinate the delivery of information and services to be provided to victims and witnesses.

    (b) Comprehensive information and services to be provided to victims and witnesses—(1) Rights of crime victims. Personnel directly engaged in the prevention, detection, investigation, and disposition of offenses, to include courts-martial, including law enforcement and legal personnel, commanders, trial counsel, and staff judge advocates, will ensure that victims are accorded their rights in accordance with Article 6b of UCMJ and section 1701 of Public Law 113-66. A crime victim has the right to:

    (i) Be reasonably protected from the accused offender.

    (ii) Be provided with reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of:

    (A) A public hearing concerning the continuation of confinement before the trial of the accused.

    (B) A preliminary hearing pursuant to section 832 of the UCMJ (Article 32) relating to the offense.

    (C) A court-martial relating to the offense.

    (D) A public proceeding of the Military Department Clemency and Parole Board hearing relating to the offense.

    (E) The release or escape of the accused, unless such notice may endanger the safety of any person.

    (iii) Be present at, and not be excluded from any public hearing or proceeding described in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, unless the military judge or preliminary hearing officer of a preliminary hearing pursuant to Section 832, UCMJ, (Article 32), after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially affected if the victim heard that hearing or proceeding.

    (iv) Be reasonably heard personally or through counsel at:

    (A) A public hearing concerning the continuation of confinement before the court-martial of the accused.

    (B) A preliminary hearing pursuant to section 832 (Article 32) of the UCMJ and court-martial proceedings relating to the Military Rules of Evidence (M.R.E.) 412, 513, and 514 of the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) in title 10 of the United States Code, also referred to in this part as the MCM, and regarding other rights provided by statute, regulation, or case law.

    (C) A public sentencing hearing relating to the offense.

    (D) A public Military Department Clemency and Parole Board hearing relating to the offense. A victim may make a personal appearance before the Military Department Clemency and Parole Board or submit an audio, video, or written statement.

    (v) Confer with the attorney for the U.S. Government in the case. This will include the reasonable right to confer with the attorney for U.S. Government at any proceeding described in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section.

    (A) Crime victims who are entitled to legal assistance may consult with a military legal assistance attorney in accordance with paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

    (B) Victims of an offense under Articles 120, 120a, 120b, or 120c or forcible sodomy under the UCMJ or attempts to commit such offenses under Article 80 of the UCMJ, who are entitled to legal assistance in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1044, may consult with a SVC/VLC in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section. Victims of these covered offenses shall be informed by a sexual assault response coordinator (SARC), victim advocate, victim witness liaison, military criminal investigator, trial counsel, or other local responsible official that they have the right to consult with a SVC/VLC as soon as they seek assistance from the individual in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1565b, and as otherwise authorized by Military Department and National Guard Bureau policy.

    (C) All victims may also elect to seek the advice of a private attorney, at their own expense.

    (vi) Receive restitution as provided in accordance with State and Federal law.

    (vii) Proceedings free from unreasonable delay.

    (viii) Be treated with fairness and respect for his or her dignity and privacy.

    (ix) Express his or her views to the commander or convening authority as to disposition of the case.

    (2) Initial information and services. (i) Immediately after identification of a crime victim or witness, the local responsible official, law enforcement officer, or criminal investigation officer will explain and provide information to each victim and witness, as appropriate, including:

    (A) The DD Form 2701, “Initial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime,” or computer-generated equivalent will be used as a handout to convey basic information. Specific points of contact will be recorded on the appropriate form authorized for use by the particular Military Service.

    (B) Proper completion of this form serves as evidence that the local responsible official or designee, law enforcement officer, or criminal investigative officer notified the victim or witness of his or her rights, as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. The date the form is given to the victim or witness shall be recorded by the delivering official. This serves as evidence the victim or witness was timely notified of his or her statutory rights.

    (ii) The local responsible official will explain the form to victims and witnesses at the earliest opportunity. This will include:

    (A) Information about available military and civilian emergency medical and social services, victim advocacy services for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, and, when necessary, assistance in securing such services.

    (B) Information about restitution or other relief a victim may be entitled to, and the manner in which such relief may be obtained.

    (C) Information to victims of intra-familial abuse offenses on the availability of limited transitional compensation benefits and possible entitlement to some of the active duty Service member's retirement benefits pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1059 and 1408 and DoD Instruction 1342.24 “Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents,” May 23, 1995 (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134224p.pdf).

    (D) Information about public and private programs available to provide counseling, treatment, and other support, including available compensation through federal, State, and local agencies.

    (E) Information about the prohibition against intimidation and harassment of victims and witnesses, and arrangements for the victim or witness to receive reasonable protection from threat, harm, or intimidation from an accused offender and from people acting in concert with or under the control of the accused offender.

    (F) Information concerning military and civilian protective orders, as appropriate.

    (G) Information about the military criminal justice process, the role of the victim or witness in the process, and how the victim or witness can obtain additional information concerning the process and the case in accordance with section 1704 of Public Law 113-66. This includes an explanation of:

    (1) Victim's roles and rights during the defense counsel interviews, preliminary hearings pursuant to section 832, UCMJ (Article 32) and section 1702 of Public Law 113-66.

    (2) Victim's rights when action is taken by the convening authority pursuant to Article 60 of the UCMJ process, and during the post-trial/clemency phase of the process in accordance with section 1706 of Public Law 113-66.

    (H) If necessary, assistance in contacting the people responsible for providing victim and witness services and relief.

    (I) If necessary, how to file a military whistleblower complaint with an Inspector General regarding suspected reprisal for making, preparing to make, or being perceived as making or preparing to make a protected communication in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1034 and DoD Directive 7050.06,.

    (J) Information about the victim's right to seek the advice of an attorney with respect to his or her rights as a crime victim pursuant to federal law and DoD policy. This includes the right of Service members and their dependents to consult a military legal assistance attorney in accordance with paragraph (c)(1) of this section, or a SVC/VLC in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

    (3) Information to be provided during investigation of a crime. (i) If a victim or witness has not already received the DD Form 2701 from the local responsible official or designee, it will be provided by law enforcement officer or investigator.

    (ii) Local responsible officials or law enforcement investigators and criminal investigators will inform victims and witnesses, as appropriate, of the status of the investigation of the crime, to the extent providing such information does not interfere with the investigation.

    (4) Information and services to be provided concerning the prosecution of a crime. (i) The DD Form 2702, “Court-Martial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime,” will be used as a handout to convey basic information about the court-martial process. The date it is given to the victim or witness shall be recorded by the delivering official. If applicable, the following will be explained and provided by the U.S. Government attorney, or designee, to victims and witnesses:

    (A) Notification of crime victims' rights, to include victim's right to express views as to disposition of case to the responsible commander and convening authority, in accordance with Rule for Court-Martial 306 of the MCM.

    (B) Notification of the victim's right to seek the advice of an attorney with respect to his or her rights as a crime victim pursuant to federal law and DoD policy. This includes the right of service members and their dependents to consult a military legal assistance attorney in accordance with paragraph (c)(1) of this section or a SVC/VLC in accordance with paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

    (C) Consultation concerning the decisions to prefer or not prefer charges against the accused offender and the disposition of the offense if other than a trial by court-martial.

    (D) Consultation concerning the decision to refer or not to refer the charges against the accused offender to trial by court-martial and notification of the decision to pursue or not pursue court-martial charges against the accused offender.

    (E) Notification of the initial appearance of the accused offender before a reviewing officer or military judge at a public pretrial confinement hearing or at a preliminary hearing in accordance with section 832 (Article 32) of the UCMJ.

    (F) Notification of the release of the suspected offender from pretrial confinement.

    (G) Explanation of the court-martial process on referral to trial.

    (H) Before any court proceedings (as defined to include preliminary hearings pursuant to section 832 (Article 32) of the UCMJ, pretrial hearings pursuant to Article 39(a) of the UCMJ, trial, and presentencing hearings), assistance in obtaining available services such as transportation, parking, child care, lodging, and courtroom translators or interpreters that may be necessary to allow the victim or witness to participate in court proceedings.

    (I) During the court proceedings, a private waiting area out of the sight and hearing of the accused and defense witnesses. In the case of proceedings conducted aboard ship or in a deployed environment, provide a private waiting area to the greatest extent practicable.

    (J) Notification of the scheduling, including changes and delays, of a preliminary hearing pursuant to section 832 (Article 32) of the UCMJ, and each court proceeding the victim is entitled to or required to attend will be made without delay. On request of a victim or witness whose absence from work or inability to pay an account is caused by the crime or cooperation in the investigation or prosecution, the employer or creditor of the victim or witness will be informed of the reasons for the absence from work or inability to make timely payments on an account. This requirement does not create an independent entitlement to legal assistance or a legal defense against claims of indebtedness.

    (K) Notification of the recommendation of a preliminary hearing officer when an Article 32 of the UCMJ preliminary hearing is held.

    (L) Consultation concerning any decision to dismiss charges or to enter into a pretrial agreement.

    (M) Notification of the disposition of the case, to include the acceptance of a plea of “guilty,” the rendering of a verdict, the withdrawal or dismissal of charges, or disposition other than court-martial, to specifically include nonjudicial punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ, administrative processing or separation, or other administrative actions.

    (N) Notification to victims of the opportunity to present to the court at sentencing, in compliance with applicable law and regulations, a statement of the impact of the crime on the victim, including financial, social, psychological, and physical harm suffered by the victim. The right to submit a victim impact statement is limited to the sentencing phase and does not extend to the providence (guilty plea) inquiry before sentencing.

    (O) Notification of the offender's sentence and general information regarding minimum release date, parole, clemency, and mandatory supervised release.

    (P) Notification of the opportunity to receive a copy of proceedings. The convening authority or subsequent responsible official must authorize release of a copy of the record of trial without cost to a victim of sexual assault as defined in Rule of Court-Martial (R.C.M.) 1104 of the MCM and Article 54(e) of the UCMJ. Victims of offenses other than sexual assault may also receive a copy of the record of trial, without cost, when necessary to lessen the physical, psychological, or financial hardships suffered as a result of a criminal act.

    (ii) After court proceedings, the local responsible official will take appropriate action to ensure that property of a victim or witness held as evidence is safeguarded and returned as expeditiously as possible.

    (iii) Except for information that is provided by law enforcement officials and U.S. Government trial counsel in accordance with paragraphs (b)(3) and (4) of this section, requests for information relating to the investigation and prosecution of a crime (e.g., investigative reports and related documents) from a victim or witness will be processed in accordance with DoD Instruction 1342.24.

    (iv) Any consultation or notification required by paragraph (b)(5)(i) of this section may be limited to avoid endangering the safety of a victim or witness, jeopardizing an ongoing investigation, disclosing classified or privileged information, or unduly delaying the disposition of an offense. Although the victim's views should be considered, this part is not intended to limit the responsibility or authority of the Military Service or the Defense Agency officials to act in the interest of good order and discipline.

    (5) Information and services to be provided on conviction. (i) The Military Department trial counsel will explain and provide services to victims and witnesses on the conviction of an offender in a court-martial. The DD Form 2703, “Post-Trial Information for Victims and Witnesses of Crime,” will be used as a handout to convey basic information about the post-trial process.

    (ii) When appropriate, the following will be provided to victims and witnesses:

    (A) General information regarding convening authority action, the appellate process, the corrections process, information about work release, furlough, probation, parole, mandatory supervised release, or other forms of release from custody, and eligibility for each.

    (B) Specific information regarding the election to be notified of further actions in the case, to include the convening authority's action, hearings and decisions on appeal, changes in inmate status, and consideration for parole. The DD Form 2704, “Victim/Witness Certification and Election Concerning Prisoner Status,” will be explained and used for victims and appropriate witnesses (e.g., those who fear harm by the offender) to elect to be notified of these actions, hearings, decisions, and changes in the offender's status in confinement.

    (1) For all cases resulting in a sentence to confinement, the DD Form 2704 will be completed and forwarded to the Service central repository, the gaining confinement facility, the local responsible official, and the victim or witness, if any, with appropriate redactions made by the delivering official.

    (i) Incomplete DD Forms 2704 received by the Service central repository must be accompanied by a signed memorandum detailing the reasons for the incomplete information, or they will be sent back to the responsible legal office for correction.

    (ii) Do not allow an inmate access to DD Form 2704 or attach a copy of the forms to any record to which the confinee has access. Doing so could endanger the victim or witness.

    (2) For all cases resulting in conviction but no sentence to confinement, the DD Form 2704 will be completed and forwarded to the Service central repository, the local responsible official, and the victim or witness, if any.

    (3) The DD Forms 2704 and 2705, “Notification to Victim/Witness of Prisoner Status,” are exempt from release in accordance with 32 CFR part 286.

    (C) Specific information regarding the deadline and method for submitting a written statement to the convening authority for consideration when taking action on the case in accordance with Article 60 of the UCMJ and R.C.M. 1105A of the MCM.

    (6) Information and services to be provided on entry into confinement facilities. (i) The victim and witness assistance coordinator at the military confinement facility will:

    (A) On entry of an offender into post-trial confinement, obtain the DD Form 2704 to determine victim or witness notification requirements. If the form is unavailable, ask the Service central repository whether any victim or witness has requested notification of changes in inmate status in the case.

    (B) When a victim or witness has requested notification of changes in inmate status on the DD Form 2704, and that status changes as listed in paragraph (b)(6)(ii) of this section, use the DD Form 2705, “Victim and Witness Notification of Changes in Inmate Status,” to notify the victim or witness.

    (1) The date the DD Form 2705 is given to the victim or witness shall be recorded by the delivering official. This serves as evidence that the officer notified the victim or witness of his or her statutory rights.

    (2) Do not allow the inmate access to DD Form 2705 or attach a copy of the forms to any record to which the inmate has access. Doing so could endanger the victim or witness.

    (C) Provide the earliest possible notice of:

    (1) The scheduling of a clemency or parole hearing for the inmate.

    (2) The results of the Service Clemency and Parole Board.

    (3) The transfer of the inmate from one facility to another.

    (4) The escape, immediately on escape, and subsequent return to custody, work release, furlough, or any other form of release from custody of the inmate.

    (5) The release of the inmate to supervision.

    (6) The death of the inmate, if the inmate dies while in custody or under supervision.

    (7) A change in the scheduled release date of more than 30 days from the last notification due to a disposition or disciplinary and adjustment board.

    (D) Make reasonable efforts to notify all victims and witnesses who have requested notification of changes in inmate status of any emergency or special temporary home release granted an inmate.

    (E) On transfer of an inmate to another military confinement facility, forward the DD Form 2704 to the gaining facility, with an information copy to the Service central repository.

    (ii) The status of victim and witness notification requests will be reported annually to the Service central repository.

    (7) Information and services to be provided on appeal. (i) When an offender's case is docketed for review by a Court of Criminal Appeals, or is granted review by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (C.A.A.F.) or by the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Government appellate counsel for the Government or appropriate Military Service designee will ensure that all victims who have indicated a desire to be notified receive this information, if applicable:

    (A) Notification of the scheduling, including changes and delays, of each public court proceeding that the victim is entitled to attend.

    (B) Notification of the decision of the court.

    (ii) When an offender's case is reviewed by the Office of The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) of the Military Department concerned, pursuant to Article 69 and Article 73 of the UCMJ, TJAG will ensure that all victims who have indicated a desire to be notified on DD Form 2704 receive notification of the outcome of the review.

    (iii) The Military Services may use the sample appellate notification letter found at Figure 1 of this section, or develop their own templates to keep victims informed of appellate court proceedings.

    (8) Information and services to be provided on consideration for parole or supervised release. (i) Before the parole or supervised release of a prisoner, the military confinement facility staff will review the DD Form 2704 to ensure it has been properly completed. If there is a question concerning named persons or contact information, it will be immediately referred to the appropriate staff judge advocate for correction.

    (ii) When considering a prisoner for release on supervision, the military confinement facility commander will ensure that all victims on the DD Form 2704 indicating a desire to be notified were provided an opportunity to provide information to the Military Department Clemency and Parole Board in advance of its determination, as documented in the confinement file.

    (9) Reporting procedures. (i) To comply with the requirements of 10 U.S.C., Public Law 113-66, and title 18 of the United States Code, the DoD Component responsible official will submit an annual report using the DD Form 2706 to: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Attention: Legal Policy Office, 4000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-4000.

    (ii) The report will be submitted by March 15 for the preceding calendar year and will address the assistance provided victims and witnesses of crime.

    (iii) The report will include:

    (A) The number of victims and witnesses who received a DD Form 2701 from law enforcement or criminal investigations personnel.

    (B) The number of victims who received a DD Form 2702 from U.S. Government trial counsel, or designee.

    (C) The number of victims and witnesses who received a DD Form 2703 from U.S. Government trial counsel or designee.

    (D) The number of victims and witnesses who elected via the DD Form 2704 to be notified of changes in inmate status.

    (E) The number of victims and witnesses who were notified of changes in inmate status by the confinement facility victim witness assistance coordinators via the DD Form 2705 or a computer-generated equivalent.

    (F) The cumulative number of inmates in each Military Service for whom victim witness notifications must be made by each Service's confinement facilities. These numbers are derived by totaling the number of inmates with victim or witness notification requirements at the beginning of the year, adding new inmates with the requirement, and then subtracting those confinees who were released, deceased, or transferred to another facility (e.g., federal, State, or sister Military Service) during the year.

    (iv) The Office of the USD(P&R) will consolidate all reports submitted by each Military Service, and submit an annual report to the, and Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Office for Victims of Crime, Department of Justice.

    (c) Special victim investigation and prosecution (SVIP) capability. (1) In accordance with DTM 14-003, section 573 of Public Law 112-239, and, the Military Services will maintain a distinct, recognizable group of professionals to provide effective, timely, and responsive worldwide victim support, and a capability to support the investigation and prosecution of special victim offenses within the respective Military Departments.

    (2) Covered special victim offenses include:

    (i) Unrestricted reports of adult sexual assault.

    (ii) Unrestricted reports of domestic violence involving sexual assault and/or aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm.

    (iii) Child abuse involving child sexual abuse and/or aggravated assault with grievous bodily harm.

    (3) Military Service SVIP programs will include, at a minimum, specially trained and selected:

    (i) Investigators from within MCIOs of the Military Departments.

    (ii) Judge advocates to serve as prosecutors.

    (iii) VWAP personnel.

    (iv) Paralegal or administrative legal support personnel.

    (4) Each Military Service will maintain standards for the selection, training, and certification of personnel assigned to provide this capability. At a minimum, SVIP training must:

    (i) Focus on the unique dynamics of sexual assault, aggravated domestic violence, and child abuse cases.

    (ii) Promote methods of interacting with and supporting special victims to ensure their rights are understood and respected.

    (iii) Focus on building advanced litigation, case management, and technical skills.

    (iv) Ensure that all SVIP legal personnel understand the impact of trauma and how this affects an individual's behavior and the memory of a traumatic incident when interacting with a victim.

    (v) Train SVIP personnel to identify any safety concerns and specific needs of victims.

    (vi) Ensure SVIP personnel understand when specially trained pediatric forensic interviewers are required to support the investigation and prosecution of complex child abuse and child sexual abuse cases.

    (5) Each Military Service will maintain and periodically review measures of performance and effectiveness to objectively assess Service programs, policies, training, and services. At a minimum, these Service-level review measures will include:

    (i) Percentage of all preferred court-martial cases that involve special victim offenses in each fiscal year.

    (ii) Percentage of special victim offense courts-martial tried by, or with the direct advice and assistance of, a specially trained prosecutor.

    (iii) Compliance with DoD VWAP informational, notification, and reporting requirements specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (9) of this section, to ensure victims are consulted with and regularly updated by special victim capability legal personnel.

    (iv) Percentage of specially trained prosecutors and other legal support personnel having received additional and advanced training in topical areas.

    (6) The Military Services will also consider victim feedback on effectiveness of special victim prosecution and legal support services and recommendations for possible improvements, as provided in DoD survivor experience surveys or other available feedback mechanisms. This information will be used by the Military Services to gain a greater understanding of the reasons why a victim elected to participate or declined to participate at trial in accordance with Enclosure 12 of DoD Instruction 6495.02, and whether SVIP, VWAP, and other legal support services had any positive impact on this decision.

    (7) Designated SVIP capability personnel will collaborate with local DoD SARCs, sexual assault prevention and response victim advocates, Family Advocacy Program (FAP) managers, and domestic abuse victim advocates during all stages of the military justice process to ensure an integrated capability.

    (8) To support this capability, active liaisons shall be established at the installation level with these organizations and key individuals:

    (i) Local military and civilian law enforcement agencies.

    (ii) SARCs.

    (iii) Victim advocates.

    (iv) FAP managers.

    (v) Chaplains.

    (vi) Sexual assault forensic examiners and other medical and mental health care providers.

    (vii) Unit commanding officers.

    (viii) Other persons designated by the Secretaries of the Military Departments necessary to support special victims.

    (9) In cases of adult sexual assault the staff judge advocate or designated representative of the responsible legal office will participate in case management group meetings, in accordance with DoD Instruction 6495.02, on a monthly basis to review individual cases. Cases involving victims who are assaulted by a spouse or intimate partner will be reviewed by FAP.

    (10) The staff judge advocate of the responsible legal office will participate in FAP case review or incident determination meetings of domestic violence, spouse or intimate partner sexual assault, and child abuse cases in accordance with DoD Instruction 6400.06.

    (11) In the case of a victim who is under 18 years of age and not a member of the Military Services, or who is incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased, the military judge will designate in writing a representative of the estate of the victim, a family member, or another suitable individual to assume the victim's rights under the UCMJ. The victim's representative is designated for the sole purpose of assuming the legal rights of the victim as they pertain to the victim's status as a victim of any offense(s) properly before the court. Under no circumstances will the individual designated as representative have been accused of any crime against the victim.

    (i) The Secretaries of the Military Departments may publish additional guidance or regulation regarding, who, before referral, may designate an appropriate representative, such as the convening authority or other qualified local responsible official.

    (ii) In making a decision to appoint a representative, the designating authority should consider:

    (A) The age and maturity, relationship to the victim.

    (B) The physical proximity to the victim.

    (C) The costs incurred in effecting the appointment.

    (D) The willingness of the proposed designee to serve in such a role.

    (E) The previous appointment of a guardian by a court of competent jurisdiction.

    (F) The preference of the victim, if known.

    (G) Any potential delay in any proceeding that may be caused by a specific appointment.

    (H) Any other relevant information.

    (iii) The representative, legal guardian, or equivalent of a victim of who is eligible, or in the case of a deceased victim, was eligible at the time of death for legal assistance provided by SVC/VLC, may elect legal representation for a SVC/VLC on behalf of the victim.

    (c) Legal assistance for crime victims—(1) Eligibility. Active and retired Service members and their dependents are entitled to receive legal assistance pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1044 and 1565 and Under Secretary for Defense for Personnel and Readiness Memorandum, “Legal Assistance for Sexual Assault Victims,” October 17, 2011.

    (2) Information and Services. Legal assistance services for crime victims will include confidential advice and assistance for crime victims to address:

    (i) Rights and benefits afforded to the victim under law and DoD policy.

    (ii) Role of the VWAP coordinator or liaison.

    (iii) Role of the victim advocate.

    (iv) Privileges existing between the victim and victim advocate.

    (v) Differences between restricted and unrestricted reporting.

    (vi) Overview of the military justice system.

    (vii) Services available from appropriate agencies for emotional and mental health counseling and other medical services.

    (viii) Advising of rights to expedited transfer.

    (ix) Availability of and protections offered by civilian and military protective orders.

    (d) Special Victims' Counsel/Victims' Legal Counsel programs—(1) Eligibility. In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1044, 1044e, and 1565b, section 1716 of Public Law 113-66, and section 533 of the NDAA 2005, the Military Services provide legal counsel, known as SVC/VLC, to assist victims of alleged sex-related offenses including Articles 120, 120a, 120b, and 120c, forcible sodomy under Article 125 of the UCMJ, attempts to commit such offenses under Article 80 of the UCMJ, or other crimes under the UCMJ as authorized by the Service, who are eligible for legal assistance pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1044e and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies. Individuals eligible for SVC/VLC representation include any of the following:

    (i) Individuals entitled to military legal assistance under 10 U.S.C. 1044 and 1044e, and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies. (ii) Members of a reserve component of the armed forces, in accordance with section 533 of NDAA 2005, and as further prescribed by the Military Departments and National Guard Bureau policies.

    (2) Attorney-client information and services. The types of legal services provided by SVC/VLC programs in each Military Service will include:

    (i) Legal consultation regarding the VWAP, including:

    (A) The rights and benefits afforded the victim.

    (B) The role of the VWAP liaison.

    (C) The nature of communication made to the VWAP liaison in comparison to communication made to a SVC/VLC or a legal assistance attorney pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1044.

    (ii) Legal consultation regarding the responsibilities and support provided to the victim by the SARC, a unit or installation sexual assault victim advocate, or domestic abuse advocate, to include any privileges that may exist regarding communications between those persons and the victim.

    (iii) Legal consultation regarding the potential for civil litigation against other parties (other than the DoD).

    (iv) Legal consultation regarding the military justice system, including, but not limited to:

    (A) The roles and responsibilities of the military judge, trial counsel, the defense counsel, and military criminal investigators.

    (B) Any proceedings of the military justice process in which the victim may observe or participate in person or through his or her SVC/VLC.

    (v) Accompanying or representing the victim at any proceedings when necessary and appropriate, including interviews, in connection with the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of the alleged sex-related offense.

    (vi) Legal consultation regarding eligibility and requirements for services available from appropriate agencies or offices for emotional and mental health counseling and other medical services.

    (vii) Legal representation or consultation and assistance:

    (A) In personal civil legal matters in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1044.

    (B) In any proceedings of the military justice process in which a victim can participate as a witness or other party.

    (C) In understanding the availability of, and obtaining any protections offered by, civilian and military protecting or restraining orders.

    (D) In understanding the eligibility and requirements for, and obtaining, any available military and veteran benefits, such as transitional compensation benefits found in 10 U.S.C. 1059, DoD Instruction 1342.24, “Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents,” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/134224p.pdf), and other State and federal victims' compensation programs.

    (E) The victim's rights and options at trial, to include the option to state a preference to decline participation or withdraw cooperation as a witness and the potential consequences of doing so.

    (viii) Legal representation or consultation regarding the potential criminal liability of the victim stemming from or in relation to the circumstances surrounding the alleged sex-related offense (collateral misconduct), regardless of whether the report of that offense is restricted or unrestricted in accordance with DoD Instruction 6495.02. Victims may also be referred to the appropriate defense services organization for consultation on the potential criminal implications of collateral misconduct.

    (ix) Other legal assistance as the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Military Department concerned may authorize.

    Figure 1. Sample Appellate Notification Letter [Victim Name] [Address] Dear [Mr.][Mrs.][Ms.] [Victim Name]: The United States [Military Service] believes it is important to keep victims of crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice informed of court proceedings. Based on your request, we are providing you with information about the military appellate process and upcoming events in your case, in accordance with Department of Defense Instruction 1030.02, “Victim Witness Assistance.” [Name of Accused] (Appellant) filed an appeal of [his][her] criminal conviction on [Date] at the [Service] Court of Criminal Appeals. The process may take time before a decision is reached by the Court of Criminal Appeals. An appeal is a legal proceeding by which a case is brought before a higher court for review of the decision made by the lower, or trial, court. The Court of Criminal Appeals may decide this appeal solely on the basis of the brief submitted by the Appellant and the response which will be submitted by the U.S. Government, or the Court may decide to hold a public courtroom proceeding and hear the arguments made by the attorneys for both sides. If the Court does determine a courtroom proceeding is warranted, you will be notified of the date and location so that you may attend. If the Court declines to hold a courtroom proceeding and decides the issue on the basis of the Appellant's brief and the U.S. Government's response, you will be notified of the ultimate decision.  The ruling of the [Service] Court of Criminal Appeals is not necessarily the final resolution of this case. There are two courts superior to the Court of Criminal Appeals from which the Appellant could also seek review. If the Court of Criminal Appeals rules against the Appellant, [he][she] can seek review of that ruling at the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (C.A.A.F). If the Appellant is denied review by the C.A.A.F. [his][her] case becomes final and you will be informed. If review is granted by the C.A.A.F., you will be informed of the review taking place, of any courtroom proceedings, and of the final ruling. If C.A.A.F. grants review of the Appellant's case and rules against [him][her], [he][she] could potentially appeal that decision to the Supreme Court of the United States. If this were to occur, you will be notified. Cases are also sometimes returned to the [Service] Court of Criminal Appeals for further proceedings. In addition, the Appellants may also petition the respective Military Department Judge Advocate General for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence or fraud upon the court. If that were to occur, you will be notified.  For now, the Appellant has sought review of [his][her] conviction at the [Service] Court of Criminal Appeals. Nothing is required of you, but should you so desire, have any questions, or require further information, please contact [DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE AND CONTACT INFORMATION].     Sincerely,     (Service designee)
    Dated: May 15, 2015. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12256 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 155 [Docket No. USCG-2011-0576] RIN 1625-AB75 Higher Volume Port Area—State of Washington AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes redefining the boundaries of the existing higher volume port area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, in Washington. This rulemaking is required by statute, and is related to the Coast Guard's maritime safety and stewardship missions.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must either be submitted to our online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or before August 20, 2015 or reach the Docket Management Facility by that date.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2011-0576 using any one of the following methods:

    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    (2) Fax: 202-493-2251.

    (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    (4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this proposed rule, call or email LCDR John G. Peterson, CG-CVC-1, Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1226, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Ms. Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents for Preamble I. Public Participation and Request for Comments II. Abbreviations III. Background IV. Discussion of Proposed Rule V. Regulatory Analyses A. Regulatory Planning and Review B. Small Entities C. Assistance for Small Entities D. Collection of Information E. Federalism F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act G. Taking of Private Property H. Civil Justice Reform I. Protection of Children J. Indian Tribal Governments K. Energy Effects L. Technical Standards M. Environment I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to submit comments (or related material) on this rulemaking. We will consider all submissions and may adjust our final action based on your comments. Comments should be marked with docket number USCG-2011-0576 and should provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You should provide personal contact information so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your comments; but please note that all comments will be posted to the online docket without change and that any personal information you include can be searchable online (see the Federal Register Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets, 73 FR 3316, Jan. 17, 2008).

    Mailed or hand-delivered comments should be in an unbound 81/2 × 11 inch format suitable for reproduction. The Docket Management Facility will acknowledge receipt of mailed comments if you enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope with your submission.

    Documents mentioned in this notice of proposed rulemaking and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following the Web site's instructions. You can also view the docket at the Docket Management Facility (see the mailing address under ADDRESSES) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    We are not planning to hold a public meeting but will consider doing so if public comments indicate a meeting would be helpful. We would issue a separate Federal Register notice to announce the date, time, and location of such a meeting.

    II. Abbreviations BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics CFR Code of Federal Regulations E.O. Executive Order FR Federal Register GSA  General Services Administration HVPA Higher volume port area MISLE Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement NAICS North American Industry Classification System OMB Office of Management and Budget OSRO Oil spill removal organization Pub. L. Public Law SBA Small Business Administration § Section symbol U.S.C.  United States Code VRP Vessel response plan III. Background

    The legal basis of this proposed rule is 33 U.S.C. 1231 and 1321(j), which require the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to issue regulations necessary for implementing the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, and to require the President to issue regulations requiring response plans and other measures to protect against oil and hazardous substance spills. The President's authority under 33 U.S.C. 1321(j) is delegated to the Secretary by Executive Order (E.O.) 12777, and the Secretary's authority is delegated to the Coast Guard by DHS Delegation No. 0170.1(II)(70), (73), and (80).

    The purpose of this proposed rule is to implement section 710 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010 (“the Act”),1 which requires the Coast Guard to initiate by October 15, 2011, a rulemaking to modify the 33 CFR 155.1020 definition of the State of Washington's higher volume port area (the Washington HVPA) by replacing a reference to Port Angeles, WA, with a reference to Cape Flattery, WA, and by reviewing any modifications to vessel response plans (VRPs), made in response to the definitional change, not later than October 15, 2015. The Coast Guard initiated this project by the October 15, 2011 deadline.

    1 Pub. L. 111-281, 124 Stat. 2905.

    Oil or hazardous material pollution prevention regulations for a U.S. vessel, and for a foreign vessel operating in U.S. waters, appear in Coast Guard regulations at 33 CFR part 155. Many of those regulations require a vessel response plan (VRP) describing measures that the vessel owner or operator has taken or will take to mitigate or respond to an oil spill from the vessel. The VRP must demonstrate the vessel's ability, following a spill, to secure response resources within given time periods. These measures typically include the services of nearby response resources under a contract between the vessel's owner or operator and an oil spill removal organization (OSRO) that owns the response resources. The regulations provide for three different timeframes within which a combination of required response resources must arrive on the scene, which are described as Tiers 1, 2, and 3.

    In 33 CFR part 155, subparts D (petroleum oil as cargo), F (animal fat or vegetable oil as cargo), G (non-petroleum oil as cargo), and J (petroleum oil as fuel or secondary cargo) all share the same definition of “Higher volume port areas.” Required response times are significantly reduced in HVPAs. For example, Tier 1 response times for an oil tanker within an HVPA are half that required of the same vessel operating in open ocean. As defined in 33 CFR 155.1020, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, Washington constitute one of 14 HVPAs designated around the country.

    Since 1996, 33 CFR 155.1020 has defined the seaward boundary of the Washington HVPA as an arc 50 nautical miles seaward of the entrance to Port Angeles, Washington. Port Angeles is approximately 62 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, at Cape Flattery, WA, and therefore, the Washington HVPA does not currently include any Pacific Ocean waters. Section 710 of the Act requires the Coast Guard to initiate a rulemaking to relocate the HVPA's arc so that it extends seaward from Cape Flattery, not Port Angeles. This would add 50 nautical miles of Pacific Ocean water and an additional 12 nautical miles in the western portion of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Waters affected by sec. 710 and by this rulemaking are shown on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charts.2

    2 Waters affected by sec. 710 and this rulemaking are shown on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charts 18460 (Cape Flattery, WA) and 18465 (Port Angeles, WA).

    Section 710 requires us to initiate a rulemaking not later than October 15, 2011, to modify the definition of the Washington HVPA to relocate the arc. Section 710 also requires us to approve VRPs that require modification as a result of the rulemaking not later than October 15, 2015. We have determined that, with respect to existing VRPs, no modifications or new Coast Guard VRP approvals will be needed.

    To maximize the affected public's ability to plan for the change in the Washington HVPA's boundaries, we published a 2011 Federal Register notice of our intent to comply with sec. 710.3 This advised the public that regulatory implementation of sec. 710 was forthcoming. The notice did not request public comments and no public comments were received.

    3 76 FR 76299 (Dec. 7, 2011).

    IV. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The current definition of the Washington HVPA's boundaries 4 reads: “Higher volume port area means the following areas, including any water area within 50 nautical miles seaward of the entrance(s) to the specified port: . . . (13) Strait of Juan De Fuca at Port Angeles, WA to and including Puget Sound, WA.” In strict compliance with the express wording of sec. 710(a), we propose amending that definition by striking “Port Angeles, WA” and inserting “Cape Flattery, WA” in its place. As amended, the definition would then read: “Higher volume port area means the following areas, including any water area within 50 nautical miles seaward of the entrance(s) to the specified port: . . . (13) Strait of Juan de Fuca at Cape Flattery, WA to and including Puget Sound, WA.”

    4 33 CFR 155.1020(13).

    Port Angeles lies about 62 miles east of the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By moving the arc so that it centers on Cape Flattery, which lies at the entrance to the Strait, the proposed redefined Washington HVPA would cover an additional 50 nautical miles of Pacific Ocean water, while continuing to cover all the waters now included within the current HVPA. The larger Washington HVPA may affect the time and resources needed to respond to an oil spill from a vessel, because it is harder and more time-consuming to transit rough Pacific Ocean waters than it is to transit the sheltered waters of the Strait and the Sound. (We discuss these possibilities in more detail in the Regulatory Analysis section that follows.)

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this proposed rule after considering numerous statutes and E.O.s related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on these statutes or E.O.s.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

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

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of E.O. 12866 as supplemented by E.O. 13563, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of E.O. 12866. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not reviewed it under E.O. 12866. We developed an analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposed rule to ascertain its probable impacts on industry. A draft preliminary Regulatory Assessment follows.

    This proposed rule would expand the existing Washington HVPA for Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Currently, the Washington HVPA boundary is measured from Port Angeles in a 50-mile seaward arc westward to the Pacific Ocean. As mandated by sec. 710 of the Act, this proposed rule would amend the definition of the term “Higher volume port area” and relocate the point at which the seaward arc is measured from Port Angeles to Cape Flattery, WA, an approximately 62-mile westward shift. As a result, the Washington HVPA would cover an additional 50 miles of open ocean and an additional 12 nautical miles in the western portion of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A VRP must list the OSRO provider that the vessel owner or operator has contracted with and stipulate the vessel's ability to secure response resources within specific regulatory timeframes (Tiers 1, 2, and 3) in the event of an oil spill. This proposed rule would codify the changes delineated in the Act and it would not require changes to VRPs.

    Affected Population

    Part 155 in 33 CFR directly applies to and regulates vessel owners and operators. Specified vessels prepare vessel response plans that must list the OSRO provider that the vessel owner or operator has contracted with and stipulate the vessel's ability to secure response resources within specific regulatory timeframes (Tiers 1, 2, and 3) in the event of an oil spill. The proposed rule has the potential to impact vessel response planholders covering vessels that transit the Washington HVPA and OSROs that provide response resources in the event of an oil spill. Based on Coast Guard review of vessel response plans, 2 OSROs may be impacted by the proposed rule. One OSRO has about 500 response resource contracts and the other OSRO has about 650 contracts with planholders that own vessels that call on the Cape Flattery higher volume port area. For the OSRO that has 500 contracts, about 3 percent or 15 are with U.S. planholders; the OSRO that has 650 contracts, about 2 percent or 13 are with U.S. planholders.

    Costs

    Vessel owners and operators would not need to revise or modify a current VRP to take into account expansion of the HVPA. Current VRPs already specify one or both of the OSROs that provide response resources to vessel owners and operators in the affected waters. Vessel owners and operators must only list the OSRO by name and include the contact information for each OSRO in the VRP; no other information or details are required in the VRP that are dependent upon the geographic location of response equipment.

    In addition to identifying the OSRO in the vessel response plan, vessel owners and operators must ensure the availability of response resources from the OSRO through a contract or other approved means. Depending on how the contract language is formulated, a contract may need to be modified to reflect the change in the HVPA geographical definition. One OSRO provided information which stated that contracts would need to be modified slightly to incorporate the geographic change of the expanded higher volume port while the other OSRO provided information which stated that no changes or modifications to existing contracts would be necessary on the part of either the OSROs or the planholders. For the purpose of this analysis, we estimate costs to modify a contract for the planholders of the OSRO that stated that changes would be necessary. This OSRO has about 500 planholders with written contractual agreements to secure response resource services in the event of an oil spill; of this amount, only about 3 percent or 15, are with U.S. planholders. Based on information we obtained from industry in formulating the Nontank Vessel Response Final Rule [78 FR 60100], it would take a General and Operations Manager approximately 2 hours of planholder time to amend the contract and send the contract to the OSRO for approval. If a plan preparer amends the contract on behalf of the planholder, we estimate it would take the same amount of time. We found that 36 percent of planholders perform this work internally and 64 percent hire a plan preparer to perform this work on their behalf. The amendment of a contract is a one-time cost; we estimate little or no submission cost for planholders because nearly 100 percent of contracts are submitted by email to the responsible OSRO.

    For planholders who perform the work internally and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) May 2013 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for General and Operations Manager (Occupation Code 11-1021), we obtain a mean hourly wage rate of $62.68. We then use BLS' 2014 Employer Cost for Employee Compensation databases to calculate and apply a load factor of 1.52 to obtain a loaded hourly labor rate of about $95.30 for this occupation.5 For plan preparers, we obtained publicly available fully loaded billing rates for Senior Regulatory and Environmental Consultants and Environmental Program Managers from three environmental service companies using the General Services Administration's (GSA) Federal Acquisition eLibrary for service contracts.6 We took the average of these three rates to obtain a fully loaded hourly wage rate of $151.00 (rounded). Of about 500 planholders who have contracts with this OSRO, only about 15 are U.S. planholders. Of the 15 U.S. planholders, about 36 percent would amend the contract internally. We estimate the one-time cost to these planholders to be about $1,030 ($95.30 × 2 hours × 500 planholders × 0.03 × 0.36, rounded). For the remaining 64 percent of U.S. planholders who have a plan preparer amend the contracts on their behalf, we estimate the one-time cost to be about $2,899 ($151.00 × 2 hours × 500 planholders × .03 × 0.64, rounded); combined the total estimated one-time cost to U.S. planholders to amend the contracts would be about $3,930, rounded and undiscounted. We estimate the average one-time or initial cost for each U.S. planholder to amend a contract to be about $262 ($3,930/15 U.S. planholders). We estimate the 10-year discounted cost to be about $3,673 using a 7 percent discount rate and the annualized cost to be about $523. Taking into consideration the uncertainty of this analysis, we request public comment on the cost impacts of this rule on OSROs and VRP planholders.

    5 Information can be viewed at, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics3_483000.htm. A loaded labor rate is what a company pays per hour to employ a person, not the hourly wage. The loaded labor rate includes the cost of benefits (health insurance, vacation, etc.). The load factor for wages is calculated by dividing total compensation by wages and salaries. For this analysis, we used BLS' Employer Cost for Employee Compensation/Transportation and Materials Moving Occupations, Private Industry report (Series IDs, CMU2010000520000D and CMU2020000520000D for all workers using the multi-screen data search). Using 2014 Q2 data, we divide the total compensation amount of $25.85 by the wage and salary amount of $17.04 to get the load factor of 1.517 or 1.52. See the following Web site, http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ect/data.htm. We then rounded $62.68 to $62.70 and multiplied by 1.52 to obtain a loaded hourly wage rate of about $95.00.

    6 GSA Contract GS-10F-0263U Accessed 11/26/2014; GSA Contract GS-10F-0104T Accessed 11/26/2014; https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/ref_text/GS10F0335R/0N9LCV.2VV7AR_GS-10F-0335R_GS10F0335R.PDF.

    The remaining 485 planholders are foreign. For 36 percent of them who would amend the contracts internally, we estimate the one-time cost to be about $33,300 ($95.30 × 2 hours × 485 planholders × 0.36, rounded). For the remaining 64 percent of foreign planholders who have a plan preparer amend the contracts on their behalf, we estimate the one-time cost to be about $93,740 ($151.00 × 2 hours × 485 planholders × 0.64, rounded); combined the total estimated one-time cost to foreign planholders to amend the contracts would be about $127,040, rounded, or about $262 per planholder ($127,040/485 foreign planholders).

    The final category of potential costs relates to the OSRO's ability to meet the specified response times in the new geographic area of the HVPA. Based on information provided to Coast Guard, one OSRO stated that additional response equipment would not be required and capital expenditures would not be necessary as result of the expanded higher volume port area under current Coast Guard OSRO classification guidelines. Based on data from the other OSRO, we estimate that total initial capital costs could be as high as $5.5 million for temporary storage equipment and warehousing with annual capital recurring costs of approximately $250,000 for equipment maintenance, and up to $1 million for barge recertification (included in the $5.5 million estimate), warehousing, and other necessary resource equipment. However, we lack independent methods to verify these estimates. Moreover, the actual costs the OSRO may incur depend considerably on how they choose to comply with our regulations, which give OSROs substantial flexibility with respect to pre-positioning response resources.

    To the extent one OSRO would incur additional costs due to this proposed rule (such as increased capitalization costs), we expect that these costs would be generally passed onto their VRP planholders equally although the OSRO who provided this information conceded that this was speculative at this point due to the uncertainty of expenditures that may be needed as described below. Using the highest value of capital costs provided to us of $5.5 million, we use the capital recovery cost factor to determine the amount needed annually to recovery this payout since we assume the OSRO would finance the expenditures and attempt to recapture them equally over the life of the equipment. The capital recovery factor or ratio as it is often referred to, is the ratio of a constant annuity to the present value of the annuity over a given period of time using an acceptable discount rate, as in this case, 7 percent. The ratio also includes the general life expectancy of the investment and can be simply described as the “share of the net cost that must be recovered each year to `repay the cost of the fixed input at the end of its useful life.' ” If we use a standard life expectancy of 20 years, we calculate the net amount that must be recovered by the OSRO annually to be about $519,161, undiscounted.7 If we assume this cost is distributed equally over the 650 planholders (U.S. and foreign planholders who own vessels that transit the higher volume port area) under contract with this OSRO, the amount needed to be recovered by the OSRO to recapture this initial investment is estimated to be about $800 (rounded) from each planholder annually, most likely in the form of higher retainer fees. However, only about 2 percent, or 13 of the 650 planholders are U.S. planholders. Therefore, for the 13 U.S. planholders, we estimate the total capital cost of this proposed rule to be about $10,400 (650 planholders × 0.02 × $800) annually, undiscounted, in addition to annual maintenance costs of about $385 per planholder ($250,000/650 planholders), undiscounted, in years 2 through 10 of the analysis period. We estimate the total 10-year discounted cost to the 13 U.S. planholders to be about $75,400 using a 7 percent discount rate (the 10-year discounted cost is estimated to be about $91,600 using a 3 percent discount rate) and the annualized cost to be about $10,734. See Table 1.

    7 Calculated using a capital recovery factor of 0.0944.

    It follows that the remaining 637 planholders are foreign. Again, if we assume this OSRO passes along its capital cost in the form of higher retainer fees to foreign planholders, we estimate the total capital cost of this proposed rule to foreign planholders to be about $509,600 (637 × $800) annually, undiscounted, in addition to annual maintenance costs of about $245,000 (637 × $385), undiscounted, in years 2 through 10 of the analysis period. We estimate the total 10-year discounted cost to foreign planholders to be about $3.6 million using a 7 percent discount rate (the 10-year discounted cost is estimated to be about $4.3 million using a 3 percent discount rate). As stated earlier, we neither have knowledge of the OSROs billing structure nor how costs would be distributed among planholders, although in our discussion with one OSRO, we learned that the composition of a planholder's vessel fleet affects the amount of the retainer fee since vessels such as nontank ships requires different response resources as opposed to towing vessels, for example.

    Table 1 summarizes the total estimated cost of the proposed rule to 28 U.S. planholders over a 10-year period of analysis.

    Table 1—Summary of Estimated Costs of the Proposed Rule to U.S. Planholders [7 percent discount rate, 10-year period of analysis, 2015 dollars] Year Update contracts for 15 U.S. planholders Undiscounted Discounted OSRO equipment and other capital costs Undiscounted Discounted Total
  • costs
  • Undiscounted Discounted
    1 $3,930 $3,673 $10,400 $9,720 $14,330 $13,393 2 0 0 10,785 9,420 10,785 9,420 3 0 0 10,785 8,804 10,785 8,804 4 0 0 10,785 8,228 10,785 8,228 5 0 0 10,785 7,690 10,785 7,690 6 0 0 10,785 7,187 10,785 7,187 7 0 0 10,785 6,716 10,785 6,716 8 0 0 10,785 6,277 10,785 6,277 9 0 0 10,785 5,866 10,785 5,866 10 0 0 10,785 5,483 10,785 5,483 Total 3,673 75,390 79,062 Annualized 523 10,734 11,257 Totals may not sum due to independent rounding.

    As Table 1 shows, for 15 U.S. planholders who may need to revise their contracts, we estimate the 10-year discounted cost of the proposed rule to be about $3,673 at a 7 percent discount rate (using a 3 percent discount rate, we estimate the 10-year discounted cost to be about $3,816). We estimate the annualized cost to be about $523 for these 15 planholders.

    For the OSRO who may incur capital costs as a result of this proposed rule and pass these costs along to its 13 U.S. planholders, we estimate the 10-year discounted cost to be about $75,400 at a 7 percent discount rate (using a 3 percent discount rate, we estimate the 10-year discounted cost to be about $91,624). We estimate the annualized cost to be about $10,734 at a 7 percent discount rate for these 13 planholders.

    We estimate the total present discounted cost of the proposed rule to all 28 U.S. planholders to be about $79,062 at a 7 percent discount rate (using a 3 percent discount rate, we estimate the total 10-year discounted cost to be about $95,440). We estimate the annualized cost to be about $11,257 at a 7 percent discount rate.

    We do not anticipate that this proposed rule would impose new costs on the Coast Guard or require the Coast Guard to expend additional resources because we do not expect any changes would be required to their VRPs.

    Alternatives

    Due to the specific nature of sec. 710(a), we are limited in the alternative approaches we can use to comply with Congress' intent. We considered three alternatives (including the preferred alternative) in the development of the proposed rule: (1) Revise 33 CFR 155.1020 by striking “Port Angeles, WA” in the definition of “Higher volume port area” of that section and inserting “Cape Flattery, WA”; (2) Revise 33 CFR 155.1020 by striking “50 nautical miles” in the definition of “Higher volume port area” and inserting “110 nautical miles”; and (3) Take no action. The Regulatory Analysis section further discusses the analysis of the preferred alternative (i.e., express adoption of the wording from sec. 710(a)) in comparison with other regulatory approaches considered.

    Analysis of Alternatives

    We considered three alternatives (including the preferred alternative) in the development of this proposed rule. The key factors that we evaluated in considering each alternative included: (1) The degree to which the alternative comported with the congressional mandate in sec. 710 of the Act; (2) What benefits, if any, would be derived, such as enhancement of personal and environmental safety and security; and (3) Cost effectiveness. The alternatives considered are as follows:

    Alternative 1: Revise 33 CFR 155.1020 by striking “Port Angeles, WA” in the definition of “Higher volume port area” of that section and inserting “Cape Flattery, WA.” Since 1996, 33 CFR 155.1020 has defined the seaward boundary of the Washington HVPA as an arc 50 nautical miles seaward of the entrance to Port Angeles, WA. The proposed change would relocate the arc's center to Cape Flattery, covering approximately 50 additional nautical miles of open ocean.

    Alternative 2: Revise 33 CFR 155.1020 by striking “50 nautical miles” in the definition of “Higher volume port area” and inserting “110 nautical miles.” This change would affect the other 13 HVPAs throughout the United States because of the level of response resources required with the significantly reduced response times that would be associated with a 110-mile outward shift of the existing HVPAs from their entrances. A shift of this distance would require the purchasing and positioning of heavier and more expensive equipment such as oceangoing tugs and barges. In addition, OSROs would incur considerable costs of potentially retrofitting existing HVPAs with shoreside docks. Since this would include all HVPAs, the economic impact on the response resource industry, as a whole, would be greater as opposed to a single HVPA. Furthermore, this option goes beyond the requirements of sec. 710 of the Act, which specifically requires the Coast Guard to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to modify the definition of the term “Higher volume port area” by striking “Port Angeles, WA” and inserting “Cape Flattery, WA.”

    Alternative 3: Take no action. This option was not selected as it would not implement the intent of sec. 710 of the Act, which specifically requires the Coast Guard to initiate a rulemaking to modify the definition of the term “Higher volume port area” by striking “Port Angeles, WA” and inserting “Cape Flattery, WA.” It also precludes the protection intended by Congress for the waters at the entrance to and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

    We chose Alternative 1, which codifies the regulation directly and specifically implements sec. 710 of the Act as described earlier. We rejected Alternative 2, because it went beyond the direction provided by Congress in sec. 710 and adds burden, both in the Puget Sound region and in the other HVPAs throughout the United States. We rejected Alternative 3, the “no action” alternative, because it would not implement sec. 710.

    Benefits

    We do not identify any historic cases that could support the development of quantifiable benefits associated with this proposed rule. Using the Coast Guard's Marine Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) database with casualty cases transferred from MISLE's predecessor, the Marine Safety Management System database, we examined 283 spill cases from 1995 to 2013, beginning with the first spills that appeared in our database for this geographic region. Based on information from Coast Guard personnel who have experience in casualty case investigations and analysis, we found no cases or spills that would have benefitted from the expanded HVPA.

    Qualitatively, oil spills are likely to result in a negative impact to the ecosystem and the economy of the surrounding area. These represent social welfare effects that are not accounted for solely by the amount of oil spilled into the water. In many cases, the scope of the impact is contingent on the vulnerability and resiliency of the affected area. A barrel of spilled oil may not have the same impact in one area as it would in another. Some locations are more sensitive or vulnerable than others. Depending on the ecosystem, VRPs could mitigate impacts to habitats that house multiple species. An area with an ecosystem that is damaged as a result of previous environmental incidents or damaged due to the cumulative effects of environmental injuries over time can be expected to have higher benefits from oil spill mitigation.

    The primary benefit of this proposed rule is to ensure that in the event of a spill, adequate response resources are available and can be mobilized within the expanded HVPA. This will ensure a timely response by vessel owners and operators and the OSROs in an effort to reduce the likelihood, and mitigate the impact of an oil spill on the marine environment that might occur in the expanded HVPA.

    B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

    Regarding vessel owners and operators, as previously discussed, this proposed rule would codify the requirements in the Act of an expanded HVPA, and it would not require vessel owners and operators to make changes to VRPs. Therefore, owners and operators of vessels that transit the HVPA would not incur additional VRP modification costs as a result of this proposed rule. However, as assumed earlier for the purpose of this analysis, if contracts would need to be modified, as stated by one OSRO on the part of the planholders, U.S. planholders would bear some costs of this proposed rule as shown earlier in this preamble. We estimate that each of the 15 U.S. planholders would incur an average one-time cost of about $262 to amend its contract with the OSRO.

    Also, regarding capital costs, it is unclear whether or how these costs impact vessel owners and operators without knowledge of the OSROs' billing structures. Additionally, proprietary information is not available that would allow us to determine the distribution of costs among many vessel owners and operators contracting with each OSRO. Nevertheless, in our earlier analysis, if we assume capital costs are incurred by one of the OSROs and we assume this cost would be passed along equally to U.S. planholders in the form of higher retainer fees, we estimate each of the 13 U.S. planholders would incur an annual cost of about $800 from one particular OSRO in addition to $385 in maintenance costs in years 2 through 10 of the analysis period for a total planholder cost of about $1,185 in years 2 through 10 of the analysis period.

    We assume for the purpose of this analysis that the two OSROs that provide response resource capabilities to the HVPA in Puget Sound may incur costs from this proposed rule and may likely pass along these costs to planholders in the form of higher retainer fees or planholders may incur one-time costs to amend their contracts with one of the OSROs. Using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes for businesses and the Small Business Administration's (SBA) size standards for small businesses, we determined the size of each OSRO. One OSRO has a primary NAICS code of 541618 with an SBA size standard of $15 million, which is under the subsector group 541 of the NAICS code with the description of “Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.” The other OSRO has a primary NAICS code of 562998 with an SBA size standard of $7.5 million, which is under the subsector group 562 of the NAICS code with the description of “Waste Management and Remediation Services.” Based on the information above and annual revenue data from publicly available and proprietary sources, Manta and ReferenceUSA, neither OSRO is considered to be small.

    There are about 1,400 U.S. planholders that have either tank vessel, nontank vessel, or combined vessel response plans. Based on the affected population of this proposed rule relative to the size of the industry as a whole, in this case U.S. vessel response plan owners (planholders), this proposed rule would potentially affect 28 or about 2 percent of the total population of U.S. planholders in the United States. As described earlier and dependent upon the OSRO considered, we estimate a U.S. planholder may incur an annual cost between $262 and $1,185 in years 2 through 10 of the analysis period (and between $262 and $800 in the initial year since we assume maintenance costs are not incurred in the initial year of the analysis period) as a result of this proposed rule. Given the cost analysis and pursuant to section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Coast Guard certifies that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment to the Docket Management Facility at the address under ADDRESSES. In your comment, explain why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    C. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996,8 we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please consult LCDR John G. Peterson (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    8 Pub. L. 104-121.

    Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

    D. Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.9

    9 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.

    E. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under E.O. 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in E.O. 13132. Our analysis follows.

    As noted earlier in the preamble, this rule implements sec. 710 of the Act, which specifically directs the Coast Guard to amend 33 CFR 155.1020 by removing “Port Angeles, WA” and replacing it with “Cape Flattery, WA.” This rule carries out the Congressional mandate by amending the regulations to reflect this required change. Furthermore, this rule does not have a substantial direct effect upon the laws or regulations of the State of Washington. Therefore, this rule is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in E.O. 13132.

    While it is well settled that States may not regulate in categories in which Congress intended the Coast Guard to be the sole source of a vessel's obligations, the Coast Guard recognizes the key role that State and local governments may have in making regulatory determinations. Additionally, for rules with federalism implications and preemptive effect, E.O. 13132 specifically directs agencies to consult with State and local governments during the rulemaking process. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism under E.O. 13132, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION section of this preamble.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 10 requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) or more in any one year. Though this proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    10 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538.

    G. Taking of Private Property

    This proposed rule would not cause a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under E.O. 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

    H. Civil Justice Reform

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

    I. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under E.O. 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and would not create an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that might disproportionately affect children.

    J. Indian Tribal Governments

    A rule has implications for Indian Tribal Governments under E.O. 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, if it has a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian Tribes. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental principles and requirements described in E.O. 13175.

    As noted above, this rulemaking implements the Congressional mandate by implementing sec. 710 of the Act. It will improve marine safety by increasing response times to mitigate or respond to an oil spill from vessels and does not have tribal implications that would require consultation under the E.O.

    The Coast Guard, however, recognizes the key role that Indian Tribal Governments have in making regulatory determinations. Additionally, for rules with tribal implications, E.O. 13175 specifically directs agencies to consult with Indian Tribal Governments during the rulemaking process. If you believe this rule has implications for Indian Tribal Governments under E.O. 13175, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION section of this preamble.

    K. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under E.O. 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under E.O. 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under E.O. 13211, because although it is a “significant regulatory action” under E.O. 12866, it is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy, and the Administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under E.O. 13211.

    L. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act 11 directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through OMB, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

    11 15 U.S.C. 272 note.

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

    M. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969,12 and have made a preliminary determination that this is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” section of this preamble. This rule is categorically excluded under section 6(b) of the “Appendix to National Environmental Policy Act: Coast Guard Procedures for Categorical Exclusions, Notice of Final Agency Policy.” 13 This rule involves Congressionally-mandated regulations designed to protect the environment, specifically, regulations implementing the requirements of the Act (redefining and enlarging the boundaries of the existing higher volume port area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, in Washington). An environmental analysis checklist is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

    12 42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f.

    13 67 FR 48244 (July 23, 2002).

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 155

    Alaska, Hazardous substances, Oil pollution, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 155 as follows:

    PART 155—OIL OR HAZARDOUS MATERIAL POLLUTION PREVENTION REGULATIONS FOR VESSELS 1. The authority citation for part 155 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    3 U.S.C. 301 through 303; 33 U.S.C. 1225, 1231, 1321(j), 1903(b), 2735; E.O. 12777, 56 FR 54757, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 351; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. Section 155.1020 also issued under section 710 of Pub. L. 111-281. Section 155.480 also issued under section 4110(b) of Pub. L. 101.380.

    § 155.1020 [Amended]
    2. In § 155.1020, amend paragraph (13) of the definition of “Higher volume port area” by removing the words “Port Angeles” and adding, in their place, the words “Cape Flattery”. Dated: May 7, 2015. J.C. Burton, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Director of Inspections and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11760 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2015-0084] RIN 1625-AA00, AA11 Great Lakes—Regulated Navigation Areas and Safety Zones AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to amend its Great Lakes Regulated Navigation Areas regulations to include two safety zones to close designated waters for recreational ice users and three Regulated Navigation Areas to manage vessel traffic in ice-prone waterways. Further, the Coast Guard proposes to redefine (without changing) the three existing regulated navigation areas in the rule as safety zones. These proposed amendments provide needed updates to the regulations and align the rule with existing waterway regulations. The proposed amendments are necessary to protect waterway users, vessels, and mariners from hazards associated with winter conditions and navigation.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before July 6, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2015-0084 using any one of the following methods:

    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov.

    (2) Fax: 202-493-2251.

    (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    (4) Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

    See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on submitting comments. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email LTJG Matthew Stroebel, Ninth Coast Guard District Prevention; telephone 216-902-6060, email [email protected] If you have questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Cheryl Collins, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826 or 1-800-647-5527.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Acronyms DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking RNA Regulated Navigation Area A. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided.

    1. Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking (USCG-2015-0084), indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online at http://www.regulations.gov, or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. If you submit a comment online, it will be considered received by the Coast Guard when you successfully transmit the comment. If you fax, hand deliver, or mail your comment, it will be considered as having been received by the Coast Guard when it is received at the Docket Management Facility. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a telephone number in the body of your document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your submission.

    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number [USCG-2015-0084] in the “Search” box and click “Search.” Click the “Comment” box on the line associated with this supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may change the rule based on your comments.

    2. Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number USCG-2015-0084 in the “SEARCH” box and click “Search.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rulemaking. You may also visit the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. We have an agreement with the Department of Transportation to use the Docket Management Facility.

    3. Privacy Act

    Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review a Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

    4. Public Meeting

    We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. You may submit a request for one using one of the four methods specified under ADDRESSES. Please explain why you believe a public meeting would be beneficial. If we determine that one would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place announced by a later notice in the Federal Register.

    B. Regulatory History and Information

    There is no recent regulatory history related to 33 CFR 165.901. The Coast Guard made a substantive amendment to the rule on August 4, 1983 (48 FR 35402) to adjust the position of the second RNA on Lake Huron under § 165.901(a)(2).

    C. Basis and Purpose

    The legal basis for this rule is the Coast Guard's authority to establish RNAs and limited access areas: 33 U.S.C. 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05-1, 6.04-1, 6.04-6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    33 CFR 165.901 lists three Great Lakes RNAs—(1) the waters of Lake Huron known as South Channel; (2) the waters of Lake Huron between Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, Michigan; and (3) the waters of Lake Michigan known as Gray's Reefs passage. Although termed RNAs, these three areas are actually closure zones. Title 33 CFR 165.901(c) of the rule authorizes the Captain of the Port (COTP) Sault Sainte Marie to close and open the RNAs as ice conditions dictate. Normally, closures take place once in the winter with openings occurring in the spring. When closed, vessels are prohibited from navigating the RNAs without COTP authorization.

    The Coast Guard has identified the need for two additional closure areas on the Great Lakes, specifically, (1) designated waters of Lake Huron on Saginaw Bay, Michigan; and (2) U.S. waters of Lake Erie in the vicinity of the South Passage and the Erie Islands, Ohio. The specific coordinates for these closures areas are set forth in the proposed regulatory text under § 165.901(a)(1)-(2). These areas attract recreational ice users during winter months. Vessel traffic would disrupt ice integrity in these areas and pose risks to these recreational waterway users, which may include people and vehicles falling through the ice. To mitigate these risks, the Coast Guard proposes to establish safety zones to close these areas to vessel traffic during the winter.

    The Coast Guard also identified the need for three vessel traffic management areas or RNAs on the Great Lakes. These areas generally include (1) the waters of Lake Erie known as the Maumee Bay Entrance Channel; (2) the waters connecting Lake Huron to Lake Michigan known as the Straits of Mackinac; and (3) the waters of Lake Michigan known as Green Bay. Specific coordinates for these RNAs are set forth in the proposed regulatory text under § 165.901(c)(1)-(3). Vessel traffic ply the waters in these areas during winter months; however, seasonal ice conditions, which can worsen on short notice, pose risks to vessel traffic in these areas. To manage these risks, the Coast Guard proposes to establish RNAs in these areas to regulate vessel movement and safeguard vessel traffic. During periods of ice-cover, the Coast Guard anticipates issuing temporary vessel operating requirements, as provided for under 33 CFR 165.11, to promote the safe passage of vessels through the RNAs. Bases for these temporary traffic rules include winter navigation, channel obstructions, unusual weather conditions, or unusual water levels. Such temporary operating requirements may include transiting the RNA with an assist tug or standing fast until conditions permit safe passage.

    D. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    In light of the foregoing discussion, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR 165.901 to add two safety zones to protect recreational ice users and three RNAs to safeguard vessel traffic. In addition, the three closure areas in the rule, presently termed RNAs, will be redefined as safety zones. This redefinition will not affect the position or seasonal implementation of these closure areas. These proposed amendments will provide regulatory authority for the Coast Guard (1) to close designated waters on the Great Lakes to vessel traffic to protect recreational ice users during the winter season; (2) to manage vessel traffic in designated areas to protect vessels and mariners from dangers of ice conditions; and (3) to redefine the existing RNAs in the rule to safety zones. Since the existing closure areas do not involve vessel traffic management, they are more appropriately defined as safety zones, which generally provide for the closure of a waterway in the interest of safety.

    E. Regulatory Analyses

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

    1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. We conclude that this proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action because we anticipate that it will have minimal impact on the economy, will not interfere with other agencies, will not adversely alter the budget of any grant or loan recipients, and will not raise any novel legal or policy issues. The proposed amendments involve closure areas and vessel management areas, designed to be implemented only during winter months, as ice conditions dictate. As to the impact of the closure area on Lake Erie near the South Channel and the Erie Islands, OH, the Coast notes that industry vessels have taken alternative routes bypassing the Erie Islands when recreational ice users are present. The Coast Guard anticipates the same practice when this area is closed. Further, regarding the closure area on the waters of Lake Huron in Saginaw Bay, Michigan, the Coast Guard anticipates closing the bay after giving due consideration to industry's need to traverse the area. Moreover, under certain circumstances, the Coast Guard may permit vessel traffic to transit the closure areas. Regarding the three proposed vessel management areas, they are designed to regulate the conditions of vessel transit for safety. Overall, we expect the economic impact of this proposed rule to be minimal and that a full Regulatory Evaluation is unnecessary.

    2. Impact on Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

    The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule may affect the following entities, some of which might be small entities: the owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the proposed safety zones and RNAs during the winter months.

    These proposed amendments will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the reasons cited in the Regulatory Planning and Review section.

    If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    3. Assistance for Small Entities

    Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above. The Coast Guard will not retaliate against small entities that question or complain about this proposed rule or any policy or action of the Coast Guard.

    4. Collection of Information

    This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.).

    5. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this proposed rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

    6. Protest Activities

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

    7. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    8. Taking of Private Property

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

    9. Civil Justice Reform

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

    10. Protection of Children

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

    11. Indian Tribal Governments

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

    12. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

    13. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 U.S.C. 272) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies.

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

    14. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Because this proposed rule involves amendments to navigation regulations and establishment of a safety zones, it is categorically excluded under paragraph 34(g) of the Commandant Instruction. A Categorical Exclusion Determination (CED) and an environmental analysis checklist are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Revise § 165.901 to read as follows:
    § 165.901 Great Lakes—regulated navigation areas and safety zones.

    (a) The following are safety zones:

    (1) Lake Erie. The U.S. waters of Lake Erie at the intersection of the International Border at 082°55′00″ W., following the International Border eastward to the intersection of the International Border at 082°35′00″ W., moving straight south to position 41°25′00″ N., 082°35′00″ W., continuing west to position 41°25′00″ N., 082°55′00″ W., and ending north at the International Border and 082°55′00″ W.

    (2) Lake Huron. (i) The waters of Lake Huron known as South Channel between Bois Blanc Island and Cheboygan, Michigan; bounded by a line north from the mainland at 45°39′48″ N., 84°27′36″ W.; to Bois Blanc Island at 45°43′42″ N., 84°27′36″ W.; and a line north from the mainland at 45°43′00″ N., 84°35′30″ W.; to the western tangent of Bois Blanc Island at 45°48′42″ N., 84°35′30″ W.

    (ii) The waters of Lake Huron between Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, Michigan, bounded by a line east from position 45°52′12″ N., 84°43′00″ W.; to Mackinac Island at 45°52′12″ N., 84°39′00″ W.; and a line east from the mainland at 45°53′12″ N., 84°43′30″ W.; to the northern tangent of Mackinac Island at 45°53′12″ N., 84°38′48″ W.

    (iii) The waters of Lake Huron known as Saginaw Bay, Michigan; bounded by a line from Port Austin Reef Light (LL-10275) at 44°04′55″ N., 082°58′57″ W.; to Tawas Light (LL-11240) at 44°15′13″ N., 083°26′58″ W.; to Saginaw Bay Range Front Light (LL-10550) at 43°38′54″ N., 083°51′06″ W.; then to the point of beginning.

    (3) Lake Michigan. The waters of Lake Michigan known as Gray's Reef Passage bounded by a line from Gray's Reef Light (LL-2006) at 45°46′00″ N., 85°09′12″ W.; to White Shoals Light (LL-2003) at 45°50′30″ N., 85°08′06″ W.; to a point at 45°49′12″ N., 85°04′48″ W.; then to a point at 45°45′42″ N., 85°08′42″ W.; then to the point of beginning.

    (b) Regulations. The District Commander or respective Captain of the Port (COTP) will enforce these safety zones as ice conditions dictate. Under normal seasonal conditions, only one closing each winter and one opening each spring are anticipated. Prior to closing or opening these safety zones, the District Commander or respective COTP will give the public advance notice, not less than 72 hours prior to the closure. The general regulations in 33 CFR 165.23 apply. The District Commander or respective COTP retains the discretion to permit vessels to enter/transit a closed safety zone under certain circumstances.

    (c) The following are regulated navigation areas (RNAs):

    (1) Lake Erie. The waters of Lake Erie known as the Maumee Bay Entrance Channel between Maumee Bay Entrance Channel Light at 41°49′32″ N., 083°11′37″ W.; and Grassy Island at 41°42′23″ N., 083°26′49″ W.

    (2) Straits of Mackinac. The waters connecting Lake Huron to Lake Michigan known as the Straits of Mackinac from Lansing Shoal Light at 45°54′8″ N., 085°33′25″ W. southwest to 45°50′7″ N., 085°34′3″ W. to Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse at 45°47′36″ N., 084°44′23″ W. eastward to Bois Blanc Island at 45°49′7″ N., 084°34′28″ W. then northwest to Mackinaw Island at 45°51′5″ N., 084°36′19″ W., encompassing Round Island, westward to the northern point of the Mackinaw Bridge at 45°50′57″ N., 084°43′47″ W. and returning to the beginning at Lansing Shoal Light.

    (3) Green Bay. The waters of Lake Michigan known as Green Bay from Rock Island Passage or Porte Des Morts Passage north to Escanaba Light at 45°44′48″ N., 087°02′14″ W.; south to the Fox River Entrance at 44°32′22″ N., 088°00′19″ W., to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal from Sherwood Point Light at 44°53′34″ N., 087°26′00″ W.; to Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Light at 44°47′42″ N., 087°18′48″ W.; and then to the point of beginning.

    (d) Regulations. In the RNAs under paragraph (c) of this section, the District Commander or respective COTP may issue orders to control vessel traffic for reasons which include but are not limited to: channel obstructions, winter navigation, unusual weather conditions, or unusual water levels. Prior to issuing these orders, the District Commander or respective COTP will provide advance notice as reasonably practicable under the circumstances. The general regulations in 33 CFR 165.13 apply. The District Commander or respective COTP retains the discretion to authorize vessels to operate outside of issued orders.

    Dated: May 4, 2015. F. M. Midgette, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-11804 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R04-OAR-2013-0040; FRL- 9928-05-Region-4] Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Florida Infrastructure Requirements for the 2008 Lead National Ambient Air Quality Standards AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve portions of the October 14, 2011, State Implementation Plan (SIP) submission, provided by the State of Florida, through the Department of Environmental Protection (FL DEP) for inclusion into the Florida SIP. This proposal pertains to the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act) infrastructure requirements for the 2008 Lead national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). The CAA requires that each state adopt and submit a SIP for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of each NAAQS promulgated by EPA, which is commonly referred to as an “infrastructure” SIP. FL DEP certified that the Florida SIP contains provisions that ensure the 2008 Lead NAAQS is implemented, enforced, and maintained in Florida. With the exception of provisions pertaining to prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permitting, EPA is proposing to approve Florida's infrastructure submission, provided to EPA on October 14, 2011, as satisfying the required infrastructure elements for the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before June 22, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2013-0040, 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-2013-0040,” 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: 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-2013-0040. 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:

    Zuri Farngalo, 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. The telephone number is (404) 562-9152. Mr. Farngalo can be reached via electronic mail at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents I. Background II. What elements are required under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)? III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions? IV. What is EPA's analysis of how Florida addressed the elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) “infrastructure” provisions? V. Proposed Action VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background

    On October 5, 1978, EPA promulgated primary and secondary NAAQS for Lead under section 109 of the Act. See 43 FR 46246. Both primary and secondary standards were set at a level of 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m 3), measured as Lead in total suspended particulate matter (Pb-TSP), not to be exceeded by the maximum arithmetic mean concentration averaged over a calendar quarter. This standard was based on the 1977 Air Quality Criteria for Lead (USEPA, August 7, 1977). On November 12, 2008 (75 FR 81126), EPA issued a final rule to revise the primary and secondary Lead NAAQS. The primary and secondary Lead NAAQS were revised to 0.15 µg/m 3. By statute, SIPs meeting the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) are to be submitted by states within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. Sections 110(a)(1) and (2) require states to address basic SIP requirements, including emissions inventories, monitoring, and modeling to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. States were required to submit such SIPs to EPA no later than October 15, 2011, for the 2008 Lead NAAQS.1

    1 In these infrastructure SIP submissions states generally certify evidence of compliance with sections 110(a)(1) and (2) of the CAA through a combination of state regulations and statutes, some of which have been incorporated into the federally-approved SIP. In addition, certain federally-approved, non-SIP regulations may also be appropriate for demonstrating compliance with sections 110(a)(1) and (2). Throughout this rulemaking, unless otherwise indicated, regulations referenced herein as the “Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)” have been approved into Florida's federally-approved SIP. Florida state statutes, referenced as “Florida Statue (F.S.)” herein are not a part of the SIP unless otherwise indicated.

    Today's action is proposing to approve Florida's infrastructure SIP submission for the applicable requirements of the 2008 Lead NAAQS, with the exception of the preconstruction PSD permitting requirements for major sources of sections 110(a)(2)(C), prong 3 of D(i), and (J). With respect to Florida's infrastructure SIP submission related to the provisions pertaining to the PSD permitting requirements for major sources of section 110(a)(2)(C), prong 3 of D(i), and (J), EPA's approval of these elements was published on March 18, 2015 (80 FR 14019). For the aspects of Florida's submittal proposed for approval today, EPA notes that the Agency is not approving any specific rule, but rather proposing that Florida's already approved SIP meets certain CAA requirements.

    II. What elements are required under sections 110(a)(1) and (2)?

    Section 110(a) of the CAA requires states to submit SIPs to provide for the implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of a new or revised NAAQS within three years following the promulgation of such NAAQS, or within such shorter period as EPA may prescribe. Section 110(a) imposes the obligation upon states to make a SIP submission to EPA for a new or revised NAAQS, but the contents of that submission may vary depending upon the facts and circumstances. In particular, the data and analytical tools available at the time the state develops and submits the SIP for a new or revised NAAQS affects the content of the submission. The contents of such SIP submissions may also vary depending upon what provisions the state's existing SIP already contains. In the case of the 2008 Lead NAAQS, states typically have met the basic program elements required in section 110(a)(2) through earlier SIP submissions in connection with the 1978 Lead NAAQS.

    Section 110(a)(1) provides the procedural and timing requirements for SIPs. Section 110(a)(2) lists specific elements that states must meet for “infrastructure” SIP requirements related to a newly established or revised NAAQS. As mentioned above, these requirements include SIP infrastructure elements such as modeling, monitoring, and emissions inventories that are designed to assure attainment and maintenance of the NAAQS. The requirements that are the subject of this proposed rulemaking are listed below 2 and in EPA's October 14, 2011, memorandum entitled “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements Required Under Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2008 Lead (Pb) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)” (2011 Lead Infrastructure SIP Guidance).

    2 Two elements identified in section 110(a)(2) are not governed by the three year submission deadline of section 110(a)(1) because SIPs incorporating necessary local nonattainment area controls are not due within three years after promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS, but rather due at the time the nonattainment area plan requirements are due pursuant to section 172. These requirements are: (1) Submissions required by section 110(a)(2)(C) to the extent that subsection refers to a permit program as required in part D Title I of the CAA, and (2) submissions required by section 110(a)(2)(I) which pertain to the nonattainment planning requirements of part D, Title I of the CAA. Today's proposed rulemaking does not address infrastructure elements related to section 110(a)(2)(I) or the nonattainment planning requirements of 110(a)(2)(C).

    • 110(a)(2)(A): Emission limits and other control measures.

    • 110(a)(2)(B): Ambient air quality monitoring/data system.

    • 110(a)(2)(C): Program for enforcement, prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) and new source review (NSR).3

    3 This rulemaking only addresses requirements for this element as they relate to attainment areas.

    • 110(a)(2)(D): Interstate and international transport provisions.

    • 110(a)(2)(E): Adequate personnel, funding, and authority.

    • 110(a)(2)(F): Stationary source monitoring and reporting.

    • 110(a)(2)(G): Emergency Powers.

    • 110(a)(2)(H): Future SIP revisions.

    • 110(a)(2)(I): Nonattainment area plan or plan revision under part D.4

    4 As mentioned above, this element is not relevant to today's proposed rulemaking.

    • 110(a)(2)(J): Consultation with government officials, public notification, and PSD and visibility protection.

    • 110(a)(2)(K): Air quality modeling/data.

    • 110(a)(2)(L): Permitting fees.

    • 110(a)(2)(M): Consultation/participation by affected local entities.

    III. What is EPA's approach to the review of infrastructure SIP submissions?

    EPA is acting upon the SIP submission from Florida that addresses the infrastructure requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2008 Lead NAAQS. Pursuant to section 110(a)(1), states must make SIP submissions “within 3 years (or such shorter period as the Administrator may prescribe) after the promulgation of a national primary ambient air quality standard (or any revision thereof),” and these SIP submissions are to provide for the “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of such NAAQS. The statute directly imposes on states the duty to make these SIP submissions, and the requirement to make the submissions is not conditioned upon EPA's taking any action other than promulgating a new or revised NAAQS. Section 110(a)(2) includes a list of specific elements that “each such plan” submission must address.

    EPA has historically referred to these SIP submissions made for the purpose of satisfying the requirements of CAA sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) as “infrastructure SIP” submissions. Although the term “infrastructure SIP” does not appear in the CAA, EPA uses the term to distinguish this particular type of SIP submission from submissions that are intended to satisfy other SIP requirements under the CAA, such as “nonattainment SIP” or “attainment plan SIP” submissions to address the nonattainment planning requirements of part D of title I of the CAA, “regional haze SIP” submissions required by EPA rule to address the visibility protection requirements of CAA section 169A, and nonattainment new source review permit program submissions to address the permit requirements of CAA, title I, part D.

    Section 110(a)(1) addresses the timing and general requirements for infrastructure SIP submissions, and section 110(a)(2) provides more details concerning the required contents of these submissions. The list of required elements provided in section 110(a)(2) contains a wide variety of disparate provisions, some of which pertain to required legal authority, some of which pertain to required substantive program provisions, and some of which pertain to requirements for both authority and substantive program provisions.5 EPA therefore believes that while the timing requirement in section 110(a)(1) is unambiguous, some of the other statutory provisions are ambiguous. In particular, EPA believes that the list of required elements for infrastructure SIP submissions provided in section 110(a)(2) contains ambiguities concerning what is required for inclusion in an infrastructure SIP submission.

    5 For example: Section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) provides that states must provide assurances that they have adequate legal authority under state and local law to carry out the SIP; section 110(a)(2)(C) provides that states must have a SIP-approved program to address certain sources as required by part C of title I of the CAA; and section 110(a)(2)(G) provides that states must have legal authority to address emergencies as well as contingency plans that are triggered in the event of such emergencies.

    The following examples of ambiguities illustrate the need for EPA to interpret some section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) requirements with respect to infrastructure SIP submissions for a given new or revised NAAQS. One example of ambiguity is that section 110(a)(2) requires that “each” SIP submission must meet the list of requirements therein, while EPA has long noted that this literal reading of the statute is internally inconsistent and would create a conflict with the nonattainment provisions in part D of title I of the Act, which specifically address nonattainment SIP requirements.6 Section 110(a)(2)(I) pertains to nonattainment SIP requirements and part D addresses when attainment plan SIP submissions to address nonattainment area requirements are due. For example, section 172(b) requires EPA to establish a schedule for submission of such plans for certain pollutants when the Administrator promulgates the designation of an area as nonattainment, and section 107(d)(1)(B) allows up to two years, or in some cases three years, for such designations to be promulgated.7 This ambiguity illustrates that rather than apply all the stated requirements of section 110(a)(2) in a strict literal sense, EPA must determine which provisions of section 110(a)(2) are applicable for a particular infrastructure SIP submission.

    6See, e.g., “Rule To Reduce Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone (Clean Air Interstate Rule); Revisions to Acid Rain Program; Revisions to the NOX SIP Call; Final Rule,” 70 FR 25162, at 25163-65 (May 12, 2005) (explaining relationship between timing requirement of section 110(a)(2)(D) versus section 110(a)(2)(I)).

    7 EPA notes that this ambiguity within section 110(a)(2) is heightened by the fact that various subparts of part D set specific dates for submission of certain types of SIP submissions in designated nonattainment areas for various pollutants. Note, e.g., that section 182(a)(1) provides specific dates for submission of emissions inventories for the ozone NAAQS. Some of these specific dates are necessarily later than three years after promulgation of the new or revised NAAQS.

    Another example of ambiguity within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) with respect to infrastructure SIPs pertains to whether states must meet all of the infrastructure SIP requirements in a single SIP submission, and whether EPA must act upon such SIP submission in a single action. Although section 110(a)(1) directs states to submit “a plan” to meet these requirements, EPA interprets the CAA to allow states to make multiple SIP submissions separately addressing infrastructure SIP elements for the same NAAQS. If states elect to make such multiple SIP submissions to meet the infrastructure SIP requirements, EPA can elect to act on such submissions either individually or in a larger combined action.8 Similarly, EPA interprets the CAA to allow it to take action on the individual parts of one larger, comprehensive infrastructure SIP submission for a given NAAQS without concurrent action on the entire submission. For example, EPA has sometimes elected to act at different times on various elements and sub-elements of the same infrastructure SIP submission.9

    8See, e.g., “Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) State Implementation Plan (SIP); Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Nonattainment New Source Review (NNSR) Permitting,” 78 FR 4339 (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action approving the structural PSD elements of the New Mexico SIP submitted by the State separately to meet the requirements of EPA's 2008 PM2.5 NSR rule), and “Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; New Mexico; Infrastructure and Interstate Transport Requirements for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS,” (78 FR 4337) (January 22, 2013) (EPA's final action on the infrastructure SIP for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS).

    9 On December 14, 2007, the State of Tennessee, through the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, made a SIP revision to EPA demonstrating that the State meets the requirements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2). EPA proposed action for infrastructure SIP elements (C) and (J) on January 23, 2012 (77 FR 3213) and took final action on March 14, 2012 (77 FR 14976). On April 16, 2012 (77 FR 22533) and July 23, 2012 (77 FR 42997), EPA took separate proposed and final actions on all other section 110(a)(2) infrastructure SIP elements of Tennessee's December 14, 2007 submittal.

    Ambiguities within sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) may also arise with respect to infrastructure SIP submission requirements for different NAAQS. Thus, EPA notes that not every element of section 110(a)(2) would be relevant, or as relevant, or relevant in the same way, for each new or revised NAAQS. The states' attendant infrastructure SIP submissions for each NAAQS therefore could be different. For example, the monitoring requirements that a state might need to meet in its infrastructure SIP submission for purposes of section 110(a)(2)(B) could be very different for different pollutants because the content and scope of a state's infrastructure SIP submission to meet this element might be very different for an entirely new NAAQS than for a minor revision to an existing NAAQS.10

    10 For example, implementation of the 1997 PM2.5 NAAQS required the deployment of a system of new monitors to measure ambient levels of that new indicator species for the new NAAQS.

    EPA notes that interpretation of section 110(a)(2) is also necessary when EPA reviews other types of SIP submissions required under the CAA. Therefore, as with infrastructure SIP submissions, EPA also has to identify and interpret the relevant elements of section 110(a)(2) that logically apply to these other types of SIP submissions. For example, section 172(c)(7) requires that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D have to meet the “applicable requirements” of section 110(a)(2). Thus, for example, attainment plan SIP submissions must meet the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(A) regarding enforceable emission limits and control measures and section 110(a)(2)(E)(i) regarding air agency resources and authority. By contrast, it is clear that attainment plan SIP submissions required by part D would not need to meet the portion of section 110(a)(2)(C) that pertains to the PSD program required in part C of title I of the CAA, because PSD does not apply to a pollutant for which an area is designated nonattainment and thus subject to part D planning requirements. As this example illustrates, each type of SIP submission may implicate some elements of section 110(a)(2) but not others.

    Given the potential for ambiguity in some of the statutory language of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2), EPA believes that it is appropriate to interpret the ambiguous portions of section 110(a)(1) and section 110(a)(2) in the context of acting on a particular SIP submission. In other words, EPA assumes that Congress could not have intended that each and every SIP submission, regardless of the NAAQS in question or the history of SIP development for the relevant pollutant, would meet each of the requirements, or meet each of them in the same way. Therefore, EPA has adopted an approach under which it reviews infrastructure SIP submissions against the list of elements in section 110(a)(2), but only to the extent each element applies for that particular NAAQS.

    Historically, EPA has elected to use guidance documents to make recommendations to states for infrastructure SIPs, in some cases conveying needed interpretations on newly arising issues and in some cases conveying interpretations that have already been developed and applied to individual SIP submissions for particular elements.11 EPA issued the 2011 Lead Infrastructure SIP Guidance 12 to provide states with up-to-date guidance for Lead infrastructure SIPs. Within this guidance, EPA describes the duty of states to make infrastructure SIP submissions to meet basic structural SIP requirements within three years of promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS. EPA also made recommendations about many specific subsections of section 110(a)(2) that are relevant in the context of infrastructure SIP submissions. The guidance also discusses the substantively important issues that are germane to certain subsections of section 110(a)(2). Significantly, EPA interprets sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) such that infrastructure SIP submissions need to address certain issues and need not address others. Accordingly, EPA reviews each infrastructure SIP submission for compliance with the applicable statutory provisions of section 110(a)(2), as appropriate.13

    11 EPA notes, however, that nothing in the CAA requires EPA to provide guidance or to promulgate regulations for infrastructure SIP submissions. The CAA directly applies to states and requires the submission of infrastructure SIP submissions, regardless of whether or not EPA provides guidance or regulations pertaining to such submissions. EPA elects to issue such guidance in order to assist states, as appropriate.

    12 “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements Required under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) for the 2008 Lead (Pb) National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS),” Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, October 14, 2011.

    13 Although not intended to provide guidance for purposes of infrastructure SIP submissions for the 2008 Lead NAAQS, EPA notes, that following the 2011 Lead Infrastructure SIP Guidance, EPA issued the “Guidance on Infrastructure State Implementation Plan (SIP) Elements under Clean Air Act Sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2).” Memorandum from Stephen D. Page, September 13, 2013. This 2013 guidance provides recommendations for air agencies' development and the EPA's review of infrastructure SIPs for the 2008 ozone primary and secondary NAAQS, the 2010 primary nitrogen dioxide (NO2) NAAQS, the 2010 primary sulfur dioxide (SO2) NAAQS, and the 2012 primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS, as well as infrastructure SIPs for new or revised NAAQS promulgated in the future.

    EPA's approach to review of infrastructure SIP submissions is to identify the CAA requirements that are logically applicable to that submission. EPA believes that this approach to the review of a particular infrastructure SIP submission is appropriate, because it would not be reasonable to read the general requirements of section 110(a)(1) and the list of elements in 110(a)(2) as requiring review of each and every provision of a state's existing SIP against all requirements in the CAA and EPA regulations merely for purposes of assuring that the state in question has the basic structural elements for a functioning SIP for a new or revised NAAQS. Because SIPs have grown by accretion over the decades as statutory and regulatory requirements under the CAA have evolved, they may include some outmoded provisions and historical artifacts. These provisions, while not fully up to date, nevertheless may not pose a significant problem for the purposes of “implementation, maintenance, and enforcement” of a new or revised NAAQS when EPA evaluates adequacy of the infrastructure SIP submission. EPA believes that a better approach is for states and EPA to focus attention on those elements of section 110(a)(2) of the CAA most likely to warrant a specific SIP revision due to the promulgation of a new or revised NAAQS or other factors.

    Finally, EPA believes that its approach with respect to infrastructure SIP requirements is based on a reasonable reading of sections 110(a)(1) and 110(a)(2) because the CAA provides other avenues and mechanisms to address specific substantive deficiencies in existing SIPs. These other statutory tools allow EPA to take appropriately tailored action, depending upon the nature and severity of the alleged SIP deficiency. Section 110(k)(5) authorizes EPA to issue a “SIP call” whenever the Agency determines that a state's SIP is substantially inadequate to attain or maintain the NAAQS, to mitigate interstate transport, or to otherwise comply with the CAA.14 Section 110(k)(6) authorizes EPA to correct errors in past actions, such as past approvals of SIP submissions.15 Significantly, EPA's determination that an action on a state's infrastructure SIP submission is not the appropriate time and place to address all potential existing SIP deficiencies does not preclude EPA's subsequent reliance on provisions in section 110(a)(2) as part of the basis for action to correct those deficiencies at a later time. For example, although it may not be appropriate to require a state to eliminate all existing inappropriate director's discretion provisions in the course of acting on an infrastructure SIP submission, EPA believes that section 110(a)(2)(A) may be among the statutory bases that EPA relies upon in the course of addressing such deficiency in a subsequent action.16

    14 For example, EPA issued a SIP call to Utah to address specific existing SIP deficiencies related to the treatment of excess emissions during SSM events. See “Finding of Substantial Inadequacy of Implementation Plan; Call for Utah State Implementation Plan Revisions,” 74 FR 21639 (April 18, 2011).

    15 EPA has used this authority to correct errors in past actions on SIP submissions related to PSD programs. See “Limitation of Approval of Prevention of Significant Deterioration Provisions Concerning Greenhouse Gas Emitting-Sources in State Implementation Plans; Final Rule,” 75 FR 82536 (December 30, 2010). EPA has previously used its authority under CAA section 110(k)(6) to remove numerous other SIP provisions that the Agency determined it had approved in error. See, e.g., 61 FR 38664 (July 25, 1996) and 62 FR 34641 (June 27, 1997) (corrections to American Samoa, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada SIPs); 69 FR 67062 (November 16, 2004) (corrections to California SIP); and 74 FR 57051 (November 3, 2009) (corrections to Arizona and Nevada SIPs).

    16See, e.g., EPA's disapproval of a SIP submission from Colorado on the grounds that it would have included a director's discretion provision inconsistent with CAA requirements, including section 110(a)(2)(A). See, e.g., 75 FR 42342 at 42344 (July 21, 2010) (proposed disapproval of director's discretion provisions); 76 FR 4540 (Jan. 26, 2011) (final disapproval of such provisions).

    IV. What is EPA's analysis of how Florida addressed the elements of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) “infrastructure” provisions?

    The Florida infrastructure submission addresses the provisions of sections 110(a)(1) and (2) as described below.

    1. 110(a)(2)(A)—Emission limits and other control measures: Florida's infrastructure submission cites provisions of the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) that provide FL DEP with the necessary authority to adopt and enforce air quality controls, which include enforceable emission limitations and other control measures. Chapters 62-204, F.A.C., Air Pollution Control Provisions; 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements; 62-212,F.A.C. Stationary Source-Preconstruction Review; 62-296, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Emissions Standards; and 62-297, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Emissions Monitoring, establish emission limits for Lead and address the required control measures, means and techniques for compliance with the 2008 Lead NAAQS respectively. EPA has made the preliminary determination that the above provisions and Florida's practices are adequate to protect the 2008 Lead NAAQS in the State. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Florida's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(A).

    In this action, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove any existing State provisions with regard to excess emissions during startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM) of operations at a facility. EPA believes that a number of states have SSM provisions which are contrary to the CAA and existing EPA guidance, “State Implementation Plans: Policy Regarding Excess Emissions During Malfunctions, Startup, and Shutdown” (September 20, 1999), and the Agency plans to address such state regulations in the future.17 In the meantime, EPA encourages any state having a deficient SSM provision to take steps to correct it as soon as possible.

    17 On February 22, 2013, EPA published a proposed action in the Federal Register entitled, “State Implementation Plans: Response to Petition for Rulemaking; Findings of Substantial Inadequacy; and SIP Calls to Amend Provisions Applying to Excess Emissions During Periods of Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction; Proposed Rule.” 78 FR 12459.

    Additionally, in this action, EPA is not proposing to approve or disapprove any existing State rules with regard to director's discretion or variance provisions. In the meantime, EPA encourages any state having a director's discretion or variance provision which is contrary to the CAA and EPA guidance to take steps to correct the deficiency as soon as possible.

    2. 110(a)(2)(B)—Ambient air quality monitoring/data system: SIPs are required to provide for the establishment and operation of ambient air quality monitors; the compilation and analysis of ambient air quality data; and the submission of these data to EPA upon request. Chapters 62-204, F.A.C., Air Pollution Control Provisions, 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements, and 62-212, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Preconstruction Review of the Florida SIP, along with the Florida Network Description and Ambient Air Monitoring Network Plan, provide for an ambient air quality monitoring system in the State. Annually, States develop and submit to EPA for approval statewide ambient monitoring network plans consistent with the requirements of 40 CFR parts 50, 53, and 58. The annual network plan involves an evaluation of any proposed changes to the monitoring network, and includes the annual ambient monitoring network design plan and a certified evaluation of the agency's ambient monitors and auxiliary support equipment.18 The latest monitoring network plan for Florida was submitted to EPA in May 2014 and on November 7, 2014, EPA approved this plan. Florida's approved monitoring network plan can be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2013-0040. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices are adequate for the ambient air quality monitoring and data system requirements related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    18 On occasion, proposed changes to the monitoring network are evaluated outside of the network plan approval process in accordance with 40 CFR part 58.

    3. 110(a)(2)(C)—Program for enforcement, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and new source review (NSR): This element consists of three sub-elements; enforcement, state-wide regulation of new and modified minor sources and minor modifications of major sources; and preconstruction permitting of major sources and major modifications in areas designated attainment or unclassifiable for the subject NAAQS as required by CAA title I part C (i.e., the major source PSD program). In this action EPA is proposing to approve Florida's infrastructure SIP submission for the 2008 Lead NAAQS with respect to the general requirement of 110(a)(2)(C) to include a program in the SIP that provides for enforcement of emission limits and control measures and regulation of minor sources and minor modifications as well as the enforcement of lead emission limits to assist in the protection of air quality in nonattainment, attainment or unclassifiable areas. This is established in Chapters 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements, Section 200—Definitions; and 62-212, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Preconstruction Review, Section 400—Prevention of Significant Deterioration..

    Enforcement: FL DEP's SIP approved regulations provide for enforcement of lead emission limits and control measures and construction permitting for new or modified stationary lead sources.

    Preconstruction PSD Permitting for Major Sources: With respect to Florida's infrastructure SIP submission related to the preconstruction PSD permitting requirements for major sources of section 110(a)(2)(C), EPA approved this element at 80 FR 14019, published on March 18, 2015, and thus is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements.

    Regulation of minor sources and modifications: Section 110(a)(2)(C) also requires the regulation of new and modified minor sources and minor modifications. FL DEP's SIP-approved rule chapters 62-204, 62-210, and 62-212, F.A.C., collectively establish a preconstruction, new source permitting program that meets the NNSR requirements under parts C and D of the CAA for pollutant-emitting activities that contribute to lead concentrations in the ambient air and also provide for the enforcement of lead emission limits and control measures. FL DEP's SIP-approved preconstruction review program applies to minor sources and modifications as well as major stationary sources and modifications (as discussed above).

    EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices are adequate for enforcement of control measures and regulation of minor sources and modifications related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    4. 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and (II), and 110(a)(2)(D)(ii)—Interstate and International transport provisions: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) has two components; 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) and 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II). Each of these components have two subparts resulting in four distinct components, commonly referred to as “prongs,” that must be addressed in infrastructure SIP submissions. The first two prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I), are provisions that prohibit any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from contributing significantly to nonattainment of the NAAQS in another state (“prong 1”), and interfering with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state (“prong 2”). The third and fourth prongs, which are codified in section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), are provisions that prohibit emissions activity in one state from interfering with measures required to prevent significant deterioration of air quality in another state (“prong 3”), or to protect visibility in another state (“prong 4”). Section 110(a)(2)(D)(ii) Intestate and International transport provisions requires SIPs to include provisions insuring compliance with sections 115 and 126 of the Act, relating to interstate and international pollution abatement.

    110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I)—prongs 1 and 2: Section 110(a)(2)(D)(i) requires infrastructure SIP submissions to include provisions prohibiting any source or other type of emissions activity in one state from contributing significantly to nonattainment, or interfering with maintenance, of the NAAQS in another state.

    The physical properties of lead prevent lead emissions from experiencing that same travel or formation phenomena as PM2.5 and ozone for interstate transport as outlined in prongs 1 and 2. More specifically, there is a sharp decrease in the lead concentrations, at least in the coarse fraction, as the distance from a lead source increases. EPA believes that the requirements of prongs 1 and 2 can be satisfied through a state's assessment as to whether a lead source located within its State in close proximity to a state border has emissions that contribute significantly to the nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in the neighboring state. For example, EPA's experience with the initial lead designations suggests that sources that emit less than 0.5 tpy generally appear unlikely to contribute significantly to the nonattainment in another state. EPA's experience also suggest that sources located more than two miles from the state border generally appear unlikely to contribute significantly to the nonattainment in another state. Florida has two lead sources that have emissions of lead over 0.5 tons per year (tpy) but these sources are located well beyond two miles from the State border.19 Thus, EPA believes there are no sources in Florida that are likely to contribute significantly to the nonattainment or interfere with maintenance of the NAAQS in another state. Therefore, EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP meets the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I).

    19 There are two facilities in Florida that have Lead emissions greater than 0.5 tpy. The facilities are EnviroFocus Technologies and GulfPower Company Crist power plant. EnviroFocus Technologies is located at 1901 N 66th St, Tampa, FL 33619, which about 150 miles from the border of Georgia. GulfPower Company Crist power plant is located in Escambia County 11999 Pate Street, Pensacola, FL, approximately 10 miles from Alabama.

    110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—prong 3: With respect to Florida's infrastructure SIP submission related to the interstate transport requirements of section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) (prong 3), EPA approved this element at 80 FR 14019, published on March 18, 2015, and thus is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements.

    110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II)—prong 4: With regard to section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(II), the visibility sub-element, referred to as prong 4, significant impacts from lead emissions from stationary sources are expected to be limited to short distances from the source. The 2011 Lead Infrastructure SIP Guidance notes that the lead constituent of PM would likely not travel far enough to affect Class I areas and that the visibility provisions of the CAA do not directly regulate lead. Lead stationary sources in Florida are located distances from Class I areas such that visibility impacts are negligible. In addition, Florida's Regional Haze SIP, which addresses visibility protection, was approved on August 29, 2013 (78 FR 53250). Accordingly, EPA has preliminarily determined that the Florida SIP meets the relevant visibility requirements.

    110(a)(2)(D)(ii)—Interstate and International transport provisions: Chapters 62-204, 62-210, and 62-212, F.A.C. require that any new major source or major modification undergo PSD or NNSR permitting and thereby provide notification to other potentially affected federal, state, and local government agencies. EPA is unaware of any pending obligations for the State of Florida pursuant to sections 115 and 126. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices are adequate for insuring compliance with the applicable requirements relating to interstate and international pollution abatement for the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    5. 110(a)(2)(E)—Adequate personnel, funding, and authority. Section 110(a)(2)(E) requires that each implementation plan provide (i) necessary assurances that the State will have adequate personnel, funding, and authority under state law to carry out its implementation plan, (ii) that the State comply with the requirements respecting State Boards pursuant to section 128 of the Act, and (iii) necessary assurances that, where the State has relied on a local or regional government, agency, or instrumentality for the implementation of any plan provision, the State has responsibility for ensuring adequate implementation of such plan provisions. EPA is proposing to approve Florida's SIP as meeting the requirements of sub-elements 110(a)(2)(E)(i) through (iii). EPA's rationale for today's proposal respecting sub-element (i) through (iii) is described in turn below.

    To satisfy the requirements of sections 110(a)(2)(E)(i) and (iii), Florida's infrastructure SIP submission describes that rules regarding emissions standards general policies, a system of permits, and fee schedules for the review of plans, and other planning needs. 403.601 (2),F.S., 403.601(4), F.S., section 403 .182, F.S., are the statutes that Florida relies on to meet this element. As evidence of the adequacy of FL DEP's resources, EPA submitted a letter to Florida on March 6, 2015, outlining 105 grant commitments and the current status of these commitments for fiscal year 2014. The letter EPA submitted to Florida can be accessed at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID No. EPA-R04-OAR-2013-0040. Annually, states update these grant commitments based on current SIP requirements, air quality planning, and applicable requirements related to the NAAQS. Florida satisfactorily met all commitments agreed to in the Air Planning Agreement for fiscal year 2014, therefore Florida's grants were finalized and closed out. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida has adequate resources for implementation of the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    The section 128(a)(1) State Board requirements—as applicable to the infrastructure SIP pursuant to section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii)—provide that each SIP shall require that any board or body which approves permits or enforcement orders shall be subject to the described public interest and income restrictions therein. Subsection 128(a)(2), also pursuant to section 110(a)(2)(E)(ii), requires that any board or body, or the head of an executive agency with similar power to approve permits or enforcement orders under the CAA, shall also be subject to conflict of interest disclosure requirements.

    For purposes of section 128(a)(1), Florida has no boards or bodies with authority over air pollution permits or enforcement actions. Such matters are instead handled by an appointed Secretary. Appeals of final administrative orders and permits are available only through the judicial appellate process described at Florida Statute 120.68. As such, a “board or body” is not responsible for approving permits or enforcement orders in Florida, and the requirements of section 128(a)(1) are not applicable.

    With respect to section 128(a)(2), FL DEP previously submitted the relevant provisions of Florida Statutes, specifically subsections 112.3143(4) and 112.3144, F.S., for incorporation into the Florida SIP in its infrastructure submittal for the 1997 ozone NAAQS. EPA approved these conflict of interest provisions for inclusion in the Florida SIP on July 30, 2012. See 77 FR 44485. These provisions of the Florida SIP are sufficient to satisfy the conflict of interest provisions applicable to the head of FL DEP and all public officers within the Department. Thus, EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices are adequate for insuring compliance with the applicable requirements relating to state boards for the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    6. 110(a)(2)(F)—Stationary source monitoring system: Florida's infrastructure SIP submission describes how the State establishes requirements for emissions compliance testing and utilizes emissions sampling and analysis. It further describes how the State ensures the quality of its data through observing emissions and monitoring operations. FL DEP uses these data to track progress towards maintaining the NAAQS, develop control and maintenance strategies, identify sources and general emission levels, and determine compliance with emission regulations and additional EPA requirements. These requirements are provided in Chapters 62-204, Air Pollution Control Provisions; 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements; 62-212, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Preconstruction Review; 62-296, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Emissions Standards: and 62-297, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Emissions Monitoring.

    Additionally, Florida is required to submit emissions data to EPA for purposes of the National Emissions Inventory (NEI). The NEI is EPA's central repository for air emissions data. EPA published the Air Emissions Reporting Rule (AERR) on December 5, 2008, which modified the requirements for collecting and reporting air emissions data (73 FR 76539). The AERR shortened the time states had to report emissions data from 17 to 12 months, giving states one calendar year to submit emissions data. All states are required to submit a comprehensive emissions inventory every three years and report emissions for certain larger sources annually through EPA's online Emissions Inventory System. States report emissions data for the six criteria pollutants and the precursors that form them—NOX, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, Lead, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds. Many states also voluntarily report emissions of hazardous air pollutants. Florida made its latest update to the 2013 NEI on December 24, 2014. EPA compiles the emissions data, supplementing it where necessary, and releases it to the general public through the Web site http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/eiinformation.html. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices are adequate for the stationary source monitoring systems related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    7. 110(a)(2)(G)—Emergency Powers: This section of the CAA requires that states demonstrate authority comparable with section 303 of the CAA and adequate contingency plans to implement such authority. This section of Florida's infrastructure SIP submission identifies Florida Statutes subsections 403.131 and 120.569(2)(n), F.S which authorize DEP to “[s]eek injunctive relief to prevent irreparable injury to the air, waters, and property, including animal, plant, and aquatic life, of the state and to protect human health, safety, and welfare caused or threatened by any violation”; and to issue emergency orders to address immediate dangers to the public health, safety, or welfare. These statutes were incorporated into the SIP to address the requirements of section 110(a)(2)(G) of the CAA in an EPA action approving certain portions of Florida's infrastructure SIP for the 1997 ozone NAAQS on July 30, 2012. See 77 FR 44485. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices are adequate for emergency powers related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS.

    8. 110(a)(2)(H)—Future SIP revisions: FL DEP is responsible for adopting air quality rules and revising SIPs as needed to attain or maintain the NAAQS in Florida. Florida Statutes Subsection 403.061(35) grants FL DEP the broad authority to implement the CAA; also, subsection 403.061(9), F.S., which authorizes FL DEP to adopt a comprehensive program for the prevention, control, and abatement of pollution of the air of the state, and from time to time review and modify such programs as necessary. FL DEP has the ability and authority to respond to calls for SIP revisions, and has provided a number of SIP revisions over the years for implementation of the NAAQS. Florida has one nonattainment area for the 2008 Lead NAAQS in Hillsborough County related to the EnviroFocus Technologies, LLC facility. On June 29, 2012, FL DEP submitted the required attainment demonstration for this Area. EPA approved this SIP revision on April 16, 2015. See 80 FR 6485. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate a commitment to provide future SIP revisions related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS, when necessary.

    9. 110(a)(2)(J): EPA is proposing to approve Florida's infrastructure SIP for the 2008 Lead NAAQS with respect to the general requirement in section 110(a)(2)(J) to include a program in the SIP that provides for meeting the applicable consultation requirements of section 121, the public notification requirements of section 127; and visibility protection requirements of part C of the Act. With respect to Florida's infrastructure SIP submission related to the preconstruction PSD permitting, EPA approved this sub-element of 110(a)(2)(J) on March 18, 2015, and thus is not proposing any action today regarding these requirements. See 80 FR 14019. EPA's rationale for its proposed action regarding applicable consultation requirements of section 121, the public notification requirements of section 127, and visibility protection requirements is described below.

    110(a)(2)(J) (121 consultation) Consultation with government officials: Section 110(a)(2)(J) of the CAA requires states to provide a process for consultation with local governments, designated organizations and federal land managers (FLMs) carrying out NAAQS implementation requirements pursuant to section 121 relative to consultation. Chapters 62-204, F.A.C., Air Pollution Control Provisions; 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements, and 62-212, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Preconstruction Review, as well as Florida's Regional Haze Implementation Plan (which allows for consultation between appropriate state, local, and tribal air pollution control agencies as well as the corresponding Federal Land Managers), provide for consultation with government officials whose jurisdictions might be affected by SIP development activities. Florida adopted state-wide consultation procedures for the implementation of transportation conformity. These consultation procedures include considerations associated with the development of mobile inventories for SIPs. Implementation of transportation conformity as outlined in the consultation procedures requires FL DEP to consult with federal, state and local transportation and air quality agency officials on the development of motor vehicle emissions budgets. EPA approved Florida's consultation procedures on August 11, 2003. See 68 FR 47468. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate that the State meets applicable requirements related to consultation with government officials related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS, when necessary.

    110(a)(2)(J) (127 public notification) Public notification: To meet the public notification requirements of section 110(a)(2)(J), Florida has state statutes, subsections 403.061(20) Department; powers and duties which provides FL DEP with the authority “to control and prohibit pollution of air and water in accordance with the law and rules adopted and promulgated by it and, for this purpose, to: collect and disseminate information and conduct educational and training programs relating to pollution.” Along with 403.061 (21), F.S. which states that the FL DEP also can advise, consult, cooperate, and enter into agreements with other agencies of the state, the Federal Government, other states, interstate agencies, groups, political subdivisions, and industries affected by the provisions of this act, rules, or policies of the department. Chapters 62-204, F.A.C., Air Pollution Control Provisions; 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements, and 62-212, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Preconstruction Review also include public notice requirements for the State's permitting program. Additionally, Notification to the public of instances or areas exceeding the NAAQS and associated health effects is provided through implementation of the Air Quality Index reporting system in all required areas. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate the State's ability to provide public notification related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS when necessary. Accordingly, EPA is proposing to approve Florida's infrastructure SIP submission with respect to section 110(a)(2)(J) public notification.

    110(a)(2)(J) Visibility Protection: The 2011 Lead Infrastructure SIP Guidance notes that EPA does not generally treat the visibility protection aspects of section 110(a)(2)(J) as applicable for purposes of the infrastructure SIP approval process. EPA recognizes that states are subject to visibility protection and regional haze program requirements under Part C of the Act (which includes sections 169A and 169B). However, in the event of the establishment of a new primary NAAQS, the visibility protection and regional haze program requirements under part C do not change. Thus, EPA concludes there are no new applicable visibility protection obligations under section 110(a)(2)(J) as a result of the 2008 Lead NAAQS, and as such, EPA is proposing to approve section 110(a)(2)(J) of FL DEP's infrastructure SIP submission as it relates to visibility protection.

    10. 110(a)(2)(K)—Air quality and modeling/data: Section 110(a)(2)(K) of the CAA requires that SIPs provide for performing air quality modeling so that effects on air quality of emissions from NAAQS pollutants can be predicted and submission of such data to the USEPA can be made. Chapter 62-204.800, F.A.C., Air Pollution Control Provisions; 62-210, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—General Requirements, and 62-212, F.A.C., Stationary Sources—Preconstruction Review, incorporates by reference 40 CFR 52.21(l), which specifies that air modeling be conducted in accordance with 40 CFR part 51, Appendix W “Guideline on Air Quality Models.” These regulations demonstrate that Florida has the authority to provide relevant data for the purpose of predicting the effect on ambient air quality of the 2008 Lead NAAQS. Additionally, Florida supports a regional effort to coordinate the development of emissions inventories and conduct regional modeling for several NAAQS, including the 2008 Lead NAAQS, for the Southeastern states. Taken as a whole, Florida's air quality regulations demonstrate that FL DEP has the authority to provide relevant data for the purpose of predicting the effect on ambient air quality of the 2008 Lead NAAQS. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate the State's ability to provide for air quality and modeling, along with analysis of the associated data, related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS when necessary.

    11. 110(a)(2)(L)—Permitting fees: This element necessitates that the SIP require the owner or operator of each major stationary source to pay to the permitting authority, as a condition of any permit required under the CAA, a fee sufficient to cover (i) the reasonable costs of reviewing and acting upon any application for such a permit, and (ii) if the owner or operator receives a permit for such source, the reasonable costs of implementing and enforcing the terms and conditions of any such permit (not including any court costs or other costs associated with any enforcement action), until such fee requirement is superseded with respect to such sources by the Administrator's approval of a fee program under title V. Florida statute subsection 403.087(6)(a), F.S., Permit Fees directs FL DEP to require a processing fee in an amount sufficient for the reasonable cost of reviewing and acting upon PSD and NNSR permits. The local air program costs are covered by the Air Pollution Control Trust Fund which is comprised of various funding sources. Additionally, Florida has a fully approved title V operating permit program at subsection 403.0872, F.S., Annual Emissions Fee. and Chapter 62.213, F.A.C. Operation Permits For Major Sources of Air Pollution that covers the cost of implementation and enforcement of PSD and NNSR permits after they have been issued. EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's statues and practices adequately provide for permitting fees related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS, when necessary.

    12. 110(a)(2)(M)—Consultation/participation by affected local entities: This element requires states to provide for consultation and participation in SIP development by local political subdivisions affected by the SIP. Chapter 62-204, Air Pollution Control Provisions, requires that SIPs be submitted in accordance with 40 CFR part 51, subpart F. Florida statute subsection 403.061(21), F.S. authorizes FDEP to “advise, consult, cooperate and enter into agreements with other agencies of the state, the Federal Government, other states, interstate agencies, groups, political subdivisions, and industries affected by the provisions of this act, rules, or policies of the department.” EPA has made the preliminary determination that Florida's SIP and practices adequately demonstrate consultation with affected local entities related to the 2008 Lead NAAQS, when necessary.

    V. Proposed Action

    With the exception of the PSD permitting requirements for major sources contained in sections 110(a)(2)(C), prong 3 of D(i) and (J), EPA is proposing to approve Florida's October 14, 2011, SIP submission to incorporate provisions into the Florida SIP to address infrastructure requirements for the 2008 Lead NAAQS. EPA is proposing to approve these portions of Florida's infrastructure submission for the 2008 Lead NAAQS because this submission is consistent with section 110 of the CAA.

    VI. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under the CAA, the Administrator is required to approve a SIP submission that complies with the provisions of the 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 approves state law as meeting Federal requirements and does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this proposed action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Florida 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 in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Lead, and recordkeeping requirements.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: May 12, 2015. Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator, Region 4.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12350 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION 45 CFR Parts 1610, 1627, and 1630 Use of Non-LSC Funds, Transfer of LSC Funds, Program Integrity; Subgrants and Membership Fees or Dues; Cost Standards and Procedures—Extension of Comment Period AGENCY:

    Legal Services Corporation.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    The Legal Services Corporation (“LSC”) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register of April 20, 2015, concerning proposed amendments to its regulations governing transfers of LSC funds, subgrants to third parties, and cost standards and procedures. This notice extends the comment period for 21 days, to June 10, 2015.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published April 20, 2015, at 80 FR 21692, is reopened. Comments must be submitted by June 10, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Email: [email protected] Include “Subgrant Rulemaking” in the subject line of the message.

    Fax: (202) 337-6519, ATTN: Subgrant Rulemaking.

    Mail: Stefanie K. Davis, Assistant General Counsel, Legal Services Corporation, 3333 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20007, ATTN: Subgrant Rulemaking.

    Hand Delivery/Courier: Stefanie K. Davis, Assistant General Counsel, Legal Services Corporation, 3333 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20007, ATTN: Subgrant Rulemaking.

    Instructions: Electronic submissions are preferred via email with attachments in Acrobat PDF format. LSC may not consider written comments sent via any other method or received after the end of the comment period.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stefanie K. Davis, Assistant General Counsel, Legal Services Corporation, 3333 K Street NW., Washington, DC 20007, (202) 295-1563 (phone), (202) 337-6519 (fax), [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    LSC is extending the public comment period stated in the Federal Register notice for this rulemaking. 80 FR 21692, Apr. 20, 2015 [FR Doc. No. 2015-8951]. In that notice, LSC proposed amendments to its regulations governing transfers of LSC funds (45 CFR part 1610), subgrants to third parties (45 CFR part 1627), and cost standards and procedures (45 CFR part 1630). LSC has received requests for an extension of the comment period to allow interested parties and stakeholders additional time to develop their comments on the proposed rulemaking, including obtaining data about the potential effects of proposed changes. LSC is therefore extending the comment period for 21 days, from May 20, 2015, to June 10, 2015.

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Stefanie K. Davis, Assistant General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12371 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7050-01-P
    80 99 Friday, May 22, 2015 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Information Collection; Community Forest and Open Space Program AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Correction Notice; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service (FS) is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension with no revision of a currently approved information collection; Community Forest and Open Space Program (Community Forest Program).

    The Agency is in the process of a proposed rule revision that will include a new information collection request; when the revised rule is final, the Agency will merge the new information collection with this information collection.

    This notice replaces Federal Register document #2015-07996 that was published in the Federal Register on April 7, 2015.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received in writing on or before July 21, 2015 to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments concerning this notice should be addressed to Maya Solomon, USDA Forest Service, Cooperative Forestry Staff, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 1123, Washington, DC 20250. Comments may also be submitted electronically via email to [email protected] If comments are sent electronically, do not duplicate via regular mail.

    The public may inspect comments received at the USDA Forest Service, Yates Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maya Solomon, Forest Legacy Program Specialist, by phone at 202-206-1376. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Community Forest and Open Space Program.

    OMB Number: 0596-0227.

    Expiration Date of Approval: August 31, 2015.

    Type of Request: Extension with no change.

    Abstract: The purpose of the Community Forest Program is to achieve community benefits through grants to local governments, Tribal Governments, and qualified nonprofit organizations to establish community forests by acquiring and protecting private forestlands. This rule includes information requirements necessary to implement the Community Forest Program and comply with grants regulations and OMB Circulars. The information requirements are used to help the Forest Service in the following areas: (1) To determine that the applicant is eligible to receive funds under the program; (2) to determine if the proposal meets the qualifications in the law and regulations; (3) to evaluate and rank the proposals based on a standard, consistent information process; and (4) to determine if the project costs are allowable and that sufficient cost share is provided.

    Local governmental entities, Tribal Governments, and qualified nonprofit organizations are the only entities eligible for the program, and therefore are the only organizations from which information is collected.

    The information collection currently required for a request for proposals and grant application is approved and has been assigned the OMB Control No. 0596-0227.

    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 150.

    Estimated Burden per Response: 22.

    Estimated Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Number of Total Annual Responses: 150.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 4,778 hours.

    Comment Is Invited

    Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Patti Hirami, Associate Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12515 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Announcement of Grant Application Deadlines AGENCY:

    Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA).

    SUMMARY:

    The Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces its Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Grant Program application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. RUS has published on its Web site http://www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/notices-solicitation-applications-nosas the amount of funding received through the final appropriations act. Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's risk.

    In addition to announcing the application window, RUS announces the minimum and maximum amounts for DLT grants applicable for the fiscal year. The DLT Grant Program regulations can be found at 7 CFR part 1703, subparts D through G.

    DATES:

    You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or electronically by the following deadline:

    Paper submissions: Paper submissions must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than July 6, 2015 to be eligible for FY 2015 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2015 grant funding.

    Electronic submissions: Electronic submissions must be received by July 6, 2015 to be eligible for FY 2015 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2015 grant funding.

    • If the submission deadline falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday, the application is due the next business day.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the FY 2015 Application Guide and materials for the DLT grant program may be obtained by the following:

    (1) The DLT Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants and

    (2) Contacting the RUS Loan Origination and Approval Division at 202-720-0800.

    Completed applications may be submitted in the following ways:

    (1) Paper: Paper applications are to be submitted to the Rural Utilities Service, Telecommunications Program, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2808, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250-1597. Applications should be marked “Attention: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division, Rural Utilities Service.”

    (2) Electronic: Electronic applications must be submitted through Grants.gov. Information on how to submit applications electronically is available on the Grants.gov Web site (http://www.grants.gov). Applicants must successfully pre-register with Grants.gov to use the electronic applications option. Application information may be downloaded from Grants.gov without preregistration.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Telephone: (202) 720-0800, fax: (202) 205-2921.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Overview

    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

    Funding Opportunity Title: Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants.

    Announcement Type: Initial announcement.

    Funding Opportunity Number: RUS-15-01-DLT.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.855.

    Dates: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or electronically according to the deadlines indicated in section D(4).

    A. Program Description

    DLT grants are specifically designed to provide access to education, training and health care resources for rural Americans. The DLT Program is authorized by 7 U.S.C. 950aaa and provides financial assistance to encourage and improve telemedicine services and distance learning services in rural areas through the use of telecommunications, computer networks, and related advanced technologies to be used by students, teachers, medical professionals, and rural residents. Regulations for the DLT Program can be found at 7 CFR part 1703 (Subparts D through G).

    The grants, which are awarded through a competitive process, may be used to fund telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies which extend educational and medical applications into rural areas. Grants are intended to benefit end users in rural areas, who are often not in the same location as the source of the educational or health care service.

    As in years past, the FY 2015 DLT Grant Application Guide has been updated based on program experience. All applicants should carefully review and prepare their applications according to instructions in the FY 2015 Application Guide and sample materials when completing a DLT grant application.

    Expenses incurred in developing applications will be at the applicant's own risk.

    B. Federal Award Information

    Under 7 CFR 1703.124, the Administrator has established a minimum grant amount of $50,000 and a maximum grant amount of $500,000 for FY 2015.

    Award documents specify the term of each award. The Agency will make awards and successful applicants will be required to execute documents appropriate to the project prior to any advance of funds to successful applicants. Prior DLT grants cannot be renewed; however, applications from existing DLT awardees for new projects are acceptable (grant applications must be submitted during the application window) and will be evaluated as new applications.

    C. Eligibility Information 1. Eligible Applicants (See 7 CFR 1703.103)

    a. Only entities legally organized as one of the following are eligible for DLT grants:

    i. An incorporated organization or a partnership,

    ii. An Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in 25 U.S.C. 450b,

    iii. A state or local unit of government,

    iv. A consortium, as defined in 7 CFR 1703.102,

    v. A library, or

    vi. Other legal entity, including a private corporation organized on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis.

    b. Individuals are not eligible for DLT program financial assistance directly.

    c. Electric and telecommunications borrowers under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (7 U.S.C. 901 et seq.) are not eligible for grants.

    d. Corporations that have been convicted of a Federal felony within the past 24 months are not eligible. Any corporation that has any unpaid federal tax liability that has been assessed, for which all judicial and administrative remedies have been exhausted or have lapsed, and that is not being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement with the authority responsible for collecting the tax liability, is not eligible for financial assistance.

    e. Applicants must have an active registration with current information in the System for Award Management (SAM) (previously the Central Contractor Registry (CCR)) at https:\\www.sam.gov and have a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.

    2. Cost Sharing or Matching

    The DLT Program requires matching contributions for grants. See 7 CFR 1703.125(g) for information on required matching contributions.

    a. Grant applicants must demonstrate matching contributions, in cash or in kind (new, non-depreciated items), of at least fifteen (15) percent of the total amount of financial assistance requested. Matching contributions must be used for eligible purposes of DLT grant assistance (see 7 CFR 1703.121 and section D(6)(a)(ii) of this Notice).

    b. Greater amounts of eligible matching contributions may increase an applicant's score (see 7 CFR 1703.126(b)(4)).

    c. Applications that do not provide evidence of the required fifteen percent match will be declared ineligible. See the FY 2015 Application Guide for more information on matching contributions.

    d. Matching contributions which are not sufficiently documented are subject to disallowance and may result in an ineligible application.

    e. Discounts. The DLT Program regulation provides that manufacturers' and service providers' discounts are not eligible matches. In the past, the Agency did not consider as eligible any proposed match from a vendor, manufacturer, or service provider whose products or services would also be purchased for the DLT project. However, the agency has now determined that if a vendor can demonstrate that the donated product is normally sold at the in-kind matching price, then it will accept such products for in-kind matches, and not at a discount. Similarly, if a vendor, manufacturer, or other service provider proposes a cash match (or any in-kind match) when their products or services will be purchased with grant or match funds, such products or services must be shown to be normally offered at, or higher than, the contract price of the products or services to be provided on the project.

    f. Eligible Equipment & Facilities. Please see 7 CFR 1703.102 and the FY 2015 Application Guide for more information regarding eligible and ineligible items.

    g. Apportioning budget items. Many DLT applications propose to use items for a blend of specific DLT eligible project purposes and other purposes. RUS will consider funding such items in the overall context of the project, but such items will affect the competitive value of the project compared with other projects. The proposed project could receive a lower score in the subjective areas of the grant to the extent that its budget requests items that have limited or questionable value to the purposes of distance learning or telemedicine. See the FY 2015 Application Guide for detailed information on how to apportion use and apportioning illustrations.

    3. Other

    a. Minimum Rurality Requirements. The DLT grant program is designed to bring the benefits of distance learning and telemedicine to residents of rural America. Therefore, to be eligible, applicants must deliver distance learning or telemedicine services to entities that operate a rural community facility or to residents of rural areas, at rates calculated to ensure that the benefit of the financial assistance is passed through to such entities or to residents of rural areas. All projects proposed for DLT grant assistance must meet a minimum rurality threshold, to ensure that benefits from the projects flow to rural residents.

    b. Ineligibility of Projects in Coastal Barrier Resources Act Areas. Projects located in areas covered by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) are not eligible for financial assistance from the DLT Program. Please see 7 CFR 1703.123(a)(11).

    D. Application and Submission Information

    See the FY 2015 Application Guide for more information on the items that comprise a complete application. For requirements of completed grant applications you may also refer to 7 CFR 1703.125. The FY 2015 Application Guide provides specific, detailed instructions for each item that constitutes a complete application. The Agency strongly emphasizes the importance of including every required item and strongly encourages applicants to follow the instructions carefully, using the examples and illustrations in the FY 2015 Application Guide. Applications that do not include all items that determine project eligibility and applicant eligibility by the application deadline will be returned as ineligible. Scoring and eligibility information not provided by the application deadline will not be solicited or considered by the Agency. Applications that do not include all items necessary for scoring, depending on the specific scoring criteria, may still be eligible applications, but may not receive full or any credit if the information cannot be verified. Please see the FY 2015 Application Guide for a full discussion of each required item and for samples and illustrations.

    1. Address to Request Application Package. The FY 2015 Application Guide, copies of necessary forms and samples, and the DLT Program regulation are available from these sources:

    a. The Internet: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants.

    b. The Rural Utilities Service, Loan Origination and Approval Division, for paper copies of these materials: 202-720-0800.

    2. Content and Form of Application Submission.

    Applicants are reminded that the DLT Grant Program is intended to meet the educational and health care needs of rural America. Hub sites may be located in rural or non-rural areas, but end-user sites need to be located in rural areas. Non-fixed sites serving a geographical service area may include non-rural areas.

    If a grant application includes a site that is included in any other DLT grant application for FY 2015, or a site that has been included in any DLT grant funded in FY 2014 or FY 2013, the application should contain a detailed explanation of the related applications or grants. The Agency must make a nonduplication finding for each grant approved; however, an apparent but unexplained duplication of funding for a site can prevent such a finding.

    a. Detailed information on each item included in the Table of Required Elements of a Completed Grant Application found in section D(2)(g) of this Notice can be found in the sections of the DLT Program regulation listed in the table, and the DLT grant Application Guide. Applicants are strongly encouraged to read and apply both the regulation and the Applications Guide, which describes the regulation.

    i. When the table refers to a narrative, it means a written statement, description or other written material prepared by the applicant, for which no form exists. The Agency recognizes that each project is unique and requests narratives to allow applicants to explain their request for financial assistance.

    ii. When documentation is requested, it means letters, certifications, legal documents, or other third-party documentation that provides evidence that the applicant meets the listed requirement. For example, to confirm rurality scores, applicants can use printouts from the Web site http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Leveraging documentation generally will be letters of commitment from other funding sources. In-kind matches must be items purchased or donated after the application deadline date that are essential to the project and documentation from the vendor or donor must demonstrate the relationship of each item to the project's function. Evidence of legal existence is sometimes proven by submitting articles of incorporation. The examples here are not intended to limit the types of documentation that must be submitted to fulfill a requirement. DLT Program regulations and the Application Guide provide specific guidance on each of the items in the table.

    b. The DLT Application Guide and ancillary materials provide all necessary sample forms and worksheets.The FY 2015 Application Guide also specifies the format and order of all required items.

    c. Most DLT grant projects contain numerous project sites. The Agency requires that site information be consistent throughout an application. Sites must be referred to by the same designation throughout all parts of an application. The Agency has provided a site worksheet that requests the necessary information, and can be used as a guide by applicants. RUS strongly recommends that applicants complete the site worksheet, listing all requested information for each site. Applications without consistent site information will be returned as ineligible.

    d. While the table in section D(2)(g) of this Notice includes all items of a completed application, the Agency may ask for additional or clarifying information for applications submitted by the deadline which appear to demonstrate that they meet eligibility requirements, but which may require follow up by the Agency.

    e. Given the high volume of program interest, to expedite processing applicants are asked to submit the required application items in the order depicted in the FY 2015 Application Guide. The FY 2015 Application Guide specifies the format and order of all required items. Applications that are not assembled and tabbed in the order specified prevent timely determination of eligibility. For applications with inconsistency among submitted copies, the Agency will base its evaluation on the original signed application received by the Agency.

    f. Compliance with other federal statutes.

    The applicant must provide evidence of compliance with other federal statutes and regulations as provided in the FY 2015 Application Guide, including, but not limited to the following:

    i. 7 CFR part 15, subpart A—Nondiscrimination in Federally-Assisted Programs of the Department of Agriculture—Effectuation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    ii. 2 CFR part 417—Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension.

    iii. 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Assistance Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements For Federal Awards).

    iv. 2 CFR part 182 (Governmentwide Requirements For Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)) and 2 CFR part 421 (Requirements For Drug Free Workplace (Financial Assistance)).

    v. Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” For information on limited English proficiency and agency-specific guidance, go to http://www.LEP.gov.

    vi. Federal Obligation Certification on Delinquent Debt.

    g. Table of Required Elements of a Completed Grant Application

    Application item REQUIRED items, unless otherwise noted Grants
  • (7 CFR 1703.125 and 7 CFR 1703.126)
  • Comment
    SF-424 (Application for Federal Assistance form) Yes Completely filled out. Site Worksheet Yes Agency worksheet. Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants Optional OMB Form. Evidence of Legal Authority to Contract with the Government Yes Documentation. Evidence of Legal Existence Yes Documentation. Executive Summary Yes Narrative. Telecommunications System Plan and Scope of Work Yes Narrative & documentation such as maps and diagrams. Budget Yes Agency Worksheets with documentation. Financial Information/Sustainability Yes Narrative. Statement of Experience Yes Narrative 3-page, single-spaced limit. Rurality Worksheet Yes Agency worksheet with documentation. National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Worksheet Yes Agency worksheet with documentation. Leveraging Evidence and Funding Commitments from all Sources Yes Agency worksheet and source documentation. Request for Additional NSLP Optional Agency Worksheet and narrative. Need for and Benefits derived from Project Yes Narrative & documentation. Innovativeness of the Project Yes Narrative & documentation. Cost Effectiveness of Project Yes Narrative & documentation. Consultation with the USDA State Director, Rural Development, and evidence that application conforms to State Strategic Plan, if any Yes Documentation. Special Consideration Optional Documentation supporting end user site is in a Trust Area or Tribal Jurisdiction Area. Certifications Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Architectural Barriers Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Flood Hazard Area Precautions Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Drug-Free Workplace Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters—Primary Covered Transactions Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Lobbying for Contracts, Grants, Loans, and Cooperative Agreements Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Non-Duplication of Services Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Environmental Impact/Historic Preservation Certification Yes Form provided in FY 2015 Application Tool Kit. Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants Yes Form provided in the FY 2015 Application Tool Kit.

    h. Number of copies of submitted applications.

    i. Applications submitted on paper.

    A. Submit the original application and two (2) copies to RUS; and

    B. Submit one (1) additional copy to the state government single point of contact (if one has been designated) at the same time as you submit the application to the Agency for the State where the project is located. If the project is located in more than one State, submit a copy to each state government single point of contact. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc for an updated listing of State government single points of contact.

    ii. Electronically submitted applications. Grant applications may be submitted electronically. Please carefully read the FY 2015 Application Guide for guidance on submitting an electronic application. In particular, we ask that you identify and number each page in the same way you would a paper application so that we can assemble them as you intended.

    iii. The additional paper copy is not necessary if you submit the application electronically through Grants.gov.

    iv. Submit one (1) copy to the state government single point of contact (if one has been designated) at the same time as you submit the application to the Agency. If the project is located in more than one State, submit a copy to each state government single point of contact. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc for an updated listing of State government single points of contact.

    3. Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number and System for Award Management (SAM). The applicant for a grant must supply a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number as part of an application. The Standard Form 424 (SF-424) contains a field for the DUNS number. The applicant can obtain the DUNS number free of charge by calling Dun and Bradstreet. Please see http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform for more information on how to obtain a DUNS number or how to verify your organization's number.

    Prior to submitting an application, the applicant must register in the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly Central Contractor Registry, (CCR)). Applicants must register for the SAM at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. SAM registration must remain active with current information at all times while RUS is considering an application or while a Federal grant award is active. To maintain SAM registration the applicant must review and update the information in the SAM database annually from the date of initial registration or from the date of the last update. The applicant must ensure that the information in the database is current, accurate, and complete.

    4. Submission Dates and Times.

    a. Paper grant applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight no later than July 6, 2015 to be eligible for FY 2015 grant funding. Late applications, applications which do not include proof of mailing or shipping as described in section D(7)(a)(ii), and incomplete applications are not eligible for FY 2015 grant funding.

    b. Electronic grant applications must be received by July 6, 2015 to be eligible for FY 2015 funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for FY 2015 grant funding.

    c. If the submission deadline falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday, the application is due the next business day.

    5. Intergovernmental Review. The DLT grant program is subject to Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.” As stated in section D(2)(h)(i)(B) of this Notice, a copy of a DLT grant application must be submitted to the state single point of contact if one has been designated. Please see http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc to determine whether your state has a single point of contact.

    6. Funding Restrictions.

    a. Ineligible purposes.

    i. Hub sites that are not located in rural areas are not eligible for grant assistance unless they are necessary to provide DLT services to end-users in rural areas. Please see 7 CFR 1703.101(h).

    ii. To fulfill the policy goals laid out for the DLT Program in 7 CFR 1703.101, the following table lists purposes for financial assistance and whether each purpose is generally considered to be eligible for the form of financial assistance. Please consult the FY 2015 Application Guide and the program regulations (7 CFR 1703.102) for definitions, in combination with the portions of the regulation cited in the table, for detailed requirements for the items in the table. RUS strongly recommends that applicants exclude ineligible items from the grant and match portions of grant application budgets and reiterates that reimbursement of pre-award costs is not allowed. However, some items ineligible for funding or matching contributions may be vital to the project. RUS encourages applicants to document those costs in the application's budget. Please see the FY 2015 Application Guide for a recommended budget format, and detailed budget compilation instructions.

    Grants Lease or purchase of new eligible DLT equipment and facilities Yes, equipment only. Acquire new instructional programming that is capital asset Yes. Technical assistance, develop instructional material for the operation of the equipment, and engineering or environmental studies in the implementation of the project Yes, up to 10% of the grant. Telemedicine or distance learning equipment or facilities necessary to the project Yes. Vehicles using distance learning or telemedicine technology to deliver services No. Teacher-student links located at the same facility No. Links between medical professionals located at the same facility No. Site development or building alteration, except for equipment installation and associated inside wiring No. Land or building purchase No. Building Construction No. Acquiring telecommunications transmission facilities No (such facilities are only eligible for DLT loans). Internet services, telecommunications services or other forms of connectivity No. Salaries, wages, benefits for medical or educational personnel No. Salaries or administrative expenses of applicant or project No. Recurring project costs or operating expenses No (equipment & facility leases are not recurring project costs). Equipment to be owned by the LEC or other telecommunications service provider, if the provider is the applicant No. Duplicative distance learning or telemedicine services No. Any project that for its success depends on additional DLT financial assistance or other financial assistance that is not assured No. Application Preparation Costs No. Other project costs not in regulation No. Cost (amount) of facilities providing distance learning broadcasting No. Reimburse applicants or others for costs incurred prior to RUS receipt of completed application No.

    7. Other Submission Requirements.

    Grant applications may be submitted on paper or electronically.

    a. Submitting applications on paper.

    i. Address paper applications to the Telecommunications Program, RUS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 2808, STOP 1597, Washington, DC 20250-1550. Applications should be marked “Attention: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division.”

    ii. Paper grant applications must show proof of mailing or shipping by the deadline consisting of one of the following:

    A. A legibly dated U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark;

    B. A legible mail receipt with the date of mailing stamped by the USPS; or

    C. A dated shipping label, invoice, or receipt from a commercial carrier.

    iii. Due to screening procedures at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, packages arriving via regular mail through the USPS are irradiated, which can damage the contents and delay delivery to the DLT Program. RUS encourages applicants to consider the impact of this procedure in selecting their application delivery method.

    b. Electronically submitted applications.

    i. Applications will not be accepted via fax or electronic mail.

    ii. Electronic applications for grants must be submitted through the Federal government's Grants.gov initiative at http://www.grants.gov/.

    iii. How to use Grants.gov.

    A. Grants.gov contains full instructions on all required passwords, credentialing and software.

    B. System for Award Management. Submitting an application through Grants.gov requires that your organization list in the System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly Central Contractor Registry, CCR). The Agency strongly recommends that you obtain your organization's DUNS number and SAM listing well in advance of the deadline specified in this notice. See section C(1)(e) for more information on SAM.

    C. Credentialing and authorization of applicants. Grants.gov will also require some credentialing and online authentication procedures. These procedures may take several business days to complete, further emphasizing the need for early action by applicants to complete the sign-up, credentialing and authorization procedures at Grants.gov before you submit an application at that Web site.

    D. Some or all of the SAM and Grants.gov registration, credentialing and authorizations require updates. If you have previously registered at Grants.gov to submit applications electronically, please ensure that your registration, credentialing and authorizations are up to date well in advance of the grant application deadline.

    iv. RUS encourages applicants who wish to apply through Grants.gov to submit their applications in advance of the deadlines.

    v. If a system problem occurs or you have technical difficulties with an electronic application, please use the customer support resources available at the Grants.gov Web site.

    E. Application Review Information

    1. Criteria.

    a. Grant application scoring criteria (total possible points: 235). See 7 CFR 1703.125 for the items that will be reviewed during scoring, and 7 CFR 1703.126 and section E.3 of this NOSA for scoring criteria.

    b. Grant applications are scored competitively subject to the criteria listed below.

    i. Rurality category—Rurality of the proposed service area (up to 45 points).

    ii. NSLP category—percentage of students eligible for the NSLP in the proposed service area (up to 35 points).

    iii. Leveraging category—matching funds above the required matching level (up to 35 points).

    iv. Need for services proposed in the application and the benefits that will be derived if the application receives a grant (up to 55 points).

    A. Additional NSLP category—up to 10 of the possible 55 possible points are to recognize economic need not reflected in the project's National School Lunch Program (NSLP) score, and can be earned only by applications whose overall NSLP eligibility is less than 50%. To be eligible to receive points under this category, the application must include an affirmative request for consideration of the possible 10 points, and compelling documentation of reasons why the NSLP eligibility percentage does not represent the economic need of the proposed project beneficiaries.

    B. Needs and Benefits category—up to 45 of the 55 possible points under this criterion are available to all applicants. Points are awarded based on the required narrative crafted by the applicant that documents the need for services and the benefits derived from such services. RUS encourages applicants to carefully read the cited portions of the Program regulation and the FY 2015 Application Guide for full discussions of this criterion.

    v. Innovativeness category—level of innovation demonstrated by the project (up to 15 points).

    vi. Cost Effectiveness category—system cost-effectiveness (up to 35 points).

    vii. Special Consideration Areas—Application must contain at least one end-user site within a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area (15 points).

    2. Review and Selection Process.

    Grant applications are ranked by final score. RUS selects applications based on those rankings, subject to the availability of funds. In addition, the Agency has the authority to limit the number of applications selected in any one state, or for one project, during a fiscal year. See 7 CFR 1703.127 for a description of the grant application selection process. In addition, it should be noted that an application receiving fewer points can be selected over a higher scoring application in the event that there are insufficient funds available to cover the costs of the higher scoring application, as stated in 7 CFR 1703.172(b)(3).

    a. In addition to the scoring criteria that rank applications against each other, the Agency evaluates grant applications for possible awards on the following items, in accordance with 7 CFR 1703.127:

    i. Financial feasibility. A proposal that does not indicate financial feasibility or that is not sustainable will not be approved for an award.

    ii. Technical considerations. If the application contains flaws that would prevent the successful implementation, operation or sustainability of a project, the Agency will not award a grant.

    iii. Other aspects of proposals that contain inadequacies that would undermine the ability of the project to comply with the policies of the DLT Program.

    b. Special considerations or preferences.

    i. American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands applications are exempt from the matching requirement for awards having a match amount of up to $200,000 (see 48 U.S.C. 1469a; 91 Stat. 1164).

    ii. Special Consideration Areas. RUS will offer special consideration to applications that contain at least one end-user site within a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area. Such applications will be awarded 15 points. The application must include a map showing the end-user site(s) located in the trust area or tribal jurisdictional area, as well as the geographical coordinate(s), and physical address(es) of the end-user site(s). The applicant will also need to submit evidence indicating that the area where the end-user site is located is a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area.

    RUS will use one or more of the following resources in determining whether a particular end-user site is located in a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area:

    A. Official maps of Federal Indian Reservations based on information compiled by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and made available to the public;

    B. Title Status Reports issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs showing that title to such land is held in trust or is subject to restrictions imposed by the United States;

    C. Trust Asset and Accounting Management System data, maintained by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs;

    D. Official maps of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands of the State of Hawaii identifying land that has been given the status of Hawaiian home lands under the provisions of section 204 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920;

    E. Official records of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of Alaska, or such other documentation of ownership as RUS may determine to be satisfactory, showing that title is owned by a Regional Corporation or a Village Corporation as such terms are defined in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.);

    F. Evidence that the land is located on Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and is eligible for use in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' direct loan program for veterans purchasing or constructing homes on communally owned land; and

    G. Any other evidence submitted by the applicant that is satisfactory to RUS to establish that area where the end-user site is located is a trust area or a tribal jurisdictional area within the meaning of 38 U.S.C. 3765(1).

    b. Clarification: DLT grant applications which have non-fixed end-user sites, such as ambulance and home health care services, are scored according to the location of the hub or hubs used for the project. For Hybrid Projects which combine a non-fixed portion of a project to a fixed portion of a project, the Rurality Score and NSLP score will be based on the score of the end sites of the fixed portion plus the score of the hub that serves the non-fixed portion. See the FY 2015 Application Guide for specific guidance on preparing an application with non-fixed end users.

    F. Federal Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices

    RUS generally notifies by mail applicants whose projects are selected for awards. The mere receipt of an award letter does not serve to authorize the applicant to commence performance under the award. The Agency follows the award letter with an agreement that contains all the terms and conditions for the grant. A copy of the standard agreement is posted on the RUS Web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants. An applicant must execute and return the agreement, accompanied by any additional items required by the agreement, within the number of days shown in the selection notice letter.

    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

    The items listed in Section E of this notice, the DLT Program regulation, FY 2015 Application Guide and accompanying materials implement the appropriate administrative and national policy requirements, which includes but is not limited to:

    a. Execute a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Agreement;

    b. Use Form SF 270, “Request for Advance or Reimbursement,” to request reimbursements (along with the submission of receipts for expenditures, timesheets, and any other documentation to support the request for reimbursement);

    c. Provide annual project performance activity reports until the expiration of the award;

    d. Ensure that records are maintained to document all activities and expenditures utilizing DLT grant funds and matching funds (receipts for expenditures are to be included in this documentation);

    e. Provide a final project performance report;

    f. Comply with policies, guidance, and requirements as described in the following applicable Code of Federal Regulations, and any successor regulations:

    i. 2 CFR parts 200 and 400 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements For Federal Awards); and

    ii. 2 CFR parts 417 and 180 (Government-wide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement); and

    g. Sign Form AD-3031 (“Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants”) (for corporate applicants only).

    3. Reporting

    a. Performance reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance must provide annual performance activity reports to RUS until the project is complete and the funds are expended. A final performance report is also required; the final report may serve as the last annual report. The final report must include an evaluation of the success of the project in meeting DLT Program objectives. See 7 CFR 1703.107 for additional information on these reporting requirements.

    b. Financial reporting. All recipients of DLT financial assistance must provide an annual audit, beginning with the first year in which a portion of the financial assistance is expended. Audits are governed by United States Department of Agriculture audit regulations. Please see 7 CFR 1703.108 and Subpart F (Audit Requirements) of 2 CFR part 200 for a description of the financial reporting requirements of all recipients of DLT financial assistance.

    c. Recipient and Subrecipient Reporting. The applicant must have the necessary processes and systems in place to comply with the reporting requirements for first-tier sub-awards and executive compensation under the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 in the event the applicant receives funding unless such applicant is exempt from such reporting requirements pursuant to 2 CFR part 170, § 170.110(b). The reporting requirements under the Transparency Act pursuant to 2 CFR part 170 are as follows:

    i. First Tier Sub-Awards of $25,000 or more (unless they are exempt under 2 CFR part 170) must be reported by the Recipient to http://www.fsrs.gov no later than the end of the month following the month the obligation was made. Please note that currently underway is a consolidation of eight federal procurement systems, including the Sub-award Reporting System (FSRS), into one system, the System for Award Management (SAM). As result the FSRS will soon be consolidated into and accessed through https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/.

    ii. The Total Compensation of the Recipient's Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Recipient (if the Recipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/ by the end of the month following the month in which the award was made.

    iii. The Total Compensation of the Subrecipient's Executives (5 most highly compensated executives) must be reported by the Subrecipient (if the Subrecipient meets the criteria under 2 CFR part 170) to the Recipient by the end of the month following the month in which the subaward was made.

    d. Record Keeping and Accounting. The grant contract will contain provisions relating to record keeping and accounting requirements.

    G. Federal Awarding Agency Contacts

    1. Web site: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/distance-learning-telemedicine-grants. The DLT Web site maintains up-to-date resources and contact information for DLT programs.

    2. Telephone: 202-720-0800.

    3. Fax: 202-205-2921.

    4. Email: [email protected]

    5. Main point of contact: Shawn Arner, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Loan Origination and Approval Division, Rural Utilities Service.

    H. Other Information 1. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    USDA prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

    2. How To File a Complaint

    If you wish to file an employment complaint, you must contact your agency's EEO Counselor within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act, event, or in the case of a personnel action. Additional information can be found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_file.html.

    If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF), found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at [email protected]

    3. Persons With Disabilities

    Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities and that wish to file either an EEO or program complaint may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).

    Persons with disabilities who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email. If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Brandon McBride, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12222 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

    Agency: U.S. Census Bureau.

    Title: 2015 National Content Test

    OMB Control Number: 0607-XXXX.

    Form Number(s):

    Questionnaire DE-1A(E/S) DE-1C(E/S) DE-1D(E/S) DE-1D2(E/S) DE-1G(E/S) DE-1H(E/S) DE-1I(E/S) DE-1W(E/S) DE-1C(E/S)PR DE-1I(E/S) PR Instruction Card DE-33 DE-33 PR Questionnaire Cover Letters DE-16(L1) DE-16(L1)(FB) DE-16(L1)(E/S) DE-16(L1)(E/S)PR DE-16(L2) DE-16(L2)(F/B) DE-16(L2)(E/S) DE-16(L2)(E/S)PR DE-17(L1) DE-17(L1)(F/B) DE-17(L1)(E/S) DE-17(L2) DE-17(L2)(F/B) DE-17(L2)(E/S) DE-17(L3) DE-17(L3)(F/B) DE-17(L3)(E/S) DE-17(L4) DE-17(L4)(F/B) DE-17(L4)(E/S) DE-17(L4)(E/S)PR DE-17(L5) DE-17(L5)(F/B) DE-17(L5)(E/S) Postcards DE-9 DE-9(E/S)PR DE-9(I) DE-9(v2) DE-9(v3) DE-9(ES)(PR) DE-9(v3)(E/S)(PR) DE-9(2A) DE-9(2A)(E/S)PR DE-9(2B) DE-9(2B)(E/S)PR DE-9(2C) DE-9(2D) Envelopes DE-6A(IN) DE-6A(IN)(E/S) DE-6A(1)(IN) DE-6A(1)(IN)(E/S) DE-8A DE-8A(E/S) Internet Instrument Spec Reinterview Instrument Spec (Coverage) Reinterview Instrument Spec (Race) Wording for Emails and Text Messages

    Type of Request: New Collection.

    Number of Respondents: 1.3 million households.

    Average Hours per Response: 0.2.

    Burden Hours: 216,667.

    Estimated Burden Hours for 2015 National Content Test Total number of respondents Estimated response time
  • (minutes)
  • Estimated
  • burden hours
  • Initial Response 1,200,000 10 200,000 Telephone Reinterview 100,000 10 16,667 Total 1,300,000 216,667

    Needs and Uses: During the years preceding the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will pursue its commitment to reducing the cost of conducting the next decennial census while maintaining the highest data quality possible. A primary decennial census cost driver is the collection of data from members of the public for which the Census Bureau received no reply via initially offered response options. We refer to these cases as nonrespondents. Increasing the number of people who take advantage of self response options (such as completing a paper questionnaire and mailing it back to the Census Bureau, or responding via telephone or Internet alternatives) can contribute to a less costly census.

    The 2015 National Content Test (NCT) is part of the research and development cycle leading up to the 2020 Census.

    The first objective of this test is to evaluate and compare different versions of questions about such things as race and Hispanic origin, relationship, and within-household coverage. The 2015 NCT is the primary mid-decade opportunity to compare different versions of questions prior to making final decisions for the 2020 Census. The test will include a reinterview to further assess the accuracy and reliability of the question alternatives about race and origin and within-household coverage.

    For the decennial census, the Census Bureau adheres to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) October 30, 1997 “Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity” (see www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg_1997standards) for classifying racial and ethnic responses. There are five broad categories for data on race: “White,” “Black or African American,” “American Indian or Alaska Native,” “Asian,” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.” There are two broad categories for data on ethnicity: “Hispanic or Latino” and “Not Hispanic or Latino.” The OMB standards advise that respondents shall be offered the option of selecting one or more racial designations. The OMB standards also advise that race and ethnicity are two distinct concepts; therefore, Hispanics or Latinos may be of any race.

    Additionally, the 1997 OMB standards permit the collection of more detailed information on population groups, provided that any additional groups can be aggregated into the standard broad set of categories. Currently, the Census Bureau collects additional detailed information on Hispanic or Latino groups, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, Asian groups, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander groups.

    For example, responses to the race question such as Navajo Nation, Nome Eskimo Community, and Mayan are collected and tabulated separately in Census Bureau censuses and surveys, but also are aggregated and tabulated into the total American Indian or Alaska Native population. Similarly, responses to the race question such as Chinese, Asian, Indian, and Vietnamese are collected and tabulated separately, but also aggregated and tabulated into the total Asian population, while responses such as Native Hawaiian, Chamorro, or Fijian are collected and tabulated separately, but also tabulated, and aggregated into the total Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander population. Responses to the ethnicity question such as Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban are collected and tabulated separately, but also are tabulated and aggregated in Census Bureau censuses and surveys, but also tabulated and aggregated into the total Hispanic or Latino population.

    The 2015 NCT will test ways to collect and tabulate detailed information for the detailed groups, not just to the broad groups identified above. Detailed data for specific White population groups, such as German, Irish, and Polish, and Black population groups, such as African American, Jamaican, and Nigerian, will be collected and tabulated, and may be aggregated into the total “White” or “Black or African American” populations respectively.

    The 2015 NCT also includes testing of a separate “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) category and the collection of data on detailed MENA groups, such as Lebanese, Egyptian, and Iranian. Currently, following the 1997 OMB standards, Middle Eastern and North African responses are classified under the White racial category, per OMB's definition of “White.”

    The second objective of the NCT is to test different contact strategies for optimizing self-response. The Census Bureau has committed to using the Internet as a primary response option in the 2020 Census. The 2015 NCT includes nine different approaches to encouraging households to respond and, specifically, to respond using the less costly and more efficient Internet response option. These approaches include altering the timing of the first reminder, use of email as a reminder, altering the timing for sending the mail questionnaire, use of a third reminder, and sending a reminder letter in place of a paper questionnaire to non-respondents.

    One benefit of the Internet response mode is that it allows for more functionality and greater flexibility in designing questions compared to paper, which is constrained by space availability. The 2015 NCT will utilize web-based technology, such as the Internet, smart phones, and tablets to improve question designs, and to optimize reporting of detailed racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Samoan, Iranian, Blackfeet Tribe, Filipino, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Irish, etc.).

    Web-based designs also provide much more utility and flexibility for using detailed checkboxes and write-in spaces to elicit and collect data for detailed groups than traditional paper questionnaires, and will help collect data for both the broader OMB categories, as well as more detailed responses across all groups.

    Components of the Test Race and Origin Content

    The 2015 NCT builds on extensive research previously conducted by the Census Bureau as part of the 2010 Census. One major study was the 2010 Census Race and Hispanic Origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE) (for details, see www.census.gov/2010census/news/press-kits/aqe/aqe.html). The 2010 AQE examined alternative strategies for improving the collection of data on a race and Hispanic origin, with four goals in mind:

    1. Increasing reporting in the standard race and ethnic categories as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget;

    2. Decreasing item non-response for these questions;

    3. Increasing the accuracy and reliability of the results for this question; and

    4. Eliciting detailed responses for all racial and ethnic communities (e.g., Chinese, Mexican, Jamaican, etc.).

    Some of the findings from this research include:

    • Combining race and ethnicity into one question did not change the proportion of people who reported as Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, American Indians and Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders.

    • The combined question yielded higher item response rates, compared with separate question approaches.

    • The combined question increased reporting of detailed responses for most groups, but decreased reporting for others.

    The successful strategies from the AQE research have been employed in the design of the Census Bureau's 2020 Census research. Four key dimensions of the questions on race and Hispanic origin are being tested in the 2015 NCT. These include question format, response categories, wording of the instructions, and question terminology.

    Question Format

    The 2015 NCT will evaluate the use of two alternative question approaches for collecting detailed data on race and ethnicity. One approach uses two separate questions: The first about Hispanic origin, and the second about race. The other approach combines the two items into one question about race and origin. The 2015 NCT research will test both approaches with new data collection methods, including Internet, telephone, and in-person response. Each approach is described below, with its associated data collection modes.

    1. Separate Race and Origin Questions (Paper and Internet)

    This is a modified version of the race and Hispanic origin approach used in the 2010 Census. Updates since the 2010 Census include added write-in spaces and examples for the White response category and the Black or African American response category, removal of the term “Negro,” and the addition of an instruction to allow for multiple responses in the Hispanic origin question.

    2. Combined Question With Checkboxes and Write-Ins Visible at Same Time (Paper)

    This is a modified version of the combined question approaches found to be successful in the 2010 AQE research. Checkboxes are provided for the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) broad categories (per the 1997 Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity), with a corresponding write-in space for detailed response to each checkbox category. In this version, all checkboxes and write-in spaces are visible at all times. Each response category contains six example groups, which represent the diversity of the geographic definitions of the OMB category. For instance, the Asian category examples of Chinese, Filipino, Asian, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese represent the six largest detailed Asian groups in the United States, reflecting OMB's definition of Asian (“A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.”). Respondents do not have to select an OMB checkbox, but may enter a detailed response in the write-in space without checking a category.

    3. Combined Question With Major Checkboxes, Detailed Checkboxes, and Write-Ins (Paper)

    This is a modified version of the combined question approaches found to be successful in the 2010 AQE. Checkboxes are provided for the OMB categories, along with a series of detailed checkboxes under each major category, and a corresponding write-in space and examples to elicit and collect all other detailed responses within the major category. In this version, all checkboxes and write-in spaces are visible at all times. Again, the detailed response categories represent the diversity of the geographic definitions of the OMB category.

    For instance, under the Asian category (and major checkbox), a series of detailed checkboxes is presented for Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese, which represent the six largest detailed Asian groups in the United States. Then, instructions to enter additional detailed groups (with the examples of “Pakistani, Thai, Hmong, etc.”) precede a dedicated write-in area to collect other detailed responses. Again, these detailed groups reflect OMB's definition of Asian (“A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.”). Respondents do not have to select an OMB checkbox, but may enter a detailed response in the write-in space without checking a category.

    4. Combined Question With Major Checkboxes and Write-Ins on Separate Screens (Internet)

    In this version, the detailed origin groups are solicited on subsequent screens after the OMB response categories have been selected. On the first screen, the OMB checkbox categories are shown along with their six representative example groups. Once the OMB categories have been selected, one at a time, subsequent screens solicit further detail for each category that was chosen (e.g., Asian), using a write-in space, with examples, to collect the detailed groups (e.g., Korean and Japanese). The intent is to separate mouse click tasks (checkbox categories) and typing tasks (write-ins) in an attempt to elicit responses that are more detailed. This approach was used as one of three race and origin Internet panels in the 2014 Census Test.

    5. Combined Question Branching With Detailed Checkbox Screens (Internet)

    This version is an alternative method of soliciting detailed origin groups using separate screens, detailed checkboxes, and write-in spaces. On the first screen, the OMB checkbox categories are shown along with their six representative example groups. Once the OMB categories have been selected, one at a time, subsequent screens solicit further detail for each category, this time using a series of additional checkboxes for the six largest detailed groups (e.g., Chinese, Filipino, Asian, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese) with a write-in space also provided to collect additional groups.

    EN22MY15.007 Race Response Categories

    The 2015 NCT will also evaluate the use of a “Middle Eastern or North African” (“MENA”) response category. There will be two treatments for testing this dimension:

    1. Use of a MENA category: This treatment tests the addition of a MENA checkbox category to the race question. The MENA category is placed within the current category lineup, based on estimates of population size, between the category for American Indians and Alaska Natives and the category for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders. With the addition of this new category, the “White” example groups are revised. The Middle Eastern and North African examples of Lebanese and Egyptian are replaced with the European examples of Polish and French. The MENA checkbox category will have the examples of Lebanese, Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, and Algerian. All other checkbox categories and write-in spaces remain the same.

    2. No separate MENA category: This treatment tests approaches without a separate MENA checkbox category, and represents the current OMB definition of White (“A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.”). Here the category will provide examples of Middle Eastern and North African origins (e.g., Lebanese; Egyptian) along with examples of European origins (e.g., German; Irish) as part of the “White” racial category.

    Wording of the Instructions

    The 2015 NCT will evaluate the use of different approaches for wording the instructions used to collect data on race and ethnicity. The 2010 AQE research found that respondents frequently overlook the instruction to “Mark [X] one or more boxes” and have difficulty understanding the instructions. From the 2010 AQE qualitative research we learned that some respondents stop reading the instruction after noticing the visual cue [X] and proceed directly to do just that—mark a box—overlooking the remainder of the instruction. The new instruction being tested in the 2015 NCT (“Mark all boxes that apply”) is an attempt to improve the clarity of the question and make it more apparent that more than one group may be selected. The following options will be tested in the 2015 NCT.

    1. “Mark [X] one or more”: One version (old instructions) will advise respondents to, “Mark [X] one or more boxes AND print [origins/ethnicities/details].

    2. “Mark all that apply”: An alternative version (new instructions), will advise respondents to, “Mark all boxes that apply AND print [origins/ethnicities/details] in the spaces below. Note, you may report more than one group.

    Instructions for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Write-In Area

    The 2015 NCT will also examine different instructions to optimize detailed reporting within the AIAN write-in area. From the 2010 AQE research and recent 2014 qualitative research that the Census Bureau conducted with American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Central and South American Indian respondents, we know the instruction to “Print enrolled or principal tribe” causes confusion for many AIAN respondents and means different things to different people. The research found that AIAN respondents were confused by the use of different terms and concepts (e.g., “enrolled”, “affiliated,” “villages,” “race,” “origin,” “tribe,” etc.) and there was disagreement among focus group participants as to what “affiliated tribe” or “enrolled” or “villages” meant.

    The overwhelming sentiment from 2014 AIAN focus group participants was that they want to be treated equally with other race/ethnic groups, and this was accomplished by not using different terminology (i.e., enrolled, affiliated, villages, etc.). Asking “What is your race or origin?” in conjunction with “Print, for example, . . .” (along with AIAN example groups) allowed the respondents to understand what the question asked them to report (their race or origin) and did not limit their write-in response by confounding the instructions with terms that mean different things to different people (e.g., tribes, villages, etc.). Therefore, the instruction to, “Print, for example, . . .” presented a viable alternative for further exploration in 2015 NCT research.

    Based on the findings and recommendations from this research, the 2015 NCT will test variations of the instructions for the AIAN write-in area. We plan to test the instruction, “Print enrolled or principal tribe, for example . . .” on control versions, and the instruction, “Print, for example . . .” on experimental versions, to see how they perform.

    Question Terms

    The 2015 NCT will evaluate the use of different conceptual terms (e.g., origin, ethnicity, or no terms) in the wording of questions for collecting data on race and ethnicity. Recent qualitative focus groups and qualitative research (e.g., 2010 AQE research; 2013 Census Test research; cognitive pre-testing for the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) Content Test) found that the terms “race,” “ethnicity,” and “origin” are confusing or misleading to many respondents, and mean different things to different people. The 2010 AQE research tested the removal of the term “race” from the question, and showed no evidence that removal of the term had any effect on either unit or item response rates. Recent cognitive research for the 2016 ACS Content Test tested an open-ended instruction (“Which categories describe you?”) and found that respondents did not have issues with understanding what the question was asking. The following options will be tested in the 2015 NCT.

    1. “Originterm: The current version of the race and Hispanic origin questions, and the combined question, use the terms “race” and/or “origin” to describe the concepts and groups in the question stem and/or instructions. For instance, in the combined race and Hispanic origin approach, the question stem is “What is Person 1's race or origin?

    2. “Ethnicityterm: One alternative option being explored tests the use of both the terms “ethnicity” along with “race” in the question stem and/or instructions (e.g.,What is Person 1's race or ethnicity?”).

    3. NO terms: A second alternative option being explored tests the removal of the terms “race,” “origin,” and “ethnicity” from the question stem and instructions. Instead, a general approach asks, “Which categories describe Person 1?”

    Relationship Content

    Two versions of the relationship question will be tested. Both versions are the same as those used in a split-sample in the 2014 Census Test, with no changes. These relationship categories were previously tested in other Census Bureau surveys including the American Housing Survey, American Community Survey, and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (currently used in production). Although research to date has been informative, leading to the development of the revised relationship question, additional quantitative testing is needed. Because the incidence of some household relationships—such as same-sex couples—is relatively low in the general population, the revised question needs to be tested with large, nationally representative samples prior to a final decision to include them in the 2020 Census questionnaire.

    The first version uses the 2010 Census relationship question response options, but in a new order, starting with “husband or wife” and then the “unmarried partner” category. This version also re-introduces the foster child category, which was removed from the 2010 Census form due to space issues.

    The second version includes the same basic response options as the 2010 Census version, but modifies/expands the “husband or wife” and “unmarried partner” categories to distinguish between same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.

    Coverage Content (Internet Only)

    The 2012 NCT experimented with several methods to improve within-household coverage for Internet respondents. One benefit of the online response mode is that it allows for more functionality and greater flexibility in designing questions compared to paper, which is constrained by space availability. The 2012 NCT included a coverage follow-up reinterview to evaluate the different Internet design options, but some results were inconclusive. In the 2015 NCT, two designs will be tested to compare different approaches for helping respondents provide a more accurate roster of household residents.

    The first approach is the “Rules-Based” approach, and will allow us to see whether the presence of a question asking the number of people in the household, along with the residence rule instructions, helps respondents create an accurate roster. This is similar to the approach used across all modes in Census 2000 and the 2010 Census, where the respondent was expected to understand various applications of our residence rules and apply them to their household. The roster creation is followed by a household-level question that probes to determine if any additional people not listed originally should be included for consideration as residents of the household (several types of people and living situations are shown in a list).

    The “Question-Based” approach allows us to ask guided questions to help improve resident responses. Respondents are not shown the residence rule instructions and are only asked to create an initial roster of people they consider to be living or staying at their address on Census Day. This is followed by several short household-level questions about types of people and living situations that might apply to people in the household that were not listed originally.

    The materials mailed to the respondents will inform them that the survey is mandatory in accordance with Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193. This information also will be available via a hyperlink from within the Internet Instrument.

    The results of the 2015 NCT will help guide the design of additional 2020 Census testing later this decade. The 2015 NCT will be the only opportunity to test content with a nationally representative sample prior to the 2020 Census. Testing in 2015 is necessary to establish recommendations for contact strategies, response options, and content options that can be further refined and tested in later tests. At this point in the decade, the Census Bureau needs to acquire evidence showing whether the strategies being tested can reduce the cost per housing unit during a decennial census, while providing high quality and accuracy of the census data. The nationally-representative sample is designed to ensure that the unbiased estimates from this test accurately reflect the nation as a whole, across a variety of demographic characteristics.

    Along with other results, the response rates to paper and Internet collection will be used to help inform 2020 Decennial program planning and cost estimation metrics values. In addition, several demographic questions and coverage probes are included in this test to achieve improved coverage by future decennial censuses and surveys.

    Information quality is an integral part of the pre-dissemination review of the information disseminated by the Census Bureau (fully described in the Census Bureau's Information Quality Guidelines). Information quality is also integral to the information collections conducted by the Census Bureau and is incorporated into the clearance process required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Frequency: One Time.

    Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.

    Legal Authority: Title 13 U.S.C. 141 and 193.

    This information collection request may be viewed at www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Glenna Mickelson, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12140 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [S-20-2015] Approval of Subzone Status; Roger Electric Corporation; Bayamon, Puerto Rico

    On February 20, 2015, the Executive Secretary of the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board docketed an application submitted by the Puerto Rico Trade & Export Company, grantee of FTZ 61, requesting subzone status subject to the existing activation limit of FTZ 61, on behalf of Roger Electric Corporation in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

    The application was processed in accordance with the FTZ Act and Regulations, including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 10456-10457, 02-26-2015). The FTZ staff examiner reviewed the application and determined that it meets the criteria for approval.

    Pursuant to the authority delegated to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary (15 CFR 400.36(f)), the application to establish Subzone 61O is approved, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.13, and further subject to FTZ 61's 1,821.07-acre activation limit.

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12516 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-04-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 26—Atlanta, Georgia; Authorization of Production Activity; Mizuno USA, Inc. (Golf Clubs), Braselton, Georgia

    On January 15, 2015, Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone, Inc., grantee of FTZ 26, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the Foreign-Trade Zones (FTZ) Board on behalf of Mizuno USA, Inc., within Site 31 of FTZ 26, in Braselton, Georgia.

    The notification was processed in accordance with the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR part 400), including notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment (80 FR 5507, 02-02-2015). The FTZ Board has determined that no further review of the activity is warranted at this time. The production activity described in the notification is authorized, subject to the FTZ Act and the Board's regulations, including Section 400.14.

    Dated: May 15, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12550 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-427-818] Low Enriched Uranium From France: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) has granted an extension of time for the re-exportation of one specified entry of low enriched uranium (LEU) that entered under a narrow provision that conditionally excludes it from the scope of the antidumping (AD) order. The Department extends the exportation deadline until January 31, 2018.

    DATES:

    Effective date: May 22, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Andrew Huston, AD/CVD Operations, Office VII, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4261.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On February 17, 2015, the Department published the initiation and preliminary results of the changed circumstances review (CCR).1 In the Initiation and Preliminary Results the Department preliminarily determined that changed circumstances did not exist, and that Eurodif SA and Areva Inc. (collectively AREVA) would not be granted an additional extension of time to re-export the specified entry of low-enriched uranium. Since the publication of the Initiation and Preliminary Results, the following events have taken place. AREVA, Centrus Energy Corporation (Petitioners), and the Nuclear Energy Institute submitted comments on March 17, 2015. Chubu Electric Power Company, Inc. submitted comments on March 24, 2015. No rebuttal comments were filed.

    1See Low Enriched Uranium from France: Initiation of Expedited Changed Circumstances Review and Preliminary Results of Changed Circumstances Review, 80 FR 8285 (February 17, 2015) (Initiation and Preliminary Results).

    Scope of the Order

    The product covered by the order is all low-enriched uranium. Low-enriched uranium is enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) with a U235 product assay of less than 20 percent that has not been converted into another chemical form, such as UO2, or fabricated into nuclear fuel assemblies, regardless of the means by which the LEU is produced (including low-enriched uranium produced through the down-blending of highly enriched uranium).2

    2 For a full description of the scope of the order see “Decision Memorandum for Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review of Low Enriched Uranium from France,” (Issues and Decision Memorandum) from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance (Issues and Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with these results and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised by the parties in the case briefs are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum. A list of the issues addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum is appended to this notice. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is available electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Services System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and it is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit of the main Commerce Building, room 7046. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum is also accessible on the internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Final Results of CCR

    Upon review of the comments received in this case the Department has determined that the new regulatory requirements enacted by Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority since the previous CCR 3 do constitute new circumstances, and that it is appropriate to extend the deadline for re-exportation of this sole entry of low-enriched uranium. The Department is granting an extension for re-exportation of this sole entry until January 31, 2018. AREVA will be required to provide the Department with a report on the status of the relevant reactor semi-annually.4 AREVA and the end-user will be required to submit amended certifications to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The Department will release amended certifications to parties for comment before AREVA and the end-user are required to submit such certifications to CBP.

    3See Low Enriched Uranium From France: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review, 78 FR 66898 (November 7, 2013).

    4See Issues and Decision Memorandum at page 3.

    In the event that the deadline for re-export expires and the subject uranium has not been re-exported, and no further extension is granted, the Department will take appropriate action, which may include our reexamination of the cash deposit rate applied to all entries of AREVA's merchandise under the 18-month re-export provision.

    Instructions to CBP

    The Department will inform CBP that the deadline for re-exportation of the single entry at issue is extended until January 31, 2018. The Department will instruct CBP to collect amended certifications from AREVA and its end-user within 30 days of publication of these final results of CCR.

    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Orders

    This notice is the only reminder to parties subject to the administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under the APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing these final results in accordance with sections 751(b)(1) and 777(i)(1) and (2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.216.

    Dated: May 15, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Topics in the Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of the Order IV. Discussion of the Issues Allowing Further Extension of the Re-Export Deadline V. Department Position VI. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-12547 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-985] Xanthan Gum From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of 2013 Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: May 22, 2015.

    SUMMARY:

    On December 31, 2014, the Department of Commerce (“Department”) published the preliminary results of the antidumping duty new shipper review of xanthan gum from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”).1 We invited interested parties to comment on our preliminary results. Following our analysis of the comments received, we made changes to our preliminary margin calculation for the new shipper Meihua Group International Trading (Hong Kong) Limited, Langfang Meihua Bio-Technology Co., Ltd., and Xinjiang Meihua Amino Acid Co., Ltd. (collectively, “Meihua”). We continue to find that Meihua did not make sales of subject merchandise at less than normal value.

    1See Xanthan Gum From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of 2013 Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review, 79 FR 78797 (December 31, 2014) (“Preliminary Results”).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brandon Farlander, AD/CVD Operations, Office IV, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0182.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Case History

    The Department published the Preliminary Results on December 31, 2014.2 On January 30, 2015, CP Kelco U.S., Inc.3 submitted its case brief. On February 9, 2015, Meihua submitted a rebuttal brief.

    2 Also adopted as part of the preliminary results was the Memorandum to Ronald K. Lorentzen entitled “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of the 2013 Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review of Xanthan Gum from the People's Republic of China,” dated December 18, 2014 (“Preliminary Decision Memorandum”).

    3 CP Kelco U.S., Inc. is the petitioner.

    Period of Review

    The period of review (“POR”) for this new shipper review is July 19, 2013 through December 31, 2013. This POR corresponds to the period from the date of suspension of liquidation to the end of the month immediately preceding the first semiannual anniversary month pursuant to 19 CFR 351.214(g)(1)(ii)(B).

    Scope of the Order

    The scope of the order covers dry xanthan gum, whether or not coated or blended with other products. Further, xanthan gum is included in this order regardless of physical form, including, but not limited to, solutions, slurries, dry powders of any particle size, or unground fiber. Merchandise covered by the scope of this order is classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”) of the United States at subheading 3913.90.20. This tariff classification is provided for convenience and customs purposes; however, the written description of the scope is dispositive.4

    4 For a complete description of the Scope of the Order, see “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Results of the Antidumping Duty New Shipper Review of Xanthan Gum from the People's Republic of China,” (“Issues and Decision Memorandum”), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs by parties to this new shipper review are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum, which is hereby adopted by this notice. A list of the issues which parties raised and to which we respond in the Issues and Decision Memorandum is attached to this notice as an Appendix. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov and it is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Final Results Margin

    The Department finds that the following weighted-average dumping margin exists for the exporter/producer combination listed below for the period July 19, 2013 through December 31, 2013:

    Exporter Producer Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Meihua Group International Trading (Hong Kong) Limited/Langfang Meihua Bio-Technology Co., Ltd./Xinjiang Meihua Amino Acid Co., Ltd Meihua Group International Trading (Hong Kong) Limited/Langfang Meihua Bio-Technology Co., Ltd./Xinjiang Meihua Amino Acid Co., Ltd 0.00
    Disclosure

    We intend to disclose to parties the calculations performed in this proceeding within five days of the date of public announcement of the results of this review in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, the Department will determine, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b). The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of the final results of review. Because Meihua's weighted-average dumping margin is zero, we will instruct CBP to liquidate the appropriate entries without regard to antidumping duties. For entries that were not reported in the U.S. sales database submitted by Meihua, the Department will instruct CBP to liquidate such entries at the NME-wide rate.5

    5 For a full discussion of this practice, see Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this new shipper review for shipments of the subject merchandise from the PRC entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the “Act”). For the exporter/producer combination listed above, the cash deposit rate will be 0.00 percent. This deposit requirement, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of the antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    Notification Regarding APO

    This notice also serves as a reminder to the parties subject to administrative protective order (“APO”) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of business proprietary information (“BPI”) disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern BPI in this segment of the proceeding. Timely notification of return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    This determination is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(2)(B) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: May 18, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Issues for Final Results Summary Background Period of Review Scope of the order Single company treatment Bona fide analysis List of Abbreviations and Acronyms Discussion of Issues Issue 1: Corn starch intermediate input Issue 2: Corn SV Issue 3: Surrogate Financial Statements Issue 4: Whether Meihua's energy allocation methodology is distortive Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-12520 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [Application No. 99-8A005] Export Trade Certificate of Review ACTION:

    Notice of Issuance of an Amended Export Trade Certificate of Review for the California Almond Export Association, LLC, Application no. 99-8A005.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary of Commerce, through the Office of Trade and Economic Analysis (“OTEA”), issued an amended Export Trade Certificate of Review to the California Almond Export Association, LLC (“CAEA”) on May 6, 2015. The previous amendment was issued on May 1, 2014.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Joseph Flynn, Director, Office of Trade and Economic Analysis, International Trade Administration, (202) 482-5131 (this is not a toll-free number) or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title III of the Export Trading Company Act of 1982 (15 U.S.C. 4001-21) authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to issue Export Trade Certificates of Review. An Export Trade Certificate of Review protects the holder and the members identified in the Certificate from State and Federal government antitrust actions and from private treble damage antitrust actions for the export conduct specified in the Certificate and carried out in compliance with its terms and conditions. The regulations implementing Title III are found at 15 CFR part 325 (2015). OTEA is issuing this notice pursuant to 15 CFR 325.6(b), which requires the Secretary to publish a summary of the certificate in the Federal Register. Under Section 305(a) of the Act and 15 CFR 325.11(a), any person aggrieved by the Secretary's determination may, within 30 days of the date of this notice, bring an action in any appropriate district court of the United States to set aside the determination on the ground that the determination is erroneous.

    Description of the Amendment to the Certificate: Remove the following company as a Member of CAEA's Certificate: Minturn Nut Company, Inc., Le Grand, CA.

    CAEA's Export Trade Certificate of Review complete amended Membership is listed below:

    Almonds California Pride, Inc., Caruthers, CA Baldwin-Minkler Farms, Orland, CA Blue Diamond Growers, Sacramento, CA Campos Brothers, Caruthers, CA Chico Nut Company, Chico, CA Del Rio Nut Company, Inc., Livingston, CA Fair Trade Corner, Inc., Chico, CA Fisher Nut Company, Modesto, CA Hilltop Ranch, Inc., Ballico, CA Hughson Nut, Inc., Hughson, CA Mariani Nut Company, Winters, CA Nutco, LLC d.b.a. Spycher Brothers, Turlock, CA Paramount Farms, Inc., Los Angeles, CA P-R Farms, Inc., Clovis, CA Roche Brothers International Family Nut Co., Escalon, CA South Valley Almond Company, LLC, Wasco, CA Sunny Gem, LLC, Wasco, CA Western Nut Company, Chico, CA Dated: May 18, 2015. Joseph Flynn, Director, Office of Trade and Economic Analysis, International Trade Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12405 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-489-822] Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Department) preliminarily determines that welded line pipe from the Republic of Turkey (Turkey) is being, or is likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value (LTFV), as provided in section 733(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). The period of investigation (POI) is October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014. The estimated weighted-average dumping margins of sales at LTFV are shown in the “Preliminary Determination” section of this notice. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: May 22, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Alice Maldonado or David Crespo, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4682 or (202) 482-3693, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The Department initiated this investigation on November 5, 2014.1 For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this investigation, see the memorandum that is dated concurrently with this determination and hereby adopted by this notice.2 The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov, and to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be found at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    1See Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 79 FR 68213 (November 14, 2014) (Initiation Notice).

    2See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, entitled “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The scope of the investigation covers welded line pipe, which is carbon and alloy steel pipe of a kind used for oil and gas pipelines, not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter. For a complete description of the scope of the investigation, see Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. For discussion of those comments, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this investigation in accordance with section 731 of the Act. There are two mandatory respondents participating in this investigation, Çayirova Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S./Yücel Boru Ithalat-Ihracat ve Pazarlama A.S. (collectively, Çayirova) and Tosçelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S./Tosyali Dis Ticaret A.S. (collectively, Tosçelik). Export price for these companies is calculated in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Normal value (NV) is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act. For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Because mandatory respondents Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. (Borusan Mannesmann) and Borusan Istikbal Ticaret (Borusan Istikbal) failed to respond to the Department's questionnaire, we preliminarily determine to apply adverse facts available (AFA) to these respondents, in accordance with sections 776(a) and (b) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.308. For further discussion, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    All-Others Rate

    Consistent with sections 733(d)(1)(A)(ii) and 735(c)(5) of the Act, the Department also calculated an estimated all-others rate. Section 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act provides that the estimated all-others rate shall be an amount equal to the weighted average of the estimated weighted-average dumping margins established for exporters and producers individually investigated, excluding any zero and de minimis margins, and any margins determined entirely under section 776 of the Act.

    In this investigation, we calculated weighted-average dumping margins for both participating mandatory respondents that are above de minimis and which are not based on total facts available. However, because there are only two relevant weighted-average dumping margins for this preliminary determination, using a weighted average of these two rates risks disclosure of business proprietary data. Therefore, we calculated both a weighted average of the dumping margins calculated for the two cooperating mandatory respondents using publicly ranged quantities for their sales of subject merchandise and a simple average of these two dumping margins, and selected, as the all-others rate, the average that provides a more accurate proxy for the weighted-average margin of both companies calculated using business proprietary information.3

    3See Memorandum to the File from David Crespo, Senior Analyst, entitled, “Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey: Calculation of the Preliminary Margin for All Other Companies,” dated concurrently with this memorandum (All Others Calculation Memorandum).

    Preliminary Determination

    The Department preliminarily determines that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist:

    Exporter/manufacturer Weighted-average dumping margin (percent) Borusan Istikbal Ticaret 9.85 Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. 9.85 Çayirova Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S./Yücel Boru Ithalat-Ihracat ve Pazarlama A.S. 9.71 Tosçelik Profil ve Sac Endustrisi A.S./Tosyali Dis Ticaret A.S. 3.11 All Others 3.29 Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 733(d)(2) of the Act, we are directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of all entries of welded line pipe from Turkey as described in Appendix I of this notice, which are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.205(d), we will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the weighted-average amount by which the NV exceeds U.S. price, as indicated in the chart above, adjusted for export subsidies found in the preliminary determination of the companion countervailing duty investigation.4 Specifically, consistent with our longstanding practice, where the product under investigation is also subject to a concurrent countervailing duty investigation, we instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the amount by which the NV exceeds the U.S. price, as indicated below, less the amount of the countervailing duty determined to constitute an export subsidy.5 Therefore, for cash deposit purposes, we are subtracting from the applicable cash deposit rate that portion of the countervailing duty rate attributable to the export subsidies found in the preliminary affirmative countervailing duty determination. Accordingly, the export subsidy offsets are as follows: 0.82 percent for Tosçelik, and 0.77 percent for Çayirova and all others, and 0.42 percent for Borusan Istikbal and Borusan Mannesmann.6 After this adjustment, the resulting cash deposit rates will be 9.43 percent for Borusan Istikbal and Borusan Mannesmann, 8.94 percent for Çayirova, 2.29 percent for Tosçelik, and 2.52 percent for all others. The suspension of liquidation instructions will remain in effect until further notice.

    4See Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Turkey: Preliminary Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination With Final Antidumping Determination, 80 FR 14943 (March 20, 2015), and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    5See, e.g., Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Carbazole Violet Pigment 23 From India, 69 FR 67306, 67307 (November 17, 2004); and Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Negative Critical Circumstances Determination: Bottom Mount Combination Refrigerator-Freezers From the Republic of Korea, 77 FR 17413 (March 26, 2012).

    6See Memorandum to the File from Alice Maldonado, Senior Analyst, entitled, “Placing Information on the Record: Export Subsidies Calculated in the Preliminary Determination of the Countervailing Duty Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Turkey,”dated May 14, 2015.

    Disclosure

    We will disclose the calculations performed to interested parties in this proceeding within five days of the date of publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i) of the Act, we intend to verify information relied upon in making our final determination.

    Public Comment

    Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination. Case briefs or other written comments may be submitted to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance no later than seven days after the date on which the final verification report is issued in this proceeding, and rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in case briefs, may be submitted no later than five days after the deadline date for case briefs.7 Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2), parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this proceeding are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.

    7See 19 CFR 351.309.

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing, or to participate if one is requested, must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce. All documents must be filed electronically using ACCESS. An electronically-filed request must be received successfully in its entirety by ACCESS by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice.8 Requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, and a list of the issues to be discussed. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a time and date to be determined. Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

    8See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures

    Section 735(a)(2) of the Act provides that a final determination may be postponed until not later than 135 days after the date of the publication of the preliminary determination if, in the event of an affirmative preliminary determination, a request for such postponement is made by exporters who account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise, or in the event of a negative preliminary determination, a request for such postponement is made by the petitioner. 19 CFR 351.210(e)(2) requires that requests by respondents for postponement of a final antidumping determination be accompanied by a request for extension of provisional measures from a four-month period to a period not more than six months in duration.

    Çayirova and Tosçelik requested that, in the event of an affirmative preliminary determination in this investigation, the Department postpone its final determination by 60 days (i.e., to 135 days after publication of the preliminary determination), and agreed to extend the application of the provisional measures prescribed under section 733(d) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(e)(2), from a four-month period to a period not to exceed six months.9 In addition, certain petitioners 10 also requested that, in the event of a negative preliminary determination, the Department postpone its final determination to 135 days after the date of publication of the preliminary determination.11

    9See letter from Çayirova and Tosçelik entitled, “Line pipe from Turkey; request to extend the final determination,” dated March 20, 2015.

    10 These companies include American Cast Iron Pipe Company, Energex Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, Northwest Pipe Company, Stupp Corporation, a division of Stupp Bros., Inc., Tex-Tube Company, TMK IPSCO, and Welspun Tubular LLC USA (collectively, certain petitioners).

    11See letter from certain of the petitioners entitled, “Welded Line Pipe from Turkey: Contingent Request for Postponement of Final Determination,” dated April 23, 2015.

    In accordance with section 735(a)(2)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(2)(ii), because (1) our preliminary determination is affirmative; (2) the requesting exporters account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise; and (3) no compelling reasons for denial exist, we are postponing the final determination and extending the provisional measures from a four-month period to a period not greater than six months. Accordingly, we will make our final determination no later than 135 days after the date of publication of this preliminary determination, pursuant to section 735(a)(2) of the Act.12

    12See also 19 CFR 351.210(e).

    International Trade Commission (ITC) Notification

    In accordance with section 733(f) of the Act, we have notified the ITC of our affirmative preliminary determination of sales at LTFV. If our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will determine before the later of 120 days after the date of this preliminary determination or 45 days after our final determination whether these imports are materially injuring, or threaten material injury to, the U.S. industry.

    This determination is issued and published in accordance with sections 733(f) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is circular welded carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines (welded line pipe), not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter, regardless of wall thickness, length, surface finish, end finish, or stenciling. Welded line pipe is normally produced to the American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 5L, but can be produced to comparable foreign specifications, to proprietary grades, or can be non-graded material. All pipe meeting the physical description set forth above, including multiple-stenciled pipe with an API or comparable foreign specification line pipe stencil is covered by the scope of this investigation.

    The welded line pipe that is subject to this investigation is currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 7305.11.1030, 7305.11.5000, 7305.12.1030, 7305.12.5000, 7305.19.1030, 7305.19.5000, 7306.19.1010, 7306.19.1050, 7306.19.5110, and 7306.19.5150. The subject merchandise may also enter in HTSUS 7305.11.1060 and 7305.12.1060. While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Period of Investigation 4. Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures 5. Scope Comments 6. Affiliation and Single Entity 7. Discussion of Methodology a. Determination of the Comparison Method b. Results of the Differential Pricing Analysis 8. Date of Sale 9. Product Comparisons 10. Export Price 11. Duty Drawback 12. Normal Value a. Home Market Viability b. Level of Trade c. Cost of Production (COP) Analysis 1. Calculation of COP 2. Test of Comparison Market Sales Prices 3. Results of the COP Test d. Calculation of NV Based on Comparison Market Prices 13. Facts Available a. Use of Facts Available b. Application of Facts Available With an Adverse Reference c. Selection and Corroboration of Adverse Facts Available (AFA) Rate 14. Currency Conversion
    [FR Doc. 2015-12519 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-580-876] Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (Department) preliminarily determines that welded line pipe from the Republic of Korea (Korea) is being, or is likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value (LTFV), as provided in section 733(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). The period of investigation (POI) is October 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014. The estimated weighted-average dumping margins of sales at LTFV are shown in the “Preliminary Determination” section of this notice. Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination.

    DATES:

    Effective date: May 22, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David Goldberger or Katherine Johnson, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-4136 or (202) 482-4929, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    The Department initiated this investigation on November 5, 2014. For a complete description of the events that followed the initiation of this investigation, see the memorandum that is dated concurrently with this determination and hereby adopted by this notice.1 The Preliminary Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at https://access.trade.gov, and to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be found at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/. The signed Preliminary Decision Memorandum and the electronic version of the Preliminary Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    1See Memorandum from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, “Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Determination in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Korea,” (Preliminary Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this notice.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The scope of the investigation covers welded line pipe, which is carbon and alloy steel pipe of a kind used for oil and gas pipelines, not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter. For a complete description of the scope of the investigation, see Appendix I.

    Scope Comments

    Certain interested parties commented on the scope of the investigation as it appeared in the Initiation Notice. 2 For discussion of those comments, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    2See Welded Line Pipe from the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Turkey: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 79 FR 68213 (November 14, 2014) (Initiation Notice).

    Methodology

    The Department is conducting this investigation in accordance with section 731 of the Act. There are two respondents participating in this investigation, Hyundai HYSCO (HYSCO) and SeAH Steel Corporation (SeAH). Export price (EP) and constructed export price (CEP) are calculated in accordance with section 772 of the Act. Normal value (NV) is calculated in accordance with section 773 of the Act. For a full description of the methodology underlying our preliminary conclusions, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    All-Others Rate

    Consistent with sections 733(d)(1)(A)(ii) and 735(c)(5) of the Act, the Department also calculated an estimated all-others rate. Section 735(c)(5)(B) of the Act provides that the estimated all-others rate shall be an amount equal to the weighted average of the estimated weighted-average dumping margins established for exporters and producers individually investigated, excluding any zero and de minimis margins, and any margins determined entirely under section 776 of the Act.

    In this investigation, we calculated weighted-average dumping margins for both mandatory respondents that are above de minimis and which are not based on total facts available. However, because there are only two relevant weighted-average dumping margins for these preliminary results, using a weighted-average of these two rates risks disclosure of business proprietary data. Therefore, the Department assigned a margin to the all-others rate companies based on the simple average of the two mandatory respondents' rates.3

    3 With two respondents, we would normally calculate (A) a weighted-average of the dumping margins calculated for the mandatory respondents; (B) a simple average of the dumping margins calculated for the mandatory respondents; and (C) a weighted-average of the dumping margins calculated for the mandatory respondents using each company's publicly-ranged values for the merchandise under consideration. We would compare (B) and (C) to (A) and select the rate closest to (A) as the most appropriate rate for all other companies. See Ball Bearings and Parts Thereof From France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews, Final Results of Changed-Circumstances Review, and Revocation of an Order in Part, 75 FR 53661, 53663 (September 1, 2010). In this case, however, we do not have complete publicly ranged quantities for SeAH on the record to properly conduct this comparison. Therefore, we are using a simple-average of the dumping margins calculated for the mandatory respondents as the all-other's rate for this preliminary determination, and we intend to ask SeAH to provide a complete publicly ranged summary of its U.S. sales quantities for consideration in the final determination.

    Preliminary Determination

    The Department preliminarily determines that the following weighted-average dumping margins exist:

    Exporter/manufacturer Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Hyundai HYSCO 2.52 SeAH Steel Corporation 2.67 All Others 2.60
    Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 733(d)(2) of the Act, we are directing U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to suspend liquidation of all entries of welded line pipe from Korea, as described in the scope of the investigation section of this notice, which are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    In accordance with 19 CFR 351.205(d), we will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the weighted-average amount by which the NV exceeds the U.S. price, as indicated in the chart above. Our longstanding practice, where the product under investigation is also subject to a concurrent countervailing duty investigation, is to subtract the amount of countervailing duty determined to constitute an export subsidy from the amount by which NV exceeds U.S. price.4 In this case, although the product under investigation is also subject to a countervailing duty investigation, the Department preliminarily found no countervailing duty determined to constitute an export subsidy.5 Therefore, we have not offset the cash deposit rates shown above for purposes of this preliminary determination.

    4See, e.g., Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Carbazole Violet Pigment 23 From India, 69 FR 67306, 67307 (November 17, 2004); and Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Negative Critical Circumstances Determination: Bottom Mount Combination Refrigerator-Freezers From the Republic of Korea, 77 FR 17413 (March 26, 2012).

    5See Welded Line Pipe From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Negative Countervailing Duty Determination and Alignment of Final Determination with Final Antidumping Duty Determination, 80 FR 14907 (March 20, 2015), and accompanying Decision Memorandum.

    Disclosure

    We will disclose the calculations performed to interested parties in this proceeding within five days of the date of publication of this notice in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i) of the Act, we intend to verify information relied upon in making our final determination.

    Public Comment

    Interested parties are invited to comment on this preliminary determination. Case briefs or other written comments may be submitted to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance no later than seven days after the date on which the final verification report is issued in this proceeding, and rebuttal briefs, limited to issues raised in case briefs, may be submitted no later than five days after the deadline date for case briefs.6 Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2) and (d)(2), parties who submit case briefs or rebuttal briefs in this proceeding are encouraged to submit with each argument: (1) A statement of the issue; (2) a brief summary of the argument; and (3) a table of authorities.

    6See 19 CFR 351.309.

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing, or to participate if one is requested, must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce. All documents must be filed electronically using ACCESS. An electronically-filed request must be received successfully in its entirety by ACCESS by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice.7 Requests should contain the party's name, address, and telephone number, the number of participants, and a list of the issues to be discussed. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a time and date to be determined. Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

    7See 19 CFR 351.310(c).

    Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures

    Section 735(a)(2) of the Act provides that a final determination may be postponed until not later than 135 days after the date of the publication of the preliminary determination if, in the event of an affirmative preliminary determination, a request for such postponement is made by exporters who account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise, or in the event of a negative preliminary determination, a request for such postponement is made by the petitioner. 19 CFR 351.210(e)(2) requires that requests by respondents for postponement of a final antidumping determination be accompanied by a request for extension of provisional measures from a four-month period to a period not more than six months in duration.

    Certain of the petitioners 8 requested that, in the event of a negative preliminary determination, the Department postpone its final determination to 135 days after the date of publication of the preliminary determination.9 In addition, both HYSCO and SeAH requested that, in the event of an affirmative preliminary determination in this investigation, the Department postpone its final determination and agreed to extend the application of the provisional measures prescribed under section 733(d) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(e)(2), from a four-month period to a period not to exceed six months.10

    8 These companies include American Cast Iron Pipe Company, Energex Tube, a division of JMC Steel Group, Northwest Pipe Company, Stupp Corporation, a division of Stupp Bros., Inc., Tex-Tube Company, TMK IPSCO, and Welspun Tubular LLC USA (collectively, the petitioners).

    9See Letter from the petitioners, “Line Pipe From Korea: Contingent Request for Postponement of Final Determination,” dated April 23, 2015.

    10See Letter from HYSCO, “Welded Line Pipe from Korea: Request to Postpone the Final Determination,” dated May 7, 2015; and Letter from SeAH, “Antidumping Investigation of Welded Line Pipe from Korea-Request to Extend Deadline for Final Determination,” dated May 8, 2015.

    In accordance with section 735(a)(2)(A) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.210(b)(2)(ii), because (1) our preliminary determination is affirmative; (2) the requesting exporters account for a significant proportion of exports of the subject merchandise; and (3) no compelling reasons for denial exist, we are postponing the final determination and extending the provisional measures from a four-month period to a period not greater than six months. Accordingly, we will make our final determination no later than 135 days after the date of publication of this preliminary determination, pursuant to section 735(a)(2) of the Act.11

    11See also 19 CFR 351.210(e).

    International Trade Commission (ITC) Notification

    In accordance with section 733(f) of the Act, we have notified the ITC of our affirmative preliminary determination of sales at LTFV. If our final determination is affirmative, the ITC will determine before the later of 120 days after the date of this preliminary determination or 45 days after our final determination whether these imports are materially injuring, or threaten material injury to, the U.S. industry.

    This determination is issued and published in accordance with sections 733(f) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.205(c).

    Dated: May 14, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I—Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is circular welded carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe of a kind used for oil or gas pipelines (welded line pipe), not more than 24 inches in nominal outside diameter, regardless of wall thickness, length, surface finish, end finish, or stenciling. Welded line pipe is normally produced to the American Petroleum Institute (API) specification 5L, but can be produced to comparable foreign specifications, to proprietary grades, or can be non-graded material. All pipe meeting the physical description set forth above, including multiple-stenciled pipe with an API or comparable foreign specification line pipe stencil is covered by the scope of this investigation.

    The welded line pipe that is subject to this investigation is currently classifiable in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) under subheadings 7305.11.1030, 7305.11.5000, 7305.12.1030, 7305.12.5000, 7305.19.1030, 7305.19.5000, 7306.19.1010, 7306.19.1050, 7306.19.5110, and 7306.19.5150. The subject merchandise may also enter in HTSUS 7305.11.1060 and 7305.12.1060. While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II—List of Topics Discussed in the Preliminary Decision Memorandum 1. Summary 2. Background 3. Period of Investigation 4. Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures 5. Scope Comments 6. Discussion of Methodology a. Determination of the Comparison Method b. Results of the Differential Pricing Analysis 7. Date of Sale 8. Product Comparisons 9. Export Price and Constructed Export Price 10. Normal Value a. Comparison Market Viability b. Affiliated-Party Transactions and Arm's-Length Test c. Level of Trade d. Cost of Production (COP) Analysis 1. Calculation of COP 2. Test of Comparison Market Sales Prices 3. Results of the COP Test e. Calculation of NV Based on Comparison Market Prices f. Calculation of NV Based on CV 11. Currency Conversion 12. Conclusion
    [FR Doc. 2015-12523 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-552-818] Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) determines that imports of certain steel nails from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam) are being, or are likely to be, sold in the United States at less-than-fair value, as provided in section 735 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). The final weighted-average dumping margins of sales at less than fair value are listed below in the “Final Determination Margins” section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Effective date: May 22, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Edythe Artman or Dena Crossland, AD/CVD Operations, Office VI, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3931 or (202) 482-3362, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    The Department published its preliminary determination on December 29, 2014.1 On January 2, 2015, United Nail Products Co., Ltd. (United Nail), a mandatory respondent in this investigation, filed a letter stating that it had decided to withdraw from the proceeding and would not be participating in a verification of its questionnaire responses. On January 7, 2015, the other mandatory respondent, Region Industries Co., Ltd. (Region Industries), filed a letter to the same effect. On February 18, 2015, we received a case brief from Petitioner, Mid-Continent Steel & Wire, Inc. We did not receive any rebuttal comments or requests for a hearing from interested parties. Based on the events that transpired after the preliminary determination and an analysis of the comments received, the Department has made changes to the Preliminary Determination.

    1See Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Postponement of Final Determination and Extension of Provisional Measures, 79 FR 78058 (December 29, 2014) (Preliminary Determination) and the accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    Period of Investigation

    The period of investigation is October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The product covered by this investigation is certain steel nails from Vietnam. For a full description of the scope of the investigation, see Appendix I to this notice.

    Since the Preliminary Determination, several interested parties (i.e., IKEA Supply AG, The Home Depot, Target Corporation, and Petitioner) commented on the scope of these investigations. The Department reviewed these comments and made certain changes. For further discussion, see the Issue and Decision Memorandum.2 The scope in Appendix I reflects all modifications to the scope made by the Department for this final determination.

    2See Memorandum to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, from Abdelali Elouaradia, Acting Office Director, Office VI, Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, regarding “Issue and Decision Memorandum for the Final Determination of the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation of Certain Steel Nails from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam” (Issue and Decision Memorandum), dated concurrently with this determination and hereby adopted by this notice.

    Verification

    In light of each mandatory respondent's decision to withdraw from the investigation and not to participate in a verification, we conducted no verifications.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    Petitioner raised one issue in its case brief, which is addressed in the Issue and Decision Memorandum. A list of the contents of this memorandum is attached to this notice in Appendix II. The Issue and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). Access to this system is available to registered and guest users at http://access.trade.gov and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, room 7046 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issue and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://www.trade.gov/enforcement/frn/index.html. The signed and electronic versions of the Issue and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Changes Since the Preliminary Determination

    Based on consideration of the events that transpired after the preliminary determination and our analysis of the comments received, we find that Region Industries and United Nail are not separate from the Vietnam-wide entity and that the estimated dumping margin for the entity should be based on the adverse facts available on the record, pursuant to sections 776(a)(2)(A), (C) and (D) and section 776(b) of the Act. This rate, derived from the Petition,3 was corroborated upon examination of the documentation supporting the Petition. For more details, see the accompanying Issue and Decision Memorandum and company-specific analysis memoranda for the final determination.

    3See Petitions for the Imposition of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties: Certain Steel Nails from India, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, the Republic of Turkey, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, dated May 29, 2014 (Petition).

    Separate Rate

    Kosteel Vina Limited Company (Kosteel Vina) established its eligibility for a separate rate.4 The Act and regulations do not address how we are to determine the dumping margin for separate rate companies not selected for individual examination. Normally, the Department's practice is to assign to separate-rate companies that were not individually examined a dumping margin equal to the average of the margins calculated for the individually examined respondents, excluding any margins that are zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts available. If all dumping margins for the individually examined respondents are zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts available, then we will use any reasonable method, including averaging the dumping margins for the individually examined respondents. In this investigation, the individually examined respondents are part of the Vietnam-wide entity, the rate for which is based entirely on facts available. We have no other reliable margin or data on the record to determine the separate rate for Kosteel Vina. Therefore, we have assigned the sole petition rate of 323.99 percent, which was corroborated by documentation supporting the petition, and is the only available rate on the record, to Kosteel Vina. For more details, see the Separate Rate memorandum for the final determination.5

    4See the Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 7 and 8.

    5See Memorandum to Brian Davis, Acting Program Manager, Office VI, from Edythe Artman, International Trade Compliance Analyst, Office VI, regarding “Change in Rate for the Separate-Rate Company,” dated May 13, 2015.

    Combination Rates

    In the Initiation Notice, the Department stated that it would calculate combination rates for the respondents that are eligible for a separate rate in this investigation.6 Policy Bulletin 05.1 sets forth this practice.7

    6See Certain Steel Nails From India, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, the Republic of Turkey, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigations, 79 FR 36019 (June 25, 2014) (Initiation Notice).

    7See Enforcement and Compliance Policy Bulletin No. 05.1 “Separate-Rates Practice and Application of Combination Rates in Antidumping Investigations involving Non-Market Economy Countries,” (April 5, 2005) (Policy Bulletin 05.1), available on the Department's Web site at http://enforcement.trade.gov/policy/bull05-1.pdf.

    Final Determination Margins

    The Department determines that the following estimated weighted-average dumping margins exist for the period October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014:

    Exporter Producer Weighted-average dumping margin Kosteel Vina Limited Company Kosteel Vina Limited Company 323.99% Vietnam-Wide Entity* 323.99% * The Vietnam-wide entity includes the following exporters/producers: Region Industries Co., Ltd., United Nail Products Co., Ltd., Cong Ty Tnhh Cong Nghe Nhua A Chau, Kim Tin Group, Megastar Co., Ltd. and Simone Accessories Collection. Disclosure

    Normally, the Department discloses to interested parties the calculations performed in connection with a final determination within five days of the date of public announcement of the final determination in the Federal Register, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b). However, because the Department, in accordance with section 776 of the Act, applied adverse facts available to determine the estimated weighted-average dumping margin for the mandatory respondents in this investigation, there are no calculations to disclose to parties.

    Continuation of Suspension of Liquidation

    In accordance with section 735(c)(1)(B) of the Act, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to continue to suspend liquidation of all appropriate entries of subject merchandise, as described in the “Scope of the Investigation” section of this notice, from Vietnam that were entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after December 29, 2014, the publication date of the Preliminary Determination in the Federal Register.

    Consistent with our practice, where the product under investigation is also subject to a concurrent countervailing duty investigation, we will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the amount by which the normal value exceeds the export price or constructed export price, adjusted where appropriate for export subsidies and estimated domestic subsidy pass-through.8 In the final determination of the companion countervailing duty investigation of certain steel nails from Vietnam, the Department determined that the mandatory respondents and all other companies benefited from export subsidies.9 Thus, we will offset the estimated weighted-average dumping margin of 323.99 percent for the Vietnam-wide entity and the separate-rate company by the countervailing duty rate of 33.59 percent attributable to export subsidies,10 resulting in a cash-deposit rate of 290.40 percent for the Vietnam-wide entity and the separate-rate company.

    8See sections 772(c)(1)(C) and 777A(f) of the Act, respectively. Unlike in administrative reviews, the Department calculates the adjustment for export subsidies in less-than-fair-value investigations not in the margin-calculation program, but in the cash-deposit instructions issued to CBP. See Notice of Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value, and Negative Determination of Critical Circumstances: Certain Lined Paper Products from India, 71 FR 45012 (August 8, 2006), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 1.

    9See Certain Steel Nails From the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination, and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum at 12-22, signed concurrently with this notice.

    10See id. The following subsidy programs, countervailed for all companies in the final determination of the concurrent countervailing duty investigation, are export subsidies: Preferential Lending to Exporters (1.17 percent), Import Duty Exemptions and Reimbursements for Imported Raw Materials for Exported Goods (4.46 percent), Export Factoring (1.17 percent), Financial Guarantees (1.17 percent), Export Credits from the Vietnam Development Bank (0.21 percent) and Export Promotion Program (25.41 percent).

    With respect to the separate-rate company, Kosteel Vina, we find that an export subsidy adjustment of 33.59 percent to the cash deposit rate is warranted because this is the export subsidy rate included in the countervailing duty rate (i.e., the “All Others” rate) to which the separate-rate company is subject in the companion countervailing duty proceeding. With respect to the Vietnam-wide entity, we find that an export-subsidy adjustment of 33.59 percent to the cash deposit rate is warranted because this is the export subsidy rate included in the countervailing duty rate to which Vietnam-wide entries are currently subject.

    We are not adjusting the final determination rate for estimated domestic subsidy pass-through because we have no basis upon which to make such an adjustment.

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.205(d), we will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit for all suspended entries at an ad valorem rate equal to the weighted-average amount by which normal value exceeds U.S. price, with the above-noted adjustments, as follows: (1) The rate for the exporter/producer combinations listed in the chart above will be the rate we have determined in this final determination; (2) for all Vietnamese exporters of merchandise under consideration which have not received their own rate, the cash-deposit rate will be the rate established for the Vietnam-wide entity; and (3) for all non-Vietnamese exporters of merchandise under consideration and for all non-Vietnamese exporters of merchandise under consideration which have not received their own rate, the cash-deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the Vietnamese exporter/producer combination that supplied the non-Vietnamese exporter. These suspension-of-liquidation and cash-deposit instructions will remain in effect until further notice.

    International Trade Commission Notification

    In accordance with section 735(d) of the Act, we will notify the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) of the final affirmative determination of sales at less than fair value. Because the final determination in this proceeding is affirmative, the ITC will make its final determination, in accordance with section 735(b)(2) of the Act, as to whether the domestic industry in the United States is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of imports of certain steel nails from Vietnam no later than 45 days after our final determination. If the ITC determines that material injury or threat of material injury does not exist, this proceeding will be terminated and all securities posted will be refunded or canceled. If the ITC determines that such injury does exist, then the Department will issue an antidumping duty order directing CBP to assess, upon further instruction by the Department, antidumping duties on all imports of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the effective date of the suspension of liquidation.

    Return or Destruction of Proprietary Information

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective orders (APOs) of their responsibility concerning the disposition of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    Notification to Interested Parties

    This determination and notice are issued and published in accordance with sections 735(d) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: May 13, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I Scope of the Investigation

    The merchandise covered by this investigation is certain steel nails having a nominal shaft length not exceeding 12 inches.11 Certain steel nails include, but are not limited to, nails made from round wire and nails that are cut from flat-rolled steel. Certain steel nails may be of one piece construction or constructed of two or more pieces. Certain steel nails may be produced from any type of steel, and may have any type of surface finish, head type, shank, point type and shaft diameter. Finishes include, but are not limited to, coating in vinyl, zinc (galvanized, including but not limited to electroplating or hot dipping one or more times), phosphate, cement, and paint. Certain steel nails may have one or more surface finishes. Head styles include, but are not limited to, flat, projection, cupped, oval, brad, headless, double, countersunk, and sinker. Shank styles include, but are not limited to, smooth, barbed, screw threaded, ring shank and fluted. Screw-threaded nails subject to this proceeding are driven using direct force and not by turning the nail using a tool that engages with the head. Point styles include, but are not limited to, diamond, needle, chisel and blunt or no point. Certain steel nails may be sold in bulk, or they may be collated in any manner using any material.

    11 The shaft length of certain steel nails with flat heads or parallel shoulders under the head shall be measured from under the head or shoulder to the tip of the point. The shaft length of all other certain steel nails shall be measured overall.

    Excluded from the scope of this investigation are certain steel nails packaged in combination with one or more non-subject articles, if the total number of nails of all types, in aggregate regardless of size, is less than 25. If packaged in combination with one or more non-subject articles, certain steel nails remain subject merchandise if the total number of nails of all types, in aggregate regardless of size, is equal to or greater than 25, unless otherwise excluded based on the other exclusions below.

    Also excluded from the scope are certain steel nails with a nominal shaft length of one inch or less that are (a) a component of an unassembled article, (b) the total number of nails is sixty (60) or less, and (c) the imported unassembled article falls into one of the following eight groupings: (1) Builders' joinery and carpentry of wood that are classifiable as windows, French-windows and their frames; (2) builders' joinery and carpentry of wood that are classifiable as doors and their frames and thresholds; (3) swivel seats with variable height adjustment; (4) seats that are convertible into beds (with the exception of those classifiable as garden seats or camping equipment); (5) seats of cane, osier, bamboo or similar materials; (6) other seats with wooden frames (with the exception of seats of a kind used for aircraft or motor vehicles); (7) furniture (other than seats) of wood (with the exception of (i) medical, surgical, dental or veterinary furniture; and (ii) barbers' chairs and similar chairs, having rotating as well as both reclining and elevating movements); or (8) furniture (other than seats) of materials other than wood, metal, or plastics (e.g., furniture of cane, osier, bamboo or similar materials). The aforementioned imported unassembled articles are currently classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) subheadings: 4418.10, 4418.20, 9401.30, 9401.40, 9401.51, 9401.59, 9401.61, 9401.69, 9403.30, 9403.40, 9403.50, 9403.60, 9403.81 or 9403.89.

    Also excluded from the scope of this investigation are steel nails that meet the specifications of Type I, Style 20 nails as identified in Tables 29 through 33 of ASTM Standard F1667 (2013 revision).

    Also excluded from the scope of this investigation are nails suitable for use in powder-actuated hand tools, whether or not threaded, which are currently classified under HTSUS subheadings 7317.00.20.00 and 7317.00.30.00.

    Also excluded from the scope of this investigation are nails having a case hardness greater than or equal to 50 on the Rockwell Hardness C scale (HRC), a carbon content greater than or equal to 0.5 percent, a round head, a secondary reduced-diameter raised head section, a centered shank, and a smooth symmetrical point, suitable for use in gas-actuated hand tools.

    Also excluded from the scope of this investigation are corrugated nails. A corrugated nail is made up of a small strip of corrugated steel with sharp points on one side.

    Also excluded from the scope of this investigation are thumb tacks, which are currently classified under HTSUS subheading 7317.00.10.00.

    Certain steel nails subject to this investigation are currently classified under HTSUS subheadings 7317.00.55.02, 7317.00.55.03, 7317.00.55.05, 7317.00.55.07, 7317.00.55.08, 7317.00.55.11, 7317.00.55.18, 7317.00.55.19, 7317.00.55.20, 7317.00.55.30, 7317.00.55.40, 7317.00.55.50, 7317.00.55.60, 7317.00.55.70, 7317.00.55.80, 7317.00.55.90, 7317.00.65.30, 7317.00.65.60 and 7317.00.75.00. Certain steel nails subject to this investigation also may be classified under HTSUS subheading 8206.00.00.00 or other HTSUS subheadings.

    While the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope of this investigation is dispositive.

    Appendix II Contents of the Accompanying Final Issue and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Period of Investigation IV. Scope of the Investigation V. Scope Comments VI. Discussion of Comments Comment 1: Application of Adverse Facts Available to Mandatory Respondents VII. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2015-12254 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Open Meeting of the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB) will meet Wednesday, June 10, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, June 11 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and Friday, June 12, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. All sessions will be open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, June 11, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and Friday, June 12, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will take place at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), 9600 Gudelsky Drive, Room B-105, Rockville, Maryland 20850.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Annie Sokol, Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8930, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8930, telephone: (301) 975-2006, or by email at: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App., notice is hereby given that the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB) will meet Wednesday, June 10, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, June 11, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and Friday, June 12, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. All sessions will be open to the public. The ISPAB is authorized by 15 U.S.C. 278g-4, as amended, and advises the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on information security and privacy issues pertaining to Federal government information systems, including thorough review of proposed standards and guidelines developed by NIST. Details regarding the ISPAB's activities are available at http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SMA/ispab/index.html.

    The agenda is expected to include the following items:

    —Presentation from National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), —Updates from Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, —Updates on OMB Circular No. A-130 Revised, Management of Federal Information Resources, —Updates from Deputy Chief Technology Officer, the White House, —Discussion on data security and privacy (auto-manufacturer communication and usability) with National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), —Presentation from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on information collection, —Presentation on Quantum Cybersecurity, —Discussion on Data Breach and Supply Chain Security, —Discussion on Executive Order 13694—Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-enabled Activities, —Discussion on Executive Order 13691—Promoting Private Sector Cybersecurity Information Sharing, —Panel presentation—Inspector General (IG) Reporting on Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), —Presentation on the Communication Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) Report on the Cybersecurity Framework, and —Updates on NIST Computer Security Division.

    Note that agenda items may change without notice. The final agenda will be posted on the Web site indicated above. Seating will be available for the public and media. Although pre-registration is not required to attend this meeting, all attendees must sign-in to obtain site access.

    Public Participation: The ISPAB agenda will include a period of time, not to exceed thirty minutes, for oral comments from the public (Friday, June 12, 2015, between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.). Speakers will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Each speaker will be limited to five minutes. Questions from the public will not be considered during this period. Members of the public who are interested in speaking are requested to contact Annie Sokol at the contact information indicated in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice.

    Speakers who wish to expand upon their oral statements, those who had wished to speak but could not be accommodated on the agenda, and those who were unable to attend in person are invited to submit written statements. In addition, written statements are invited and may be submitted to the ISPAB at any time. All written statements should be directed to the ISPAB Secretariat, Information Technology Laboratory, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8930, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8930.

    Kevin Kimball, Chief of Staff.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12424 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), United States Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Open Federal Advisory Committee Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Advisory Committee (Committee), will hold a meeting via teleconference on Thursday, July 2, 2015 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the NCST Advisory Committee's draft annual report to Congress. A copy of the draft report will be posted prior to the meeting on the NCST Advisory Committee's Web site at http://www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/ncst/index.cfm. Interested members of the public will be able to participate in the meeting from remote locations by calling into a central phone number.

    DATES:

    The NCST Advisory Committee will hold a meeting via teleconference on Thursday, July 2, 2015 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Questions regarding the meeting should be sent to Dr. Long Phan, Acting Director of the Disaster and Failure Studies Program at the following address: National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8611, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8611. For instructions on how to participate in the meeting, please see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Long Phan, Acting Director, Disaster and Failure Studies, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8611, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8611, email: [email protected], phone: (301) 975-6077.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The NCST Advisory Committee was established pursuant to Section 11 of the National Construction Safety Team Act (15 U.S.C. 7301 et seq.). The NCST Advisory Committee is comprised of nine members, appointed by the Director of NIST, who were selected for their technical expertise and experience, established records of distinguished professional service, and their knowledge of issues affecting NCST Teams established under the NCST Act. The NCST Advisory Committee advises the Director of NIST on (1) the functions and composition of NCST Teams established under the NCST Act, (2) the exercise of authorities enumerated in the NCST Act, and (3) the procedures developed to implement the NCST Act. The NCST reports are issued under section 8 of the NCST Act. Background information on the NCST Act and information on the NCST Advisory Committee is available at http://www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/ncst.

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App., notice is hereby given that the NCST Advisory Committee will hold a meeting via teleconference on Thursday, July 2, 2015 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. There will be no central meeting location. Interested members of the public will be able to participate in the meeting from remote locations by calling into a central phone number. The primary purpose of this meeting is to discuss the NCST Advisory Committee's draft annual report to Congress. A copy of the draft report will be posted on the NCST Advisory Committee's Web site at http://www.nist.gov/el/disasterstudies/ncst/index.cfm.

    Approximately fifteen minutes will be reserved from 5:15 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Eastern Time for public comments; speaking times will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. The amount of time per speaker will be determined by the number of requests received, but is likely to be 3 minutes each. Questions from the public will not be considered during this period. Speakers who wish to expand upon their oral statements, those who had wished to speak but could not be accommodated on the agenda, and those who were unable to participate are invited to submit written statements to the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, MS 8604, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8604, via fax at (301) 975-4032, or electronically by email to [email protected]

    All participants in the meeting are required to pre-register. Anyone wishing to participate must register by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday July 1st to be included. In order to register please submit your name, email address, and phone number to Dr. Long Phan, at [email protected] Questions can also be directed to Dr. Phan at 301-975-6077. After registering, participants will be provided with detailed instructions on how to dial in from a remote location in order to participate.

    Kevin Kimball, Chief of Staff.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12425 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction Meeting AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction (ACEHR or Committee), will hold an open meeting via webinar on Friday, June 12, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The primary purpose of this meeting is to finalize the Committee's 2015 Report on the Effectiveness of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). The agenda may change to accommodate Committee business. The final agenda and any draft meeting materials will be posted prior to the meeting on the NEHRP Web site at http://nehrp.gov/. Interested members of the public will be able to participate in the meeting from remote locations by calling into a central phone number.

    DATES:

    The ACEHR will hold a meeting via webinar on Friday, June 12, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The meeting will be open to the public.

    ADDRESSES:

    Questions regarding the meeting should be sent to National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 804, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8604. For instructions on how to participate in the meeting via webinar, please see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tina Faecke, Management and Program Analyst, National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, Engineering Laboratory, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8604, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8604. Ms. Faecke's email address is [email protected] and her phone number is (301) 975-5911.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Committee was established in accordance with the requirements of Section 103 of the NEHRP Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-360). The Committee is composed of 15 members appointed by the Director of NIST, who were selected for their established records of distinguished service in their professional community, their knowledge of issues affecting NEHRP, and to reflect the wide diversity of technical disciplines, competencies, and communities involved in earthquake hazards reduction. In addition, the Chairperson of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee (SESAC) serves as an ex-officio member of the Committee.

    The Committee assesses:

    • Trends and developments in the science and engineering of earthquake hazards reduction;

    • the effectiveness of NEHRP in performing its statutory activities;

    • any need to revise NEHRP; and

    • the management, coordination, implementation, and activities of NEHRP.

    Background information on NEHRP and the Advisory Committee is available at http://nehrp.gov/.

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App., notice is hereby given that the ACEHR will hold an open meeting via webinar on Friday, June 12, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. There will be no central meeting location. Interested members of the public will be able to participate in the meeting from remote locations by calling into a central phone number. The primary purpose of this meeting is to finalize the Committee's 2015 Report on the Effectiveness of the NEHRP. The agenda may change to accommodate Committee business. The final agenda and any meeting materials will be posted prior to the meeting on the NEHRP Web site at http://nehrp.gov/.

    Individuals and representatives of organizations who would like to offer comments and suggestions related to the Committee's affairs are invited to request a place on the agenda and detailed instructions on how to join the webinar from a remote location in order to participate by submitting their request to Felicia Johnson at [email protected] or 301-975-5324 no later than 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Approximately 15 minutes will be reserved from 2:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time for public comments; speaking times will be assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. The amount of time per speaker will be determined by the number of requests received, but is likely to be about three minutes each. Questions from the public will not be considered during this period. Speakers who wish to expand upon their oral statements, those who had wished to speak but could not be accommodated, and those who were unable to participate are invited to submit written statements to ACEHR, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, MS 8604, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-8604, via fax at (301) 975-4032, or electronically by email to [email protected]

    All participants of the meeting are required to pre-register. Anyone wishing to participate must register by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, June 9, 2015, in order to be included. Please submit your full name, email address, and phone number to Felicia Johnson at [email protected] or (301) 975-5324. After pre-registering, participants will be provided with detailed instructions on how to join the webinar from a remote location in order to participate.

    Kevin Kimball, Chief of Staff.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12423 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Open Meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (Board of Overseers) and the Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (Judges Panel) will meet together in open session on Thursday, June 11, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. The Board of Overseers, appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, reports the results of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (Award) activities to the Director of The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) each year, along with its recommendations for the improvement of the Award process. The Judges Panel, also appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, ensures the integrity of the Award selection process and recommends Award recipients to the Secretary of Commerce. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and review information received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and from the Chair of the Judges Panel. The agenda will include: Baldrige Program Update, Baldrige Fundraising Update, Baldrige Judges Panel Update, Ethics Review, Applicants and Eligibility, and New Business/Public Comment.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. Eastern time until 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. The meeting will be open to the public.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building 101, Lecture Room A, 100 Bureau Drive, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899. Please note admittance instructions under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Robert Fangmeyer, Director, Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1020, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-1020, telephone number (301) 975-2360, or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 3711a(d)(1), 15 U.S.C. 3711a(d)(2)(B) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App.

    Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App., notice is hereby given that the Board of Overseers and the Judges Panel will meet together in open session on Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. The Board of Overseers, composed of approximately eleven members preeminent in the field of organizational performance excellence and appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, make an annual report on the results of Award activities to the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with its recommendations for improvement of the Award process. The Judges Panel consists of twelve members with balanced representation from U.S. service, manufacturing, nonprofit, education, and health care industries. The Panel includes members familiar with the quality improvement operations and competitiveness issues of manufacturing companies, service companies, small businesses, health care providers, and educational institutions. The Judges Panel recommends Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients to the Secretary of Commerce.

    The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and review information received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and from the Chair of the Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The agenda will include: Baldrige Program Update, Baldrige Fundraising Update, Baldrige Judges Panel Update, Ethics Review, Applicants and Eligibility, and New Business/Public Comment. The agenda may change to accommodate the Judges Panel and Board of Overseers business. The final agenda will be posted on the NIST Baldrige Performance Excellence Web site at http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/community/overseers.cfm. The meeting is open to the public. Individuals and representatives of organizations who would like to offer comments and suggestions related to the Board's affairs and/or the Panel of Judges' general process are invited to request a place on the agenda. On June 11, 2015, approximately one-half hour will be reserved in the afternoon for public comments, and speaking times will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The amount of time per speaker will be determined by the number of requests received, but is likely to be about 3 minutes each. The exact time for public comments will be included in the final agenda that will be posted on the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program Web site at http://www.nist.gov/baldrige/community/overseers.cfm. Questions from the public will not be considered during this period. Speakers who wish to expand upon their oral statements, those who had wished to speak, but could not be accommodated on the agenda, and those who were unable to attend in person are invited to submit written statements to the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, Attention Nancy Young, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 1020, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20899-1020, via fax at 301-975-4967 or electronically by email to [email protected]

    All visitors to the National Institute of Standards and Technology site will have to pre-register to be admitted. Please submit your name, time of arrival, email address and phone number to Nancy Young no later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, Thursday, June 4, 2015, and she will provide you with instructions for admittance. Non-U.S. citizens must submit additional information; please contact Nancy Young. Contact Ms. Young, by email at [email protected] or by phone at (301) 975-2361. Also, please note that under the REAL ID Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109-13), federal agencies, including NIST, can only accept a state-issued driver's license or identification card for access to federal facilities if issued by states that are REAL ID compliant or have an extension. NIST also currently accepts other forms of federal-issued identification in lieu of a state-issued driver's license. For detailed information please contact Ms. Young or visit: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/visitor/.

    Kevin Kimball, Chief of Staff.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12571 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD956 New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The New England Fishery Management Council's (Council) Executive Committee will meet to review scientific information affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Monday, June 8, 2015, beginning at 9 a.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel, 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801; telephone: (603) 431-2300; fax: (603) 433-5649.

    Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465-0492.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Agenda Items

    The Executive Committee will meet to review proposed changes to the National Standard Guidelines (80 Federal Register 2786). The Committee will develop recommended comments that will be discussed by the full Council at its June 16-18, 2015 meeting. Subsequent to that discussion, the Committee will discuss administrative issues of the Council and address other business as necessary.

    Special Accommodations

    This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies (see ADDRESSES) at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12493 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD960 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council); Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

    SUMMARY:

    The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) will hold meetings of the: Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem, Mackerel, and Data Collection Committees, Full Council (Closed Session) Scientific and Statistical and Reef Fish Advisory Panel Selection; Reef Fish, Shrimp and Joint Coral and Habitat Management Committees; in conjunction with a meeting of the Full Council. The Council will also hold a formal public comment session.

    DATES:

    The Council meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. on Monday, June 8 until 4 p.m. on Friday, June 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Meeting address: The meeting will be held at the Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 North Roosevelt Boulevard, Key West, FL 33040 (305) 296-8100.

    Council address: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 North Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Douglas Gregory, Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; telephone: (813) 348-1630; fax: (813) 348-1711; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The agenda items for discussion during each individual management committee meeting are as follows:

    Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem Committee Agenda, Monday, June 8, 2015, 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.:

    • Review of Draft Letter on National Standard 1 Proposed Revisions • Review of Council Coordinating Committee (CCC) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) White Paper

    Mackerel Management Committee Agenda, Monday, March 30, 2015, 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.:

    • Final Action on Coastal Migratory Pelagics (CMP) Framework Amendment 3: Gulf of Mexico King Mackerel Gillnet Fishery Management Modifications • Joint Draft Options Paper for CMP Amendment 26: Modifications to Allocations, Stock Boundaries, and Sale provisions for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King Mackerel • Discussion of Potential CMP Amendment 28: Separating Permits for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King Mackerel • Scoping Workshop Summaries on Proposed CMP Amendments 26 and 28

    Data Collection Management Committee Agenda, Monday, June 8, 2015, 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.:

    • Joint Options Paper for Electronic Charter Vessel Reporting • Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) Fishing Effort Transition Plan

    Scientific and Statistical Management Selection Committee Agenda, Full Council—CLOSED SESSION, Monday, June 8, 2015, 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.:

    • Appointments to Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSC)

    Reef Fish Advisory Panel Selection Committee Agenda, Full Council—CLOSED SESSION, Monday, June 8, 2015, 4:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.:

    • Appointments to the Restructured Reef Fish Advisory Panel (AP) — Recess —

    Reef Fish Management Committee Agenda, Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.:

    • SSC Review of Alternative Red Snapper Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) Proxies • SSC Review of the effect of recalibrated recreational removals and recreational selectivity on estimates of Overfishing Limits (OFL), Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC), and MSY for Gulf Red Snapper • Options Paper—Framework Action to set Gag Annual Catch Limit (ACL) and Recreational Season • SSC Recommendations for Hogfish and Mutton Snapper OFL and ABC • Options Paper—Joint Generic South Florida Management • Updated Draft Amendment 28: Red Snapper Allocation • Draft Framework Action to Allow NMFS to withhold a Portion of the Commercial Red Snapper Quota • Revised Alternatives—Amendment 39: Regional Management of Recreational Red Snapper • Scoping Summaries on Amendment 36: Red Snapper Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Modifications • Grouper/Tilefish IFQ 5-Year Review — Recess —

    Reef Fish Management Committee Agenda continued, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.:

    • Report of the Ad Hoc Red Snapper Charter For-Hire Advisory Panel (AP) • Report of the Ad Hoc Reef Fish Headboat AP • Other Business

    Shrimp Management Committee Agenda, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.:

    • Final Action on Shrimp Amendment 15: Status Determination Criteria for Penaeid Shrimp and Adjustments to the Shrimp Framework Procedure • Draft Options Paper for Shrimp Amendment 17: Addressing the Expiration of the Shrimp Permit Moratorium

    Joint Coral and Habitat Management Committee Agenda, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 11 a.m. until 12 noon:

    • Coral SSC and AP Summary Report

    Council Session Agenda, Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.

    1:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.: Call to Order, Announcements, Introductions, Adoption of Agenda and Approval of Minutes 1:45 p.m.-2 p.m.: Review of and Vote on Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs), if any. 2:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: The Council will receive presentations reviewing changes from proposed to final rule implementation of the Gulf Aquaculture Fishery Management Plan (FMP), Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Issues, Spawning Potential Ratios, and Southeast Data Assessment and Review (SEDAR). 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.: The Council will receive public testimony for Final Action on Framework Action: Modifications to the Commercial King Mackerel Gillnet Fishery in the Gulf of Mexico, Final Action on Shrimp Amendment 15: Status Determination Criteria for Penaeid Shrimp and Adjustments to the Shrimp Framework Procedure, Revised Reef Fish Amendment 28—Red Snapper Allocation; and open public comment regarding other fishery issues or concerns. — Recess —

    Joint Council Session with South Atlanta Council Agenda (Doubletree Hotel), Thursday, June 11, 2015, 8:45 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.:

    8:45 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: The councils will receive committee reports from the Data Collection, Mackerel and Reef Fish Management Committees.

    Council Session Agenda, Friday, June 12, 2015, 8:30 a.m.—4 p.m.:

    8:30 a.m.-12 noon: The Council will continue to receive committee reports from Reef Fish, Mackerel, and Sustainable Fisheries/Ecosystem Management Committees. — Recess — 1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: The Council will receive a committee report from the Shrimp, Joint Habitat/Coral, and SSC Panelists and AP Members Selected. 3:30 p.m.-4 p.m.: The Council will review Other Business. A presentation on the Gulf of Mexico Habitat Mapping and Water Quality Monitoring Project. — Adjourn —

    The Agenda is subject to change, and the latest version will be posted on the Council's file server, which can be accessed by going to the Council Web site at http://www.gulfcouncil.org and clicking on FTP Server under Quick Links. For meeting materials see folder “Briefing Books/Briefing Book 2015-06” on Gulf Council file server. The username and password are both “gulfguest”. The meetings will be Webcast over the Internet. A link to the Webcast will be available on the Council's Web site, http://www.gulfcouncil.org.

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kathy Pereira at the Council Office (see ADDRESSES), at least 5 working days prior to the meeting.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12507 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request

    The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Title: Application Forms for Membership on a National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0397.

    Form Number(s): NA.

    Type of Request: Regular (revision and extension of a currently approved information collection).

    Number of Respondents: 520.

    Average Hours per Response: 1 hour.

    Burden Hours: 520.

    Needs and Uses: This request is for a revision and extension Section 315 of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act (16 U.S.C. 1445a) allows the Secretary of Commerce to establish one or more advisory councils to provide advice to the Secretary regarding the designation and management of national marine sanctuaries. Advisory councils are individually chartered for each sanctuary to meet the needs of that sanctuary. Once an advisory council has been chartered, the sanctuary superintendent starts a process to recruit members for that council by providing notice to the public and requesting interested parties to apply for the available seat(s) (e.g., Research, Education) and position(s) (i.e., council member or alternate). The information obtained through this application process will be used to determine the qualifications of the applicant for membership on the sanctuary advisory council.

    Two application forms are currently associated with this information collection: (a) National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Application form; and (b) National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Youth Seat Application form. These application forms are currently being revised to ensure consistency between forms, as well as clarify the information and supplemental materials to be submitted by applicants. Application form instructions will specify requirements imposed upon the agency when reviewing applicants as potential council members or alternates, including the need to assess potential conflicts of interest (or other issues) and the applicant's status as a federally registered lobbyist. Specific questions posed to applicants will be reordered, reworded and, at times, condensed to improve the organization of applicant responses and, thereby, simplify the applicant review process.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; not-for-profit institutions; business or other for-profit organizations; Federal government.

    Frequency: On occasion.

    Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

    This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB.

    Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12565 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD958 Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) and its advisory entities will hold public meetings.

    DATES:

    The Pacific Council and its advisory entities will meet June 10-16, 2015. The Pacific Council meeting will begin on Friday, June 12, 2015 at 8 a.m., reconvening each day through Tuesday, June 16, 2015. All meetings are open to the public, except a closed session will be held at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 12 to address litigation and personnel matters. The Pacific Council will meet as late as necessary each day to complete its scheduled business.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meetings of the Council and its advisory entities will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Spokane City Center, 322 N. Spokane Falls Court, Spokane, WA 99201; telephone: (509) 455-9600.

    Council address: Pacific Fishery Management Council, 7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101, Portland, OR 97220. Instructions for attending the meeting via live stream broadcast are given under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Donald O. McIsaac, Executive Director; telephone: (503) 820-2280 or (866) 806-7204 toll free; or access the Pacific Council Web site, http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/current-meeting/ for the current meeting location, proposed agenda, and meeting briefing materials.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The June 12-16, 2015 meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council will be streamed live on the Internet. The live meeting will be broadcast daily starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) beginning on Friday, June 12, 2015 through Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The broadcast will end daily at 6 p.m. PT or when business for the day is complete. Only the audio portion, and portions of the presentations displayed on the screen at the Council meeting, will be broadcast. The audio portion is listen-only; you will be unable to speak to the Council via the broadcast. Join the meeting by visiting this link http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/join-webinar, enter the Webinar ID for this meeting, which is 159-274-491, and enter your email address as required. It is recommended that you use a computer headset as GoToMeeting allows you to listen to the meeting using your computer headset and speakers. If you do not have a headset and speakers, you may use your telephone for the audio portion of the meeting by dialing this TOLL number (1-646) 307-1720 (not a toll free number); entering the phone audio access code 574-408-270; and then entering your Audio Pin which will be shown to you after joining the webinar. The webinar is broadcast in listen only mode.

    The following items are on the Pacific Council agenda, but not necessarily in this order. Agenda items noted as “(Final Action)” refer to actions requiring the Council to transmit a proposed fishery management plan, proposed plan amendment, or proposed regulations to the Secretary of Commerce, under sections 304 or 305 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Additional detail on agenda items, Council action, and meeting rooms, is described in Agenda Item A.4, Proposed Council Meeting Agenda, and will be in the advance June 2015 briefing materials and posted on the Council Web site http://www.pcouncil.org/council-operations/council-meetings/current-briefing-book/.

    A. Call to Order 1. Opening Remarks 2. Roll Call 3. Executive Director's Report 4. Approve Agenda B. Open Comment Period 1. Comments on Non-Agenda Items C. Habitat 1. Current Habitat Issues D. Groundfish Management 1. National Marine Fisheries Service Report 2. Permit Stacking Cost Recovery Report (Final Action) 3. Salmon Endangered Species Act (ESA) Reconsultation Update 4. Non-Salmon ESA Report (Final Action) 5. Specifications Process for 2017-18 Fisheries 6. Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat and Rockfish Conservation Area Update 7. Inseason Adjustments (Final Action) 8. Final Stock Assessments and Catch Reports (Final Action) 9. Blackgill and Slope Rockfish Quota Share Allocation 10. Rebuilding Revision Rules E. Highly Migratory Species Management 1. International Issues Including Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Meeting and North Pacific Albacore Management Strategy Evaluation 2. Final Approval of Resubmitted Exempted Fishing Permit Application (Final Action) 3. Swordfish Management and Monitoring Plan Hardcaps (Final Action) F. Administrative Matters 1. Legislative Matters 2. Fiscal Matters 3. Approval of Council Meeting Minutes 4. Membership Appointments and Council Operating Procedures 5. Future Council Meeting Agenda and Workload Planning G. Coastal Pelagic Species Management 1. National Marine Fisheries Service Report 2. Pacific Mackerel Assessment and Management Measures (Final Action) 3. Anchovy Update 4. Litigation Settlement Discussion H. Ecosystem Management 1. Lenfest Taskforce and Ocean Modeling Forum Update

    Advisory body agendas will include discussions of relevant issues that are on the Council agenda for this meeting, and may also include issues that may be relevant to future Council meetings. Proposed advisory body agendas for this meeting will be available on the Council Web site (www.pcouncil.org) prior to their meeting date.

    Schedule of Ancillary Meetings Day 1—Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Scientific and Statistical Committee Groundfish Subcommittee—8 a.m. Day 2—Thursday, June 11, 2015 Groundfish Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Groundfish Management Team—8 a.m. Scientific and Statistical Committee—8 a.m. Budget Committee—8:30 a.m. Habitat Committee—8 a.m. Legislative Committee—3 p.m. Day 3—Friday, June 12, 2015 California State Delegation—7 a.m. Oregon State Delegation—7 a.m. Washington State Delegation—7 a.m. Groundfish Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Groundfish Management Team—8 a.m. Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Highly Migratory Species Management Team—8 a.m. Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC)—8 a.m. Enforcement Consultants—3 p.m. Chairman's Reception—6 p.m. Day 4—Saturday, June 13, 2015 California State Delegation—7 a.m. Oregon State Delegation—7 a.m. Washington State Delegation—7 a.m. Groundfish Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Groundfish Management Team—8 a.m. Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Highly Migratory Species Management Team—8 a.m. SSC Groundfish and Economic Subcommittees—8 a.m. Enforcement Consultants—Ad hoc Stock Assessment Question and Answer Session—7 p.m. Day 5—Sunday, June 14, 2015 California State Delegation—7 a.m. Oregon State Delegation—7 a.m. Washington State Delegation—7 a.m. Groundfish Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Groundfish Management Team—8 a.m. Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Highly Migratory Species Management Team—8 a.m. Enforcement Consultants—Ad hoc Day 6—Monday, June 15, 2015 California State Delegation—7 a.m. Oregon State Delegation—7 a.m. Washington State Delegation—7 a.m. Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team—8 a.m. Groundfish Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Groundfish Management Team—8 a.m. Enforcement Consultants—Ad hoc Day 7—Tuesday, June 16, 2015 California State Delegation—7 a.m. Oregon State Delegation—7 a.m. Washington State Delegation—7 a.m. Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel—8 a.m. Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team—8 a.m. Enforcement Consultants—Ad hoc

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this Council for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal Council action during these meetings. Council action will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Carolyn Porter at (503) 820-2280 at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12506 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD932 South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC); Public Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meetings.

    SUMMARY:

    The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold meetings of the: Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Committee; Protected Resources Committee; Shrimp Committee; Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) Committee; Golden Crab Committee; Personnel Committee (Closed Session); Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Selection Committee; Law Enforcement Committee (partially closed); Data Collection Committee; King and Spanish Mackerel Committee; Executive Finance Committee; Snapper Grouper Committee; and a meeting of the Full Council. The Council will also hold a Council Member Visioning Workshop for the Snapper Grouper Fishery and conduct a joint Council Session with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. The Council will take action as necessary. The Council will also hold a formal public comment session.

    DATES:

    The Council meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. on Monday, June 8, 2015 until 3 p.m. on Friday, June 12, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Meeting address: The meeting will be held at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, FL 33040; phone: (800) 222-8733 or (305) 293-1818; fax: (305) 296-6962.

    Council address: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC 29405.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer, SAFMC; phone: (843) 571-4366 or toll free (866) SAFMC-10; fax: (843) 769-4520; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The items of discussion in the individual meeting agendas are as follows:

    Council Member Visioning Workshop: Monday, June 8, 2015, 8:30 a.m. Until 12 Noon

    1. Council members will receive a recap of the March 2015 Visioning Workshop, an overview of the draft Snapper Grouper Vision Blueprint, review public input, promotional materials and strategies, and discuss planning for public input schedules on the Draft Vision Blueprint.

    2. Council members will discuss next steps and provide guidance to staff.

    Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Committee: Monday, June 8, 2015, 1:30 p.m. Until 3 p.m.

    1. The committee will receive a report from the Habitat Advisory Panel, a status report on the Fishery Ecosystem Plan II Development, a report on the South Atlantic Ecosystem Modeling Workshop, and review analyses associated with the northern extension of the Oculina Bank Coral Habitat Area of Particular Concern as it pertains to the rock shrimp fishery.

    2. The committees will develop recommendations and provide guidance to staff.

    Protected Resources Committee: Monday, June 8, 2015, 3 p.m. Until 4 p.m.

    1. The committee will receive an update from NOAA Fisheries on protected resource-related issues, a briefing on the Acropora (coral) recovery plan, an overview of the Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Biological Opinion, and an overview of the NOAA Fisheries guidance on the Endangered Species Act/Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act Integration Agreement.

    2. The committee will develop recommendations for the Council.

    Shrimp Committee: Monday, June 8, 2015, 4:00 p.m. Until 4:30 p.m.

    1. The committee will review the Shrimp and Deepwater Shrimp Advisory Panel report, discuss, and provide guidance to staff.

    SEDAR Committee: Monday, June 8, 2015, 4:30 p.m. Until 5 p.m.

    1. The committee will approve Terms of Reference for red grouper, approve the Council's Annual Research and Monitoring Plan, and receive an update on the Marine Recreational Information Transition Plan.

    Golden Crab Committee: Monday, June 8, 2015, 5 p.m. Until 5:30 p.m.

    1. The committee will receive an update on the status of commercial catch versus annual catch limit (ACL) for golden crab, the status of Amendment 9 to the Golden Crab Fishery Management Plan (FMP), and a report on available data for golden crab. The committee will discuss and take action as necessary.

    Personnel Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 8 a.m. Until 9 a.m. (Closed Session)

    1. The committee will review a staff retirement health insurance proposal and provide recommendations.

    SSC Selection Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 9 a.m. Until 9:30 a.m. (Closed Session)

    1. The committee will review applications for the SSC and provide recommendations for appointments.

    Law Enforcement Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 9:30 a.m. Until 10:30 a.m. (Partially Closed Session)

    1. The committee will review nominations for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (closed session) and receive a report from the Law Enforcement Advisory Panel.

    2. The committee will provide recommendations as appropriate.

    Data Collection Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 10:30 a.m. Until 11 a.m.

    1. The committee will receive a presentation on the status of work on bycatch reporting in the Southeast, an overview of the status of the implementation plan for commercial electronic logbook reporting, a presentation on the status of the commercial electronic logbook pilot project, an overview of the Joint South Atlantic and Gulf Council Generic Charterboat Reporting Amendment including the status of the Gulf Council recommendations and next steps, and review the Decision Document for the amendment.

    2. The committee will discuss, approve next steps, and provide guidance to staff.

    King and Spanish Mackerel Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 11 a.m. Until 12 Noon

    1. The committee will receive a report on the status of commercial catch versus ACLs for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and cobia, the status of amendments currently under Secretarial Review, discuss Framework Amendment 2 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagic FMP, and receive a report from the Mackerel Advisory Panel.

    2. The committee will review Coastal Migratory Pelagic FMP Amendment 26 addressing modifications to management/stock boundaries, management parameters for king mackerel including changes to ACLs, revisions to commercial quotas and allocations in the Gulf of Mexico, and allowing the sale of king mackerel caught within the shark gillnet fishery. The committee will modify the amendment as necessary, and select preferred management alternatives.

    3. The committee will review the Discussion Document for Coastal Migratory Pelagic FMP Amendment 28 addressing options for separating the joint FMP between the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.

    4. The committee will provide recommendations and direction to staff as appropriate.

    Executive Finance Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 1:30 p.m. Until 3 p.m.

    1. The committee will receive an update on the status of the Calendar Year 2015 budget expenditures and review the Council Follow-up and priorities.

    2. The committee will review and approve the Calendar Year 2015 budget.

    3. The committee will also receive an update on the Joint South Florida Committee Issues and an overview of the Citizen Science Program and review the Statement of Work.

    4. The committee will provide recommendations and address other issues as appropriate.

    Snapper Grouper Committee: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 3 p.m. Until 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 8:30 a.m. Until 5 p.m.

    1. The committee will receive updates on the status of catches versus quotas under annual catch limits (ACLs), actions under formal review, Southeast Reef Fish Survey, and presentations on the 2015 red snapper season and Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) “Rare Event” sampling.

    2. The committee will receive reports from the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel (AP) and the SSC.

    3. The committee will review the following amendments to the Snapper Grouper FMP and provide recommendations as appropriate: (1) Regulatory Amendment 16 addressing modifications to the current seasonal closure for the commercial black sea bass pot fishery. The committee will modify the amendment, choose preferred alternatives as appropriate and approve the amendment for public hearings; (2) Amendment 36 addressing Spawning Special Management Zones (SMZs.). The committee will consider public hearing comments and the draft System Management Plan, modify the document as appropriate, and approve the amendment for a second round of public hearings; (3) Amendment 35 to remove species from the management unit and address measures for the commercial golden tilefish endorsement. The committee will modify the document and codified text as needed and approve for formal review;

    4. The committee will review the following amendments, provide guidance to staff and develop recommendations for approving for public scoping: (1) Amendment 38 pertaining to blueline tilefish management measures; (2) Amendment 37 addressing measures for hogfish; (3) Regulatory Amendment 23 addressing measures for golden tilefish; and (4) Regulatory Amendment 24 addressing measures for multiple species in the snapper grouper management complex.

    Note:

    A formal public comment session will be held on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Public comment will be accepted on any items on the Council agenda including items on the joint Council session. The Chairman, based on the number of individuals wishing to comment, will determine the amount of time provided to each commenter.

    Joint Council Session: South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils, Thursday, June 11, 2015, 8:30 a.m. Until 5:30 p.m.

    8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m.: Call the meeting to order, adopt the agenda, welcome and introductions

    8:45-10 a.m.: The Councils will receive an overview of the Decision Document for the Joint South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Generic Charterboat Reporting Amendment addressing reporting requirements for federally permitted charterboats in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The Councils will discuss measures and vote on actions as appropriate.

    10 a.m.-12 noon: The Councils will review the Joint Draft Options Paper and Decision Document for Amendment 26 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagics FMP addressing king mackerel management measures including modifications to stock boundaries, allocations, and sale provisions. The Councils will discuss measures and vote on actions as appropriate.

    1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.: The Councils will review the Decision Document for Amendment 28 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagic FMP addressing options for separating management of coastal migratory species (king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and cobia) between the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Council's area of jurisdiction. The species are currently managed jointly through the FMP. The Councils will discuss measures and vote on actions as appropriate.

    2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.: The Councils will review the Joint South Florida Amendment including issues, goals and objectives. The amendment includes measures to modify management of yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper and black grouper, seasonal closures, circle hook requirements and other measures designed to minimize conflicting regulations for South Florida. The Councils will review the Decision Document for the amendment and vote on actions as appropriate.

    5 p.m.-5:30 p.m.: The Councils will review a Decision Document for management measures addressing hogfish following a recent stock assessment. The Councils will discuss measures and vote on actions as appropriate. The Councils will also address Other Business as appropriate.

    Council Session: Friday, June 12, 2015, 8:30 a.m. Until 3 p.m.

    8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m.: Call the meeting to order, adopt the agenda, and approve the March 2014 minutes.

    8:45 a.m.-9:45 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Snapper Grouper Committee and is scheduled to approve Snapper Grouper Amendment 35 for formal Secretarial review. The Council will approve/disapprove Regulatory Amendment 16 for public hearings and Amendment 36 for a second round of public hearings. The Council is scheduled to approve or disapprove the following amendments for public scoping: Snapper Grouper Amendment 37, Amendment 38, Regulatory Amendment 23 and Regulatory Amendment 24. The Council will consider other committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    9:45 a.m.-10 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the King and Spanish Mackerel Committee, consider committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    10 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the SSC Selection Committee, appoint members to the SSC and the SSC's Socio-Economic Panel, consider other committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Council Member Visioning Workshop, consider recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    10:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Committee, consider committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    10:45 a.m.-11 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Protected Resources Committee, consider committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    11 a.m.-11:15 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the SEDAR Committee, approve or disapprove the red grouper terms of reference, the Council's annual Research and Monitoring Plan, consider committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Executive Finance Committee, approve the Council Follow Up and Priorities, approve the Calendar Year 2015 budget, take action on the South Florida Management issues as appropriate, consider other committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Golden Crab Committee, consider committee recommendations, and take action as appropriate.

    11:45 a.m.-12 noon: The Council will receive a report from the Data Collection Committee, consider recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    1 p.m.-1:15 p.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Shrimp Committee, consider committee recommendations and take action as appropriate.

    1:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Law Enforcement Committee, select the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, consider other committee recommendations, and take action as appropriate.

    1:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m.: The Council will receive a report from the Personnel Committee, approve/disapprove the staff retirement health insurance plan, consider other committee recommendations, and take action as appropriate.

    1:45 p.m.-3 p.m.: The Council will receive status reports from NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office and the Southeast Fisheries Science Center. The Council will review and develop recommendations on Experimental Fishing Permits as necessary; review agency and liaison reports; and discuss other business and upcoming meetings.

    Documents regarding these issues are available from the Council office (see ADDRESSES).

    Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council's intent to take final action to address the emergency.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to the council office (see ADDRESSES) 3 days prior to the meeting.

    Note:

    The times and sequence specified in this agenda are subject to change.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12492 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Northeast Multispecies Amendment 16N AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before July 21, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Aja Szumylo, (978) 281-9195 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    This request is for revision and extension of a current information collection. Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Secretary of Commerce has the responsibility for the conservation and management of marine fishery resources. We, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the Regional Fishery Management Councils are delegated the majority of this responsibility. The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) develops management plans for fishery resources in New England.

    In 2010, we implemented a new suite of regulations for the Northeast (NE) multispecies fishery through Amendment 16 to the Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (Amendment 16). This action updated status determination criteria for all regulated NE multispecies or ocean pout stocks; adopted rebuilding programs for NE multispecies stocks newly classified as being overfished and subject to overfishing; revised management measures, including significant revisions to the sector management measures, necessary to end overfishing, rebuild overfished regulated NE multispecies and ocean pout stocks, and mitigate the adverse economic impacts of increased effort controls. It also implemented new requirements under Amendment 16 for establishing acceptable biological catch (ABC), annual catch limits (ACLs), and accountability measures (AMs) for each stock managed under the FMP, pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).

    Revisions

    This revision incorporates a number of recent changes related to regulatory actions. Framework Adjustment 48 to the FMP (78 FR 26118; May 3, 2013) proposed to exempt sector vessels targeting monkfish from the additional at-sea monitoring coverage necessary to monitor groundfish catch. This measure was intended to allocate limited at-sea monitoring resources to monitor those trips that catch the most groundfish. To implement this measure, NMFS added a question to both the pre-trip notification and Northeast Fisheries Observer Program notification to allow fishermen to indicate what fishery they intend to participate in. This change allowed NMFS to identify trips that may qualify for this exemption, in order to deploy observers and at-sea monitors appropriately to achieve the coverage levels required by the FMP. Framework 48 also eliminated the dockside monitoring program established under Amendment 16 because NMFS determined dealer reporting combined with dockside intercepts by enforcement personnel are sufficient to ensure reliable landings data. Elimination of the dockside monitoring program was not included in the applicable non-substantive change request and thus this change will be included in the revision/extension.

    As part of Framework Adjustment 53 to the FMP (80 FR 25110; May 1, 2015), NMFS implemented a requirement that vessels that declare trips into the Gulf of Maine Broad Stock Area and any other broad stock area (i.e., Georges Bank or Southern New England) on the same trip submit a daily catch report via vessel monitoring system (VMS). We determined the daily VMS trip reports were necessary to ensure accurate apportionment of catch and help enforcement efforts. This requirement was approved temporarily through emergency PRA approval. We are proposing to permanently adjust this information collection to include this reporting requirement.

    II. Method of Collection

    Respondents must submit either paper forms via postal service, or electronic forms submitted via the internet or a vessels' vessel monitoring system (VMS).

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-0605.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (revision and extension of a current information collection).

    Affected Public: Business or for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,482.

    Estimated Time per Response: Sector operations plan and associated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, 640 hr/response; Monitoring service provider initial application, 10 hr/response; Monitoring service provider response to application disapproval, 10 hr/response; Data entry for sector discard monitoring system, 3 min/response; Sector weekly catch report, 4 hr/response; Sector annual report, 12 hr/response; Notification of expulsion from a sector, 30 min/response; Request to transfer Annual Catch Entitlement (ACE), 5 min/response; VMS certification form, 10 min/response; VMS confirmation call, 5 min/response; VMS area and DAS declaration, 5 min/response; VMS trip-level catch report; VMS daily catch reports when fishing in multiple broad stock areas, 15 min/response; Daily VMS catch reports when fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Area and CA II SAPs, 15 min/response; Daily VMS catch reports when fishing in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, 15 min/response; Daily VMS catch reports when fishing in the Regular B DAS Program, 15 min/response; Pre-trip hail report, 2 min/response; Trip-end hail report, 15 min/response; Forward trip start/end hails to NMFS, 2 min/response; ASM Pre-Trip Notification, 2 min/response; Vessel notification of selection for at-sea monitoring coverage, 5 min/response; at-sea monitor deployment report, 10 min/response; at-sea monitoring service provider catch report to NMFS upon request, 5 min/response; at-sea monitor report of harassment and other issues, 30 min/response; at-sea monitoring service provider contract upon request, 30 min/response; at-sea monitoring service provider information materials upon request, 30 min/response; OLE debriefing of at-sea monitors, 2 hr/response; ASM Database and Data Entry Requirements, 3 min/response; Observer program pre-trip notification, 2 min/response; DAS Transfer Program, 5 min/response; Expedited Submission of Proposed SAPs, 20 hr/response; NAFO Reporting Requirements, 10 min/response.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 81,126.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $ 4,298,000 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: May 19, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-12461 Filed 5-21-15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD727 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA).

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an IHA to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), on behalf of SIO and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), to take marine mammals, by Level B harassment, incidental to conducting a low-energy marine geophysical (seismic) survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015.

    DATES:

    Effective May 18, 2015 to July 30, 2015.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of the IHA and the application are available by writing to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or by telephone to the contacts listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    An electronic copy of the IHA application containing a list of the references used in this document may be obtained by writing to the address specified above, telephoning the contact listed here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) or visiting the Internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/. Documents cited in this notice, including the IHA application, may also be viewed by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address.

    An Environmental Analysis of a Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey by the R/V Roger Revelle in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015 (Environmental Analysis) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the regulations published by the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ), has been prepared on behalf of NSF and SIO. It is posted at the foregoing site. NMFS has independently evaluated the Environmental Analysis and has prepared a separate NEPA analysis titled Environmental Assessment on the Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to Take Marine Mammals by Harassment Incidental to a Low-Energy Marine Geophysical Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015. NMFS also issued a Biological Opinion under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to evaluate the effects of the low-energy seismic survey and IHA on marine species listed as threatened or endangered. The NMFS Biological Opinion is available online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/consultations/opinion.htm.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Howard Goldstein or Jolie Harrison, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301-427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA, (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by United States citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “. . . an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA established an expedited process by which citizens of the United States can apply for an authorization to incidentally take small numbers of marine mammals by harassment. Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA establishes a 45-day time limit for NMFS's review of an application, followed by a 30-day public notice and comment period on any proposed authorizations for the incidental harassment of small numbers of marine mammals. Within 45 days of the close of the public comment period, NMFS must either issue or deny the authorization.

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Summary of Request

    On December 15, 2014, NMFS received an application from SIO, on behalf of SIO and NSF, requesting that NMFS issue an IHA for the take, by Level B harassment only, of small numbers of marine mammals incidental to conducting a low-energy marine seismic survey as well as heat-flow measurements in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, at three sites off the east coast of New Zealand, during May to June 2015. The sediment coring component of the planned project, which was described in the IHA application and NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis, was not funded and no piston or gravity coring for seafloor samples would be conducted during the low-energy seismic survey. The low-energy seismic survey will take place within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and outside the territorial waters of New Zealand. On behalf of SIO, the U.S. Department of State is seeking authorization from New Zealand for clearance to work within the EEZ.

    The research will be conducted by Oregon State University and funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). SIO plan to use one source vessel, the R/V Roger Revelle (Revelle), and a seismic airgun array and hydrophone streamer to collect seismic data in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand. SIO plans to use conventional low-energy, seismic methodology to perform marine-based studies in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (see Figure 1). The studies will involve a low-energy seismic survey and heat-flow measurements from the seafloor to meet a number of research goals. In addition to the proposed operations of the seismic airgun array and hydrophone streamer, SIO intends to operate two additional acoustical data acquisition systems—a multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler continuously throughout the low-energy seismic survey. NMFS published a notice making preliminary determinations and proposing to issue an IHA on March 20, 2015 (80 FR 15060). The notice initiated a 30-day public comment period.

    Acoustic stimuli (i.e., increased underwater sound) generated during the operation of the seismic airgun array have the potential to cause behavioral disturbance for marine mammals in the proposed study area. This is the principal means of marine mammal taking associated with these activities, and SIO requested an authorization to take 35 species of marine mammals by Level B harassment. Take is not expected to result from the use of the multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler, as the brief exposure of marine mammals to one pulse, or small numbers of signals, to be generated by these instruments in this particular case as well as their characteristics (e.g., narrow-shaped, downward-directed beam emitted from the bottom of the ship) is not likely to result in the harassment of marine mammals. Also, NMFS does not expect take to result from collision with the source vessel because it is a single vessel moving at a relatively slow, constant cruise speed of 5 knots ([kts]; 9.3 kilometers per hour [km/hr]; 5.8 miles per hour [mph]) during seismic acquisition within the study area, for a relatively short period of time (approximately 27 operational days). It is likely that any marine mammal will be able to avoid the vessel.

    Description of the Specified Activity Overview

    SIO plans to use one source vessel, the Revelle, a two GI airgun array and one hydrophone streamer to conduct the conventional seismic survey as part of the NSF-funded research project Collaborative Research: The Thermal Regime of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone and Shallow Slow Slip Events, New Zealand. In addition to the airguns, SIO intends to conduct a bathymetric survey and heat-flow measurements at three sites off the southwest coast of North Island and northeast coast of South Island, New Zealand from the Revelle during the low-energy seismic survey.

    Dates and Duration

    The Revelle is expected to depart from Auckland, New Zealand on approximately May 18, 2015 and arrive at Napier, New Zealand on approximately June 18, 2015. Airgun operations will take approximately 135 hours in total, and the remainder of the time will be spent in transit and collecting heat-flow measurements and cores. The total distance the Revelle will travel in the region to conduct the proposed research activities (i.e., seismic survey, bathymetric survey, and transit to heat-flow measurement locations) represents approximately 2,000 km (1,079.9 nmi). Some minor deviation from this schedule is possible, depending on logistics and weather (e.g., the cruise may depart earlier or be extended due to poor weather; or there could be additional days of airgun operations if collected data are deemed to be of substandard quality).

    Specified Geographic Region

    The planned project and survey sites are located off the southeast coast of North Island and northeast coast of the South Island, New Zealand in selected regions of the Southwest Pacific Ocean. The planned survey sites are located between approximately 38.5 to 42.5° South and approximately 174 to 180° East off the east coast of New Zealand, in the EEZ of New Zealand and outside of territorial waters (see Figure 1). Water depths in the study area are between approximately 200 to 3,000 m (656.2 to 9,842.5 ft). The proposed low-energy seismic survey will be collected in a total of nine grids of intersecting lines of two sizes (see Figure 1) at exact locations to be determined in the field during May to June 2015. Figure 1 also illustrates the general bathymetry of the proposed study area. The proposed low-energy seismic survey would be within an area of approximately 1,154 km2 (336.5 nmi2). This estimate is based on the maximum number of kilometers for the low-energy seismic survey (1,250 km) multiplied by the area ensonified around the planned tracklines (2 x 0.6 km in intermediate water depths and 2 x 0.4 km in deep water depths). The ensonified area is based on the predicted rms radii (m) based on modeling and empirical measurements (assuming 100% use of the two 45 in3 GI airguns in 100 to 1,000 m or greater than 1,000 m water depths), which was calculated to be 600 m (1,968.5 ft) or 400 m (1,312.3 ft).

    EN22MY15.005 Detailed Description of the Specified Activity

    In support of a research project put forward by Oregon State University (OSU) and to be funded by NSF, SIO plans to conduct a low-energy seismic survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, from May to June 2015. In addition to the low-energy seismic survey, scientific research activities will include conducting a bathymetric profile survey of the seafloor using transducer-based instruments such as a multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler; and heat-flow measurements from the seafloor using various methods and equipment at three sites off the southeast coast of North Island and northeast coast of South Island, New Zealand. Water depths in the survey area are approximately 200 to 3,000 meters (m) (656.2 to 9,842.5 feet [ft]). The low-energy seismic survey is scheduled to occur for a total of approximately 135 hours over the course of the entire cruise, which would be for approximately 27 operational days in May to June 2015. The planned low-energy seismic survey will be conducted during the day (from nautical twilight-dawn to nautical twilight-dusk) and night, and for up to approximately 72 hours of continuous operations at a time. The operation hours and survey length will include equipment testing, ramp-up, line changes, and repeat coverage. Some minor deviation from these dates will be possible, depending on logistics and weather. The Principal Investigators are Dr. R. N. Harris and Dr. A. Trehu of OSU.

    The planned surveys will allow the development of a process-based understanding of the thermal structure of the Hikurangi subduction zone, and the expansion of this understanding by using regional observations of gas hydrate-related bottom simulating reflections. To achieve the planned project's goals, the Principal Investigators plan to collect low-energy, high-resolution multi-channel system profiles, heat-flow measurements, and sediment cores along transects seaward and landward of the Hikurangi deformation front. Heat-flow measurements will be made in well-characterized sites, increasing the number of publicly available heat-flow and thermal conductivity measurements from this continental margin by two orders of magnitude. Seismic survey data will be used to produce sediment structural maps and seismic velocities to achieve the project objectives. Data from sediment cores will detect and estimate the nature and sources of fluid flow through high permeability pathways in the overriding plate and along the subduction thrust; characterize the hydrocarbon and gas hydrate system to assist with estimates of heat flow from Bottom Simulating Reflectors (BSR), their role in slope stability, and fluid source; and elucidate the response of microbes involved in carbon cycling to changes in methane flux.

    The low-energy seismic survey will be collected in a total of 9 grids of intersecting lines of two sizes (see Figure 1) at exact locations to be determined in the field. The water depths will be very similar to those at the nominal survey locations shown in Figure 1. The northern and middle sites off the North Island will be the primary study areas, and the southern site off the South Island will be a contingency area that will only be surveyed if time permits. SIO's calculations assume that 7 grids at the primary areas and two grids at the southern site will be surveyed. The total trackline distance of the low-energy seismic survey will be approximately 1,250 km (including the two South Island contingency sites), almost all in water depths greater than 1,000 m.

    The procedures to be used for the survey will be similar to those used during previous low-energy seismic surveys by SIO and NSF and will use conventional seismic methodology. The planned low-energy seismic survey would involve one source vessel, the Revelle. SIO will deploy a two Sercel Generator Injector (GI) airgun array (each with a discharge volume of 45 in3 [290.3 cm3], in one string, with a total volume of 90 in3 [580.6 cm3]) as an energy source, at a tow depth of up to 2 m (6.6 ft) below the surface (more information on the airguns can be found in SIO's IHA application). The airguns in the array will be spaced approximately 8 m (26.2 ft) apart and 21 m (68.9 ft) astern of the vessel. The receiving system will consist of one 600 m (1,968.5 ft) long, 48-channel hydrophone streamer(s) towed behind the vessel (see Table 1). Data acquisition is planned along a series of predetermined lines, almost all (approximately 95%) of which would be in water depths greater than 1,000 m. As the GI airguns are towed along the survey lines, the hydrophone streamer will receive the returning acoustic signals and transfer the data to the onboard processing system. The seismic surveys will be conducted while the heat-flow probe is being recharged. All planned seismic data acquisition activities will be conducted by technicians provided by SIO, with onboard assistance by the scientists who have proposed the study. The vessel will be self-contained, and the crew will live aboard the vessel for the entire cruise.

    The planned low-energy seismic survey (including equipment testing, start-up, line changes, repeat coverage of any areas, and equipment recovery) will consist of approximately 1,250 kilometers (km) (674.9 nautical miles [nmi]) of transect lines (including turns) in the study area in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (see Figures 1 of the IHA application). Approximately 95% of the low-energy seismic survey will occur in water depths greater than 1,000 m. In addition to the operation of the airgun array and heat-flow measurements, a multi-beam echosounder and a sub-bottom profiler will also likely be operated from the Revelle continuously throughout the cruise. There will be additional airgun operations associated with equipment testing, ramp-up, and possible line changes or repeat coverage of any areas where initial data quality is sub-standard. In SIO's estimated take calculations, 25% has been added for those additional operations.

    Table 1—Planned Low-Energy Seismic Survey Activities in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand Survey length
  • (km)
  • Total
  • duration
  • (hr) 1
  • Airgun array total volume Time between airgun shots
  • (distance)
  • Streamer length
  • (m)
  • 1,250 (674.9 nmi) ~135 2 x 45 = 90 in3 (2 x 1474.8 cm3) 6 to 10 seconds (18.5 to 31 m or 60.7 to 101.7 ft) 600 (1,968.5 ft) 1 Airgun operations are planned for no more than approximately 72 continuous hours at a time.

    NMFS outlined the purpose of the program in a previous notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015). The activities to be conducted have not changed between the proposed IHA notice and this final notice announcing the issuance of the IHA. For a more detailed description of the authorized action, including vessel and acoustic source specifications, metrics, characteristics of airgun pulses, predicted sound levels of airguns, bathymetric survey, heat-flow measurements, etc., we refer the reader to the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015), the IHA application, EA, and associated documents referenced above this section.

    Comments and Responses

    A notice of preliminary determinations and proposed IHA for SIO's low-energy seismic survey was published in the Federal Register on March 20, 2015 (80 FR 15060). During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS received comments from one private citizen, Dr. Elisabeth Slooten of Otago University, and the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). The comments are posted online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/. Following are the substantive comments and NMFS's responses:

    Comment 1: The Commission recommends that NMFS adjust density estimates used to estimate the numbers of potential takes by incorporating some measure of uncertainty when available density data originate from other geographical areas and temporal scales and that NMFS formulate a policy or other guidance setting forth a consistent approach for how applicants should incorporate uncertainty in density estimates.

    Response: The availability of representative density information for marine mammal species varies widely across space and time. Depending on survey locations and modeling efforts, it may be necessary to consult estimates that are from a different area or season, that are at a non-ideal spatial scale, or that are several years out of date. We continue to evaluate available density information and are continuing progress on guidance that would outline a consistent general approach for addressing uncertainty in specific situations where certain types of data are or are not available.

    Comment 2: The Commission recommends that NMFS follow a consistent approach in assessing the potential for taking by Level B harassment from exposure to specific types of sound sources (e.g., echosounders, sub-bottom profilers, side-scan sonar, and fish-finding sonar) by all applicants who propose to use them. SIO will be using such sources during its activities off New Zealand, including when the airgun array will not be in use. The Commission understands that NMFS plans to develop clearer policies and guidance to address these concerns and would welcome to opportunity to work with NMFS as it develops these broadly applicable policies.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges the Commission's recommendation and we continue to work on a consistent approach for addressing potential impacts from active acoustic sources. For this low-energy seismic survey, NMFS assessed the potential for multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler operations to impact marine mammals with the concurrent operation of the airgun array. We assume that, during simultaneous operations of the airgun array and the other active acoustic sources, a marine mammal close enough to be affected by the other active acoustic sources would already be affected by the airguns. Take is not expected to result from the use of the multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler, as the brief exposure of marine mammals to one pulse, or small number of signals, to be generated by these instruments in this particular case as well as their characteristics (e.g., narrow-shaped, downward-directed beam emitted from the bottom of the ship) is less likely to result in the harassment of marine mammals. Accordingly, NMFS has not authorized take from these other sound sources.

    Comment 3: The Commission is concerned that the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University's (L-DEO) acoustic modeling used for this low-energy seismic survey is not based on the best available science and does not support its continued use. Therefore, the Commission recommends that NMFS require SIO to have L-DEO re-estimate the proposed exclusion and buffer zones and associated takes of marine mammals using site-specific environmental (including sound speed profiles, bathymetry, and sediment characteristics at a minimum) and operational (including number/type of airguns, tow depth) parameters for the proposed IHA. The reflective/refractive arrivals are the very measurements that ultimately determine underwater sound propagation and should be accounted for in site-specific modeling. Either empirical measurements from the particular survey site or a model that accounts for the conditions in the proposed survey area should be used to estimate exclusion and buffer zones because L-DEO failed to verify the applicability of its model to conditions outside of the Gulf of Mexico. The Commission recommends that NMFS impose the same requirements for all future IHAs submitted by SIO, NSF, Antarctic Support Contract (ASC),L-DEO, USGS, or any other relevant entity. The Commission also continues to believe that SIO and related entities should be held to the same standard as other action proponents (i.e., U.S. Navy, Air Force, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the oil and gas industry).

    Response: NMFS acknowledges the Commission's concerns about L-DEO's current acoustic modeling approach for estimating buffer and exclusion zones and also acknowledge that L-DEO did not incorporate site-specific sound speed profiles, bathymetry, and sediment characteristics of the action area in the current approach to estimates those buffer and exclusion zones for this low-energy seismic survey.

    In 2015, L-DEO explored solutions to this issue by conducting a retrospective sound power analysis of one of the lines acquired during L-DEO's truncated seismic survey offshore New Jersey in 2014 (Crone, 2015). NMFS presented this information in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 13961, March 17, 2015) for L-DEO's seismic survey. Briefly, Crone's (2015) preliminary analysis, specific to the survey site offshore New Jersey, confirmed that in-situ measurements and estimates of the 160- and 180 dB (rms) isopleths collected by the R/V Marcus G. Langseth's hydrophone streamer in shallow water were smaller that the predicted buffer and exclusion zones proposed for use in the 2015 seismic survey.

    SIO's IHA application and NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis describe the approach to establishing buffer and exclusion zones used for mitigation. In summary, L-DEO acquired field measurements for several array configurations at shallow- and deep-water depths during acoustic verification studies conducted in the northern Gulf of Mexico in 2003 (Tolstoy et al., 2004) and in 2007 and 2008 (Tolstoy et al., 2009). Based on the empirical data from those studies, L-DEO developed a sound propagation modeling approach that conservatively predicts received sound levels as a function of distance from a particular airgun array configuration in deep water. For this low-energy seismic survey, L-DEO developed the intermediate- and deep-water buffer and exclusion zones for the airgun array based on the empirically-derived measurements from the Gulf of Mexico calibration survey. Following is a summary of two additional analyses of in-situ data that support L-DEO's use of the modeled exclusion zones in this particular case.

    In 2010, L-DEO assessed the accuracy of their modeling approach by comparing the sound levels of the field measurements in the Gulf of Mexico study to their model predictions (Diebold et al., 2010). They reported that the observed sound levels from the field measurements fell almost entirely within the predicted mitigation radii curve for deep water (greater than 1,000 m) (Diebold et al., 2010).

    In 2012, L-DEO used a similar process to develop mitigation radii (i.e., buffer and exclusion zones) for a shallow-water seismic survey in the northeast Pacific Ocean offshore Washington in 2012. L-DEO conducted the shallow-water seismic survey using an airgun configuration that was approximately 98 percent larger than the total discharge volume planned for this intermediate and deep water survey (i.e., 6,600 cubic inches [in3] compared to 90 in3) and recorded the received sound levels on the shelf and slope off Washington using the Langseth's 8-km hydrophone streamer. Crone et al. (2014) analyzed those received sound levels from the 2012 seismic survey and reported that the actual distances for the buffer and exclusion zones were two to three times smaller than what L-DEO's modeling approach predicted. While the results confirm bathymetry's role in sound propagation, Crone et al. (2014) were able to confirm that the empirical measurements from the Gulf of Mexico calibration survey (the same measurements used to inform L-DEO's modeling approach for this survey in shallow water) overestimated the size of the buffer and exclusion zones for the shallow-water 2012 seismic survey off Washington and were thus precautionary, in that particular case.

    In summary, at present, L-DEO cannot adjust their modeling methodology to add the environmental and site-specific parameters as requested by the Commission. NMFS will continue to work with the NSF to address this issue of incorporating site-specific information to further inform the analysis and development of mitigation measures in oceanic and coastal areas for future seismic surveys with L-DEO, SIO, and NSF. NMFS will continue to work with L-DEO, SIO, NSF, and the Commission on continuing to verify the accuracy of their modeling approach. However, L-DEO's current modeling approach represents the best available information to reach our determinations for the IHA. As described earlier, the comparisons of L-DEO model results and the field data collected in the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Washington, and offshore New Jersey illustrate a degree of conservativeness built into L-DEO's model for deep water, which NMFS expects to offset some of the limitations of the model to capture the variability resulting from site-specific factors.

    L-DEO has conveyed to NMFS that additional modeling efforts to refine the process and conduct comparative analysis may be possible with the availability of research fund and other resources. Obtaining research funds is typically through a competitive process, including those submitted to federal agencies. The use of models for calculating buffer and exclusion zone radii and for developing take estimates is not a requirement of the MMPA Incidental Take Authorization process. Furthermore, NMFS does not provide specific guidance on model parameters nor prescribes a specific model for applicants as part of the MMPA Incidental Take Authorization process. There is a level of variability not only with parameters in the models, but also the uncertainty associated with data used in models, and therefore the quality of the model results submitted by applicants. NMFS, however, considers this variability when evaluating applications. Applicants use models as a tool to evaluate potential impacts, estimate the number of and type of takes of marine mammals, and for designing mitigation. NMFS takes into consideration the model used and its results in determining the potential impacts to marine mammals; however, it is just one component of our analysis during the MMPA consultation process as we also take into consideration other factors associated with the proposed action, (e.g., geographic location, duration of activities, context, intensity, etc.).

    There are many different modeling products and services commercially available that applicants could potentially use in developing their take estimates and analyses for MMPA Incidental Take Authorizations. These different models range widely in cost, complexity, and the number of specific factors that one can consider in any particular modeling run. NMFS does not believe that it is appropriate to prescribe the use of any particular modeling package. Rather, NMFS evaluates each applicant's approach independently in the context of their activity. In cases where an applicant uses a simpler model and there is concern that a model might not capture the variability across a parameter(s) that is not represented in the model, conservative choices are often made at certain decision points in the model to help ensure that modeled estimates are buffered in a manner that would not result in the agency underestimating takes or effects. In this case, results have shown that L-DEO's model reliably and conservatively estimates mitigation radii in intermediate and deep water. First, the observed sound levels from the field measurements fell almost entirely below L-DEO's estimated mitigation radii for deep water (Diebold et al., 2010). These conservative mitigation radii are the foundation for SIO's intermediate and deep water radii used in this low-energy seismic survey. Based on Crone et al.'s (2014) findings, NMFS finds that L-DEO reasonably estimates sound exposures for this low-energy seismic survey.

    Comment 4: The Commission states that NMFS indicated that it discounted 18 marine mammal species with ranges that may potentially occur in the Southwest Pacific Ocean and/or are in the stranding record—NMFS based the presumption on Baker et al. (2010) and their categorizing those species as “vagrants.” However, many other action proponents include certain species (including Arnoux's beaked whales, pygmy beaked whales, and Risso's dolphins) in their marine mammal impact assessments for seismic activities off New Zealand. Those species also are present in the New Zealand Department of Conservation's sighting database for marine mammals present (either alive or stranded) in New Zealand's waters. Because Arnoux's and pygmy beaked whales are not thoroughly studied and their habitat ranges are poorly understood, the Commission believes that it would have been prudent for NMFS to include them in the proposed IHA since they have been observed dead-stranded in New Zealand. Similarly, the range of Risso's dolphins does overlap with New Zealand waters based on information on various government Web sites, including NMFS's Web site. Further, Risso's dolphins have been observed in New Zealand both alive and dead. The Commission believes the potential to take those marine mammal species exists and recommends that NMFS include Arnoux's beaked whales, pygmy beaked whales, and Risso's dolphins in its IHA and authorize the associated takes.

    Response: In Baker et al. (2010), the term “vagrant” is defined as “taxa that are found unexpectedly in New Zealand and whose presence in this region is naturally transitory, or migratory species with fewer than 15 individuals known or presumed to visit per year.” Based on this, NMFS agrees with the Commission's recommendation that the potential to encounter Arnoux's and pygmy beaked whales and Risso's dolphins exists and has included authorized takes, which are based on encountering an average group size of animals, in the IHA issued to SIO and NSF. Also, as required in the IHA, if any marine mammal species are encountered during airgun operations that are not authorized for take and are likely to be exposed to sound pressure levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for airgun operations, then SIO must alter speed or course or shut-down the airguns to prevent take.

    Comment 4: The Commission believes that g(0) and f(0) values should be based on the ability of PSOs to detect marine mammals rather than on hypothetically optimal estimates derived from scientific surveys (e.g., from NMFS's shipboard abundance surveys). The Commission also understands that L-DEO (and relevant entities) has been collecting for many years sightings data when the airguns are active and inactive. Those data could be pooled amongst similar survey types (e.g., based on geographical location, array configuration, airgun activity status, vessel-specific observational parameters) to determine rudimentary g(0) and f(0) values—an analysis that has been discussed with NMFS, L-DEO and relevant entities in the past. The Commission acknowledges that those values may not be as accurate as using a well-planned, randomized sampling design typically used during marine mammal scientific surveys, but believes adjusting by those rudimentary values would be preferable to assuming that only those animals detected during the survey equated to the total numbers taken, which is clearly an underestimate of reality.

    The Commission recommends that NMFS consult with SIO and other relevant entities (e.g., NSF, ASC, L-DEO, and USGS) to develop, validate, and implement a monitoring program that provides a scientifically sound, reasonably accurate assessment of the types of marine mammal takes and reliable estimates of the numbers of marine mammals taken by incorporating applicable g(0) and f(0) values derived from PSO data collected during seismic surveys. Although the Commission has made this recommendation in numerous previous letters, the Commission believes that NMFS may have misinterpreted it. NMFS recently stated that it does not generally believe it is appropriate to require NSF to collect information in the field to support the development of survey-specific correction factors (80 FR 4892, January 29, 2015). The Commission never suggested that correction factors be developed for every seismic survey. Rather, it is important for NSF, L-DEO, and other relevant entities to continue to collect appropriate sightings data in the field to be pooled to determine g(0) and f(0) values relevant to the various seismic survey types.

    Response: NMFS's implementing regulations require that applicants include monitoring that will result in “an increased knowledge of the species, the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present while conducting activities . . .” This could be qualitative or relative in nature, or it could be more directly quantitative. Scientists use g(0) and f(0) values in systematic marine mammal surveys to account for the undetected animals indicated above, however, these values are not simply established and the g(0) value varies across every observer based on their sighting acumen. While NMFS does not generally believe that post-activity take estimates using f(0) and g(0) are required to meet the monitoring requirement of the MMPA, in the context of NSF and SIO's monitoring plan, NMFS agrees that developing and incorporating a way to better interpret the results of their monitoring (perhaps a simplified or generalized version of g(0) and f(0)) is desirable. NMFS is continuing to examine this issue with NSF to develop ways to improve their post-survey take estimates. NMFS will continue to consult with the Commission and NMFS scientists prior to finalizing any future recommendations.

    NMFS notes that current monitoring measures for past and current IHAs for research seismic surveys require the collection of visual observation data by PSOs prior to, during, and after airgun operations. This data collection may contribute to baseline data on marine mammals (presence/absence) and provide some generalized support for estimated take numbers (as well as providing data regarding behavioral responses to seismic operation that are observable at the surface). However, it is unlikely that the information gathered from these cruises alone would result in any statistically robust conclusions for any particular species because of the small number of animals typically observed.

    Comment 5: Dr. Slooten states that a dedicated large-scale marine mammal survey in the action area is required as no current regional population estimates exist for New Zealand waters (previous surveys have only focused on inshore waters). The estimated potential number of marine mammals affected and the population-level impacts should be assessed using data and analysis from a dedicated marine mammal survey before the start of the low-energy seismic survey. Depending on the result of the dedicated marine mammal survey, NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis Alternatives 1 (Alternative Survey Timing) or 2 (No Action) may be the appropriate decision and the northern and/or southern survey areas should be removed from the proposed action.

    Response: While regional population estimates are not available for waters offshore of New Zealand, in this case, NMFS does not agree that dedicated marine mammal assessment surveys are needed prior to issuing an IHA. When information is unavailable on a local marine mammal population size, NMFS uses either stock or species information on abundance. Also, while information may be lacking for many species of cetaceans or pinnipeds, information on some of the locally-found species is found in SIO's IHA application and Environmental Analysis, see those documents for more information. NSF and SIO are not planning on conducting a large-scale dedicated marine mammal survey in New Zealand prior to the planned low-energy seismic survey and NMFS has not made this a requirement in the IHA.

    Comment 6: Dr. Slooten and the Commission state that in the absence of scientifically robust marine mammal data, SIO and NMFS have used anecdotal information from various sources (i.e., including marine mammals survey data from California, Oregon, and Washington [California Current], Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, and Southern Ocean) to describe the occurrence of marine mammals and potential takes that are not applicable to New Zealand waters. In this instance, various extrapolations and adjustments are based on numerous assumptions in the absence of applicable density data off New Zealand.

    Response: No marine mammal density data are available for the waters east of New Zealand. The waters of New Zealand are likely to have a high diversity of marine mammal species and the impacts on marine mammals should be assessed on the (worldwide or region) population or stock unit level whenever possible. SIO's IHA application provides information on abundance in the waters of New Zealand (when available), larger water bodies (such as the Pacific Ocean or Southern Ocean), and off of California, Oregon, and Washington (if data were unavailable). NMFS believes that these data are the best scientific information available for estimating impacts on affected marine mammal species and stocks. This is consistent with Congress' recognition that information on marine mammal stock abundance may not always be satisfactory. When information is lacking to define a particular population or stock of marine mammals then impacts are to be assessed with respect to the species as a whole (54 FR 40338, September 29, 1989).

    Comment 7: Dr. Slooten states that important information is lacking on the potential for further population fragmentation of Maui's dolphins from SIO and NSF's low-energy seismic survey.

    Response: NMFS has reviewed Hamner et al. (2012, 2013), cited in the comment. The population of Maui's dolphin is located along approximately 300 km (162 nmi) of the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand, and does not overlap with the planned action area for SIO and NSF's low-energy seismic survey occurring off the east coast of New Zealand. Also, Hector's dolphins (of which Maui's dolphins are a sub-species) are highly coastal and the low-energy seismic survey will occur at least approximately 22.2 km (12 nmi) offshore the east coast of New Zealand. This short-duration low-energy seismic survey is scheduled to occur for a total of approximately 135 hours (approximately 72 hours of continuous operations at a time) over the course of the entire cruise, which would be for approximately 27 operational days in May to June 2015. NMFS anticipates and has authorized takes by Level B (behavioral) harassment of marine mammals to noise exposure from the low-energy seismic survey, which may include temporary avoidance of habitat. No fragmentation of Maui's or Hector's dolphin populations is anticipated.

    Comment 8: Dr. Elisabeth Slooten states that SIO did not make contact with marine mammal scientists (e.g., Otago University Marine Mammal Research Group) earlier, in order to obtain sighting data, or reach out about the proposed low-energy seismic survey at the Society of Marine Mammalogy 20th Biennial Conference held in Dunedin, New Zealand during December 2013. Also, many of the Society of Marine Mammalogy's members have active research collaborations with marine mammal scientists in New Zealand and Australia.

    Response: SIO and NSF consulted with NMFS's Permits and Conservation Division regarding the IHA and NMFS's Endangered Species Act Interagency Cooperation Division regarding a Biological Opinion under section 7 of the ESA for the low-energy seismic survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand. NMFS consulted and corresponded with New Zealand's Department of Conservation and Dr. Elisabeth Slooten beginning in January 2015. LGL Limited, Environmental Research Associates, on behalf of SIO and NSF, also contacted New Zealand's Department of Conservation and requested the New Zealand cetacean sightings database as well as additional information that might be pertinent to the Environmental Analysis (such as marine mammal densities and habitat modeling). NMFS is not aware if SIO contacted any researchers at the Society of Marine Mammalogy 20th Biennial Conference regarding the low-energy seismic survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand. NMFS has considered the best available information to support the findings for SIO's low-energy seismic survey.

    Comment 9: Dr. Slooten states that the use of alternative technologies (Alternative E2 in NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis) should be further considered and discussed (e.g., commercial viability, feasibility, purpose, financial cost, environmental impacts, etc.) before the start of the low-energy seismic survey.

    Response: NMFS issued its IHA for taking marine mammals incidental to the specified activity as described in SIO and NSF's IHA application. As discussed in the NSF/USGS PEIS (Section 2.6), alternative technologies to airguns were considered but eliminated from further analysis as those technologies were not commercially viable. NSF and SIO continue to closely monitor the development and progress of these types of systems; however, at this point and time, these systems are still not commercially available. Geo-Kinetics as a potentially viable option for marine vibroseis does not have a viable towable array and its current testing is limited to transition zone settings. Other possible vibroseis developments lack even prototypes to test. Similarly, engineering enhancements to airguns to reduce high frequencies are currently being developed by the oil, gas, and energy industry, however, at present, these airguns are still not commercially available. NSF, SIO, and L-DEO have maintained contact and are in communication with a number of developers and companies to express a willingness to serve as a test-bed for any such new technologies. As noted in the NSF/USGS PEIS, should new technologies to conduct marine seismic surveys become available, NSF and SIO would consider whether they would be effective tools to meet research goals (and assess any potential environmental impacts).

    Of the various technologies cited in the 2009 Okeanos workshop report on alternative technologies to seismic airgun surveys for oil and gas exploration and their potential for reducing impacts on marine mammals, few if any have reached operational viability. While the marine vibrator technology has been long discussed and evaluated, the technology is still unrealized commercially. According to Pramik (2013), the leading development effort by the Joint Industry Programme “has the goal of developing three competing designs within the next few years.” Geo-Kinetics has recently announced a commercial product called AquaVib, but that product produces relatively low-power, and is intended for use in very shallow water depths in sensitive environments and the vicinity of pipelines or other infrastructure. The instrument is entirely unsuited to deep-water, long-offset reflection profiling. The BP North America staggered burst technique would have to be developed well beyond the patent stage to be remotely practicable and would require extensive modification and testing of the Revelle sound source and recording systems. None of the other technologies considered (i.e., gravity, electromagnetic, Deep Towed Acoustics/Geophysics System developed by the U.S. Navy [DTAGS], etc.) can produce the resolution or sub-seafloor penetration required to resolve sediment thickness and geologic structure at the requisite scales. Improving the streamer signal to noise through improved telemetry (e.g., fiber optic cable) while desirable, would involve replacing the Revelle's streamers and acquisition units, requiring a major capital expenditure.

    Comment 10: Dr. Slooten states that NMFS, NSF, and SIO should clarify the probability and effectiveness of using PSOs for detecting marine mammals in the proposed action area, especially when considering the distances to which noise from the airgun array propagates. A single PSO would only be able to visually sight a small fraction of the marine mammals in the action area and even close to the vessel (Barlow and Gisiner, 2006). A representative of the oil and gas industry (i.e., John Hughes, geophysical operations adviser at The Northwood Resource) recently described PSOs on seismic vessels as “window dressing” at the New Zealand Petroleum Summit 2015 (Hughes, 2015). The representative's presentation Myths about Marine Seismic Surveys are Not Facts can be found online at: http://webcast.gigtv.com.au/Mediasite/Play/b90807c8ea8641bb93c57f435d4334841d?catalog=44162ae3%E2%80%90ca94%E2%80%904a9bb60c%E2%80%903b08c9b325ef.

    Response: NMFS acknowledges that PSO effectiveness is not 100%, particularly for some deep-diving species of marine mammals (such as beaked whales and Kogia spp.), which may be found in the study area and are cryptic at the sea surface and difficult to observe. The Revelle will carry three qualified and experienced PSOs. PSOs are appointed by SIO with NMFS concurrence. PSOs aboard the vessel will have had training to detect protected species and two PSOs will be on visual watch during airgun operations, except during mealtimes and restroom breaks, if needed. Also, the vessel's crew will be instructed to observe from the bridge and decks for opportunistic sightings.

    Comment 11: Dr. Slooten states that NMFS, NSF, and SIO should describe the effectiveness and biological meaningful reductions in environmental impacts of the mitigation measures (e.g., ramp-up and shut-down) that rely on PSOs visually detecting marine mammals and support these conclusions using scientific evidence.

    Response: NMFS is currently unaware of any studies that meaningfully quantitatively describe the general effectiveness of monitoring and mitigation measures in the scientific literature. NMFS acknowledges Dr. Slooten's suggestion for analysis of monitoring and mitigation measures to help identify the effectiveness for seismic surveys. The purpose of a ramp-up is to “warn” marine mammals in the vicinity of the airguns and to provide the time for them to leave the area, avoiding any potential injury or impairment of their hearing abilities. The purpose of a shut-down is to turn off the airgun array if a marine mammal enters or is about to enter the exclusion zone, which would avoid exposing the animal to levels of sound that could potentially be injurious. Based on information in monitoring reports from previous NSF-funded seismic surveys, NMFS believes that implementing shut-downs as a mitigation measure reduced incidents of exposures from higher levels of sound from airgun operations on marine mammals. The IHA requires PSOs on the Revelle to conduct visual monitoring as well as the establishment of buffer and exclusion zones, ramp-up procedures, shut-down procedures, speed or course alteration, and additional measures for airgun operations in nearshore waters and during low-light hours. NMFS requires SIO and NSF to gather all data that could potentially provide information regarding the effectiveness of mitigation measures it its monitoring report. The information gathered may not result in any statistically robust conclusions for this particular low-energy seismic survey, but over the long term, these requirements may provide information regarding the effectiveness of monitoring and mitigation measures, provided PSOs detect animals.

    Comment 12: Dr. Slooten states that NMFS should require shut-downs of the airgun array and other sound sources (i.e., multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler) during poor visibility and/or nighttime conditions. A cautious approach should be used during poor visibility and/or nighttime conditions as a PSO would be unable to detect marine mammals near the vessel at those times.

    Response: NMFS disagrees with the commenters' assessment. NMFS has measures in place and required by the IHA for airgun operations that we believe minimize potential impacts to marine mammals during poor visibility and/or nighttime conditions. No initiation of airgun operations is permitted from a shut-down position at night or during low-light hours (such as in dense fog or heavy rain) when the entire relevant exclusion zone cannot be effectively monitored by the PSO(s) on duty. However, airgun operations may continue into night and low-light hours if the segment(s) of the survey is initiated when the entire relevant exclusion zones are visible and can be effectively monitored. Limiting or suspending the low-energy seismic survey in low visibility conditions or at night would significantly extend the duration of the low-energy seismic survey. NMFS has not specified measures in the IHA requiring a shut-down for other sound sources (i.e., multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler) during poor visibility and/or nighttime conditions. Take is not expected to result from the use of the multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler, as the brief exposure of marine mammals to one pulse, or small numbers of signals, to be generated by these instruments in this particular case as well as their characteristics (e.g., narrow-shaped, downward-directed beam emitted from the bottom of the ship) is not likely to result in the harassment of marine mammals.

    Comment 13: Dr. Slooten states that NSF and SIO should use and NMFS should require the use of passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) for marine mammals during the low-energy seismic survey, as it should be a routine requirement in U.S. waters.

    Response: The NSF/USGS PEIS states that a towed PAM system is used normally for high-energy seismic surveys, and implied that it was not used for low-energy seismic surveys since towing PAM equipment is not practicable in some cases. For high-energy seismic surveys, PAM is practicable because the system is installed on the vessel used for such surveys. These PAM systems are expensive and are not portable from one vessel to another, requires complex logistics, and additional PSOs to be trained to operate the equipment, software, etc. SIO's project in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, is considered a low-energy marine seismic survey and is, furthermore, of short duration; therefore, NMFS and SIO has determined that it is not practicable and a towed PAM system will not be used for this specific project. SIO has appointed three PSOs onboard the Revelle, with NMFS's concurrence, to monitor and mitigate the buffer and exclusion zones during daylight. Also, NMFS believes that a towed PAM system is not needed to augment visual observations as the buffer and exclusion zones are less than 1,000 m (3,280.1 ft) and can be effectively monitored for marine mammals so that mitigation measures may be implemented, if needed.

    Comment 14: Dr. Slooten states that NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis fails to include several important publications, including Barlow and Gisiner's Mitigating, monitoring and assessing the effects of anthropogenic sound on beaked whales (2006).

    Response: Barlow and Gisiner (2006) was addressed in the NSF/USGS PEIS (2011) and is therefore not cited specifically in NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis (2014) or NMFS's EA. A comprehensive literature review on the potential effects of seismic surveys is provided in the NSF/USGS PEIS (2011), and the NSF and SIO Environmental Analysis and NMFS's EA refers to that document. The NSF and SIO Environmental Analysis only includes new relevant publications that were not included in the NSF/USGS PEIS, as noted in Section IV of that document.

    NMFS believes that SIO's visual monitoring efforts are successful for detecting marine mammals and, through the implementation of mitigation, successful at minimizing the likelihood of injury or potentially more severe behavioral responses. NMFS expects that the impacts of the seismic survey on marine mammals will be temporary in nature and not result in substantial impacts to marine mammals or to their role in the ecosystem. The IHA anticipates and authorizes, Level B harassment only, in the form of temporary behavioral disturbance, of species of cetaceans. Neither Level A harassment (injury), serious injury, nor mortality is anticipated or authorized, and Level B harassment is not expected to affect biodiversity or ecosystem function. NMFS believes that SIO and NSF's short duration low-energy seismic survey will have a negligible impact on the affected species or stocks of marine mammals in the action area.

    Comment 15: Dr. Slooten states that in general, NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis tends to understate the potential impacts of the proposed action. A second draft of the Environmental Analysis should be prepared, with a more comprehensive literature review including key recent scientific publications that highlight the potential impacts of seismic surveys, to avoid over-representing literature that downplays the impacts.

    Response: NMFS disagrees with Dr. Slooten's statement that a second or revised draft Environmental Analysis is warranted to consider any additional scientific literature. Prior to the conduct of the planned low-energy seismic survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, a comprehensive literature review and potential impacts based on scientific publications are described in the NSF/USGS PEIS (2011), NSF and SIO Environmental Analysis, and NMFS EA. The commenter has not identified any particular potential impacts or studies that have been “downplayed.” These documents have been posted on NSF's Environmental Compliance and NMFS's Web sites at: https://www.nsf.gov/geo/oce/envcomp/index.jsp http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/research.htm#scripps_nz_2015. Also, the commenter has not identified any key scientific publications supporting their statement and did not provide references supporting their statement which limits our ability to respond to the commenter's statements.

    Comment 16: Dr. Slooten states that the southern survey area, off New Zealand's South Island is described as a “contingency area that would only be surveyed if time permits.” On the basis of currently available scientific data, this is a high risk area in terms of marine mammal density. In addition, the southern survey area has steep depth contours relatively close to shore.

    Response: Dr. Slooten provided a brief summary of cetacean sightings off Kaikoura, New Zealand by members of Otago University's Marine Mammal Research Group between 1990 and 2015. The information on the cetacean species present in the action area included year-round resident, frequent visitors (more than 2 sightings per year, every year), and occasional sightings (1 or 2 sightings per year and not every year). The commenter did not provide references or data supporting their statement which limits our ability to respond to the commenter's statement that the southern area off the South Island is “high risk” based on marine mammal density. For the concerns regarding the steep depth contours relatively close to shore in the southern survey area, NMFS has added the requirement in the IHA that, to the maximum extent practicable (in consideration of time, fuel, and other operational constraints), SIO will conduct the low-energy seismic survey (especially when near land) from the coast (inshore) and proceed towards the sea (offshore) in order to avoid herding or trapping marine mammals in shallow water.

    Comment 17: Dr. Slooten states that NMFS should consider the potential risk factors of a vessel moving from deep water towards a shallower coastal area, and the ship using a multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler in addition to airguns, based on the stranding of beaked whales in Mexico (Gulf of California) during a NSF-funded seismic survey in 2002 (Taylor, 2004). The multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler could have been a contributing factor in forcing the beaked whales into shallower water. The beaked whales could have been herded ahead of the ship and found themselves in water that was too shallow to allow them to regulate their nitrogen levels. They may have out-gassed and died from the bends, or travelled rapidly towards the shore to avoid the noise resulting in a stranding.

    Response: The multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler that is currently installed on the Revelle was evaluated in the NSF/USGS PEIS and in NSF and SIO's Environmental Analysis, and has been used on at least 6 research low-energy seismic surveys throughout the world (e.g., Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Louisville Ridge, South Pacific Ocean, Tropical Western Pacific Ocean) since 2004 without association to any marine mammal strandings.

    Regarding the 2002 stranding in the Gulf of California, the multi-beam echosounder and sub-bottom profiler systems were on a different vessel, the R/V Maurice Ewing (Ewing), and is no longer operated by L-DEO. Although Dr. Slooten suggests that the multi-beam echosounder or sub-bottom profiler system or other acoustic sources on the Ewing may have been associated with the 2002 stranding of 2 beaked whales, as noted in Cox et al. (2006), “whether or not this survey caused the beaked whales to strand has been a matter of debate because of the small number of animals involved and a lack of knowledge regarding the temporal and spatial correlation between the animals and the sound source.” As noted by Yoder (2002), there was no scientific linkage to the event with the Ewing's activities and the acoustic sources being used. Hildebrand (2006) has noted that “the settings for these stranding are strikingly consistent: An island or archipelago with deep water nearby, appropriate for beaked whale foraging habitat. The conditions for mass stranding may be optimized when the sound source transits a deep channel between two islands, such as in the Bahamas (2000), and apparently in the Madeira (2000) incident.”

    The tracklines for the current low-energy seismic survey are planned to occur in intermediate and deep water and will not be conducted in a manner that is likely to result in the “herding of sensitive species” into canyons and other similar areas. The IHA has included the requirement that to the maximum extent practicable, SIO will conduct the low-energy seismic survey (especially when near land) from the coast (inshore) and proceed towards the sea (offshore) in order to avoid herding or trapping marine mammals in shallow water. Also, this low-energy seismic survey is of short duration and spread out over space and time as it is scheduled to occur for a total of approximately 135 hours (approximately 72 hours of continuous operations at a time) over the course of the entire cruise, which would be for approximately 27 operational days in May to June 2015. Given these conditions, NMFS does not anticipate strandings of marine mammals from use of the planned multi-beam echosounder or sub-bottom profiler.

    Comment 18: One private citizen opposed the issuance of an IHA by NMFS and the conduct of the low-energy seismic survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand. The commenter stated that NMFS should protect marine life from harm.

    Response: As described in detail in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015), as well as in this document, NMFS does not believe SIO's low-energy seismic survey will cause injury, serious injury, or mortality to marine mammals, and no take by injury, serious injury, or mortality is authorized. The required monitoring and mitigation measures that SIO will implement during the low-energy seismic survey will further reduce the potential impacts on marine mammals to the lowest level practicable. NMFS anticipates only behavioral disturbance to occur during the conduct of the low-energy seismic survey.

    Description of the Marine Mammals in the Specified Geographic Area of the Specified Activity

    Few scientific systematic surveys for marine mammals have been conducted in the waters of New Zealand, and these mainly consist of single-species surveys in shallow coastal waters (e.g., Dawson et al., 2004; Slooten et al., 2004, 2006). Large-scale, multi-species marine mammal surveys are lacking. Various sources for data on sightings in the planned study area were used to describe the occurrence of marine mammals in the waters of New Zealand, such as opportunistic sighting records presented in previous reports (including the New Zealand Department of Conservation marine mammals sighting database) considered in evaluating potential marine mammals in the planned action area.

    New Zealand is considered a “hotspot” for marine mammal species richness (Kaschner et al., 2011). The marine mammals that generally occur in the proposed action area belong to three taxonomic groups: mysticetes (baleen whales), odontocetes (toothed whales), and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions). The marine mammal species that could potentially occur within the Southwest Pacific Ocean in proximity to the planned action area East of New Zealand include 33 species of cetaceans (24 odontocetes and 9 mysticetes) and 2 species of pinnipeds (35 total species of marine mammals).

    Marine mammal species likely to be encountered in the planned study area that are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), are the southern right (Eubalaena australis), humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), sei (Balaenoptera borealis), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), blue (Balaenoptera musculus), and sperm (Physeter macrocephalus) whale. The Maui's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori maui) and New Zealand sea lion (Phocartos hookeri) are two other species are ranked as “nationally critical” in New Zealand (Baker et al., 2010). Maui's dolphin is only found along the west coast of the North Island. The northern range of the New Zealand sea lion is not expected to extend to the planned study area based on New Zealand's National Aquatic Biodiversity Information System (NABIS, 2014) and is not considered further.

    In addition to the marine mammal species known to occur in the Southwest Pacific Ocean off the east coast of New Zealand, there are 18 species of marine mammals (12 cetacean and 6 pinniped species) with ranges that are known to potentially occur in the waters of the planned study area, but they are categorized as “vagrant” under the New Zealand Threat Classification System (Baker et al., 2010). These include: Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima), Arnoux's beaked whale (Berardius arnouxi), ginkgo-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens), pygmy beaked whale (Mesoplodon peruvianis), Type B, C, and D killer whale (Orcinus orca), melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra), Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus), Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis), spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica), Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazelle), Subantarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis), crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophagus), leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), Ross seal (Ommatophoca rossi), and Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii). According to Jefferson et al. (2008), the distributional range of Hubb's beaked whale (Mesoplodon carlhubbsi) and True's beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) may also include New Zealand waters. There are no records of Hubb's beaked whale in New Zealand, and only a single record of True's beaked whale, which stranded on the west coast of South Island in November 2011 (Constantine et al., 2014). The spinner dolphin's (Stenella longirostris) range includes tropical and subtropical zones 40° North to 40° South, but would be considered vagrant as well. However, these species are not expected to occur where the planned activities will take place. Except for Arnoux's beaked whale, pygmy beaked whale, and Risso's dolphin, these species are not considered further in this document. Table 2 (below) presents information on the habitat, occurrence, distribution, abundance, population, and conservation status of the species of marine mammals that may occur in the planned study area during May to June 2015.

    Table 2—The Habitat, Occurrence, Range, Regional Abundance, and Conservation Status of Marine Mammals That May Occur in or Near the Low-Energy Seismic Survey Area in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand (See Text and Tables 2 in SIO's IHA Application for Further Details) Species Habitat Occurrence Range Population
  • estimate
  • ESA 1 MMPA 2
    Mysticetes Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) Coastal, shelf, pelagic Common Circumpolar 20 to 55° South 8,000 3 to 15,000 4—Worldwide
  • 12,000 12—Southern Hemisphere
  • 2,700 12—Sub-Antarctic New Zealand
  • EN D
    Pygmy right whale (Caperea marginata) Pelagic and coastal Rare Circumpolar 30 to 55° South NA NL NC Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Pelagic, nearshore waters, and banks Common Cosmopolitan Migratory 35,000 to 42,000 3 12—Southern Hemisphere EN D Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata including dwarf sub-species) Pelagic and coastal Uncommon Circumpolar—Southern Hemisphere to 65° South 720,000 to 750,000 12 14 15—Southern Hemisphere NL NC Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) Pelagic, ice floes, coastal Uncommon 7° South to ice edge (usually 20 to 65° South) 720,000 to 750,000 12 14 15—Southern Hemisphere NL NC Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) Pelagic and coastal Rare Circumglobal—Tropical and Subtropical Zones At least 30,000 to 40,000 3—Worldwide
  • 21,000 12—Northwestern Pacific Ocean
  • 48,109 13
  • NL NC
    Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) Primarily offshore, pelagic Uncommon Migratory, Feeding Concentration 40 to 50° South 80,000 3—Worldwide
  • 10,000 14—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • EN D
    Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Continental slope, pelagic Uncommon Cosmopolitan, Migratory 140,000 3—Worldwide
  • 15,000 14—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • EN D
    Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus; including pygmy blue whale [Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda]) Pelagic, shelf, coastal Uncommon Migratory Pygmy blue whale—North of Antarctic Convergence 55° South 8,000 to 9,000 3—Worldwide
  • 2,300 12—True Southern Hemisphere
  • 1,500 14—Pygmy
  • EN D
    Odontocetes Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) Pelagic, deep sea Common Cosmopolitan, Migratory 360,000 3—Worldwide
  • 30,000 13—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • EN D
    Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) Shelf, Pelagic Vagrant Circumglobal—Tropical and Temperate Zones NA NL NC Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) Shelf, Pelagic Uncommon Circumglobal—Temperate Zones NA NL NC Arnoux's beaked whale (Berardius arnuxii) Pelagic Vagrant Circumpolar in Southern Hemisphere, 24 to 78° South NA NL NC Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) Pelagic Uncommon Cosmopolitan 600,00014 16 NL NC Southern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon planifrons) Pelagic Rare Circumpolar—30° South to ice edge 500,000 3—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • 600,000 14 16
  • NL NC
    Shepherd's beaked whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi) Pelagic Rare Circumpolar—Cold temperate waters Southern Hemisphere 600,000 14 16 NL NC Andrew's beaked whale (Mesoplodon bowdoini) Pelagic Rare Circumpolar—temperate waters of Southern Hemisphere, 32 to 55° South 600,000 14 16 NL NC Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) Pelagic Rare Circumglobal—tropical and temperate waters 600,000 14 16 NL NC Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon ginkgodens) Pelagic Vagrant Tropical and Temperate waters—Indo-Pacific Ocean NA NL NC Gray's beaked whale (Mesoplodon grayi) Pelagic Common 30° South to Antarctic waters 600,000 14 16 NL NC Hector's beaked whale (Mesoplodon hectori) Pelagic Rare Circumpolar—cool temperate waters of Southern Hemisphere 600,000 14 16 NL NC Hubb's beaked whale (Mesoplodon carlhubbsi) Pelagic Vagrant North Pacific Ocean NA NL NC Pygmy beaked whale (Mesoplodon peruvianis) Pelagic Vagrant 28° North to 30° South in Pacific Ocean NA NL NC Spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii) Pelagic Rare Circumantarctic 600,000 14 16 NL NC Strap-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon layardii) Pelagic Uncommon 30° South to Antarctic Convergence 600,000 14 16 NL NC True's beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) Pelagic Vagrant Anti-tropical in Northern and Southern Hemisphere NA NL NC Killer whale (Orcinus orca) Pelagic, shelf, coastal, pack ice Common Cosmopolitan 80,000 3—South of Antarctic Convergence NL NC False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) Pelagic, shelf, coastal Uncommon Circumglobal—tropical and warmer temperate water NA NL NC Long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) Pelagic, shelf, coastal Common Circumpolar—19 to 68° South in Southern Hemisphere 200,000 3 5 14—South of Antarctic Convergence NL NC Short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrocephalus) Pelagic, shelf, coastal Uncommon Circumglobal—50° North to 40° South At least 600,000 3—Worldwide NL NC Melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra) Pelagic, shelf, coastal Vagrant Circumglobal—40° North to 35° South 45,000 3—Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean NL NC Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Coastal, shelf, offshore Common 45° North to 45° South At least 614,000 3—Worldwide NL
  • C—Fjordland population
  • NC
    Dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) Shelf, slope Common Temperate waters—Southern Hemisphere 12,000 to 20,000 17—New Zealand NL NC Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei) Pelagic Vagrant Pantropical—30° North to 30° South 289,000 3—Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean NL NC Hector's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori; including Maui's dolphin subspecies [C. h. maui]) Nearshore Rare Shallow coastal waters—New Zealand (Maui's dolphin—west North Island) 7,400 17 55 19—Maui's C NC Hourglass dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger) Pelagic, ice edge Uncommon 33° South to pack ice 144,000 3 to 150,000 14—South of Antarctic Convergence NL NC Pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) Coastal, shelf, slope Vagrant Circumglobal—40° North to 40° South At least 2,000,000 3—Worldwide NL NC Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) Mainly nearshore Vagrant Circumglobal—40° North to 40° South At least 1,200,000 3—Worldwide NL NC Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) Off continental shelf, convergence zones, upwelling Vagrant Circumglobal—50 to 40 South At least 1,100,000 3—Worldwide NL NC Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) Slope, Pelagic Vagrant Circumglobal—Tropical and Temperate waters At least 330,000 3—Worldwide NL NC Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) Pelagic Vagrant Circumglobal—40° North to 35° South NA NL NC Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) Pelagic Common Circumglobal—tropical and warm temperate waters At least 3,500,000 3—Worldwide NL NC Southern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis peronii) Pelagic Uncommon 12 to 65° South NA NL NC Spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica) Coastal, pelagic Vagrant Circumpolar—Southern Hemisphere NA NL NC Pinnipeds Crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophaga) Coastal, pack ice Vagrant Circumpolar—Antarctic 5,000,000 to 15,000,000 3 6—Worldwide NL NC Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) Pack ice, sub-Antarctic islands Vagrant Sub-Antarctic islands to pack ice 220,000 to 440,000 3 7—Worldwide NL NC Ross seal (Ommatophoca rossii) Pack ice, smooth ice floes, pelagic Vagrant Circumpolar—Antarctic 130,000 3
  • 20,000 to 220,000 11—Worldwide
  • NL NC
    Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) Fast ice, pack ice, sub-Antarctic islands Vagrant Circumpolar—Southern Hemisphere 500,000 to 1,000,000 3 8—Worldwide NL NC Southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) Coastal, pelagic, sub-Antarctic waters Uncommon Circumpolar—Antarctic Convergence to pack ice 640,000 9 to 650,000 3—Worldwide 470,000—South Georgia Island 11
  • 607,000 17
  • NL NC
    Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella) Shelf, rocky habitats Vagrant Sub-Antarctic islands to pack ice edge 1,600,000 10 to 3,000,000 3—Worldwide NL NC New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri) Rocky habitats, sub-Antarctic islands Common North and South Islands, New Zealand
  • Southern and Western Australia
  • 135,000 3—Worldwide
  • 50,000 to 100,000 18—New Zealand
  • NL NC
    Subantarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis) Shelf, rocky habitats Vagrant Subtropical front to sub-Antarctic islands and Antarctica Greater than 310,000 3—Worldwide NL NC New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) Shelf, rocky habitats Rare Sub-Antarctic islands south of New Zealand 12,500 3 NL NC NA = Not available or not assessed. 1 U.S. Endangered Species Act: EN = Endangered, T = Threatened, DL = Delisted, NL = Not listed, C = Candidate. 2 U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act: D = Depleted, S = Strategic, NC = Not Classified. 3 Jefferson et al., 2008. 4 Kenney, 2009. 5 Olson, 2009. 6 Bengston, 2009. 7 Rogers, 2009. 8 Thomas and Terhune, 2009. 9 Hindell and Perrin, 2009. 10 Arnould, 2009. 11 Academic Press, 2009. 12 IWC, 2014. 13 IWC, 1981. 14 Boyd, 2002. 15 Dwarf and Antarctic minke whale combined. 16 All Antarctic beaked whales combined. 17 New Zealand Department of Conservation. 18 Suisted and Neale, 2004. 19 95% confidence interval (48 to 69 animals) from Hamner et al. 2012, 2013.

    Refer to sections 3 and 4 of SIO's IHA application for detailed information regarding the abundance and distribution, population status, and life history and behavior of these marine mammal species and their occurrence in the planned action area. The IHA application also presents how SIO calculated the estimated densities for the marine mammals in the planned study area. NMFS has reviewed these data and determined them to be the best available scientific information for the purposes of the IHA.

    Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals

    This section includes a summary and discussion of the ways that the types of stressors associated with the specified activity (e.g., seismic airgun operation, vessel movement, and gear deployment) are believed to impact marine mammals. This section is intended as a background of potential effects and does not fully consider either the specific manner in which this activity would be carried out or the mitigation that would be implemented, and how either of those would shape the anticipated impacts from this specific activity. The “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section later in this document will include a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The “Negligible Impact Analysis” section will include the analysis of how this specific activity will impact marine mammals and will consider the content of this section, the “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section, the “Mitigation” section, and the “Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat” section to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of this activity on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and from that on the affected marine mammal populations or stocks.

    When considering the influence of various kinds of sound on the marine environment, it is necessary to understand that different kinds of marine life are sensitive to different frequencies of sound. Based on available behavioral data, audiograms have been derived using auditory evoked potentials, anatomical modeling, and other data. Southall et al. (2007) designate “functional hearing groups” for marine mammals and estimate the lower and upper frequencies of functional hearing of the groups. The functional groups and the associated frequencies are indicated below (though animals are less sensitive to sounds at the outer edge of their functional range and most sensitive to sounds of frequencies within a smaller range somewhere in the middle of their functional hearing range):

    • Low-frequency cetaceans (13 species of mysticetes): Functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 7 Hz and 30 kHz;

    • Mid-frequency cetaceans (32 species of dolphins, six species of larger toothed whales, and 19 species of beaked and bottlenose whales): Functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 150 Hz and 160 kHz;

    • High-frequency cetaceans (eight species of true porpoises, six species of river dolphins, Kogia spp., the franciscana [Pontoporia blainvillei], and four species of cephalorhynchids): Functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 200 Hz and 180 kHz; and

    • Phocid pinnipeds in water: Functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 75 Hz and 100 kHz;

    • Otariid pinnipeds in water: Functional hearing is estimated to occur between approximately 100 Hz and 40 kHz.

    As mentioned previously in this document, 35 marine mammal species (33 cetacean and 2 pinniped species) are likely to occur in the low-energy seismic survey area. Of the 30 cetacean species likely to occur in SIO's action area, 9 are classified as low-frequency cetaceans (southern right, pygmy right, humpback, minke, Antarctic minke, Bryde's, sei, fin, and blue whale), 20 are classified as mid-frequency cetaceans (sperm, Cuvier's beaked, Shepherd's beaked, southern bottlenose, Andrew's beaked, Blainville's beaked, Gray's beaked, Hector's beaked, spade-toothed beaked, strap-toothed beaked, killer, false killer, long-finned pilot, and short-finned pilot whale, and bottlenose, dusky, Hector's, hourglass, short-beaked common, and southern right whale dolphin), and 1 is classified as high-frequency cetaceans (pygmy sperm whale) (Southall et al., 2007). Of the 2 pinniped species likely to occur in SIO's proposed action area, 1 is classified as phocid (southern elephant seal) and 1 is classified as otariid (New Zealand fur seal) (Southall et al., 2007). A species functional hearing group is a consideration when we analyze the effects of exposure to sound on marine mammals.

    Acoustic stimuli generated by the operation of the airguns, which introduce sound into the marine environment, have the potential to cause Level B harassment of marine mammals in the study area. The effects of sounds from airgun operations might include one or more of the following: Tolerance, masking of natural sounds, behavioral disturbance, temporary or permanent hearing impairment, or non-auditory physical or physiological effects (Richardson et al., 1995; Gordon et al., 2004; Nowacek et al., 2007; Southall et al., 2007). Although the possibility cannot be entirely excluded, it is unlikely that the proposed project would result in any cases of temporary or permanent hearing impairment, or any significant non-auditory physical or physiological effects. Based on the available data and studies described in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015, some behavioral disturbance is expected. A more comprehensive review of these issues can be found in the NSF/USGS PEIS (2011) and L-DEO's Final Environmental Assessment of a Marine Geophysical Survey by the R/V Marcus G. Langseth in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras, September to October 2014.

    The notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015) included a discussion of the effects of sounds from airguns, bathymetric surveys, heat-flow measurements, and other acoustic devices and sources on mysticetes and odontocetes, including tolerance, masking, behavioral disturbance, hearing impairment, and other non-auditory physical effects. The notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015) also included a discussion of the effects of vessel movement and collisions as well as entanglement. NMFS refers the readers to SIO's IHA application and Environmental Analysis for additional information on the behavioral reactions (or lack thereof) by all types of marine mammals to seismic vessels.

    Anticipated Effects on Marine Mammal Habitat, Fish, and Invertebrates

    NMFS included a detailed discussion of the potential effects of this action on marine mammal habitat, including physiological and behavioral effects on marine fish and invertebrates, in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015). The low-energy seismic survey is not anticipated to have any permanent impact on habitats used by the marine mammals in the study area, including the food sources they use (i.e., fish and invertebrates). Additionally, no physical damage to any habitat is anticipated as a result of conducing airgun operations during the low-energy seismic survey. While NMFS anticipates that the specified activity may result in marine mammals avoiding certain areas due to temporary ensonification, this impact is temporary and reversible, and was considered in further detail in the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015), as behavioral modification. The main impact associated with the planned activity will be temporarily elevated noise levels and the associated direct effects on marine mammals.

    Mitigation

    In order to issue an Incidental Take Authorization (ITA) under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (where relevant).

    SIO reviewed the following source documents and incorporated a suite of appropriate mitigation measures into the project description.

    (1) Protocols used during previous NSF and USGS-funded seismic research cruises as approved by NMFS and detailed in the “Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement for Marine Seismic Research Funded by the National Science Foundation or Conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey;”

    (2) Previous IHA applications and IHAs approved and authorized by NMFS; and

    (3) Recommended best practices in Richardson et al. (1995), Pierson et al. (1998), and Weir and Dolman, (2007).

    To reduce the potential effects from acoustic stimuli associated with the planned activities, SIO must implement the following mitigation measures for marine mammals:

    (1) Exclusion zones around the sound source;

    (2) Speed and course alterations;

    (3) Shut-down procedures; and

    (4) Ramp-up procedures.

    Exclusion Zones—During pre-planning of the cruise, the smallest airgun array was identified that could be used and still meet the geophysical scientific objectives. SIO use radii to designate exclusion and buffer zones and to estimate take for marine mammals. Table 3 (see below) shows the distances at which one would expect to receive three sound levels (160, 180, and 190 dB) from the two GI airgun array. The 180 and 190 dB level shut-down criteria are applicable to cetaceans and pinnipeds, respectively, as specified by NMFS (2000) and will be used to establish the exclusion and buffer zones.

    Table 3—Predicted and Modeled (Two 45 in3 GI Airgun Array) Distances to Which Sound Levels ≥160, 180, and 190 dB re 1 μPa (rms) Could Be Received in Intermediate and Deep Water During the Proposed Low-Energy Seismic Survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015 Source and total
  • volume
  • Tow depth (m) Water depth (m) Predicted RMS radii distances (m) for 2 GI airgun array 160 dB 180 dB 190 dB
    Two 45 in3 GI Airguns
  • (90 in3)
  • 2 Intermediate (100 to 1,000) 600 (1,968.5 ft) 100 (328.1 ft) 15 (49.2 ft) *100 would be used for pinnipeds as described in NSF/USGS PEIS.*
    Two 45 in3 GI Airguns (90 in3) 2 Deep (>1,000) 400 (1,312.3 ft) 100 (328.1 m) 10 (32.8 ft) *100 would be used for pinnipeds as described in NSF/USGS PEIS.*
    Based on the NSF/USGS PEIS and Record of Decision, for situations which incidental take of marine mammals is anticipated, SIO has established exclusion zones of 100 m for cetaceans and pinnipeds for all low-energy acoustic sources in water depths greater than 100 m would be implemented.

    Received sound levels were modeled by L-DEO for a number of airgun configurations, including two 45 in3 Nucleus G airguns, in relation to distance and direction from the airguns (see Figure 2 of the IHA application). In addition, propagation measurements of pulses from two GI airguns have been reported for shallow water (approximately 30 m [98.4 ft] depth) in the Gulf of Mexico (Tolstoy et al., 2004). However, measurements were not made for the two GI airguns in deep water. The model does not allow for bottom interactions, and is most directly applicable to deep water. Based on the modeling, estimates of the maximum distances from the GI airguns where sound levels are predicted to be 190, 180, and 160 dB re 1 µPa (rms) in intermediate and deep water were determined (see Table 3 above).

    Empirical data concerning the 190, 180, and 160 dB (rms) distances were acquired for various airgun arrays based on measurements during the acoustic verification studies conducted by L-DEO in the northern Gulf of Mexico in 2003 (Tolstoy et al., 2004) and 2007 to 2008 (Tolstoy et al., 2009). Results of the 18 and 36 airgun arrays are not relevant for the two GI airguns to be used in the proposed low-energy seismic survey because the airgun arrays are not the same size or volume. The empirical data for the 6, 10, 12, and 20 airgun arrays indicate that, for deep water, the L-DEO model tends to overestimate the received sound levels at a given distance (Tolstoy et al., 2004). Measurements were not made for the two GI airgun array in deep water; however, SIO proposed to use the safety radii predicted by L-DEO's model for the planned GI airgun operations in intermediate and deep water, although they are likely conservative given the empirical results for the other arrays.

    Based on the modeling data, the outputs from the pair of 45 in3 GI airguns planned to be used during the low-energy seismic survey are considered a low-energy acoustic source in the NSF/USGS PEIS (2011) for marine seismic research. A low-energy seismic source was defined in the NSF/USGS PEIS as an acoustic source whose received level is less than or equal to 180 dB at 100 m (including any single or any two GI airguns and a single pair of clustered airguns with individual volumes of less than or equal to 250 in3). The NSF/USGS PEIS also established for these low-energy sources a standard exclusion zone of 100 m for all low-energy sources in water depths greater than 100 m. This standard 100 m exclusion zone will be used during the proposed low-energy seismic survey using the pair of 45 in3 GI airguns. The 180 and 190 dB (rms) radii are the current Level A harassment criteria applicable to cetaceans and pinnipeds, respectively; these levels were used to establish exclusion zones. Therefore, the assumed 180 and 190 dB radii are 100 m for intermediate and deep water. If the PSO detects a marine mammal within or about to enter the appropriate exclusion zone, the airguns will be shut-down immediately.

    Speed and Course Alterations—If a marine mammal is detected outside the exclusion zone and, based on its position and direction of travel (relative motion), is likely to enter the exclusion zone, changes of the vessel's speed and/or direct course will be considered if this does not compromise operational safety or damage the deployed equipment. This will be done if operationally practicable while minimizing the effect on the planned science objectives. For marine seismic surveys towing large streamer arrays, course alterations are not typically implemented due to the vessel's limited maneuverability. However, the Revelle will be towing a relatively short hydrophone streamer, so its maneuverability during operations with the hydrophone streamer will not be as limited as vessels towing long streamers, thus increasing the potential to implement course alterations, if necessary. After any such speed and/or course alteration is begun, the marine mammal activities and movements relative to the seismic vessel would be closely monitored to ensure that the marine mammal does not approach within the applicable exclusion zone. If the marine mammal appears likely to enter the exclusion zone, further mitigation actions will be taken, including further speed and/or course alterations, and/or shut-down of the airgun(s). Typically, during airgun operations, the source vessel is unable to change speed or course, and one or more alternative mitigation measures will need to be implemented.

    Shut-down Procedures—If a marine mammal is detected outside the exclusion zone for the airgun(s) but is likely to enter the exclusion zone, and the vessel's speed and/or course cannot be changed to avoid having the animal enter the exclusion zone, SIO will shut-down the operating airgun(s) before the animal is within the exclusion zone. Likewise, if a marine mammal is already within the exclusion zone when first detected, the airguns will be shut-down immediately.

    Following a shut-down, SIO will not resume airgun activity until the marine mammal has cleared the exclusion zone, or until the PSO is confident that the animal has left the vicinity of the vessel. SIO will consider the animal to have cleared the exclusion zone if:

    • A PSO has visually observed the animal leave the exclusion zone, or

    • A PSO has not sighted the animal within the exclusion zone for 15 minutes for species with shorter dive durations (i.e., small odontocetes and pinnipeds), or 30 minutes for species with longer dive durations (i.e., mysticetes and large odontocetes, including sperm, dwarf and pygmy sperm, killer, and beaked whales).

    Although power-down procedures are often standard operating practice for seismic surveys, they will not be used during this planned low-energy seismic survey because powering-down from two airguns to one airgun will make only a small difference in the exclusion zone(s) that probably will not be enough to allow continued one-airgun operations if a marine mammal came within the exclusion zone for two airguns.

    Ramp-up Procedures—Ramp-up of an airgun array provides a gradual increase in sound levels, and involves a step-wise increase in the number and total volume of airguns firing until the full volume of the airgun array is achieved. The purpose of a ramp-up is to “warn” marine mammals in the vicinity of the airguns and to provide the time for them to leave the area, avoiding any potential injury or impairment of their hearing abilities. SIO will follow a ramp-up procedure when the airgun array begins operating after a specified period without airgun operations or when a shut-down has exceeded that period. For the present cruise, this period will be approximately 15 minutes. SIO, L-DEO, USGS, NSF, and ASC have used similar periods (approximately 15 minutes) during previous low-energy seismic surveys.

    Ramp-up will begin with a single GI airgun (45 in3). The second GI airgun (45 in3) will be added after 5 minutes. During ramp-up, the PSOs will monitor the exclusion zone, and if marine mammals are sighted, a shut-down will be implemented as though both GI airguns were operational.

    If the complete exclusion zone has not been visible for at least 30 minutes prior to the start of operations in either daylight or nighttime, SIO will not commence the ramp-up. Given these provisions, it is likely that the airgun array will not be ramped-up from a complete shut-down during low light conditions, at night, or in thick fog, (i.e., poor visibility conditions) because the outer part of the exclusion zone for that array will not be visible during those conditions. If one airgun has been operating, ramp-up to full power will be permissible during low light, at night, or in poor visibility, on the assumption that marine mammals will be alerted to the approaching seismic vessel by the sounds from the single airgun and could move away if they choose. SIO will not initiate a ramp-up of the airguns if a marine mammal is sighted within or near the applicable exclusion zones during day or night. NMFS refers the reader to Figure 2, which presents a flowchart representing the ramp-up and shut-down protocols described in this notice.

    EN22MY15.006 Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated the applicant's mitigation measures and has considered a range of other measures in the context of ensuring that NMFS prescribes the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. NMFS's evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure is expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    (2) The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    (3) The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation including consideration of personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the activity.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed below:

    (1) Avoidance of minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    (2) A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels of airguns, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    (3) A reduction in the number of time (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals would be exposed to received levels of airguns, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    (4) A reduction in the intensity of exposures (either total number or number at biologically important time or location) to received levels of airguns, or other activities, or other activities expected to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to a, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    (5) Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    (6) For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on NMFS's evaluation of the applicant's measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS or recommended by the public, NMFS has determined that the mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance.

    Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an ITA for an activity, section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth “requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking.” The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104(a)(13) indicate that requests for IHAs must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the action area. SIO submitted a marine mammal monitoring plan as part of the IHA application. It can be found in Section 13 of the IHA application. The plan has not been modified or supplemented between the notice of the proposed IHA (80 FR 15060, March 20, 2015) and this notice announcing the issuance of the IHA, as none of the comments or new information received from the public during the public comment period required a change to the plan.

    Monitoring measures prescribed by NMFS should accomplish one or more of the following general goals:

    (1) An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, both within the mitigation zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general to generate more data to contribute to the analyses mentioned below;

    (2) An increase in our understanding of how many marine mammals are likely to be exposed to levels of sound (airguns) that we associate with specific adverse effects, such as behavioral harassment, TTS, or PTS;

    (3) An increase in our understanding of how marine mammals respond to stimuli expected to result in take and how anticipated adverse effects on individuals (in different ways and to varying degrees) may impact the population, species, or stock (specifically through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival) through any of the following methods:

    • Behavioral observations in the presence of stimuli compared to observations in the absence of stimuli (need to be able to accurately predict received level, distance from source, and other pertinent information);

    • Physiological measurements in the presence of stimuli compared to observations in the absence of stimuli (need to be able to accurately predict received level, distance from source, and other pertinent information); and

    • Distribution and/or abundance comparisons in times or areas with concentrated stimuli versus times or areas without stimuli

    (4) An increased knowledge of the affected species; and

    (5) An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of certain mitigation and monitoring measures.

    Monitoring

    SIO will conduct marine mammal monitoring during the low-energy seismic survey, in order to implement the mitigation measures that require real-time monitoring and to satisfy the monitoring requirements of the IHA. SIO's “Monitoring Plan” is described below this section. The monitoring work described here has been planned as a self-contained project independent of any other related monitoring projects that may be occurring simultaneously in the same regions. SIO is prepared to discuss coordination of their monitoring program with any related work that might be done by other groups insofar as this is practical and desirable.

    Vessel-Based Visual Monitoring

    SIO's PSOs will be based aboard the seismic source vessel and will watch for marine mammals near the vessel during daytime airgun operations and during any ramp-ups of the airguns at night. PSOs will also watch for marine mammals near the seismic vessel for at least 30 minutes prior to the start of airgun operations and after an extended shut-down (i.e., greater than approximately 15 minutes for this low-energy seismic survey). When feasible, PSOs will conduct observations during daytime periods when the seismic system is not operating (such as during transits) for comparison of sighting rates and behavior with and without airgun operations and between acquisition periods. Based on PSO observations, the airguns will be shut-down when marine mammals are observed within or about to enter a designated exclusion zone.

    During airgun operations in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, at least three PSOs will be based aboard the Revelle. At least one PSO will stand watch at all times while the Revelle is operating airguns during the low-energy seismic survey; this procedure would also be followed when the vessel is in transit. SIO will appoint the PSOs with NMFS's concurrence. The lead PSO will be experienced with marine mammal species in the Pacific Ocean and/or off the east coast of New Zealand, the second and third PSOs would receive additional specialized training from the lead PSO to ensure that they can identify marine mammal species commonly found in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. Observations will take place during ongoing daytime operations and ramp-ups of the airguns. During the majority of seismic operations, at least one PSO will be on duty from observation platforms (i.e., the best available vantage point on the source vessel) to monitor marine mammals near the seismic vessel. PSO(s) will be on duty in shifts no longer than 4 hours in duration. Other crew will also be instructed to assist in detecting marine mammals and implementing mitigation requirements (if practical). Before the start of the low-energy seismic survey, the crew will be given additional instruction on how to do so.

    The Revelle is a suitable platform for marine mammal observations and will serve as the platform from which PSOs will watch for marine mammals before and during airgun operations. The Revelle has been used for marine mammal observations during the routine California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI). Two locations are likely as observation stations onboard the Revelle. Observing stations are located at the 02 level, with PSO eye level at approximately 10.4 m (34 ft) above the waterline and the PSO will have a good view around the entire vessel. At a forward-centered position on the 02 deck, the view is approximately 240° around the vessel; and one atop the aft hangar, with an aft-centered view includes the 100 m radius around the GI airguns. The PSO eye level on the bridge is approximately 15 m (49.2 ft) above sea level. PSOs will work on the enclosed bridge and adjoining aft steering station during any inclement weather.

    Standard equipment for PSOs will be reticle binoculars and optical range finders. Night-vision equipment will be available at night and low-light conditions during the cruise. The PSOs will be in communication with ship's officers on the bridge and scientists in the vessel's operations laboratory, so they can advise promptly of the need for avoidance maneuvers or seismic source shut-down. During daylight, the PSO(s) will scan the area around the vessel systematically with reticle binoculars (e.g., 7 × 50 Fujinon FMTRC-SX), Big-eye binoculars (e.g., 25 × 150 Fujinon MT), optical range-finders (to assist with distance estimation), and the naked eye. These binoculars will have a built-in daylight compass. Estimating distances is done primarily with the reticles in the binoculars. The optical range-finders are useful in training PSOs to estimate distances visually, but are generally not useful in measuring distances to animals directly. At night, night-vision equipment will be available. The PSO(s) will be in direct (radio) wireless communication with ship's officers on the bridge and scientists in the vessel's operations laboratory during seismic operations, so they can advise the vessel operator, science support personnel, and the science party promptly of the need for avoidance maneuvers or a shut-down of the seismic source.

    When a marine mammal is detected within or about to enter the designated exclusion zone, the airguns will immediately be shut-down, unless the vessel's speed and/or course can be changed to avoid having the animal enter the exclusion zone. The PSO(s) will continue to maintain watch to determine when the animal is outside the exclusion zone by visual confirmation. Airgun operations will not resume until the animal is confirmed to have left the exclusion zone, or is not observed after 15 minutes for species with shorter dive durations (small odontocetes and pinnipeds) or 30 minutes for species with longer dive durations (mysticetes and large odontocetes, including sperm, dwarf and pygmy sperm, killer, and beaked whales).

    PSO Data and Documentation

    PSOs will record data to estimate the numbers of marine mammals exposed to various received sound levels and to document apparent disturbance reactions or lack thereof. Data will be used to estimate numbers of animals potentially “taken” by harassment. They will also provide information needed to order a shut-down of the airguns when a marine mammal is within or near the exclusion zone. Observations will also be made during daylight periods when the Revelle is underway without seismic airgun operations (i.e., transits to, from, and through the study area) to collect baseline biological data.

    When a sighting is made, the following information about the sighting will be recorded:

    1. Species, group size, age/size/sex categories (if determinable), behavior when first sighted and after initial sighting, heading (if consistent), bearing and distance from seismic vessel, sighting cue, apparent reaction to the seismic source or vessel (e.g., none, avoidance, approach, paralleling, etc.), and behavioral pace.

    2. Time, location, heading, speed, activity of the vessel (including number of airguns operating and whether in state of ramp-up or shut-down), sea state, wind force, visibility, cloud cover, and sun glare.

    The data listed under (2) will also be recorded at the start and end of each observation watch, and during a watch whenever there is a change in one or more of the variables.

    All observations, as well as information regarding ramp-ups or shut-downs, will be recorded in a standardized format. Data will be entered into an electronic database. The data accuracy will be verified by computerized data validity checks as the data are entered and by subsequent manual checking of the database by the PSOs at sea. These procedures will allow initial summaries of data to be prepared during and shortly after the field program, and will facilitate transfer of the data to statistical, graphical, and other programs for further processing and archiving.

    Results from the vessel-based observations will provide the following information:

    1. The basis for real-time mitigation (airgun shut-down).

    2. Information needed to estimate the number of marine mammals potentially taken by harassment, which must be reported to NMFS.

    3. Data on the occurrence, distribution, and activities of marine mammals in the area where the seismic study is conducted.

    4. Information to compare the distance and distribution of marine mammals relative to the source vessel at times with and without airgun operations.

    5. Data on the behavior and movement patterns of marine mammals seen at times with and without airgun operations.

    Reporting

    SIO will submit a comprehensive report to NMFS and NSF within 90 days after the end of the cruise. The report will describe the operations that were conducted and sightings of marine mammals near the operations. The report submitted to NMFS and NSF will provide full documentation of methods, results, and interpretation pertaining to all monitoring. The 90-day report would summarize the dates and locations of airgun operations and all marine mammal sightings (i.e., dates, times, locations, activities, and associated seismic survey activities). The report will include, at a minimum:

    • Summaries of monitoring effort—total hours, total distances, and distribution of marine mammals through the study period accounting for Beaufort sea state and other factors affecting visibility and detectability of marine mammals;

    • Analyses of the effects of various factors influencing detectability of marine mammals including Beaufort sea state, number of PSOs, and fog/glare;

    • Species composition, occurrence, and distribution of marine mammals sightings including date, water depth, numbers, age/size/gender, and group sizes, and analyses of the effects of airgun operations;

    • Sighting rates of marine mammals during periods with and without airgun operations (and other variables that could affect detectability);

    • Initial sighting distances versus airgun operations state;

    • Closest point of approach versus airgun operations state;

    • Observed behaviors and types of movements versus airgun operations activity state;

    • Numbers of sightings/individuals seen versus airgun operations state; and

    • Distribution around the source vessel versus airgun operations state.

    The report will also include estimates of the number and nature of exposures that could result in “takes” of marine mammals by harassment or in other ways. NMFS will review the draft report and provide any comments it may have, and SIO will incorporate NMFS's comments and prepare a final report. After the report is considered final, it would be publicly available on the NMFS Web site at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/.

    Reporting Prohibited Take—In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by this IHA, such as an injury (Level A harassment), serious injury or mortality (e.g., ship-strike, gear interaction, and/or entanglement), SIO will immediately cease the specified activities and immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS at 301-427-8401 and/or by email to [email protected] and [email protected]. The report must include the following information:

    • Time, date, and location (latitude/longitude) of the incident;

    • Name and type of vessel involved;

    • Vessel's speed during and leading up to the incident;

    • Description of the incident;

    • Status of all sound source use in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Water depth;

    • Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident;

    • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved;

    • Fate of the animal(s); and

    • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available).

    Activities shall not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS shall work with SIO to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. SIO may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter or email, or telephone.

    Reporting an Injured or Dead Marine Mammal with an Unknown Cause of Death—In the event that SIO discover an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (i.e., in less than a moderate state of decomposition), SIO shall immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401, and/or by email to [email protected] and [email protected]. The report must include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS shall work with SIO to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.

    Reporting an Injured or Dead Marine Mammal Not Related to the Activities—In the event that SIO discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate or advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), SIO shall report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, at 301-427-8401, and/or by email to [email protected] and [email protected], within 24 hours of discovery. SIO shall provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident.

    Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines “harassment” as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Table 4—NMFS's Current Underwater Acoustic Exposure Criteria [Impulsive (non-explosive) sound] Criterion Criterion definition Threshold Level A harassment (injury) Permanent threshold shift (PTS) (Any level above that which is known to cause TTS) 180 dB re 1 μPa-m (root means square [rms]) (cetaceans).
  • 190 dB re 1 μPa-m (rms) (pinnipeds).
  • Level B harassment Behavioral disruption (for impulsive noise) 160 dB re 1 μPa-m (rms). Level B harassment Behavioral disruption (for continuous noise) 120 dB re 1 μPa-m (rms).

    Level B harassment is anticipated and authorized as a result of the low-energy seismic survey in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand. Acoustic stimuli (i.e., increased underwater sound) generated during the operation of the seismic airgun array are expected to result in the behavioral disturbance of some marine mammals. NMFS's current underwater exposure criteria for impulsive sound are detailed in Table 4 (above). There is no evidence that the planned activities could result in injury, serious injury, or mortality. The required mitigation and monitoring measures will minimize any potential risk for injury, serious injury, or mortality.

    The following sections describe SIO's methods to estimate take by incidental harassment and present the applicant's estimates of the numbers of marine mammals that could be affected. The estimates are based on a consideration of the number of marine mammals that could be harassed during the approximately 135 hours and 1,250 km of seismic airgun operations with the two GI airgun array to be used.

    Density Data

    There are no known systematic aircraft- or ship-based surveys conducted for marine mammals stock assessments and very limited population information available for marine mammals in offshore waters of the Southwest Pacific Ocean off the east coast of New Zealand. For most cetacean species, SIO and NMFS used densities from extensive NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) cruises (Ferguson and Barlow, 2001, 2003; Barlow, 2003, 2010; Forney, 2007) in one province of Longhurst's (2006) pelagic biogeography, the California Current Province (CALC). That province is similar to the South Subtropical Convergence Province (SSTC) in which the proposed low-energy seismic survey is located, in that productivity is high and large pelagic fish such as tuna occur. Specifically, SIO and NMFS used the 1986 to 1996 data from blocks 35, 36, 47, 48, 59, and 60 of Ferguson and Barlow (2001, 2003), the 2001 data from Barlow (2003) for the Oregon, Washington, and California strata, and the 2005 and 2008 data from Forney (2007) and Barlow (2010), respectively, for the two strata combined. The densities used were effort-weighted means for the 10 locations (blocks or States). The surveys off California, Oregon, and Washington were conducted up to approximately 556 km (300.2 nmi) offshore, and most of those data were from offshore areas that overlap with the above blocks selected from Ferguson and Barlow (2001, 2003).

    For pinnipeds, SIO and NMFS used the densities in Bonnell et al. (1992) of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) and northern elephant seals in offshore areas of the western U.S. (the only species regularly present in offshore areas there) to estimate the numbers of pinnipeds that might be present off New Zealand.

    The marine mammal species that will be encountered during the low-energy seismic survey will be different from those sighted during surveys off the western U.S. and in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean. However, the overall abundances of species groups with generally similar habitat requirements are expected to be roughly similar. Thus, SIO and NMFS used the data described above to estimate the group densities of beaked whales, delphinids, small whales, and mysticetes in the proposed study area. SIO and NMFS then estimated the relative abundance of individual southern species within the species groups using various surveys and other information from areas near the study area, and general information on species' distributions such as latitudinal ranges and group sizes. Group densities from northern species were multiplied by their estimated relative abundance off New Zealand divided by the relative abundance for all species in the species group to derive estimates for the southern species (see Table 3 of the IHA application).

    Densities for several cetacean species are available for the Southern Ocean (Butterworth et al., 1994), as follows: (1) For humpback, sei, fin, blue, sperm, killer, and pilot whales in Antarctic Management areas I to VI south of 60° South, based on the 1978/1979 to 1984 and 1985/1986 to 1990/1991 IWC/IDCR circumpolar sighting survey cruises, and (2) for humpback, sei, fin, blue, and sperm whales extrapolated to latitudes 30 to 40° South, 40 to 50° South, 50 to 60° South based on Japanese scouting vessel data from 1965/1966 to 1977/1978 and 1978/1979 to 1987/1988. SIO and NMFS calculated densities based on abundance and surface areas given in Butterworth et al. (1994) and used the weighted or mean density for the Regions V and/or VI (whichever is available) due to locations that represent foraging areas or distributions for animals that are likely to move past New Zealand during northerly migrations or breed in New Zealand waters.

    The densities used for purposes of estimating potential take do not take into account the patchy distributions of marine mammals in an ecosystem, at least on the moderate to fine scales over which they are known to occur. Instead, animals are considered evenly distributed throughout the assessed study area and seasonal movement patterns are not taken into account, as none are available. Although there is some uncertainty about the representativeness of the data and the assumptions used in the calculations below, the approach used here is believed to be the best available approach, using the best available science.

    Table 5—Estimated Densities and Numbers of Marine Mammal Species That Might Be Exposed to Greater Than or Equal to 160 dB (Airgun Operations) During SIO's Low-Energy Seismic Survey (Approximately 1,250 km of Tracklines/Approximately 1,154 km2 Ensonified Area for Airgun Operations) in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, East of New Zealand, May to June 2015 Species Density U.S. West Coast/Southern Ocean/estimate used (# of animals/1,000 km2) 1 Calculated take from seismic airgun operations (i.e., estimated number of
  • individuals exposed to sound levels ≥160 dB re 1 μPa) 2
  • Authorized
  • take 3
  • Abundance 4 Approximate percentage of population estimate
  • (authorized take) 5
  • Population trend 6
    Mysticetes Southern right whale 0.98/NA/0.98 1.13 2 8,000 to 15,000—Worldwide
  • 12,000—Southern Hemisphere
  • 2,700—Sub-Antarctic New Zealand
  • 0.03—Worldwide
  • 0.02—Southern Hemisphere
  • 0.07—Sub-Antarctic New Zealand
  • Increasing at 7 to 8% per year.
    Pygmy right whale 0.39/NA/0.39 0.45 2 NA NA NA. Humpback whale. 0.98/0.25/0.25 0.29 2 35,000 to 42,000—Southern Hemisphere <0.01—Southern Hemisphere Increasing. Antarctic minke whale 0.59/NA/0.59 0.68 2 720,000 to 750,000—Southern Hemisphere <0.01—Southern Hemisphere Stable. Minke whale (including dwarf minke whale sub-species) 0.59/NA/0.59 0.68 2 720,000 to 750,000—Southern Hemisphere <0.01—Southern Hemisphere NA. Bryde's whale 0.20/NA/0.20 0.23 2 At least 30,000 to 40,000—Worldwide
  • 21,000—Northwestern Pacific Ocean 48,109
  • <0.01—Worldwide
  • <0.01—Northwestern Pacific Ocean
  • <0.01
  • NA.
    Sei whale 0.59/0.08/0.08 0.09 2 80,000—Worldwide
  • 10,000—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • <0.01—Worldwide
  • 0.02—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • NA.
    Fin whale 0.59/0.13/0.13 0.15 2 140,000—Worldwide
  • 15,000—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • <0.01—Worldwide
  • 0.01—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • NA.
    Blue whale 0.59/0.05/0.05 0.06 2 8,000 to 9,000—Worldwide
  • 2,300—True Southern Hemisphere
  • 1,500—Pygmy
  • 0.03—Worldwide
  • 0.09—True Southern Hemisphere
  • 0.13—Pygmy
  • NA.
    Odontocetes Sperm whale 1.62/1.16/1.16 1.34 10 360,000—Worldwide
  • 30,000—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • <0.01—Worldwide
  • 0.03—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • NA.
    Pygmy sperm whale 0.97/NA/0.97 1.12 5 NA NA NA. Arnoux's beaked whale NA/NA/NA NA 8 NA NA NA. Cuvier's beaked whale 0.69/NA/0.69 0.80 2 600,000 <0.01 NA. Shepherd's beaked whale 0.46/NA/0.46 0.53 3 600,000 <0.01 NA. Southern bottlenose whale 0.46/NA/0.46 0.53 2 50,000—South of Antarctic Convergence 600,000 <0.01—South of Antarctic Convergence
  • <0.01
  • NA.
    Andrew's beaked whale 0.46/NA/0.46 0.53 2 600,000 <0.01 NA. Blainville's beaked whale 0.23/NA/0.23 0.27 2 600,000 <0.01 NA. Gray's beaked whale 0.92/NA0.92 1.06 2 600,000 <0.01 NA. Hector's beaked whale 0.46/NA/0.46 0.53 2 600,000 <0.01 NA. Pygmy beaked whale NA/NA/NA NA 3 NA NA NA. Spade-toothed beaked whale 0.23/NA/0.23 0.27 2 600,000 <0.01 NA. Strap-toothed beaked whale 0.69/NA/0.69 0.80 3 600,000 <0.01 NA. Killer whale 0.45/5.70/5.70 6.58 12 80,000—South of Antarctic Convergence 0.02—South of Antarctic Convergence NA. False killer whale 0.27/NA/0.27 0.31 10 NA NA NA. Long-finned pilot whale 0.27/6.41/6.41 7.40 20 200,000—South of Antarctic Convergence 0.01—South of Antarctic Convergence NA. Short-finned pilot whale 0.45/NA/0.45 0.52 20 At least 600,000—Worldwide <0.01—Worldwide NA. Bottlenose dolphin 81.55/NA/81.55 94.11 95 At least 614,000—Worldwide 0.02—Worldwide NA. Dusky dolphin 81.55/NA/81.55 94.11 95 12,000 to 20,000—New Zealand 0.79—New Zealand NA. Hector's dolphin 32.62/NA/32.62 37.64 38 7,400 0.51 Declining. Hourglass dolphin 48.93/NA/48.93 56.47 57 144,000 to 150,000—South of Antarctic Convergence 0.04—South of Antarctic Convergence NA. Risso's dolphin NA/NA/NA NA 10 At least 330,000—Worldwide <0.01—Worldwide NA. Short-beaked common dolphin 163.10/NA/163.10 188.22 189 At least 3,500,000—Worldwide <0.01—Worldwide NA. Southern right whale dolphin 48.93/NA/48.93 56.46 57 NA NA NA. Pinnipeds Southern elephant seal 5.11/NA/5.11 5.90 6 640,000 to 650,000—Worldwide
  • 470,000—South Georgia Island 607,000
  • <0.01—Worldwide or South Georgia Island Increasing, decreasing, or stable depending on breeding population.
    New Zealand fur seal 12.79/NA/12.79 14.76 15 135,000—Worldwide
  • 50,000 to 100,000—New Zealand
  • 0.01—Worldwide
  • 0.03—New Zealand.
  • Increasing.
    NA = Not available or not assessed. 1 Densities based on sightings from NMFS SWFSC, IWC, and Bonnell et al. (2012) data. 2 Calculated take is estimated density multiplied by the area ensonified to 160 dB (rms) around the seismic tracklines, increased by 25% for contingency. 3 Adjusted to account for average group size. 4 See population estimates for marine mammal species in Table 3 (above). 5 Total authorized takes expressed as percentages of the species or regional populations. 6 Jefferson et al. (2008).
    Calculation

    As described above, numbers of marine mammals that might be present and potentially disturbed are estimated based on the available data about marine mammal distribution and densities in the U.S. west coast and Southern Ocean as a proxy for the planned study area off the east coast of New Zealand. SIO then estimated the number of different individuals that may be exposed to airgun sounds with received levels greater than or equal to 160 dB re 1 μPa (rms) for seismic airgun operations on one or more occasions by considering the total marine area that would be within the 160 dB radius around the operating airgun array on at least one occasion and the expected density of marine mammals in the area (in the absence of the low-energy seismic survey). The number of possible exposures can be estimated by considering the total marine area that would be within the 160 dB radius (the diameter is 400 m multiplied by 2 for deep water depths, the diameter is 600 m multiplied by 2 f