Federal Register Vol. 81, No.125,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 125 (June 29, 2016)

Page Range42215-42452
FR Document

81_FR_125
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 42370 - Notice of Proposal To Establish a Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee; Request for Comments on Committee StructurePDF
81 FR 42388 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE MKT LLC; Suspension of and Order Instituting Proceedings To Determine Whether To Approve or Disapprove a Proposed Rule Change To Modify the NYSE Amex Options Fee Schedule With Respect to Fees, Rebates, and Credits for Transactions in the Customer Best Execution AuctionPDF
81 FR 42235 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Battery ChargersPDF
81 FR 42221 - Global EntrepreneurshipPDF
81 FR 42380 - National Science Board; Sunshine Act Meetings; NoticePDF
81 FR 42215 - Establishment of the Stonewall National MonumentPDF
81 FR 42328 - Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 42376 - Notice of Receipt of Complaint; Solicitation of Comments Relating to the Public InterestPDF
81 FR 42368 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Community Compass TA and Capacity Building Program NOFAPDF
81 FR 42372 - Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Seminole Tribe of Florida Fee-to-Trust Project, City of Coconut Creek, Broward County, FloridaPDF
81 FR 42370 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Applications for Housing Assistance Payments; Special Claims ProcessingPDF
81 FR 42370 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: HUD-Administered Small Cities Program Performance Assessment ReportPDF
81 FR 42369 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Multifamily Default Status ReportPDF
81 FR 42252 - Safety Zone; Fourth of July Fireworks North Myrtle Beach, SCPDF
81 FR 42356 - Notice of Agreements FiledPDF
81 FR 42395 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 42254 - Safety Zone; Fourth of July Fireworks Murrells Inlet, SCPDF
81 FR 42250 - Safety Zone; Cornucopia Fireworks Display, Lake Superior, Cornucopia, WIPDF
81 FR 42285 - Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Implementation of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010PDF
81 FR 42351 - Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen SuitPDF
81 FR 42392 - Environmental Impact Statement for the California High Speed Rail System San Francisco to San Jose Section, CAPDF
81 FR 42350 - Adequacy Status of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Maintenance Plan 8-Hour Ozone Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets for Transportation Conformity PurposesPDF
81 FR 42335 - Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of a Computer Matching ProgramPDF
81 FR 42266 - Hazardous Materials: Revision of Maximum and Minimum Civil PenaltiesPDF
81 FR 42333 - Charter Renewal of Department of Defense Federal Advisory CommitteesPDF
81 FR 42390 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Kai Althoff: and then leave me to the common swifts” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 42390 - 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for a U.S. PassportPDF
81 FR 42333 - Government-Industry Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 42367 - National Institutes of Health, Precision Medicine Initiative® (PMI) Cohort Program; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 42309 - Shoshone National Forest Travel Management; Shoshone National Forest, WyomingPDF
81 FR 42309 - Rural Development Voucher ProgramPDF
81 FR 42334 - Proposed Collection; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 42345 - Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42343 - BridgeTex Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory OrderPDF
81 FR 42340 - Western Antelope Dry Ranch LLC; Docket No. ER16-1956-000; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42348 - Antelope DSR 2, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42348 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 42346 - City of Libby, MT; Notice of Preliminary Determination of a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility and Soliciting Comments and Motions To IntervenePDF
81 FR 42365 - Gifts to the Food and Drug Administration: Evaluation and Acceptance: Draft Guidance for the Public and Food and Drug Administration Staff; AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 42363 - Procedures for Evaluating Appearance Issues and Granting Authorizations for Participation in Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committees; Draft Guidance for the Public, Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee Members, and Food and Drug Administration Staff; AvailabilityPDF
81 FR 42373 - Notice of Intent To Amend the Kemmerer Resource Management Plan and Prepare an Environmental Assessment; and Notice of Realty Action: Classification and Proposed Direct Sale of Public Land in Lincoln County, WyomingPDF
81 FR 42373 - Public Land Order No. 7853; Extension of Public Land Order No. 7209, Cape Johnson; WashingtonPDF
81 FR 42243 - Medical Devices; General and Plastic Surgery Devices; Classification of the Electrosurgical Device for Over-the-Counter Aesthetic UsePDF
81 FR 42291 - Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery; 2016 Longfin Squid Trimester II Quota HarvestedPDF
81 FR 42312 - President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in AfricaPDF
81 FR 42318 - Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Installation of the Block Island Wind Farm Export and Inter-Array CablesPDF
81 FR 42318 - Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); MeetingPDF
81 FR 42393 - Reports, Forms, and Record Keeping Requirements Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB ReviewPDF
81 FR 42328 - Hydrographic Services Review Panel MeetingPDF
81 FR 42327 - Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act Detailed Summary of the Great Lakes Plan on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 42362 - Microbiology Devices Panel of the Medical DevicesPDF
81 FR 42364 - Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 42388 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Allow Listed Companies Not Currently Subject to Nasdaq's All-Inclusive Annual Listing Fee To Opt In to That Fee Program for 2017PDF
81 FR 42338 - Notice of Public Meeting on the Environmental Assessment Addressing the Consolidation and Renovation at Marine Corps Forces Reserve Center Brooklyn, New YorkPDF
81 FR 42250 - Eighth Coast Guard District Annual Safety Zones; Table 165; Sector Ohio ValleyPDF
81 FR 42249 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lewis and Clark River, Astoria, ORPDF
81 FR 42332 - Agency Information Collection Activities Under OMB ReviewPDF
81 FR 42398 - Clark Canyon Dam Hydroelectric Project; Notice of Availability of Environmental AssessmentPDF
81 FR 42342 - Notice of Commission Staff AttendancePDF
81 FR 42375 - Certain Network Devices, Related Software and Components Thereof (I); Commission's Final Determination Finding a Violation; Issuance of a Limited Exclusion Order and Cease and Desist Order; Termination of the InvestigationPDF
81 FR 42376 - Certain Tissue Paper Products From China; Cancellation of Hearing for Full Five-Year ReviewPDF
81 FR 42377 - Certain Footwear Products; Commission Decision To Affirm-in-Part, Reverse-in-Part, and Vacate Certain Portions of a Final Initial Determination Finding a Violation of Section 337; Issuance of General Exclusion Order; Termination of the InvestigationPDF
81 FR 42396 - Proposed Information Collection (NCA Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial)PDF
81 FR 42352 - Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
81 FR 42264 - Authorization of Radiofrequency Equipment and Approval of Terminal Equipment by TelecommunicationsPDF
81 FR 42308 - Information Collection: Annual Wildfire Summary ReportPDF
81 FR 42380 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 42290 - Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna FisheriesPDF
81 FR 42367 - Notice of Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Quarterly Business MeetingPDF
81 FR 42359 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
81 FR 42357 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Announcement of Board Approval Under Delegated Authority and Submission to OMBPDF
81 FR 42380 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adopt Rules To Implement the Regulation NMS Plan To Implement a Tick Size Pilot ProgramPDF
81 FR 42386 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; CBOE Futures Exchange, LLC; Notice of Proposed Rule Change To Make Clarifying Updates to Prohibited Disruptive Trading PracticesPDF
81 FR 42366 - Center For Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 42394 - Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncompliancePDF
81 FR 42339 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Educational Opportunity Centers Program (EOC) Annual Performance ReportPDF
81 FR 42337 - The Release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Figure Eight Island Shoreline Management Project, on Figure Eight Island, New Hanover County, NCPDF
81 FR 42360 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comment Request; Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program National Beneficiary SurveyPDF
81 FR 42371 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for CommentsPDF
81 FR 42314 - Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Final Affirmative Determination of Critical CircumstancesPDF
81 FR 42249 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Isle of Wight (Sinepuxent) Bay, Ocean City, MDPDF
81 FR 42248 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; North Landing River, Chesapeake, VAPDF
81 FR 42353 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection Renewals; Comment Request (3064-0030, -0104 & -0122)PDF
81 FR 42245 - Participation by Religious Organizations in USAID ProgramsPDF
81 FR 42391 - Commercial Driver's License Standards: Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR); Application for ExemptionPDF
81 FR 42346 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 42341 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 42347 - Elevation Solar C LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42341 - Tidal Energy Marketing Inc.; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42344 - Boulder Solar Power, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42343 - Hydro Renewable Energy Inc.; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42347 - Marshall Solar, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 AuthorizationPDF
81 FR 42349 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 42344 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 42344 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 42308 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 42293 - Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace, Salem, ORPDF
81 FR 42225 - Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program: Options B and C; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 42265 - General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR); Rewrite of GSAR Part 515, Contracting by Negotiation; CorrectionsPDF
81 FR 42295 - Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Widow Rockfish Reallocation in the Individual Fishing Quota FisheryPDF
81 FR 42268 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Listing Determination on the Proposal To List the Nassau Grouper as Threatened Under the Endangered Species ActPDF
81 FR 42263 - Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes; California; San Joaquin Valley; Reclassification as Serious Nonattainment for the 2006 PM2.5PDF
81 FR 42256 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; State of Kansas; Cross-State Air Pollution RulePDF
81 FR 42294 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; State of Kansas; Cross-State Air Pollution RulePDF
81 FR 42235 - Rules of Practice and ProcedurePDF
81 FR 42225 - Electronic Export Application and Certification Charge; Flexibility in the Requirements for Export Inspection Marks, Devices, and Certificates; Egg Products Export CertificationPDF

Issue

81 125 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Contents Agency Agency for International Development RULES Participation by Religious Organizations in USAID Programs, 42245-42248 2016-15293 Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Food Safety and Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

See

Rural Housing Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42308 2016-15271 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Isle of Wight Bay, Ocean City, MD, 42249-42250 2016-15296 Lewis and Clark River, Astoria, OR, 42249 2016-15348 North Landing River, Chesapeake, VA, 42248-42249 2016-15295 Safety Zones: Cornucopia Fireworks Display, Lake Superior, Cornucopia, WI, 42250-42252 2016-15414 Eighth Coast Guard District Sector; Ohio Valley, 42250 2016-15352 Fourth of July Fireworks Murrells Inlet, SC, 42254-42256 2016-15415 Fourth of July Fireworks North Myrtle Beach, SC, 42252-42254 2016-15419 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

See

Patent and Trademark Office

Commodity Futures Commodity Futures Trading Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42332-42333 2016-15344 Community Living Administration Community Living Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Senior Medicare Patrol Program National Beneficiary Survey, 42360-42362 2016-15304 Defense Department Defense Department See

Engineers Corps

See

Navy Department

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42334-42335 2016-15392 Charter Renewals: Federal Advisory Committees, 42333 2016-15402 Meetings: Government-Industry Advisory Panel, 42333-42334 2016-15397 Privacy Act; Computer Matching Program, 42335-42337 2016-15405
Education Department Education Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Educational Opportunity Centers Program Annual Performance Report, 42339-42340 2016-15312 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

RULES Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Battery Chargers, 42235 C1--2016--11486
Engineers Engineers Corps NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Figure Eight Island Shoreline Management Project, on Figure Eight Island, New Hanover County, NC, 42337-42338 2016-15310 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: California; San Joaquin Valley; Reclassification as Serious Nonattainment for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS; Correction, 42263-42264 2016-15051 Kansas; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, 42256-42263 2016-15040 PROPOSED RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Kansas; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, 42294-42295 2016-15039 NOTICES Adequacy Status: Baton Rouge, LA, Maintenance Plan 8-Hour Ozone Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes, 42350-42351 2016-15408 Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit, 42351-42352 2016-15412 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration PROPOSED RULES Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace: Salem, OR, 42293-42294 2016-15266 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Authorization of Radiofrequency Equipment and Approval of Terminal Equipment by Telecommunications, 42264-42265 2016-15336 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42352-42353 2016-15337 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation RULES Rules of Practice and Procedure, 42235-42243 2016-15027 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42353-42356 2016-15294 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Combined Filings, 42341-42342, 42344-42346, 42348-42350 2016-15272 2016-15273 2016-15274 2016-15282 2016-15283 2016-15387 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Clark Canyon Dam Hydroelectric Project, 42398-42452 2016-15343 Initial Market-Based Rate Filings Including Requests for Blanket Section 204 Authorizations: Antelope DSR 2, LLC, 42348 2016-15388 Boulder Solar Power, LLC, 42344 2016-15278 Elevation Solar C, LLC, 42347-42348 2016-15280 Hydro Renewable Energy, Inc., 42343 2016-15276 Marshall Solar, LLC, 42347 2016-15275 Tidal Energy Marketing, Inc., 42341 2016-15279 Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B, LLC, 42345-42346 2016-15391 Western Antelope Dry Ranch, LLC, 42340 2016-15389 Meetings: Northern Tier Transmission Group, 42342-42343 2016-15342 Petitions for Declaratory Orders: BridgeTex Pipeline Co., LLC, 42343 2016-15390 Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facilities: Libby, MT, 42346-42347 2016-15386 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission NOTICES Agreements Filed, 42356-42357 2016-15418 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Commercial Driver's License Standards: Missouri Department of Revenue; Application for Exemption, 42391-42392 2016-15287 Federal Railroad Federal Railroad Administration NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: California High Speed Rail System San Francisco to San Jose Section, CA, 42392-42393 2016-15409 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42357-42360 2016-15325 2016-15326 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Medical Devices: General and Plastic Surgery Devices; Classification of the Electrosurgical Device for Over-the-Counter Aesthetic Use, 42243-42245 2016-15381 NOTICES Draft Guidance: Gifts to the Food and Drug Administration; Evaluation and Acceptance, 42365-42366 2016-15385 Procedures for Evaluating Appearance Issues and Granting Authorizations for Participation in Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committees, 42363-42364 2016-15384 Meetings: Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, 42364-42365 2016-15361 Microbiology Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee, 42362-42363 2016-15362 Food Safety Food Safety and Inspection Service RULES Electronic Export Application and Certification Charge: Flexibility in the Requirements for Export Inspection Marks, Devices, and Certificates; Egg Products Export Certification, 42225-42235 2016-14812 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42308-42309 2016-15335 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Shoshone National Forest Travel Management, WY, 42309 2016-15394 General Services General Services Administration RULES Acquisition Regulations: Rewrite of GSAR Part 515, Contracting by Negotiation; Corrections, 42265-42266 2016-15238 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42371-42372 2016-15301 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Community Living Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

Historic Historic Preservation, Advisory Council NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 42367-42368 2016-15332 Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals Applications for Housing Assistance Payments; Special Claims Processing, 42370-42371 2016-15423 Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for Community Compass TA and Capacity Building Program NOFA, 42368-42369 2016-15432 HUD-Administered Small Cities Program Performance Assessment Report, 42370 2016-15422 Multifamily Default Status Report, 42369 2016-15421 Proposal to Establish Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, 42370 C1--2016--14895 Indian Affairs Indian Affairs Bureau NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Proposed Seminole Tribe of Florida Fee-to-Trust Project, City of Coconut Creek, Broward County, FL, 42372-42373 2016-15429 Interior Interior Department See

Geological Survey

See

Indian Affairs Bureau

See

Land Management Bureau

International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof from the People's Republic of China, 42314-42318 2016-15298 Requests for Nominations: President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, 42312-42314 2016-15373 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Complaints: Certain Potassium Chloride Powder Products, 42376-42377 2016-15450 Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Footwear Products, 42377-42379 2016-15339 Certain Network Devices, Related Software and Components Thereof (I), 42375-42376 2016-15341 Certain Tissue Paper Products from China, 42376 2016-15340 Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Kemmerer Resource Management Plan, Lincoln County, WY, 42373-42375 2016-15383 Public Land Orders: Cape Johnson, WA, 42373 2016-15382 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42393-42394 2016-15366 Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, 42394-42395 2016-15316 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 42366-42367 2016-15320 Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, 42367 2016-15395 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Atlantic Highly Migratory Species: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries, 42290-42291 2016-15333 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Nassau Grouper; Final Listing Determination on Proposal to List as Threatened, 42268-42285 2016-15101 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States: Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery; 2016 Longfin Squid Trimester II Quota Harvested, 42291-42292 2016-15379 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions: Shark Conservation Act Implementation, 42285-42289 2016-15413 PROPOSED RULES Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery: Widow Rockfish Reallocation in the Individual Fishing Quota Fishery, 42295-42307 2016-15217 NOTICES Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act: Great Lakes Plan on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia; Correction, 42327-42328 2016-15364 Meetings: Hydrographic Services Review Panel, 42328 2016-15365 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 42318 2016-15367 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities: Installation of the Block Island Wind Farm Export and Inter-Array Cables, 42318-42327 2016-15370 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 42380 2016-15540 Navy Navy Department NOTICES Meetings: Environmental Assessment on Consolidation and Renovation at Marine Corps Forces Reserve Center Brooklyn, NY, 42338-42339 2016-15358 Patent Patent and Trademark Office NOTICES Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, 42328-42332 2016-15533 Personnel Personnel Management Office RULES Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program: Options B and C; Correction, 42225 2016-15261 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration RULES Hazardous Materials: Maximum and Minimum Civil Penalties, 42266-42268 2016-15404 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 42380 2016-15334 Presidential Documents Presidential Documents PROCLAMATIONS Stonewall National Monument; Establishment (Proc. 9465), 42215-42220 2016-15536 EXECUTIVE ORDERS Global Entrepreneurship (EO 13731), 42221-42223 2016-15542 Rural Housing Service Rural Housing Service NOTICES Rural Development Voucher Program, 42309-42312 2016-15393 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: CBOE Futures Exchange, LLC, 42386-42388 2016-15322 Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., 42380-42386 2016-15324 NASDAQ Stock Market, LLC, 42388-42390 2016-15360 NYSE MKT, LLC, 42388 C1--2016--14086 State Department State Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Application for a U.S. Passport, 42390-42391 2016-15400 Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Kai Althoff: and Then Leave Me to the Common Swifts, 42390 2016-15401 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

Federal Railroad Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Treasury Treasury Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 42395-42396 2016-15416 2016-15417 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: NCA Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial, 42396 2016-15338 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Energy Department, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 42398-42452 2016-15343 Reader Aids

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

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

81 125 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Rules and Regulations OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT 5 CFR Part 870 RIN 3206-AM96 Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance Program: Options B and C; Correction AGENCY:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION:

Final rule; correction.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published a document in the Federal Register on May 5, 2016 (81 FR 26997) to amend the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) regulation to provide a second reduction election opportunity for annuitants and compensationers enrolled in FEGLI Option B and Option C. This document makes a minor correction to that rule.

DATES:

Effective June 29, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ronald Brown, Policy Analyst, (202) 606-0004, or by email to [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

We are correcting the final rule published May 5, 2016 (81 FR 26997). The final rule included a section entitled ADDRESSES. This section was included in error since the regulation is a final rule and OPM is not accepting further comments.

In rule FR Doc. 2016-10539 published on May 5, 2016 (81 FR 26997) make the following correction. On page 26997, in the first column, remove the ADDRESSES section.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Jonathan Foley, Director, Planning and Policy Analysis.
[FR Doc. 2016-15261 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6325-63-P
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service 9 CFR Parts 312, 322, 350, 362, 381, 590, and 592 [Docket No. FSIS-2009-0026] RIN 0583-AD41 Electronic Export Application and Certification Charge; Flexibility in the Requirements for Export Inspection Marks, Devices, and Certificates; Egg Products Export Certification AGENCY:

Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is amending the meat and poultry inspection regulations to provide for an electronic export application and certification system. The electronic export application and certification system will be a component of the Agency's Public Health Information System (PHIS). The PHIS Export Component will be available as an alternative to the paper-based export application and certification process. FSIS will charge an application fee to exporters that use the PHIS Export Component. FSIS is establishing a formula for calculating the fee. On an annual basis, the Agency will use the formula to update the fee and publish the new fee in the Federal Register. The updated fee will apply at the start of each calendar year. FSIS is also amending the meat and poultry export regulations to provide flexibility in the requirements for official export inspection marks, devices, and certificates. In addition, FSIS is amending the egg product export regulations to parallel the meat and poultry product export regulations.

DATES:

Effective Date: August 29, 2016. Applicability Date: The regulations that provide for an electronic export application and certification system for meat, poultry, and egg products; an electronic application fee; and the use of a 7-digit export mark or unique identifier will be applicable on June 29, 2017. These regulations include 9 CFR 312.8; 381.104; 322.2(a); 381.106(a); 590.407(a); 590.407(c) (unique identifier and 7-digit export mark provisions only); 350.7(e) through (g) and 362.5(e) through (g); 592.500(a); and 592.500(d) through (f).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Daniel Engeljohn, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2147, Washington, DC 20250-3700, (202) 205-0495.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary

On January 23, 2012, FSIS proposed to amend its regulations to provide for the PHIS Export Component, an electronic export application and certification system that would be available as an alternative to the paper-based application and certification process (77 FR 3159). The Agency also proposed amendments to provide exporters with flexibility in the official marking of exported products and to delete certain prescriptive practices from the regulations, such as the obsolete “upon request” poultry export certification provision (9 CFR 381.105(a)) and requirements for “triplicate” and “duplicate” forms (9 CFR 322.2 and 381.105) to allow for “copies” of the export certificates. In addition, FSIS proposed to organize and make parallel, to the extent possible, the regulatory language for the export application and certification of meat and poultry products and to amend the egg products export regulations to add export application and certification requirements.

Because the PHIS Export Component will provide exporters with new service options, such as the ability to electronically submit, track, and manage their export applications, the Agency proposed to charge exporters a fee for the service. FSIS proposed a formula for calculating the fee based on recovering the Agency's costs of maintaining and operating the PHIS Export Component.

After review and consideration of all the comments submitted, FSIS is finalizing the proposed amendments, with modifications:

• One component of the fee formula, direct inspection cost, has been deleted. Other cost components of the formula, e.g., technical support, export library maintenance, on-going operations and maintenance cost, and the number of export applications, have been updated. The export application fee has been recalculated based on the updated costs and number of export applications. As noted above, the fee will take effect beginning on the applicability date of June 29, 2017.

• The regulatory requirements for filing a copy of the export certificate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be deleted from the regulatory text (9 CFR 322.2(e)). However, the Federal Meat Inspection Act's (FMIA) statutory requirement and FSIS's regulatory requirement that the product's owner (e.g., exporter) or shipper obtain an export certificate from FSIS before the meat product departs from a U.S. port (21 U.S.C. 617; 9 CFR 322.4) remain in effect.

• The regulatory text in 9 CFR 322.1(a) and 381.105(a) for marking the outside containers of exported products is modified to include stamping the pallet within the consignment, or closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment (e.g. truck, rail car, or ocean container).

• Also, to make the regulations more clear, FSIS is amending the export certification regulations by changing the term “in lieu of certificates” to “replacement certificates” (9 CFR 322.2(b), 9 CFR 381.106(b), 590.407(b)).

Beginning on the applicability date of June 29, 2017, FSIS will charge exporters that choose to utilize the PHIS Export Component a revised fee of $4.03 per application submitted. Automating the export application and certification process will provide a seamless, integrated, and streamlined approach to processing applications and certificates. It will likely reduce the exporter and inspection personnel workload and paperwork burden by reducing the physical handling and processing of applications and certificates. Adding export application and certification requirements to the egg products regulations will parallel the meat and poultry regulations.

Total direct cost to the exporters is estimated at $2.3 million, assuming that the number of applications will remain at about 576,000 per year, based on recent application data. The indirect costs, which are indeterminate, will be the Internet service and the acquisition or upgrading of a current computer system to one that would be compatible with the PHIS. Under the final rule, exporters may continue to submit paper-based export applications to the Agency so as to not incur the additional fee required by this rule.

Background

On January 23, 2012, FSIS published the proposed rule, “Electronic Export Application and Certification Charge; Flexibility in the Requirement for Export Inspection Marks, Devices, and Certificates; Egg Products Export Certification” (77 FR 3159). In it, the Agency proposed to amend the meat, poultry, and egg products regulations to provide for the PHIS Export Component, an electronic alternative to the paper-based export application and certification process.

The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601-695) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 451-470) provide for the export and certification of meat and poultry products. The FSIS meat and poultry export regulations set forth the requirements for the certification and export of federally inspected and passed meat and poultry products to foreign countries (9 CFR 312.8, 322.1 through 322.5 and 381.104 through 381.111).

The Egg Products Inspection Act (EPIA) (21 U.S.C. 1031-1056) does not set forth specific provisions for the export of egg products. FSIS's egg products inspection regulations provide that, upon request, an inspector may issue an egg product export certificate of wholesomeness. Exporters can present the certificate to foreign countries as certification that egg products were inspected and passed and are wholesome and fit for human consumption (9 CFR 590.402).

The Agricultural Marketing Act (AMA) provides the Secretary of Agriculture with the authority to collect fees “as will be reasonable and as nearly as may be to cover the cost of the service rendered, to the end that agricultural products may be marketed to the best advantage, that trading may be facilitated, and that consumers may be able to obtain the quality product which they desire” (7 U.S.C 1622(h)). Under the authority of the AMA, the meat and poultry regulations provide that FSIS may make certifications regarding exported meat and poultry products meeting conditions or standards that are not imposed, or that are in addition to those imposed, by the meat and poultry regulations, the FMIA, or the PPIA (9 CFR 350.3(b) and 362.2(b)). FSIS collects fees and charges from establishments and facilities that request certification service in addition to the basic export certification of wholesomeness (9 CFR 350.7 and 362.5).

The Public Health Information System (PHIS)

FSIS is developing and, on the applicability date of June 29, 2017, will implement the PHIS Export Component that will integrate and automate the Agency's paper-based export application and certification process into one comprehensive and automated data-driven inspection system. Through the PHIS Export Component, exporters will be able to access their online account to electronically submit, track, and manage applications for export certificates. The PHIS Export Component will allow establishment management to apply for approval of establishments for export when required by the foreign country; create, revise, and submit Product Lists; cancel pending applications and certificates; request replacement (formerly “in lieu of”) certificates; and return of exported products.

The PHIS Export Component will include electronic data elements for the following export-related forms: the Application for Export Certificate (which includes the option for an “original” or “replacement” application); the Product List, which will be used by PHIS to capture the description of a product and other product-specific information; and the Application for the Return of Exported Products to the United States (used to notify FSIS when product is exported and then returned to the U.S. and to arrange for the product's entry and reinspection by FSIS); and the Establishment Application for Export (used by FSIS to ensure specific establishment requirements defined by certain countries are met); once approved, the eligible establishment will be listed by country on the FSIS Web site (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/eligible-us-establishments-by-country or http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/export-library-requirements-by-country) and included in PHIS when the Export Component is implemented.

After the applicability date of June 29, 2017, exporters can continue to submit the paper applications for export certification, but those who choose to do so will need to email, fax, or mail the completed application, and any additional information required by the foreign country, to FSIS for entry into PHIS at:

Email: [email protected].

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, FMD, Financial Services Center, P.O. Box 9205, Des Moines, IA 50306-9948.

Before the rule's applicability date of June 29, 2017, FSIS will also announce, in the Constituent Update, a dedicated fax number for paper application submissions.

FSIS intends to enter data from complete paper export certificate applications into PHIS typically within 3-5 business days after receipt of an application by FSIS. However, the entry may take longer in some cases. By contrast, export certificate applications submitted electronically will be instantly and directly submitted into PHIS for review. Therefore, processing the paper-based export certificate applications will be slower than the applications that are submitted electronically. FSIS will also enter Product List data for applicants that choose to use paper.

After FSIS enters the data from the paper export certificate application into PHIS, the application data will follow the same approval process in PHIS as application data submitted by an applicant through PHIS with Level 2 eAuthentication. After FSIS approves an Application for Export Certificate, an FSIS inspector will issue a signed export certificate to the exporter. FSIS will continue to process and charge for after-hours (overtime or holiday) applications as a reimbursable service (9 CFR 307.5 and 307.6; 381.38 and 381.39; 590.126 through 590.130), as well as requests for certification that are in addition to the basic export certification (9 CFR 350.3(b), 350.7, 362.2(b), and 362.5).

The PHIS Export Component will initially have the ability to produce paper certificates that can be signed by FSIS with either an ink signature, as is done currently, or with a secure signature image derived from an official FSIS Identification card. The type of signature will be determined by the foreign government's requirements. FSIS will print paper certificates, generated by PHIS and issue the signed paper certificates to the exporter.

Foreign governments will also have the capability to view all export certificates for product intended for their country issued by FSIS in PHIS, as a digital image (portable document format, (PDF)), through an FSIS-controlled log-in feature (Foreign Country Log-in). Foreign governments may access the Foreign Country Log-in using Level 2 eAuthentication. Prior to implementation of the PHIS Export Component, FSIS will notify foreign governments when it is time to register for Level 2 eAuthentication. To learn more about Level 2 eAuthentication and how to register for an account, please visit https://www.eauth.usda.gov/MainPages/eauthWhatIsAccount.aspx.

In the future, FSIS also intends to support electronic export certification in PHIS. Electronic export certification is the government-to-government transmission of certification data and is the electronic equivalent of a paper certificate. When developed and implemented, electronic export certification will allow FSIS to transfer certification data directly to the foreign government's competent authority. Electronic certification will allow the foreign government's competent authority to view and authenticate the export certification data. FSIS will notify the public—including industry, importing countries, and other interested stakeholders—regarding the future development and implementation of electronic export certification, through a U.S. Federal Register Notice, World Trade Organization (WTO) notification, FSIS Constituent Update, or other appropriate means.

The PHIS Export Component will maintain a record of each export certificate issued, whether the certificate is paper-based, digital image, or in the future, electronic. FSIS considers any data and the electronic records (applications and certifications) submitted and processed through the PHIS to be equivalent to paper records. Export applications and certifications transmitted electronically are official.

To access and use the PHIS Export Component, exporters will need to register for a USDA eAuthentication account with Level 2 access. An eAuthentication account enables individuals within and outside of the USDA to obtain user-identification accounts to access a wide range of USDA applications through the Internet. The Level 2 access will provide to users the ability to conduct official electronic business transactions. To register for a Level 2 eAuthentication account, the user will need to have access to the Internet and a valid email address.

The Agency plans to provide exporters with more specific, detailed information on how to access PHIS to submit and manage export certificate applications, including guidance to exporters for accessing and navigating the PHIS Export Component. Any information concerning the implementation of the PHIS Export Component will be posted on the Agency's Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products.

PHIS Export Component Implementation

To provide for an orderly transition to the PHIS Export Component, FSIS considered several implementation options, including a phased-in implementation approach, which would benefit FSIS and industry by allowing time and flexibility to identify and address any PHIS export issues that may arise. The Agency also considered initially implementing the Export Component with countries that import the highest volume of FSIS-regulated product, or with neighboring countries such as Canada and Mexico. In addition, the Agency considered whether or not to accommodate the transfer of multiple export applications batch files sent from exporters to the PHIS Export Component.

On April 2, 2015, to solicit public comment and input on implementation issues, the Agency published “Issues on Implementation of Export Module,” on regulations.gov (http://www.regulations.gov/#!searchResults;rpp=25;po=0;s=FSIS-2015-0018-0004;fp=true;ns=true). The document outlined the Agency's thinking on implementation options and posed specific implementation questions for industry and consumer input. The comment period closed on May 5, 2015.

Also on April 2, 2015, FSIS held a conference call with members of consumer advocacy groups and industry representatives to request feedback on the implementation of the PHIS Export Component. During the call, the Agency announced that it had published PHIS Export Component implementation issues and questions on regulations.gov for public comment. The Agency published the transcript of the conference call on its Web site at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/abc21785-3a1a-43bc-b789-81187a0e67bb/PHIS-export-conference.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

In addition, on April 3, 2015, FSIS announced, in a Constituent Update, a request for feedback on the implementation of the PHIS Export Component (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/805c2534-dfec-414b-9342-9a8effe2c5b8/ConstiUpdate040315.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=805c2534-dfec-414b-9342-9a8effe2c5b8).

In response to the implementation issues and questions, commenters generally supported a phased-in approach, starting with one country, and expanding to additional countries only after potential initial implementation issues have been resolved. Commenters did not recommend specific countries, although some suggested beginning with low-volume countries that maintain relatively simple export certification requirements. Commenters also supported including batching capabilities which will allow applicants to bundle multiple applications into a single file, and noted specifically that, as the PHIS Export Component is implemented, companies will have to operate parallel systems for both batch certificates and individual certificates. In addition, industry association members affirmed that they could accommodate both a limited initial implementation of the PHIS Export Component and traditional certification processes for countries not yet included in PHIS, depending on acceptance by foreign governments.

Based on the comments received, FSIS is developing a comprehensive phased-in implementation plan of the PHIS Export Component. Initially, beginning on the applicability date of June 29, 2017, the Agency will implement the PHIS Export Component with one foreign country or limited number of foreign countries, and then gradually expand implementation to additional countries. In addition, the PHIS Export Component will include batch file capability, which will be aligned with the rollout of countries in the phased-in implementation. To maintain system functionality, FSIS reserves the right to place limits on batching as needed or required by PHIS, and will process applications in the order that they are received. In preparing for phased-in implementation, FSIS is evaluating criteria, such as the foreign country's product volume and product diversity, geographic proximity to the United States, and complexity of certification requirements. FSIS will communicate with foreign countries and industry regarding preparations for the phased-in implementation plan, and will seek additional public input as needed.

The rule's electronic application and fee provisions will not be applicable until June 29, 2017. FSIS will provide additional information through Federal Register notices on implementation prior to the applicability date, including specific information on which countries will initially receive export certificates through the new Export Component.

Proposed and Final Rule Amendments Export Applications and Certificates

As discussed in the proposed rule (77 FR 3160), the meat and poultry products inspection regulations provide a paper-based export application and certification process (9 CFR 312.8, 322.2, 381.105, and 381.106). The meat regulations provide that, upon application of the exporter, FSIS inspectors are authorized to issue export certificates (9 CFR 322.2(a)). The poultry products regulations provide that, upon the exporter's request or application, FSIS inspectors are authorized to issue export certificates (9 CFR 381.105(a)). The Agency proposed to amend the regulations to provide that applications for export certification may be either paper-based or electronic and to delete the “upon request” certificate provision in the poultry products regulations, because the “upon request” provision is obsolete and does not reflect current export certification practices.

FSIS also proposed to delete the export certificate form requirements in 9 CFR 312.8(b) and 381.106, because these regulations contain specific certificate requirements and instructions for Agency inspection personnel, e.g., signature by a program employee and bearing a letterhead and the official seal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Agency provides instructions to inspection program personnel for export application approval and issuance of export certificate instructions in FSIS Directive 9000.1, Revision 1 http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/directives/9000-series.

In addition, FSIS proposed to delete the references in 9 CFR 322.2 and 381.105 to the issuance of “triplicate” and “duplicate” certificates to allow for “copies” of the export certificate to be distributed to the required parties and to accompany the product. The Agency also proposed to delete the provisions in 9 CFR 322.2(e) for filing a copy of the export certificate with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within four (4) business days of the clearance of the vessel at the time of filing the complete manifest.

FSIS also proposed to amend the meat and poultry export regulations to organize and make parallel, to the extent possible, the regulatory language for meat and poultry products. This rule finalizes all of the proposed amendments.

Export Inspection Marks and Devices

As discussed in the proposed rule (77 FR 3161), after the export application is approved, inspection program personnel provide the export stamp and authorize the establishment to mark products destined for export. As required in 9 CFR 322.1(a) and 381.105(a), each shipping container is marked with the official export stamp bearing the serial number on the export certificate (of note, beginning on the applicability date of June 29, 2017, FSIS is changing the number of digits in the serial number that appears on both the export stamp and the corresponding export certificate from six to seven). Both 9 CFR 312.8(a) and 381.104 provide for an official device to apply the official export stamp.

FSIS proposed to amend 9 CFR 312.8(a) and 381.104 to provide an alternative method of identifying and marking containers of product destined for export. The proposed flexibility would permit exporters to mark product containers with a unique identifier that links the exported product to the export certificate. The Agency proposed the flexibility because of the technological advancements that have been made since the export marking and devices regulations were initially promulgated.

This rule finalizes the proposed amendments, but will not make the unique identifier provisions applicable until June 29, 2017. In response to a comment, the Agency is also providing greater flexibility by permitting stamping of the pallet within the consignment, or closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment (e.g. truck, rail car, or ocean container), provided that the stamp or unique identifier links the consignment to the corresponding export certificate. FSIS intends “consignment” to mean the product represented on the export certificate (9 CFR 322.2(c)), 9 CFR 381.105(c), 9 CFR 590.407(b)), and that the stamped pallet will be securely enclosed (e.g. shrink-wrapped or other effective means). The pallet stamp should be a single mark on the pallet or pallets included within the consignment. Pallet stamping provisions will be effective on August 29, 2016. Offering these options for stamping is an outgrowth of FSIS's proposal to give more flexibility in the export stamp process. While FSIS is offering this flexibility, exporters will still have to meet any stamping requirements of the importing foreign country.

Egg Products Export Regulations

As discussed, the EPIA does not set forth specific provisions for the export of egg products, and the FSIS egg products inspection regulations do not include requirements for exported egg products. The egg products inspection regulations provide that, upon request, an inspector may issue an egg product inspection and grading certificate. The exporter can present the certificate to foreign countries as certification that egg products were inspected and passed and are wholesome and fit for human consumption (9 CFR 590.402).

As discussed in the proposed rule (77 FR 3161), because almost all foreign countries require export certification for imported egg products, FSIS proposed to amend the egg products export regulations to add export application and certification requirements in 9 CFR 590.407. The proposed section paralleled, to the extent possible, the export requirements in the meat and poultry regulations that provide for the application, certification, and marking of product destined for export. FSIS also proposed to add 9 CFR 592.20(d), which parallels 9 CFR 350.3(b) and 362.2(b) and provides that export certifications that products meet conditions or standards that are not imposed, or that are in addition to those imposed, by the egg products regulations will be subject to a charge as a reimbursable service. This rule finalizes the proposed amendments.

Charge for Electronic Export Application and Certification Process

As discussed above and in the proposed rule (77 FR 3161), under the authority of the AMA, the meat and poultry inspection regulations provide that when exporters request certification that is in addition to the basic export certification of wholesomeness required by regulation, FSIS charges and collects fees from establishments and facilities that request this service (9 CFR 350.3(b), 350.7, 362.2(b), and 362.5). Exporters may also request additional certifications to meet requirements imposed by the importing foreign countries.

The PHIS's Export Component will provide new service options to exporters enabling them to electronically submit, track, and manage their export applications. Therefore, to cover the costs of providing the electronic application and certification service, the Agency proposed to establish a fee to exporters that utilize the PHIS Export Component. The fee is for the application for the basic export certificate. Any additional certifications that are imposed by the importing foreign country will be charged as a certification service, as provided in 9 CFR 350.3(b), 362.2(b), and 592.20(d)). These additional export certifications will be charged at the appropriate basetime, overtime, or holiday rate, depending on when the certification service is provided. The basic export certification, if provided outside of an inspector's normal shift, is also charged at the appropriate rate (overtime or holiday).

The Agency proposed the following formula for assessing its annual cost: The labor costs (i.e., direct inspection labor cost for inspection personnel + technical support provided to users of the Export Component + export library maintenance) + the Information and Technology (IT) costs (i.e., on-going operations + maintenance of the system costs + eAuthentication cost) divided by the number of annual export applications:

ER29JN16.012

The Agency also provided the following calculation and export application fee based on the 2012 basetime rate, the best estimates for on-going operations and maintenance, and an estimated number of export applications it would receive:

ER29JN16.013

In response to comments that the export application formula and fee should not include direct inspection labor costs for inspection personnel, FSIS deleted this cost from the export application formula and fee. In addition, the Agency has updated the costs and the estimated number of export applications included in the formula, and in response to comments provided more explanation of the costs:

The 2015 PHIS Export Application Fee is based on the following costs, rates, and best available data:

• Technical Support Costs.

The cost of providing technical support, which includes service desk support, is $125,000.1 Service Desk support consists of activities like resolving user problems with the application services, identifying web browser compatibility issues, and resolving access issues to authorized areas of the system.

1 Based on fixed price contract for contractor Service Desk support.

• Export Library Maintenance.

The cost for funding two full-time employees to provide export library functions is $302,098.2 Export library maintenance supports the PHIS Export Component and includes the writing, testing, and maintenance of complex business rules for evaluating the export application that is submitted into the PHIS export system. The business rules allow the system to determine product eligibility before the system accepts the application and transmits it to inspection program personnel. The business rules also facilitate the type of export certification required by the foreign government that will be issued when the application is accepted. This work supports the PHIS Export Component and is not part of current export library functions. In addition, there will be continuous updates to the system.

2 Actual costs of 2016 GS-schedule salaries and benefits for two Export Library FTEs.

• On-going Operations and Maintenance Costs.

The cost of providing on-going operations and maintenance, including improvements and necessary repairs to keep the system responsive to users' needs, is $1,894,156.3 These costs cover activities such as modifying the application based on changes in requirements or user needs, adding functionality based on foreign regulatory changes, upkeep of the system to ensure a secure operating environment that protects the data, and costs to operate the system components. This cost may increase in future years based on GSA schedule increases in labor rates and other factors.

3 Operations and Maintenance Costs = Application maintenance costs ($1,451,210/yr) + Non-development-related Export O&M costs ($442,946/yr).

• eAuthentication Costs.

The cost of providing eAuthentication is currently zero. eAuthentication is a single sign-on application that allows users to securely access multiple USDA applications, including the PHIS Export Component. To access the PHIS Export Component users need to register for a USDA eAuthentication account. To learn more about eAuthentication and how to register for an account, visit https://www.eauth.usda.gov. FSIS may be charged for Level 2 Customer accounts separately in the future, and these costs may increase in future years. As an example, the annual future cost could be $56.88 per Level 2 account and would be factored on the number of export business customers annually.

• The estimated number of yearly export applications, determined using data obtained from FSIS's Office of Field Operations, is 576,192.4

4 FSIS internal survey of Ten District Offices on June 10, 2013.

The final export application fee formula and fee are below:

ER29JN16.014

The fee will be calculated on an annual basis, and the updated fees will apply at the start of each calendar year. FSIS will publish a Federal Register notice announcing the fee approximately 30 days prior to the start of each new calendar year.

Notification of Changes to Replacement Certificate Terminology and Practice

FSIS is amending the export certification regulations by changing the term “in lieu of certificates” to “replacement certificates” (9 CFR 322.2(b), 9 CFR 381.106(b), 9 CFR 590.407(b)). This change is intended to make FSIS regulations more clear. This change will not cause problems for the industry or international community because the term “replacement certificates” is generally well understood.

Comments on and Responses to the Proposed Rule

FSIS received 8 comments from domestic trade associations and domestic exporting establishments.

Comment: Several commenters stated the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. 695 and 468) provide that the cost of inspection rendered, except the cost of overtime and holiday work, shall be borne by the United States, and therefore, the export application formula and fee should not include direct inspection labor costs for inspection personnel.

Response: FSIS agrees that the direct inspection labor costs included in the proposed export application formula should be removed from the export application formula. However, as discussed in the proposed rule (77 FR 3161), under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act (AMA), the meat and poultry inspection regulations provide that when exporters request certification that is in addition to the basic export certification (e.g. as required by a foreign country and documented in the FSIS Export Library), FSIS charges and collects fees from establishments and facilities that request this service (9 CFR 350.3(b), 350.7, 362.2(b), and 362.5). Because the PHIS Export Component provides new service options to exporters for electronic application and certification, the formula will continue to include the non-direct inspection based costs of the system for FSIS personnel (or contracted support as necessary) to operate and maintain the PHIS Export Component, including technical support for users, export library maintenance, and information technology costs.

In this final rule, in addition to deleting the direct inspection costs from the export application formula, the Agency also updated the costs and the estimated number of export applications included in the formula. The final formulas and fees are discussed above.

Comment: Comments from trade organizations stated that FSIS needs to work closely with exporters to ensure that the system is compatible with industry needs, and that it requires minimal manual input. One industry comment stated that the system must have the ability to accept some type of load files from companies that intend to use the system, and that it must have the ability to interface through Electronic Data Interchange. These commenters also recommended that FSIS communicate with U.S. trading partners and exporters to ensure that the Export Component would be acceptable.

Response: As discussed above, in April 2015, FSIS met with and solicited comments from stakeholders on the system's ability to accept batch files. In June 2015, FSIS met with stakeholders to provide an update on the progress of PHIS Export Component development and will continue to work with exporters to ensure that industry is aware of the system's capabilities. The Agency intends to provide the capability for batch file processing of applications. FSIS will involve industry in its user acceptance testing for the Export Component.

FSIS notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the proposed rule on January 23, 2012, consistent with our obligations under the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. This notification gave all WTO Members the chance to review and comment on the proposal at a point when meaningful changes could still be made. In addition, FSIS is planning a formal outreach strategy to ensure that foreign governments and U.S. exporters have every opportunity to understand the Export Component.

Comment: One commenter asked whether the paper-based export process would continue to be available when the PHIS Export Component is implemented, and whether PHIS will be used to print export certificates.

Response: Export applicants can submit a paper version of the application for export process rather than use the PHIS Export Component. If applicants choose to submit the paper application, FSIS will enter the data into the PHIS Export Component for processing and provide the paper export certificate to the applicant when it has been approved. Exporters who choose to use paper-based applications will need to email, fax, or mail the completed applications, and any additional information required by the foreign country, to FSIS for entry into PHIS at:

Email: [email protected]

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, FMD, Financial Services Center, P.O. Box 9205, Des Moines, IA 50306-9948.

FSIS will provide a dedicated fax number as well, and will announce availability of this number in a Constituent Update before the rule's effective date.

Export applicants with an eAuthentication account can submit and process their application electronically (for a fee), and if the foreign country requires a paper certificate, FSIS will print an approved certificate and provide it to the applicant.

Comment: One commenter requested clarification on how FSIS will handle after hours (second shift exports), weekend, and holiday export certification applications.

Response: FSIS inspectors who are on-duty during those times will process export applications received through PHIS in a similar manner to the current process. The inspector will receive the export application in PHIS, review the application, conduct a re-inspection of the product according to current procedures, approve the application, and issue the export certificate. For exporters using paper applications, FSIS will continue to process and charge for after-hours (overtime or holiday) applications as a reimbursable service (9 CFR 307.5-6; 381.38-39; 590.126-130).

Comment: Comments from trade organizations stated that FSIS should not delete the regulatory language in 9 CFR 322.2(e) for filing a copy of the export certificate with CBP within four (4) business days of the clearance of the vessel at the time of filing the complete manifest. These commenters stated that these regulations are necessary so that establishments and exporters know that they are required to send a copy of the export certificate to CBP.

Response: FSIS proposed to delete the provisions in 9 CFR 322.2(e) initially because the filing of the export manifest with CBP within 4 business days is required under CBP regulations (19 CFR 4.75(b)). Upon further reflection, the FMIA requires the product's owner (e.g., the exporter) or shipper to obtain an export certificate from FSIS before the product departs from a U.S. port (21 U.S.C. 617). Vessel clearance is under CBP's jurisdiction, and because FSIS provides the export certificate to the exporter prior to clearance with CBP, the intent of 21 U.S.C. 617 is satisfied.

In terms of accounting for export certificates, the PHIS Export Component will allow FSIS to electronically inventory and track export certificate information, thus eliminating the cumbersome transfer of export certificate copies or certificate data across multiple steps in the supply chain to CBP. Furthermore, no direct transfer from FSIS to CBP is needed, because the controls in place between the United States and the importing countries are sufficient to eliminate the burden of transferring data (or copies of the certificate) between Federal agencies. Therefore, in this final rule, FSIS is deleting 9 CFR 322.2(e). While this change removes unnecessary export requirements internal to the United States, exporters are responsible for obtaining the appropriate export certification before departure.

Comment: An industry comment stated that certain countries require an original signature on export certificates and questioned how original signatures would be handled in the PHIS Export Component.

Response: For countries that require an original signature on the certificate, PHIS will have the capability of printing a paper certificate that will be signed with an ink signature by an FSIS official.

Comment: A trade organization stated that the Agency needs to provide greater flexibility in export stamping. According to the commenter, requiring facilities to place export stamps on every single case of product is costly and has little practical value. The commenter asked that the Agency provide an option for establishments to use FSIS-issued export stamps on whole pallets instead of stamping every container on a pallet. One comment also requested that FSIS define the term “unique identifier.”

Response: The Agency proposed (9 CFR 312.8(a) and 381.104) that exporters could use a unique identifier, linking the exported product to the export certificate as an alternative to using the official export stamp. Under the final rule, in order to provide greater flexibility and alternative methods of identifying and stamping product, FSIS will permit stamping of the pallet within the consignment or closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment (e.g. truck, rail car, or ocean container), provided that the stamp or unique identifier links the consignment to the corresponding export certificate. FSIS intends “consignment” to mean the product represented on the export certificate (9 CFR 322.2(c)), 9 CFR 381.105(c), 9 CFR 590.407(b)), and that the stamped pallet will be securely enclosed (e.g. shrink-wrapped or other effective means). Offering these options for stamping is an outgrowth of FSIS's proposal to give more flexibility in the export stamp process. It is important to note that exporters must still meet any stamping requirements of the importing foreign country, regardless of the flexibility offered by FSIS in export stamping.

To provide greater flexibility and accommodation of technological change, FSIS will not narrowly define the term “unique identifier” within its regulations, beyond the requirement that it must link the exported product to the export certificate issued by inspection personnel. In general, FSIS envisions the alternative mark as an alphanumeric sequence that uniquely identifies the shipment and links it to the export certificate. In the future, other methods and technologies could be used to produce unique identifiers, as verified by FSIS and determined acceptable by the importing country. Exporters' use of unique identifiers as an alternative mark will be dependent on acceptance by the importing country, as documented in the FSIS Export Library. As noted above, the unique identifier provisions will not be applicable until June 29, 2017. FSIS will work closely with importing countries to determine their needs related to identifying the product and will explain the alternative of using a unique identifier in place of the export stamp.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and the Regulatory Flexibility Act

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

FSIS has adopted the preliminary regulatory impact analysis with an update to the paperwork burden estimates for egg plants.

Cost of the Final Rule

Based on the formula established in this rule, for exporters that choose to utilize this new tool, the direct cost would be $4.03 per export application. The application fee will be determined annually based on the formula. The total cost to an exporter would depend on the number of electronic applications processed. An exporter that processes only a few applications per year would not likely experience a significant economic impact.

Assuming that the number of applications will remain about 576,000, based on recent application data,5 and exporters apply for all of these certificates through this new portal, the total direct cost to the exporting industry, when the PHIS Export Component is fully implemented with all countries, will be approximately $2.3 million per year. The indirect costs, which are indeterminate, will be the Internet service and the acquisition or upgrading of a current computer system to one that would be compatible with the PHIS. Under the final rule, exporters may continue to submit paper-based export applications with the Agency as to not incur the additional fee required by this rule.

5 * * *

Egg plants will incur additional costs as a result of this final rule. The total annual paperwork burden to egg exporters to fill out the paper-based export application is estimated to be 3,333 6 hours a year or $73,000 per year.7 The average exporter burden would be 16.7 hours or approximately $360 per exporter. There is no annual paperwork burden to meat and poultry exporters since they are currently filling out the export application.

6 Hours are derived from estimates of 200 for the number of exporters, 100 for the number of responses per exporter, and 10 minutes to complete and submit an application. (200 * 100 * 10/60)

7 FSIS used the Occupational Code 43-5071 Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks mean hourly wage (May 2014) of $15.27. (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes435071.htm) The estimated benefits percent share of total compensation for private industry 30.1%, with the remaining 69.9% attributed to wages and salaries. Therefore, the factor needed to multiply to wage rate to determine total compensation rate is: (30.1%/69.9%) + 1 = 1.43. BLS Report available at: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm. The total wage and benefit rate is $15.27 * 1.43.

Expected Benefits of the Final Rule

The final rule will likely reduce the exporter and inspection personnel workload and paperwork burden by reducing the physical handling and processing of applications and certificates. The reduction in workload and paperwork burden is based on the greater efficiency of processing applications electronically and the number of applications filed electronically. In the future, the PHIS Export Component will facilitate the electronic government-to-government exchange of export applications and certifications, which will assist in the resolution of allegations of fraudulent transactions such as false alterations and reproductions.

An indirect benefit of automating the export application and certification system is that there will be an automatic, electronic recordkeeping of the number and types of exporters, the types of products exported to various countries, and the number of applications and certificates issued through PHIS.

Further, the electronic export system will provide a streamlined approach to processing applications and certificates. As a result, there will be additional unquantifiable benefits because PHIS automates the verification of eligibility and accuracy of certifications needed and will speed up the process for these establishments. Also, any potential documentation problems are likely to be resolved electronically before the product arrives at the port, and as a result, the products will likely move through ports faster than they do currently. Thus, storage costs to exporters will be reduced, and the product will reach its destination more quickly. Even exporters that submit a paper-based application will benefit from the PHIS Export Component. FSIS will enter the application into the PHIS, and the FSIS verifications activities regarding eligibility and accuracy of certifications will be automated.

FSIS Budgetary Effects

If fully adopted by the industry and our trading partners when the PHIS Export Component is fully implemented, FSIS will recover the costs of providing electronic application and certification service.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The FSIS Administrator certifies that, for the purposes of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-602), the final rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities in the United States. There are 6,074 meat, poultry, and egg products establishments 8 that could possibly be affected by this final rule since all are eligible to export. Of this number, there are about, 391 large establishments, 2,505 small federally inspected establishments (with more than 10 but less than 500 employees) and 3,178 very small establishments (with fewer than 10 employees) based on HACCP Classification.9 Therefore, a total of 5,683 small and very small establishments could be possibly affected by this rule.

8 Establishment numbers from FSIS's Public Health Information System, October 2014.

9 Ibid.

For the meat, poultry, and egg products industries, small and very small exporters, like large exporters, would incur the $4.03 fee only if they file their export application electronically. If they choose to submit the paper application, they will bear no additional cost compared to now. If exporters submit their applications electronically, the average annual cost from this rule would be $382.00 per exporter (576,192 export applications per year / 6,074 meat, poultry, and egg products establishments * $4.03 per application).

For the approximately 200 egg product exporters, FSIS expects the number of applications submitted to be 20,000 (200 exporters * 100 submissions 10 ) for an estimated total cost of $81,000. The cost per exporter would be $403 (20,000 applications * $4.03 / 200).

10 Estimate is from the paperwork reduction analysis.

If small establishments require fewer applications, then the cost per small establishment is even lower. Therefore, the Agency believes that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

In accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the information collection was approved under 0583-0153. This rule contains no other paperwork requirements.

Copies of this information collection assessment can be obtained from Gina Kouba, Paperwork Reduction Act Coordinator, Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Room 6077 South Building, Washington, DC 20250-3700; (202) 690-6510.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. Under this rule: (1) All State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule will be preempted; (2) no retroactive effect will be given to this rule; and (3) no administrative proceedings will be required before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

E-Government Act

FSIS and USDA are committed to achieving the purposes of the E-Government Act (44 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.) by, among other things, promoting the use of the Internet and other information technologies and providing increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information and services, and for other purposes.

Executive Order 13175

This final rule has been reviewed in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments. The review reveals that this regulation will not have substantial and direct effects on Tribal governments and will not have significant Tribal implications.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.

Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email:

Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410.

Fax: (202) 690-7442.

Email: [email protected]

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Additional Public Notification

FSIS will announce this rule online through the FSIS Web page located at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/interim-and-final-rules.

FSIS will also make copies of this Federal Register publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals who have asked to be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS Web page. In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe.

Options range from recalls to export information to regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts.

List of Subjects 9 CFR Part 312

Food labeling, Meat inspection, Signs and symbols.

9 CFR Part 322

Exports, Meat inspection.

9 CFR Part 350

Meat inspection, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

9 CFR Part 362

Meat inspection, Poultry and poultry products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

9 CFR Part 381

Meat inspection, Poultry and poultry products, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

9 CFR Part 590

Eggs and egg products, Exports, Food grades and standards, Food labeling, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

9 CFR Part 592

Eggs and egg products, Exports, Food grades and standards, Food labeling, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, FSIS amends 9 CFR chapter III as follows:

PART 312—OFFICIAL MARKS, DEVICES AND CERTIFICATES 1. The authority citation for part 312 continues to read as follows: Authority:

21 U.S.C. 601-695; 7 CFR 2.17, 2.55.

2. Revise § 312.8 to read as follows:
§ 312.8 Export inspection marks.

The export inspection mark required in § 322.1 of this chapter must be either a mark that contains a unique identifier that links the consignment to the export certificate or an official mark with the following form:1

1 The number “1234567” is given as an example only. The number on the mark will correspond to the printed number on the export certificate.

ER29JN16.015
PART 322—EXPORTS 3. The authority citation for part 322 continues to read as follows: Authority:

21 U.S.C. 601-695; 7 CFR 2.17, 2.55.

4. Revise § 322.1 to read as follows:
§ 322.1 Marking products for export.

(a) When authorized by inspection personnel, establishment personnel must mark the outside container of any inspected and passed product for export, the securely enclosed pallet within the consignment, or closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment, with a mark that contains a unique identifier that links the consignment to the export certificate or an official mark as described in § 312.8 of this chapter. Ship stores, small quantities exclusively for the personal use of the consignee and not for sale or distribution, and shipments by and for the U.S. Armed Forces, are exempt from the requirements of this section.

(b) When authorized by inspection personnel, establishments must mark each tank car of inspected and passed lard or similar edible product, and each door of each railroad car or other closed means of conveyance, containing inspected and passed loose product shipped directly to a foreign country, with an export inspection mark as shown in § 312.8 of this subchapter.

5. Revise § 322.2 to read as follows:
§ 322.2 Export certification.

(a) Exporters must apply for export certification of inspected and passed products shipped to any foreign country. Exporters may apply for an export certificate using a paper or electronic application. FSIS will assess exporters that submit an electronic application the charge in § 350.7(e) of this chapter.

(b) FSIS will issue only one certificate for each consignment, except in the case of error in the certificate or loss of the certificate originally issued. A request for a replacement certificate, except in the case of a lost certificate, must be accompanied by the original certificate. The new certificate will carry the following statement: “Issued in replacement of ___”, with the numbers of the certificates that have been superseded.

(c) FSIS will deliver a copy of the certificate to the exporter. The exporter may furnish the copy of the certificate to the consignee for purposes of affecting the entry of product into the foreign country of destination.

(d) FSIS will retain a copy of the certificate.

(e) Exporters may request inspection personnel to issue certificates for export consignments of product of official establishments not under their supervision, provided the consignments are first identified as having been “U.S. inspected and passed,” are found to be neither adulterated nor misbranded, and are marked as required by § 322.1.

PART 350—SPECIAL SERVICES RELATING TO MEAT AND OTHER PRODUCTS 6. The authority citation for part 350 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 1622, 1624; 7 CFR 2.17, 2.55.

7. In § 350.7, add paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
§ 350.7 Fees and charges.

(e) Exporters that submit electronic export certificate applications will be charged a fee per application submitted.

(f) For each calendar year, FSIS will calculate the electronic export certificate application fee, using the following formula: Labor Costs (Technical Support Cost + Export Library Maintenance Cost) + Information Technology Costs (On-going operations Cost + Maintenance Cost + eAuthentication Cost), divided by the number of export applications.

(g) FSIS will publish notice of the electronic export certificate application fee annually in the Federal Register.

PART 362—VOLUNTARY POULTRY INSPECTION REGULATIONS 8. The authority citation for part 362 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C 1622; 7 CFR 2.18(g) and (i) and 2.53.

9. In § 362.5, add paragraphs(e), (f), and (g) to read as follows:
§ 362.5 Fees and charges.

(e) Exporters that submit electronic export certificate applications will be charged a fee per application submitted.

(f) For each calendar year, FSIS will calculate the electronic export certificate application fee, using the following formula: Labor Costs (Technical Support Cost + Export Library Maintenance Cost) + Information Technology Costs (On-going operations Cost + Maintenance Cost + eAuthentication Cost), divided by the number of export applications.

(g) FSIS will publish notice of the electronic export certificate application fee annually in the Federal Register.

PART 381—POULTRY PRODUCTS INSPECTION REGULATIONS 10. The authority citation for part 381 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 138F, 450; 21 U.S.C. 451-470; 7 CFR 2.7, 2.18, 2.53.

11. Revise § 381.104 to read as follows:
§ 381.104 Export inspection marks.

The export inspection mark required in § 381.105 must be either a mark that contains a unique identifier that links the consignment to the export certificate or an official mark with the following form: 1

ER29JN16.016

1 The number “1234567” is given as an example only. The number on the mark will correspond to the printed number on the export certificate.

12. Revise § 381.105 to read as follows:
§ 381.105 Marking products for export.

When authorized by inspection personnel, establishments must mark the outside container of any inspected and passed product for export, the securely enclosed pallet within the consignment, or closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment, with a mark that contains a unique identifier that links the consignment to the export certificate or an official mark as described in § 381.104. Ship stores, small quantities exclusively for the personal use of the consignee and not for sale or distribution, and shipments by and for the U.S. Armed Forces, are exempt from the requirements of this section.

13. Revise § 381.106 to read as follows:
§ 381.106 Export certification.

(a) Exporters must apply for export certification of inspected and passed products to any foreign country. Exporters may apply for an export certificate using a paper or electronic application. FSIS will assess exporters that submit an electronic application the charge in § 362.5(e) of this chapter.

(b) FSIS will issue only one certificate for each consignment, except in the case of error in the certificate or loss of the certificate originally issued. A request for a replacement certificate, except in the case of a lost certificate, must be accompanied by the original certificate. The new certificate will carry the following statement: “Issued in replacement of ___”, with the numbers of the certificates that have been superseded.

(c) FSIS will deliver a copy of the certificate to the person who requested such certificate or his agent. Such persons may duplicate the certificate as required in connection with the exportation of the product.

(d) FSIS will retain a copy of the certificate.

(e) Exporters may request inspection personnel to issue certificates for export consignments of product of official establishments not under their supervision, provided the consignments are first identified as having been “U.S. inspected and passed,” are found to be neither adulterated nor misbranded, and are marked as required by § 381.105.

PART 590—INSPECTION OF EGGS AND EGG PRODUCTS (EGG PRODUCTS INSPECTION ACT) 14. The authority citation for part 590 continues to read as follows: Authority:

21 U.S.C. 1031-1056.

15. Add § 590.407 to read as follows:
§ 590.407 Export certification and marking of containers with export inspection mark.

(a) Exporters must apply for export certification of inspected and passed products shipped to any foreign country. Exporters may apply for an export certificate using a paper or electronic application. FSIS will assess exporters that submit an electronic application the charge in § 592.500(d) of this chapter.

(b) FSIS will issue only one certificate for each consignment, except in the case of error in the certificate or loss of the certificate originally issued. A request for a replacement certificate, except in the case of a lost certificate, must be accompanied by the original certificate. The new certificate will carry the following statement: “Issued in replacement of ___”, with the numbers of the certificates that have been superseded.

(c) FSIS will deliver a copy of the export certificate to the person who requested such certificate or his agent. Such persons may duplicate the certificate as required in connection with the exportation of the product.

(d) FSIS will retain a copy of the certificate.

(e)(1) When authorized by inspection personnel, establishments must mark the outside container of any inspected and passed egg products destined for export, the securely enclosed pallet within the consignment, or closed means of conveyance transporting the consignment, with a mark that contains a unique identifier that links the consignment to the export certificate or an official mark with the following form: 1

1 The number “1234567” is given as an example only. The number on the export certificate will correspond to the printed number on the export certificate.

ER29JN16.017

(2) Ship stores, small quantities exclusively for the personal use of the consignee and not for sale or distribution, and shipments by and for the U.S. Armed Forces, are exempt from the requirements of this section.

(f) Exporters may request inspection personnel to issue certificates for export consignments of product of official establishments not under their supervision, provided the consignments are first identified as having been “U.S. inspected and passed,” are found to be neither adulterated nor misbranded, and are marked as required by paragraph (e) of this section.

PART 592—VOLUNTARY INSPECTION OF EGG PRODUCTS 16. The authority citation for part 592 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 1621-1627.

17. In § 592.20, add paragraph (d) to read as follows:
§ 592.20 Kinds of services available.

(d) Export certification. Upon application, by any person intending to export any egg product, inspectors may make certifications regarding products for human food purposes, to be exported, as meeting conditions or standards that are not imposed or are in addition to those imposed by the regulations in the part and the laws under which such regulations were issued.

18. In § 592.500, revise paragraph (a) and add paragraphs (d), (e), and (f) to read as follows:
§ 592.500 Payment of fees and charges.

(a) Fees and charges for voluntary base time rate, overtime inspection service, holiday inspection service, and electronic export applications shall be paid by the interested party making the application for such service, in accordance with the applicable provisions of this section and § 592.510 through § 592.530, both inclusive. If so required by the inspection personnel, such fees and charges shall be paid in advance.

(d) Exporters that submit electronic export certificate applications will be charged a fee per application submitted.

(e) For each calendar year, FSIS will calculate the electronic export certificate application fee, using the following formula: Labor Costs (Technical Support Cost + Export Library Maintenance Cost) + Information Technology Costs (On-going operations Cost + Maintenance Cost + eAuthentication Cost), divided by the number of export applications.

(f) FSIS will publish notice of the electronic export certificate application fee annually in the Federal Register.

Done at Washington, DC, on June 17, 2016. Alfred V. Almanza, Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-14812 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-DM-P
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY 10 CFR Parts 429 and 430 [Docket No. EERE-2014-BT-TP-0044] RIN 1904-AD45 Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Battery Chargers Correction

In rule document 2016-11486, beginning on page 31827 in the issue of Friday, May 20, 2016, make the following corrections:

Appendix Y to Subpart B of Part 430 [Corrected]

1. On page 31844, in Appendix Y to Subpart B of Part 430, in Table 5.3, under the “Product Class” column head, in the “Rated Battery Energy (Ebatt) ** column, in the third row, the entry should read “<100 Wh”.

2. On the same page, in the same table, beneath the same column head, in the same column, in the fourth row, the entry should read “<100 Wh”.

3. On the same page, in the same table, beneath the same column head, in the same column, in the sixth row, the entry should read “100-3000 Wh”.

[FR Doc. C1-2016-11486 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-05-D
FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION 12 CFR Parts 308 and 327 RIN 3064-AE43 Rules of Practice and Procedure AGENCY:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

ACTION:

Interim final rule and request for comment.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is amending its rules of practice and procedure under to adjust the maximum amount of each civil money penalty (CMP) within its jurisdiction to account for inflation. This action is required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Adjustment Act).

DATES:

This rule is effective on August 1, 2016. Comments must be received by September 1, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by RIN 3064-AE43, by any of the following methods:

Agency Web site: http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/federal/. Follow instructions for submitting comments on the Agency Web site.

Email: [email protected]. Include the RIN 3064-AE43 on the subject line of the message.

Mail: Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, Attention: Comments, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand-delivered to the guard station at the rear of the 550 17th Street Building (located on F Street) on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Public Inspection: All comments received must include the agency name and RIN for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/federal/, including any personal information provided. Paper copies of public comments may be ordered from the FDIC Public Information Center, 3501 North Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226 by telephone at (877) 275-3342 or (703) 562-2200.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Seth P. Rosebrock, Supervisory Counsel, Legal Division (202) 898-6609, or Graham N. Rehrig, Senior Attorney, Legal Division (202) 898-3829.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Policy Objectives

This interim final rule adjusts the maximum limit for CMPs according to inflation as mandated by Congress in the 2015 Adjustment Act.1 The intended effect of annually adjusting maximum civil money penalties in accordance with changes in the Consumer Price Index is to minimize any distortion in the real value of those maximums due to inflation, thereby promoting a more consistent deterrent effect in the structure of CMPs. Other technical changes to 12 CFR part 308 are intended to improve the transparency of the regulation and to assist readers in quickly identifying the applicable CMP amounts.

1 Public Law 114-74, sec. 701, 129 Stat. 584.

II. Background: Current Regulatory Approach

The FDIC assesses CMPs under section 8(i) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA), 12 U.S.C. 1818, and a variety of other statutes.2 Congress established maximum penalties that could be assessed under these statutes. In many cases, these statutes contain multiple penalty tiers, permitting the assessment of penalties at various levels depending upon the severity of the misconduct at issue.3

2See, e.g., 12 U.S.C. 1972(2)(F) (authorizing the FDIC to impose CMPs for violations of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1970 related to prohibited tying arrangements); 15 U.S.C. 78u-2 (authorizing the FDIC to impose CMPs for violations of certain provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934); 42 U.S.C. 4012a(f) (authorizing the FDIC to impose CMPs for pattern or practice violations of the Flood Disaster Protection Act).

3 For example, Section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA, 12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2), provides for three tiers of CMPs, with the size of such CMPs increasing with the gravity of the misconduct.

In 1990, Congress determined that the assessment of CMPs plays “an important role in deterring violations and furthering the policy goals embodied in such laws and regulations” and concluded that “the impact of many civil monetary penalties has been and is diminished due to the effect of inflation.” 4 Consequently, Congress required federal agencies with authority to impose CMPs to periodically adjust by rulemaking the maximum CMPs which these agencies were authorized to impose in order to “maintain the deterrent effect of civil monetary penalties and promote compliance with the law.” 5 Under the 1990 Adjustment Act, the FDIC adjusted its CMP amounts every four years, most recently in 2012.6

4 Section 2 of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (1990 Adjustment Act). Public Law 101-410, 104 Stat. 890 (amended 2015) (codified as amended at 28 U.S.C. 2461 note).

5Id.

6See 77 FR 74,573 (Dec. 17, 2012).

In 2015, Congress revised the process by which federal agencies adjust applicable CMPs for inflation.7 Under the 2015 Adjustment Act, the FDIC is required to (1) adjust the CMP levels with an initial catch-up adjustment through an interim final rulemaking and (2) make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation. The FDIC must publish an interim final rule with initial penalty adjustment amounts by July 1, 2016, and the new maximum penalty levels must take effect no later than August 1, 2016. These adjustments will apply to all CMPs covered by the 2015 Adjustment Act.8

7 Public Law 114-74, 129 Stat. 584.

8 The 2015 Adjustment Act defines “civil monetary penalty” as “any penalty, fine, or other sanction that is for a specific monetary amount as provided by Federal law; or has a maximum amount provided for by Federal law; and is assessed or enforced by an agency pursuant to Federal law; and is assessed or enforced pursuant to an administrative proceeding or a civil action in the Federal courts[.]” Public Law 101-410, sec. 3(2), 104 Stat. 890 (amended 2015) (codified as amended at 28 U.S.C. 2461 note).

Although the 2015 Adjustment Act increases the maximum penalty that may be assessed under each applicable statute, the FDIC possesses discretion to impose CMP amounts below the maximum level in accordance with the severity of the misconduct at issue. When making a determination as to the appropriate level of any given penalty, the FDIC is guided by statutory factors set forth in section 8(i)(2)(G) of the FDIA, 12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)(G), and those factors identified in the Interagency Policy Statement Regarding the Assessment of CMPs by the Federal Financial Institutions Regulatory Agencies.9 Such factors include, but are not limited to, the gravity and duration of the misconduct, and the intent related to the misconduct.

9 63 FR 30227 (June 3, 1998).

III. Description of the Rule

This interim final rule adjusts the maximum limit for CMPs according to inflation as mandated by Congress in the 2015 Adjustment Act. Additionally, other technical changes to 12 CFR part 308 are being made to correct typographical errors, to supplement 12 CFR 308.132 to include references to previously omitted CMPs, and to reorder the provisions of 12 CFR 308.132 to assist readers in quickly identifying applicable CMP amounts.

The New CMP-Adjustment System

The 2015 Adjustment Act directs federal agencies to follow guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on February 24, 2016 (OMB Guidance) when calculating new maximum penalty levels.10 Initial catch-up adjustments are to be based on the percent change between the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) 11 for the month of October in the year for which the CMP was established by Congress or last adjusted for inflation (other than through the 1990 Adjustment Act), and the October 2015 CPI-U.12 In addition, the OMB Guidance provides a table of CMP-adjustment multipliers for each year.13

10See OMB, Implementation of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, M-16-06 available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/2016/m-16-06.pdf.

11 The CPI-U is compiled by the Bureau of Statistics of the Department of Labor.

12 The OMB Guidance directs agencies to identify, for each CMP, the year and corresponding amount(s) for which the maximum penalty level or range of minimum and maximum penalties was established (i.e., as originally enacted by Congress), or last adjusted (i.e., by Congress in statute, or by the agency through regulation), whichever is later, other than under the Inflation Adjustment Act. OMB Guidance at 3.

13 OMB Guidance at 6.

Summary of the FDIC's Calculations

In keeping with the OMB Guidance, the FDIC multiplied each of its CMP amounts by the relevant inflation factor.14 After applying the multiplier, the FDIC rounded each penalty level to the nearest dollar. In accordance with the 2015 Adjustment Act, the FDIC did not increase penalty levels by more than 150 percent of the corresponding levels in effect on November 2, 2015. In making these calculations, the FDIC consulted with staff from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to ensure that the FDIC's calculations and adjustments are consistent with those being proposed by other federal financial regulators for the same statutes.

14 Under the 1990 Adjustment Act, adjustments have been made only to CMPs that are for specific dollar amounts or maximums. CMPs that are assessed based upon a fixed percentage of an institution's total assets are not subject to adjustment.

Summary of Adjustments

The following chart displays the adjusted CMP amounts for each CMP identified in 12 CFR part 308.15 The following chart reflects the maximum CMPs that may be assessed through July 31, 2016, and the maximum CMPs that may be assessed on or after August 1, 2016, after the required inflation adjustment:

15 As noted previously, the FDIC retains discretion to impose CMPs in amounts below the referenced maximums.

U.S. Code citation Current maximum CMP
  • (through July 31, 2016)
  • Adjusted maximum CMP
  • (beginning August 1, 2016)
  • 12 U.S.C. 1464(v): Tier One CMP $3,200 $3,787 Tier Two CMP 32,000 37,872 Tier Three CMP 1,425,000 1,893,610 12 U.S.C. 1467(d) 7,500 9,468 12 U.S.C. 1817(a): Tier One CMP 3,200 3,787 Tier Two CMP 32,000 37,872 Tier Three CMP 1,425,000 1,893,610 12 U.S.C. 1817(c): Tier One CMP 3,200 3,462 Tier Two CMP 32,000 34,620 Tier Three CMP 1,425,000 1,730,990 12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2): Tier One CMP 7,500 9,468 Tier Two CMP 37,500 47,340 Tier Three CMP 1,425,000 1,893,610 12 U.S.C. 1820(e)(4) 7,500 8,655 12 U.S.C. 1820(k)(6) 275,000 311,470 12 U.S.C. 1828(a)(3) 100 118 12 U.S.C. 1828(h): For assessments <$10,000 100 118 12 U.S.C. 1829b(j) 16,000 19,787 12 U.S.C. 1832(c) 1,100 2,750 12 U.S.C. 1884 110 275 12 U.S.C. 1972(2)(F): Tier One CMP 7,500 9,468 Tier Two CMP 37,500 47,340 Tier Three CMP 1,425,000 1,893,610 12 U.S.C. 3909(d) 1,100 2,355 15 U.S.C. 78u-2: Tier One CMP (individuals) 7,500 8,908 Tier One CMP (others) 70,000 89,078 Tier Two CMP (individuals) 70,000 89,078 Tier Two CMP (others) 350,000 445,390 Tier Three CMP (individuals) 140,000 178,156 Tier Three penalty (others) 700,000 890,780 15 U.S.C. 1639e(k): First violation 10,000 10,875 Subsequent violations 20,000 21,749 31 U.S.C. 3802 7,500 10,781 42 U.S.C. 4012a(f) 2,000 2,056
    CFR Citation Current maximum amount (through July 31, 2016) New maximum amount
  • (beginning August 1, 2016)
  • 12 CFR 308.132(c)—Late or Misleading Reports of Condition and Income (Call Reports) First Offense: $25 million or more assets: 1 to 15 days late $330 $519 16 or more days late 660 1,039 Less than $25 million assets: 1 to 15 days late 110 173 16 or more days late 220 346 Subsequent Offenses $25 million or more assets: 1 to 15 days late 550 865 16 or more days late 1,100 1,731
    Addition to Part 308 of CMPs Previously Omitted

    This interim final rule incorporates adjustments to two categories of CMPs previously inadvertently omitted from the FDIC's last inflation-adjustment rulemaking in 2012. The Dodd-Frank Act 16 amended the Truth in Lending Act to establish independence standards for property appraisals and authorized the FDIC and other federal agencies to assess specified CMPs against persons who violate these provisions (Appraisal Independence CMP).17 Title III of the Dodd-Frank Act also transferred the functions, powers, and duties of the Office of Thrift Supervision relating to State savings associations to the FDIC and amended section 3 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to designate the FDIC as the “appropriate Federal banking agency” for State savings associations. Among the transferred authorities was the authority to impose CMPs against any State savings association under section 9(d) of the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA) (12 U.S.C. 1467(d)) if an affiliate of such an institution refuses to permit a duly-appointed examiner to conduct an examination or refuses to provide information during the course of an examination (Savings Association CMP).

    16 Public Law 111-203, tit. XIV, sec. 1472(a), 124 Stat. 2187.

    17 15 U.S.C. 1639e(k).

    Neither the Appraisal Independence CMP nor the Savings Association CMP was previously included in part 308. Nonetheless, the FDIC is required by the 2015 Adjustment Act to adjust all CMPs under the FDIC's jurisdiction in the agency's inflation-adjustment rulemaking. Consequently, the present amendment to part 308 specifically incorporates provisions in 12 CFR 308.132 related to the Appraisal Independence CMP and Savings Association CMP in 12 CFR 308.132, applying the adjustments required under the 2015 Adjustment Act and the OMB Guidance to these penalties.

    Other Technical Changes to 12 CFR Part 308

    The FDIC corrected a typographical error in 12 CFR 308.132(c) by indicating that the FDIC's Board of Directors or its designee may assess CMPs under 12 CFR 308.1(e) rather than the incorrect “308.01(e)(1).”

    The FDIC reorganized 12 CFR 308.132, listing all statutes cited that give rise to CMPs in ascending alpha-numeric order by title and section to assist readers in quickly identifying the applicable CMP amounts.

    Finally, the FDIC revised existing cross-references to 12 CFR 308.132 that are found in Chapter III of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect the resultant reorganization of 12 CFR 308.132.

    IV. Expected Effects of the Rule

    The interim final rule is expected to more precisely adjust CMP maximums relative to inflation. These adjustments are expected to minimize any year-to-year distortions in the real value of the CMP maximums. These adjustments will promote a more consistent deterrent effect in the structure of CMPs. As previously noted, the FDIC retains discretion to impose CMP amounts below the maximum level. The actual number and size of CMPs assessed in the future will depend on the propensity and severity of the violations committed by banks and institution-affiliated parties, as well as the particular statute that is at issue. Such future violations cannot be reliably forecast. It is expected that the FDIC will continue to exercise its discretion to impose CMPs that are appropriate to their severity.

    The 2015 Adjustment Act will likely result in a minimal increase in administrative costs for the FDIC in order to establish new inflation-adjusted maximum CMPs each year. Because these calculations are relatively simple, the number of labor hours necessary to perform this task is likely to be insignificant relative to total enforcement labor hours for the Corporation.

    V. Alternatives Considered

    The 2015 Act mandates the frequency of the inflation adjustment and the measure of inflation to be used in making these adjustments; accordingly, the FDIC is not statutorily authorized to consider or pursue alternative approaches. The other technical changes to 12 CFR part 308 were relatively minor and designed to improve the transparency and readability of the CFR, and therefore the FDIC did not actively consider alternative approaches to these changes.

    VI. Request for Comment

    The 2015 Adjustment Act requires the FDIC to amend its rules through an interim final rulemaking and provides the specific adjustments to be made. These changes are ministerial and technical. Under the OMB Guidance, the FDIC is not required to complete a notice-and-comment process prior to publication of this interim final rule in the Federal Register.18 Nonetheless, although notice and comment rulemaking procedures are not required, the FDIC invites comments on all aspects of this interim final rule. Commenters are specifically encouraged to identify any technical issues raised by the rule, including identifying any potential CMPs that may have been unintentionally omitted from this adjustment rulemaking.

    18 OMB Guidance at 3.

    VII. Regulatory Analysis Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act

    Section 302 of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act 19 generally requires that regulations prescribed by federal banking agencies which impose additional reporting, disclosures, or other new requirements on insured depository institutions take effect on the first day of a calendar quarter unless the regulation is required to take effect on another date pursuant to another act of Congress or the agency determines for good cause that the regulation should become effective on an earlier date.

    19 12 U.S.C. 4802.

    This interim final rule merely adjusts the maximum CMPs which the FDIC may assess. It does not impose any new or additional reporting, disclosures, or other requirements on insured depository institutions. Additionally, as previously noted, the 2015 Adjustment Act requires the interim final rule to take effect no later than August 1, 2016.20 Accordingly, this interim final rule will be effective August 1, 2016.

    20 Public Law 114-74, 129 Stat. 584.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis under the Regulatory Flexibility Act 21 (RFA) is required only when an agency must publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking. As noted above, the FDIC determined that publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking is not necessary for this interim final rule. Accordingly, the RFA does not require an initial regulatory flexibility analysis. Nevertheless, the FDIC considered the likely impact of the rule on small entities. From 2011 through 2015, on average, only 1.6 percent of FDIC-supervised institutions were ordered to pay a CMP each year. Accordingly, the FDIC believes that the rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    21 5 U.S.C. 603.

    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The OMB has determined that the interim final rule is not a “major rule” within the meaning of the relevant sections of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996 (SBREFA).22 As required by SBREFA, the FDIC will submit the interim final rule and other appropriate reports to Congress and the Government Accountability Office for review.

    22 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.

    The Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999: Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    The FDIC determined that this final rule will not affect family wellbeing within the meaning of section 654 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999.23

    23 Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 (1998).

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    The interim rule will implement statutory changes to the FDIC's CMP regulations. It does not create any new, or revise any existing, collections of information under section 3504(h) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.24 Consequently, no information collection request will be submitted to the OMB for review.

    24 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    Plain Language Act

    Section 722 of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires the FDIC to use plain language in all proposed and final rules published after January 1, 2000.25 The FDIC invites comment on how to make this rule easier to understand. For example:

    25 Public Law 106-102, 113 Stat. 1338 (Nov. 12, 1999).

    • Has the FDIC organized the material to suit your needs? If not, how could the FDIC present the rule more clearly?

    • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? If not, how could the rule be more clearly stated?

    • Do the regulations contain technical language or jargon that is not clear? If so, which language requires clarification?

    • Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) make the regulation easier to understand? If so, what changes would achieve that?

    • Is this section format adequate? If not, which of the sections should be changed and how?

    • What other changes can the FDIC incorporate to make the regulation easier to understand?

    List of Subjects 12 CFR Part 308

    Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, banking, Claims, Crime, Equal access to justice, Ex parte communications, Hearing procedure, Lawyers, Penalties, State nonmember banks.

    12 CFR Part 327

    Bank deposit insurance, Banks, banking, Savings associations.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the FDIC amends 12 CFR parts 308 and 327 to read as follows:

    PART 308—RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 1. Revise the authority citation for 12 CFR part 308 to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 504, 554-557; 12 U.S.C. 93(b), 164, 505, 1464, 1467(d), 1467a, 1468, 1815(e), 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1828, 1829, 1829(b), 1831i, 1831m(g)(4), 1831o, 1831p-1, 1832(c), 1884(b), 1972, 3102, 3108(a), 3349, 3909, 4717, 5412(b)(2)(C), 5414(b)(3); 15 U.S.C. 78(h) and (i), 78o(c)(4), 78o-4(c), 78o-5, 78q-1, 78s, 78u, 78u-2, 78u-3, 78w, 6801(b), 6805(b)(1); 28 U.S.C. 2461 note; 31 U.S.C. 330, 5321; 42 U.S.C. 4012a; Pub. L. 104-134, sec. 31001(s), 110 Stat. 1321; Pub. L. 109-351, 120 Stat. 1966; Pub. L. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376; Pub. L. 114-74, sec. 701, 129 Stat. 584.

    2. Revise § 308.116(b)(4) to read as follows:
    § 308.116 Assessment of penalties.

    (b) * * *

    (4) Adjustment of civil money penalties by the rate of inflation pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. On or after August 1, 2016:

    (i) Any person who has engaged in a violation as set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall forfeit and pay a civil money penalty of not more than $9,468 for each day the violation continued.

    (ii) Any person who has engaged in a violation, unsafe or unsound practice or breach of fiduciary duty, as set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, shall forfeit and pay a civil money penalty of not more than $47,340 for each day such violation, practice or breach continued.

    (iii) Any person who has knowingly engaged in a violation, unsafe or unsound practice or breach of fiduciary duty, as set forth in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, shall forfeit and pay a civil money penalty not to exceed:

    (A) In the case of a person other than a depository institution—$1,893,610 per day for each day the violation, practice or breach continued; or

    (B) In the case of a depository institution—an amount not to exceed the lesser of $1,893,610 or one percent of the total assets of such institution for each day the violation, practice or breach continued.

    3. Amend § 308.132 by revising paragraph (c)(1) and adding paragraph (d) to read as follows:
    § 308.132 Assessment of penalties.

    (c)

    (1) Authority of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors or its designee may assess civil money penalties pursuant to section 8(i) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)), and § 308.1(e) of the Uniform Rules (this part).

    (d) Maximum civil money penalty amounts. Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, on or after August 1, 2016, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess civil money penalties in the maximum amounts as follows:

    (1) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1464(v) for late filing or the submission of false or misleading certified statements by State savings associations. Pursuant to section 5(v) of the Home Owners' Loan Act (12 U.S.C. 1464(v)), the Board of Directors or its designee may assess civil money penalties as follows:

    (i) Late filing—Tier One penalties. In cases in which an institution fails to make or publish its Report of Condition and Income (Call Report) within the appropriate time periods, a civil money penalty of not more than $3,787 per day may be assessed where the institution maintains procedures in place reasonably adapted to avoid inadvertent error and the late filing occurred unintentionally and as a result of such error; or the institution inadvertently transmitted a Call Report that is minimally late. For penalties assessed on or after August 1, 2016, for violations of this paragraph (d)(1)(i), the following maximum Tier One penalty amounts contained in paragraphs (d)(1)(i)(A) and (B) of this section shall apply for each day that the violation continues.

    (A) First offense. Generally, in such cases, the amount assessed shall be $519 per day for each of the first 15 days for which the failure continues, and $1,039 per day for each subsequent day the failure continues, beginning on the sixteenth day. For institutions with less than $25,000,000 in assets, the amount assessed shall be the greater of $173 per day or 1/1000th of the institution's total assets (1/10th of a basis point) for each of the first 15 days for which the failure continues, and $346 or 1/500th of the institution's total assets, 1/5 of a basis point) for each subsequent day the failure continues, beginning on the sixteenth day.

    (B) Subsequent offense. Where the institution has been delinquent in making or publishing its Call Report within the preceding five quarters, the amount assessed for the most current failure shall generally be $865 per day for each of the first 15 days for which the failure continues, and $1,731 per day for each subsequent day the failure continues, beginning on the sixteenth day. For institutions with less than $25,000,000 in assets, those amounts, respectively, shall be 1/500th of the bank's total assets and 1/250th of the institution's total assets.

    (C) Lengthy or repeated violations. The amounts set forth in this paragraph (d)(1)(i) will be assessed on a case by case basis where the amount of time of the institution's delinquency is lengthy or the institution has been delinquent repeatedly in making or publishing its Call Reports.

    (D) Waiver. Absent extraordinary circumstances outside the control of the institution, penalties assessed for late filing shall not be waived.

    (ii) Late-filing—Tier Two penalties. Where an institution fails to make or publish its Call Report within the appropriate time period, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than $37,872 per day for each day the failure continues.

    (iii) False or misleading reports or information—(A) Tier One penalties. In cases in which an institution submits or publishes any false or misleading Call Report or information, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than $3,787 per day for each day the information is not corrected, where the institution maintains procedures in place reasonably adapted to avoid inadvertent error and the violation occurred unintentionally and as a result of such error; or the institution inadvertently transmits a Call Report or information that is false or misleading.

    (B) Tier Two penalties. Where an institution submits or publishes any false or misleading Call Report or other information, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than $37,872 per day for each day the information is not corrected.

    (C) Tier Three penalties. Where an institution knowingly or with reckless disregard for the accuracy of any Call Report or information submits or publishes any false or misleading Call Report or other information, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than the lesser of $1,893,610 or 1 percent of the institution's total assets per day for each day the information is not corrected.

    (iv) Mitigating factors. The amounts set forth in this paragraph (d)(1) may be reduced based upon the factors set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (2) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1467(d) for refusal by an affiliate of a State savings association to allow examination or to provide required information during an examination. Pursuant to section 9(d) of the Home Owners' Loan Act (12 U.S.C. 1467(d)), civil money penalties may be assessed against any State savings association if an affiliate of such an institution refuses to permit a duly-appointed examiner to conduct an examination or refuses to provide information during the course of an examination as set forth 12 U.S.C. 1467(d), in an amount not to exceed $9,486 for each day the refusal continues.

    (3) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1817(a) for late filings or the submission of false or misleading reports of condition. Pursuant to section 7(a) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1817(a)), the Board of Directors or its designee may assess civil money penalties as follows:

    (i) Late filing—Tier One penalties. In cases in which an institution fails to make or publish its Report of Condition and Income (Call Report) within the appropriate time periods, a civil money penalty of not more than $3,787 per day may be assessed where the institution maintains procedures in place reasonably adapted to avoid inadvertent error and the late filing occurred unintentionally and as a result of such error; or the institution inadvertently transmitted a Call Report that is minimally late. For penalties assessed on or after August 1, 2016, for violations of this paragraph (d)(3)(i), the following maximum Tier One penalty amounts contained in paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(A) and (B) of this section shall apply for each day that the violation continues.

    (A) First offense. Generally, in such cases, the amount assessed shall be $519 per day for each of the first 15 days for which the failure continues, and $1,039 per day for each subsequent day the failure continues, beginning on the sixteenth day. For institutions with less than $25,000,000 in assets, the amount assessed shall be the greater of $173 per day or 1/1000th of the institution's total assets (1/10th of a basis point) for each of the first 15 days for which the failure continues, and $346 or 1/500th of the institution's total assets, 1/5 of a basis point) for each subsequent day the failure continues, beginning on the sixteenth day.

    (B) Subsequent offense. Where the institution has been delinquent in making or publishing its Call Report within the preceding five quarters, the amount assessed for the most current failure shall generally be $865 per day for each of the first 15 days for which the failure continues, and $1,731 per day for each subsequent day the failure continues, beginning on the sixteenth day. For institutions with less than $25,000,000 in assets, those amounts, respectively, shall be 1/500th of the bank's total assets and 1/250th of the institution's total assets.

    (C) Lengthy or repeated violations. The amounts set forth in this paragraph (d)(3)(i) will be assessed on a case by case basis where the amount of time of the institution's delinquency is lengthy or the institution has been delinquent repeatedly in making or publishing its Call Reports.

    (D) Waiver. Absent extraordinary circumstances outside the control of the institution, penalties assessed for late filing shall not be waived.

    (ii) Late-filing—Tier Two penalties. Where an institution fails to make or publish its Call Report within the appropriate time period, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than $34,620 per day for each day the failure continues.

    (iii) False or misleading reports or information—(A) Tier One penalties. In cases in which an institution submits or publishes any false or misleading Call Report or information, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than $3,787 per day for each day the information is not corrected, where the institution maintains procedures in place reasonably adapted to avoid inadvertent error and the violation occurred unintentionally and as a result of such error; or the institution inadvertently transmits a Call Report or information that is false or misleading.

    (B) Tier Two penalties. Where an institution submits or publishes any false or misleading Call Report or other information, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than $37,872 per day for each day the information is not corrected.

    (C) Tier Three penalties. Where an institution knowingly or with reckless disregard for the accuracy of any Call Report or information submits or publishes any false or misleading Call Report or other information, the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of not more than the lesser of $1,893,610 or 1 percent of the institution's total assets per day for each day the information is not corrected.

    (iv) Mitigating factors. The amounts set forth in this paragraph (d)(3) may be reduced based upon the factors set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

    (4) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1817(c) for late filing or the submission of false or misleading certified statements. Tier One civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 7(c)(4)(A) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1817(c)(4)(A)) in an amount not to exceed $3,462 for each day during which the failure to file continues or the false or misleading information is not corrected. Tier Two civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 7(c)(4)(B) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1817(c)(4)(B)) in an amount not to exceed $34,620 for each day during which the failure to file continues or the false or misleading information is not corrected. Tier Three civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 7(c)(4)(C) in an amount not to exceed the lesser of $1,730,990 or 1 percent of the total assets of the institution for each day during which the failure to file continues or the false or misleading information is not corrected.

    (5) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA. Tier One civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 8(i)(2)(A) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)(A)) in an amount not to exceed $9,468 for each day during which the violation continues. Tier Two civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 8(i)(2)(B) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)(B)) in an amount not to exceed $47,340 for each day during which the violation, practice or breach continues. Tier Three civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 8(i)(2)(C) (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)(C)) in an amount not to exceed, in the case of any person other than an insured depository institution $1,893,610 or, in the case of any insured depository institution, an amount not to exceed the lesser of $1,893,610 or 1 percent of the total assets of such institution for each day during which the violation, practice, or breach continues.

    (i) Pursuant to 7(j)(16) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1817(j)(16)), a civil money penalty may be assessed for violations of change in control of insured depository institution provisions pursuant to section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)) in the amounts set forth in paragraph (d)(5) of this section.

    (ii) Pursuant to the International Banking Act of 1978 (IBA) (12 U.S.C. 3108(b)), civil money penalties may be assessed for failure to comply with the requirements of the IBA pursuant to section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)), in the amounts set forth in paragraph (d)(5).

    (iii) Pursuant to section 1120(b) of the Financial Institutions Recovery, Reform, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) (12 U.S.C. 3349(b)), where a financial institution seeks, obtains, or gives any other thing of value in exchange for the performance of an appraisal by a person that the institution knows is not a state certified or licensed appraiser in connection with a federally related transaction, a civil money penalty may be assessed pursuant to section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)) in the amounts set forth in paragraph (d)(5) of this section.

    (iv) Pursuant to the Community Development Banking and Financial Institution Act (Community Development Banking Act) (12 U.S.C. 4717(b)) a civil money penalty may be assessed for violations of the Community Development Banking Act pursuant to section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1818(i)(2)), in the amount set forth in paragraph (d)(5) of this section.

    (v) Civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to section 8(i)(2) of the FDIA in the amounts set forth in this paragraph (d)(5) for violations of various consumer laws, including, but not limited to, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (12 U.S.C. 2804 et seq. and 12 CFR 203.6), the Expedited Funds Availability Act (12 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.), the Truth in Savings Act (12 U.S.C. 4301 et seq.), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.), the Truth in Lending Act (15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (15 U.S.C. 1691 et seq.), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq.), the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (15 U.S.C. 1693 et seq.) and the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.).

    (6) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1820(e) for refusal to allow examination or to provide required information during an examination. Pursuant to section 10(e)(4) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1820(e)(4)), civil money penalties may be assessed against any affiliate of an insured depository institution that refuses to permit a duly-appointed examiner to conduct an examination or to provide information during the course of an examination as set forth in section 20(b) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1820(b)), in an amount not to exceed $8,655 for each day the refusal continues.

    (7) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1820(k) for violation of one-year restriction on Federal examiners of financial institutions. Pursuant to section 10(k) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1820(k)), the Board of Directors or its designee may assess a civil money penalty of up to $311,470 against any covered former Federal examiner of a financial institution who, in violation of section 10(k) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1820(k)) and within the one-year period following termination of government service as an employee, serves as an officer, director, or consultant of a financial or depository institution, a holding company, or of any other entity listed in section 10(k) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1820(k)), without the written waiver or permission by the appropriate Federal banking agency or authority under section 10(k)(5) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1820(k)(5)).

    (8) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1828(a) for incorrect display of insurance logo. Pursuant to section 18(a)(3) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1828(a)(3)), civil money penalties may be assessed against an insured depository institution that fails to correctly display its insurance logo pursuant to that section, in an amount not to exceed $118 for each day the violation continues.

    (9) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1828(h) for failure to timely pay assessment.

    (i) In general. Subject to paragraph (d)(9)(iii) of this section, any insured depository institution that fails or refuses to pay any assessment shall be subject to a penalty in an amount of not more than 1 percent of the amount of the assessment due for each day that such violation continues.

    (ii) Exception in case of dispute. Paragraph (d)(9)(i) of this section shall not apply if—

    (A) The failure to pay an assessment is due to a dispute between the insured depository institution and the Corporation over the amount of such assessment; and

    (B) The insured depository institution deposits security satisfactory to the Corporation for payment upon final determination of the issue.

    (iii) Special rule for small assessment amounts. If the amount of the assessment that an insured depository institution fails or refuses to pay is less than $10,000 at the time of such failure or refusal, the amount of any penalty to which such institution is subject under paragraph (d)(9)(i) of this section shall not exceed $118 for each day that such violation continues.

    (iv) Authority to modify or remit penalty. The Corporation, in the sole discretion of the Corporation, may compromise, modify, or remit any penalty that the Corporation may assess or has already assessed under paragraph (d)(9)(i) of this section upon a finding that good cause prevented the timely payment of an assessment.

    (10) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1829b(j) for recordkeeping violations. Pursuant to section 19b(j) of the FDIA (12 U.S.C. 1829b(j)), civil money penalties may be assessed against an insured depository institution and any director, officer or employee thereof who willfully or through gross negligence violates or causes a violation of the recordkeeping requirements of that section or its implementing regulations in an amount not to exceed $19,787 per violation.

    (11) Civil money penalties pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1832(c) for violation of provisions regarding interest-bearing demand deposit accounts. Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1832(c), any depository institution that violates the prohibition regarding interest-bearing demand deposit accounts shall be subject to a fine of $2,750 per violation.

    (12) Civil penalties for violations of security measure requirements under 12 U.S.C. 1884. Pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1884, an institution that violates a rule establishing minimum security requirements as set forth in 12 U.S.C. 1882, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $275 for each day of the violation.

    (13) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1972(2)(F) for prohibited tying arrangements. Pursuant to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1970, Tier One civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1972(2)(F)(i) in an amount not to exceed $9,468 for each day during which the violation continues. Tier Two civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1972(2)(F)(ii) in an amount not to exceed $47,340 for each day during which the violation, practice or breach continues. Tier Three civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 1972(2)(F)(iii) in an amount not to exceed, in the case of any person other than an insured depository institution $1,893,610 for each day during which the violation, practice, or breach continues or, in the case of any insured depository institution, an amount not to exceed the lesser of $1,893,610 or 1 percent of the total assets of such institution for each day during which the violation, practice, or breach continues.

    (14) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 12 U.S.C. 3909(d). Pursuant to the International Lending Supervision Act (ILSA) (12 U.S.C. 3909(d)), civil money penalties may be assessed against any institution or any officer, director, employee, agent or other person participating in the conduct of the affairs of such institution is an amount not to exceed $2,355 for each day a violation of the ILSA or any rule, regulation or order issued pursuant to ILSA continues.

    (15) Civil money penalties assessed for violations of 15 U.S.C. 78u-2. Pursuant to section 21B of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) (15 U.S.C. 78u-2), civil money penalties may be assessed for violations of certain provisions of the Exchange Act, where such penalties are in the public interest. Tier One civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78u-2(b)(1) in an amount not to exceed $8,908 for a natural person or $89,078 for any other person for violations set forth in 15 U.S.C. 78u-2(a). Tier Two civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78u-2(b)(2) in an amount not to exceed—for each violation set forth in 15 U.S.C. 78u-2(a)—$89,078 for a natural person or $445,390 for any other person if the act or omission involved fraud, deceit, manipulation, or deliberate or reckless disregard of a regulatory requirement. Tier Three civil money penalties may be assessed pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 78u-2(b)(3) for each violation set forth in 15 U.S.C. 78u-2(a), in an amount not to exceed $178,156 for a natural person or $890,780 for any other person, if the act or omission involved fraud, deceit, manipulation, or deliberate or reckless disregard of a regulatory requirement; and such act or omission directly or indirectly resulted in substantial losses, or created a significant risk of substantial losses to other persons or resulted in substantial pecuniary gain to the person who committed the act or omission.

    (16) Civil money penalties assessed pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 1639e(k) for appraisal independence violations. Pursuant to section 1472(a) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Appraisal Independence Rule) (15 U.S.C. 1639e(k)), civil money penalties may be assessed for an initial violation of the Appraisal Independence Rule in an amount not to exceed $10,875 for each day during which the violation continues and, for subsequent violations, $21,749 for each day during which the violation continues.

    (17) Civil money penalties assessed for false claims and statements pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3802. Pursuant to the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act (31 U.S.C. 3802), civil money penalties of not more than $10,781 per claim or statement may be assessed for violations involving false claims and statements.

    (18) Civil money penalties assessed for violations of 42 U.S.C. 4012a(f). Pursuant to the Flood Disaster Protection Act (FDPA) (42 U.S.C. 4012a(f)), civil money penalties may be assessed against any regulated lending institution that engages in a pattern or practice of violations of the FDPA in an amount not to exceed $2,056 per violation.

    3. Revise 12 CFR 308.502(a)(6), (b)(4), and (d) to read as follows:
    § 308.502 Basis for civil penalties and assessments.

    (a) * * *

    (6) The amount of any penalty assessed under paragraph (a)(1) of this section will be adjusted for inflation in accordance with § 308.132(d)(17) of this part.

    (b) * * *

    (4) The amount of any penalty assessed under paragraph (a)(1) of this section will be adjusted for inflation in accordance with § 308.132(d)(17) of this part.

    (d) Civil money penalties that are assessed under this subpart are subject to annual adjustments to account for inflation as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Pub. L. 114-74, sec. 701, 129 Stat. 584) (see also 12 CFR 308.132(d)(17)).

    PART 327—ASSESSMENTS 4. The authority citation for part 327 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    12 U.S.C. 1441, 1813, 1815, 1817-19, 1821.

    5. Revise § 327.3(c) to read as follows:
    § 327.3 Payment of assessments.

    (c) Necessary action, sufficient funding by institution. Each insured depository institution shall take all actions necessary to allow the Corporation to debit assessments from the insured depository institution's designated deposit account. Each insured depository institution shall, prior to each payment date indicated in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, ensure that funds in an amount at least equal to the amount on the quarterly certified statement invoice are available in the designated account for direct debit by the Corporation. Failure to take any such action or to provide such funding of the account shall be deemed to constitute nonpayment of the assessment. Penalties for failure to timely pay assessments are provided for at 12 CFR 308.132(d)(9).

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 21st day of June, 2016.

    By order of the Board of Directors.

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15027 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 878 [Docket No. FDA-2016-N-1618] Medical Devices; General and Plastic Surgery Devices; Classification of the Electrosurgical Device for Over-the-Counter Aesthetic Use AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Final order.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is classifying the electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use into class II (special controls). The special controls that will apply to the device are identified in this order and will be part of the codified language for the electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use's classification. The Agency is classifying the device into class II (special controls) in order to provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.

    DATES:

    This order is effective June 29, 2016. The classification was applicable on December 18, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Long Chen, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Food and Drug Administration, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Bldg. 66, Rm. G472, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, 301-796-6389, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    In accordance with section 513(f)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. 360c(f)(1)), devices that were not in commercial distribution before May 28, 1976 (the date of enactment of the Medical Device Amendments of 1976), generally referred to as postamendments devices, are classified automatically by statute into class III without any FDA rulemaking process. These devices remain in class III and require premarket approval, unless and until the device is classified or reclassified into class I or II, or FDA issues an order finding the device to be substantially equivalent, in accordance with section 513(i) of the FD&C Act, to a predicate device that does not require premarket approval. The Agency determines whether new devices are substantially equivalent to predicate devices by means of premarket notification procedures in section 510(k) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 360(k)) and part 807 (21 CFR part 807) of the regulations.

    Section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act as amended by section 607 of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (Pub. L. 112-144), provides two procedures by which a person may request FDA to classify a device under the criteria set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act. Under the first procedure, the person submits a premarket notification under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act for a device that has not previously been classified and, within 30 days of receiving an order classifying the device into class III under section 513(f)(1) of the FD&C Act, the person requests a classification under section 513(f)(2). Under the second procedure, rather than first submitting a premarket notification under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act and then a request for classification under the first procedure, the person determines that there is no legally marketed device upon which to base a determination of substantial equivalence and requests a classification under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. If the person submits a request to classify the device under this second procedure, FDA may decline to undertake the classification request if FDA identifies a legally marketed device that could provide a reasonable basis for review of substantial equivalence with the device or if FDA determines that the device submitted is not of “low-moderate risk” or that general controls would be inadequate to control the risks and special controls to mitigate the risks cannot be developed.

    In response to a request to classify a device under either procedure provided by section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act, FDA will classify the device by written order within 120 days. This classification will be the initial classification of the device.

    On January 13, 2015, EndyMed Medical Ltd., submitted a request for classification of the NewaTM device under section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act. The manufacturer recommended that the device be classified into class II (Ref. 1).

    In accordance with section 513(f)(2) of the FD&C Act, FDA reviewed the request in order to classify the device under the criteria for classification set forth in section 513(a)(1) of the FD&C Act. FDA classifies devices into class II if general controls by themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, but there is sufficient information to establish special controls to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device for its intended use. After review of the information submitted in the request, FDA determined that the device can be classified into class II with the establishment of special controls. FDA believes these special controls, in addition to general controls, will provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device.

    Therefore, on December 18, 2015, FDA issued an order to the requestor classifying the device into class II. FDA is codifying the classification of the device by adding 21 CFR 878.4420.

    Following the effective date of this final classification order, any firm submitting a premarket notification (510(k)) for an electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use will need to comply with the special controls named in this final order.

    The device is assigned the generic name electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use, and it is identified as a device using radiofrequency energy to produce localized heating within tissues for non-invasive aesthetic use.

    FDA has identified the following risks to health associated specifically with this type of device and the measures required to mitigate these risks in table 1.

    Table 1—Electrosurgical Device for Over-the-Counter Aesthetic Use Risks and Mitigation Measures Identified risk Mitigation measure Infection Cleaning Validation. Labeling. Adverse Tissue Reaction Biocompatibility. Skin Overheating/Burn Clinical Performance Testing. Non-clinical Performance Testing. Software Verification, Validation and Hazards Analysis. Labeling. Electromagnetic Interference/Electrical Shock Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing. Electrical Safety Testing. Labeling. Worsening Aesthetic Outcomes Clinical Performance Testing. Use Error Usability Study. Labeling. Failure to Identify Correct Population and Condition Label Comprehension and Self-Selection Study. Labeling.

    FDA believes that the special controls, in addition to the general controls, address these risks to health and provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness.

    Section 510(m) of the FD&C Act provides that FDA may exempt a class II device from the premarket notification requirements under section 510(k) of the FD&C Act, if FDA determines that premarket notification is not necessary to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device. For this type of device, FDA has determined that premarket notification is necessary to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the device. Therefore, this device type is not exempt from premarket notification requirements. Persons who intend to market this type of device must submit to FDA a premarket notification, prior to marketing the device, which contains information about the electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use they intend to market.

    II. Analysis of Environmental Impact

    The Agency has determined under 21 CFR 25.34(b) that this action is of a type that does not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required.

    III. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This final order establishes special controls that refer to previously approved collections of information found in other FDA regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). The collections of information in part 807, subpart E, regarding premarket notification submissions have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0120, and the collections of information in 21 CFR part 801, regarding labeling, have been approved under OMB control number 0910-0485.

    IV. Reference

    The following reference is on display in the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852, and is available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; it is also available electronically at http://www.regulations.gov.

    1. DEN150005: De Novo Request per 513(f)(2) from EndyMed Medical Ltd., dated January 13, 2015.

    List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 878

    Medical devices.

    Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part 878 is amended as follows:

    PART 878—GENERAL AND PLASTIC SURGERY DEVICES 1. The authority citation for part 878 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    21 U.S.C. 351, 360, 360c, 360e, 360j, 360l, 371.

    2. Add § 878.4420 to subpart E to read as follows:
    § 878.4420 Electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use.

    (a) Identification. An electrosurgical device for over-the-counter aesthetic use is a device using radiofrequency energy to produce localized heating within tissues for non-invasive aesthetic use.

    (b) Classification. Class II (special controls). The special controls for this device are:

    (1) Non-clinical performance data must demonstrate that the device meets all design specifications and performance requirements. The following performance characteristics must be tested: Over-heating, power accuracy radiofrequency, pulse cycle, waveform, pulse duration, and device characterization parameters.

    (2) Label comprehension and self-selection performance evaluation must demonstrate that the intended over-the-counter users can understand the package labeling and correctly choose the device for the indicated aesthetic use.

    (3) Usability performance evaluation must demonstrate that the over-the-counter user can correctly use the device, based solely on reading the directions for use, to treat the indicated aesthetic use.

    (4) Clinical performance evaluation must demonstrate that the device performs as intended under anticipated conditions of use to achieve the intended aesthetic results.

    (5) The patient-contacting components of the device must be demonstrated to be biocompatible.

    (6) Instructions for cleaning the device must be validated.

    (7) Performance data must be provided to demonstrate the electromagnetic compatibility and electrical safety, including the mechanical integrity, of the device.

    (8) Software verification, validation, and hazard analysis must be performed.

    (9) Labeling must include:

    (i) Warnings, precautions, and contraindications to ensure the safe use of the device for the over-the-counter users.

    (ii) A statement that the safety and effectiveness of the device's use for uses other than the indicated aesthetic use are not known.

    (iii) A summary of the clinical information used to establish effectiveness for each indicated aesthetic usage and observed adverse events.

    Dated: June 22, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15381 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 22 CFR Part 205 RIN 0412-AA69 Participation by Religious Organizations in USAID Programs AGENCY:

    U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule amends AID regulations to address provisions which are more restrictive than relevant Federal case law and relevant legal opinions issued by the United States Department of Justice with respect to the applicability of the Establishment Clause to the use of Federal funds.

    DATES:

    This rule will be effective July 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mark Brinkmoeller, Director, Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, USAID, Room 6.07-023, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20523; telephone: (202) 712-4080 (this is not a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    On October 20, 2004, USAID published its final rule (the “Current Rule”) on participation by religious organizations in USAID programs (69 FR 61716, codified at 22 CFR parts 202, 205, 211, and 226). The Current Rule implemented Executive Branch policy that, within the framework of Constitutional guidelines, religious organizations should be able to compete on an equal footing with other organizations for USAID funding. The Current Rule revised USAID regulations pertaining to grants, cooperative agreements and contracts awarded for the purpose of administering grant programs to ensure their compliance with this policy and to clarify that religious organizations are eligible to participate in programs on the same basis as any other organization, with respect to programs for which such other organizations are eligible.

    Among other things, the Current Rule provided that USAID funds could be used for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures only to the extent that those structures were used for conducting eligible activities under the specific USAID program. Where a structure also is used for inherently religious activities, the Current Rule clarified that USAID funds could not exceed the cost of those portions of the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation that were attributable to eligible activities. The Current Rule went on to state that USAID funds could not be used for acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of sanctuaries, chapels, or any other room that a religious congregation that is a recipient or sub-recipient of USAID assistance uses as its principal place of worship. Since the implementation of the Current Rule, USAID has found that this provision has constricted its ability to pursue the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States overseas.

    The Supreme Court has not addressed whether the Establishment Clause applies extraterritorially. In Lamont v. Woods, 948 F.2d 825, 834 (2d Cir. 1991), the Second Circuit concluded that the Establishment Clause applies to government grants to foreign religious institutions located abroad. In dicta in Lamont, the court said that “domestic Establishment Clause jurisprudence has more than enough flexibility to accommodate any special circumstances created by the foreign situs of the expenditures, although the international dimension does . . . enter into the analysis.” 1 The Second Circuit also suggested that the requirements of the Establishment Clause might be relaxed in certain circumstances, noting that “the fact that a particular grantee is the only channel for aid, or that a given country has no secular education system at all, may warrant overriding the usual Establishment Clause presumption.” Id., at 842. Under these circumstances, the Second Circuit said, “[t]he court would then scrutinize the manner in which the institution may use its grant in an attempt to ascertain whether, in reality, the grant would have the principal or primary effect of advancing religion.” Id. The Second Circuit also indicated that the foreign policy ramifications of the case made it particularly inappropriate to adopt a mechanical approach to the Establishment Clause. The final rule will permit USAID to take these considerations into account, in consultation with DOJ.

    1Id. at 841.

    In addition, the Current Rule is more restrictive than at least two legal opinions written by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel. In a September 25, 2002 Memorandum Opinion for the General Counsel of FEMA, Authority of FEMA to provide Disaster Assistance to Seattle Hebrew Academy, the Office of Legal Counsel concluded that FEMA could provide a disaster assistance grant to the Seattle Hebrew Academy, for repairs to the Academy following the Nisqually Earthquake on February 28, 2001. The Current Rule may not permit USAID to provide assistance under similar circumstances to a religious school or other religious structure in the aftermath of a natural disaster overseas. In an April 30, 2003 Memorandum Opinion for the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, Authority of the Department of the Interior to Provide Historic Preservation Grants to Historic Religious Properties Such as the Old North Church, the Office of Legal Counsel concluded that the Establishment Clause did not bar the award of historic preservation grants to the Old North Church or other active houses of worship that qualify for such assistance. The current rule does not permit the use of USAID funds for acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for inherently religious activities, and further does not permit the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of sanctuaries, chapels, or any other room that a religious congregation uses as its principal place of worship, and thus likely would not permit USAID to provide similar historic preservation assistance to religious structures overseas.

    Because the Current Rule is more restrictive than the Office of Legal Counsel opinions in Seattle Hebrew Academy and Old North Church, and because it does not afford USAID the flexibility to evaluate the validity and scope of the Lamont considerations in specific contexts, USAID has concluded that the Current Rule unnecessarily limits its ability to effectively implement the foreign assistance programs of the United States. In carrying out its statutory mission, USAID should not unnecessarily adhere to a regulation that is more restrictive than the Establishment Clause requires. Accordingly, USAID is publishing this Final Rule so that part 205 will not prohibit USAID funds from being used for activities that are consistent with the Establishment Clause. The goal of USAID in promulgating this Final Rule is to ensure compliance with the Establishment Clause. This Final Rule does not include changes in response to Executive Order 13559; USAID, as part of a larger interagency effort, issued a Final Rule incorporating changes required by this Executive Order on April 4, 2016 in coordination with other agencies similarly updating their rules.

    II. Rulemaking History

    On March 25, 2011, USAID published a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) in the Federal Register (76 FR 16712) that would amend part 205 to more accurately reflect current Establishment Clause jurisprudence with respect to the use of Federal funds. Interested parties were given 45 days to comment on the Proposed Rule. During the 45-day comment period, USAID received comments from 9 respondents. These comments are discussed below by topic.

    Comment: One commenter stated that the Proposed Rule did not differ very much from the Current Rule and questioned whether the proposed changes would lessen or alleviate the restrictions placed on USAID by the Current Rule.

    USAID Response: The Current Rule prohibits the use of USAID funds for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures to the extent that those structures are used for inherently religious activities. Thus, for example, under the Current Rule USAID might be prohibited from constructing or rehabilitating public schools in Afghanistan, since all schools in the public education system in Afghanistan require at least one course in Islamic education. However, under the Final Rule promulgated today, USAID would be permitted to pay the full costs for the construction or rehabilitation of public schools in Afghanistan if funding conformed to the requirements of the Establishment Clause. Similarly, under the Current Rule USAID might be prohibited from constructing or rehabilitating religious schools that have suffered damage as a result of a manmade or natural disaster overseas. However, under the Final Rule, consistent with the Establishment Clause, USAID may be permitted to pay such costs, when such assistance is consistent with the Establishment Clause.

    Comment: A number of comments expressed concern that the Proposed Rule was contrary to Establishment Clause jurisprudence in that it proposed a “new, untried, expansive standard” and, as a result, would permit the use of direct aid for inherently religious activities or programs. In particular, concern was expressed that under the Proposed Rule USAID would use funds “to acquire or construct houses of worship and other religious structures” or would “make grants to . . . congregations to cover the entire cost of constructing church buildings, synagogues, temples, and mosques.” Concerns also were expressed because the Proposed Rule did not state whether it would apply only to the use of USAID funds outside of the United States or whether it also would apply to domestic use of such funds.

    Commenters pointed out that the standard, or criteria, set forth in the Proposed Rule appeared to be derived from Justice Thomas' plurality opinion in Mitchell v. Helms, 530 U.S. 793 (2000), which is not binding precedent, rather than from Justice O'Connor's concurring (and controlling) opinion in Mitchell, which prohibits direct funding of religious activities. Commenters also cited the Supreme Court's decisions in Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672 (1971), Hunt v. McNair, 413 U.S. 734 (1973), and Committee for Public Education v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756 (1973), for the proposition that Federal funds may not be used for the construction, maintenance or repair of buildings in which religious activities take place.

    USAID Response: First, this Final Rule is intended only to apply to the use of USAID funds overseas. While USAID funds are expended in the United States for such activities as agricultural and scientific research, and training and education of foreign participants, USAID funds are not spent domestically for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of physical structures (other than for USAID staff).

    Second, it is not USAID's intent to acquire or construct new houses of worship or other, similar religious structures (as opposed to rehabilitating or restoring existing religious structures). USAID has no plans to engage in such activity nor can USAID envision a factual scenario under which the agency would engage in such activity.

    Third, USAID agrees that the standard, or criteria, set forth in the Proposed Rule did not fully reflect the analysis of Justice O'Connor's concurring opinion in Mitchell. USAID did not intend for paragraph (d) of part 205.1, as revised in the Proposed Rule, to constitute the entire Establishment Clause analysis. Rather, USAID intended to conduct a more comprehensive legal analysis including but not limited to the criteria set forth in revised paragraph (d). Nevertheless, USAID acknowledges the validity of the concerns expressed by the commenters, and has decided not to adopt a formulaic approach to addressing the permissibility of the use of funds for future, proposed acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures overseas. Rather, this Final Rule eliminates an attempt to define in a regulation the current state of appropriate Establishment Clause analysis as it applies to overseas programs, and instead reiterates that USAID programs must conform to the requirements of the Establishment Clause.

    While USAID agrees that current Establishment Clause jurisprudence requires the Agency to more closely track Justice O'Connor's concurring opinion in Mitchell, the Agency does not agree that the decisions in Tilton and Nyquist would prohibit the use of USAID funds for programs contemplated under the Proposed Rule. In its Seattle Hebrew Academy opinion, the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel stated that FEMA disaster assistance grants are “more closely analogous to the provision of ‘general’ government services” that the Court had approved “than to the construction grants at issue in Tilton and Nyquist which were available only to educational institutions.” In its Old North Church opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel stated that “ ‘significant portions’ of the reasoning in Tilton and Nyquist are ‘subject to serious question in light of more recent decisions.’ ” USAID intends to issue guidance to its staff outlining the types of activities it contemplates funding and when and how staff should consult with USAID's legal counsel. USAID's legal counsel may in turn consult with the Department of Justice when appropriate.

    Comment: Some commenters stated that the Proposed Rule was inconsistent with President Obama's November 17, 2010 Executive Order on Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships With Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations (Executive Order 13559). In particular, concern was expressed that the Proposed Rule would authorize religious organizations to use USAID funds for the acquisition or construction of houses of worship or other structures used for inherently or explicitly religious activity. Direct support for such structures, according to comments received, would contravene Executive Order 13559, thereby conflicting with Administration policy. It also was pointed out that the Proposed Rule referred to “inherently religious activities,” while Executive Order 13559, in response to recommendations made by President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, uses the term “explicitly religious activities” instead.

    USAID Response: It is not USAID's intention to permit recipients to use Federal funds for inherently religious activities, as such term is used in the Current Rule or for “explicitly religious activities” in contravention of Executive Order 13559. The Agency does not believe the Proposed Rule suggested otherwise. Nevertheless, with this Final Rule, USAID makes clear that its programs must conform to the requirements of the Establishment Clause.

    USAID is aware of the changes, or amendments, made to Executive Order 13279 (issued by President Bush on December 12, 2002) by Executive Order 13559 (issued by President Obama on November 17, 2010), and began procedures to effect those changes through further amendment to part 205. In that regard, USAID was an active member in an interagency working group, established pursuant to section 3 of Executive Order 13559, to review and evaluate existing agency regulations, guidance documents and policies that have implications for faith-based and other neighborhood organizations. The working group issued its report in April 2012. In August 2013, OMB issued guidance reconvening the Working Group to develop a plan for agency implementation of the Executive Order. USAID participated in that Working Group's development of a plan and issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on August 6, 2015. Following the Working Group's review and analysis of comments received pursuant to that NPRM, USAID published a Joint Final Rule on that topic in conjunction with the other relevant agencies on April 4, 2016. This Final Rule does not affect the changes made by the April 4, 2016 Joint Final Rule.

    Comment: One commenter suggested that the Proposed Rule had been published without benefit or review by the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

    USAID Response: This is not correct. The Proposed Rule was indeed shared with OIRA prior to publication. The proposed rule was not deemed a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. This Rule was submitted to OIRA for review prior to its publication in the Federal Register, and was deemed a significant regulatory action by OIRA.

    Comment: One commenter asserted that the Proposed Rule would create non-uniform rules across the U.S. Government. This would be inconsistent, according to the commenter, with Executive Order 13559 which calls for “uniformity in agencies' policies.”

    USAID Response: The quoted language in Executive Order 13559 refers to the purpose for which the President ordered the establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Partnerships. The Executive Order does not address the issue of acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of physical structures.

    Comment: Some comments expressed the view that the activities described in the Proposed Rule reflected unwise policy or that they violated fundamental, or core, principles of religious freedom and, therefore, should be rejected. Recognizing that the Constitution guarantees free exercise of religion, the commenters contended that the Constitution's prohibition on establishment of religion would preclude USAID from using taxpayer funds to construct and maintain houses of worship.

    USAID Response: As has been stated above, it is not USAID's intent to use funds to acquire or construct new houses of worship or other, similar religious structures (as opposed to rehabilitation or restoration of existing religious structures under certain circumstances) that are dedicated to religious activities. Thus, many of the concerns expressed should be alleviated. In addition, it should be noted that USAID would fund programs under this Final Rule for reasons that are neutral with respect to religion and do not take account of the religious or non-religious nature of the activities that might take place within the structure.

    USAID implements programs in countries where the principle of separation of church and state is not embraced, where there may be state-sponsored religion (e.g., there may be a Ministry of Religion), where there is only a religious school system, where the judicial system may be based upon or strongly influenced by state religion, and where there may be little religious diversity. Consequently, even guided by purely secular, developmental and foreign policy considerations, USAID may fund such programs as temporary structures used by Catholic parochial schools following an earthquake, or restoration of Buddhist temples as part of cultural and historical preservation programs. In none of these instances would USAID take action based on religious considerations. In none of these instances would USAID take action whose purpose was to support the explicitly religious activities conducted in these structures. Under such circumstances, USAID does not believe that funding of these programs would infringe the Constitution's principles of religious freedom, nor does USAID believe that such funding would promote the “establishment” of religion in these foreign countries. See the Memorandum Opinions of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel in Seattle Hebrew Academy and Old North Church.

    Under the Final Rule, USAID may identify circumstances where, when considering implementing a program involving the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures that are used for explicitly religious activities in a country with an environment such as that described above, it might believe it necessary to go beyond the parameters set forth in the OLC opinions in Seattle Hebrew Academy and the Old North Church cases. In such cases, USAID would only implement such a program after consultation with the Department of Justice. To promote transparency, USAID commits to publishing a description of any specific program involving the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of structures it implements following such consultation on its Web site. USAID expects this to occur only on rare occasions. This Final Rule makes this consultation and publication commitment clear with additional text in section (d).

    Comment: One commenter referred to USAID's regulations on branding and marking and expressed concern that a house of worship or religious school constructed with USAID funds would have a durable sign, plaque or other marking installed, thereby reflecting USAID (and U.S. Government) support for the religion observed in the house of worship or school.

    USAID Response: As previously stated, USAID has no intent to use funds to acquire or construct new houses of worship or other, similar religious structures (as opposed to rehabilitation or restoration of existing religious structures) that are dedicated to religious activities. Also, as previously stated, the likelihood that USAID would find circumstances where it would finance the construction of such structures is slim. In any event, USAID's regulations governing branding and marking include waiver provisions based on “compelling political concerns.” Should USAID funds be used for rehabilitation or restoration of existing religious structures, such as following a natural disaster overseas, the agency would avail itself of this waiver authority and would not install any type of sign, plaque or other marking identifying the structure with the U.S. Government.

    III. Findings and Certifications or Impact Assessment Regulatory Planning and Review

    This is a significant regulatory action and, therefore, is subject to review under section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804. USAID has concluded that the current rule goes beyond the requirements of the Establishment Clause and other Federal law, and unnecessarily and unduly constrict USAID's ability to pursue the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States overseas. The changes do not, however, pose any new paperwork or reporting requirements, nor would they represent an increase in costs to either applicants for USAID funding or to USAID itself.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), USAID has considered the economic impact of the proposed rule and has determined that its provisions would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 205

    Foreign aid, Grant programs, Nonprofit organizations.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, USAID amends chapter II of title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:

    PART 205—PARTICIPATION BY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS IN USAID PROGRAMS 1. The authority citation for part 205 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    22 U.S.C. 2381(a).

    2. Amend § 205.1 as follows: a. Revise paragraph (d). b. Redesignate paragraphs (j) and (i) as paragraphs (i) and (k) respectively. c. Add a new paragraph (j).

    The revision and addition read as follows:

    § 205.1 Grants and cooperative agreements.

    (d) USAID must implement its programs in accordance with the Establishment Clause. Nothing in this part shall be construed as authorizing the use of USAID funds for activities that are not permitted by Establishment Clause jurisprudence or otherwise by law. USAID will consult with the U.S. Department of Justice if, in implementing a specific program involving overseas acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction of structures used for explicitly religious activities, there is any question about whether such funding is consistent with the Establishment Clause. USAID will describe any program implemented after such consultation on its Web site.

    (j) Nothing in this part shall be construed as authorizing the use of USAID funds for the acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of religious structures inside the United States.

    Mark Brinkmoeller, Director, Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15293 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6116-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0181] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; North Landing River, Chesapeake, VA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of temporary deviation from drawbridge regulations; modification.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has modified a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the S165 (North Landing Road) Bridge across the North Landing River, mile 20.2, at Chesapeake, VA. This modified deviation is necessary to perform emergency bridge repairs and provide for safe navigation. This modified deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 6 p.m. on June 30, 2016, through 6:00 p.m. on September 30, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0181] 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard, telephone 757-398-6222, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On March 11, 2016, the Coast Guard published a temporary deviation entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; North Landing River, Chesapeake, VA” in the Federal Register (81 FR 12824) and on April 8, 2016, the Coast Guard published a modified temporary deviation entitled “Drawbridge Operation Regulation; North Landing River, Chesapeake, VA” in the Federal Register (81 FR 20529). These documents were necessary to authorize a temporary deviation from the operating regulations to perform repairs to the south swing span of the bridge due to damage sustained as a result of a vessel allision with the bridge that occurred on March 1, 2016. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District Office, who owns and operates the S165 (North Landing Road) Bridge, has requested a modified temporary deviation from the current operating regulations to perform repairs to the south swing span of the bridge, following completion of an ongoing roadway construction project on Elbow Road, Chesapeake, VA, in which the S165 (North Landing Road) Bridge is currently serving as a detour route. The modified temporary deviation request is necessary to provide for public safety and access during the roadway construction project.

    The current operating scheduled is set out in 33 CFR 117.1021. Under this modified temporary deviation, the north span of the bridge will open-to-navigation on the hour and half hour, upon request, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on demand from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. The north and south spans of the bridge will open to navigation concurrently, with the south span only opening partially due to damage, upon request, for: (1) Scheduled openings at 9:30 a.m. for vessels transiting southeast, (2) 10:30 a.m. for vessels transiting northwest, and (3) at noon and 2 p.m. for two-way vessel traffic through the bridge, Monday through Friday. The north and south spans of the bridge will open to navigation concurrently, with the south span only opening partially due to damage, upon request, for: (1) Scheduled openings at 9:30 a.m. for vessels transiting southeast and (2) 10:30 a.m. for vessels transiting northwest, Saturday and Sunday. The horizontal clearance of the bridge with the south span closed-to-navigation is 38 feet and the horizontal clearance of the bridge with the south span partially open-to-navigation is 70 feet. The modified temporary deviation is necessary to relieve vessel congestion and provide for safe navigation on the waterway. The bridge is a double swing draw bridge and has a vertical clearance in the closed position of 6 feet above mean high water.

    The North Landing River is used by a variety of vessels including small U.S. government and public vessels, small commercial vessels, tug and barge, and recreational vessels. The Coast Guard has carefully considered the nature and volume of vessel traffic on the waterway in publishing this temporary deviation.

    During the closure times there will be limited opportunity for vessels which are able to safely pass through the bridge in the closed position to do so. Vessels able to safely pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so, after receiving confirmation from the bridge tender that it is safe to transit through the bridge. The north span of the bridge will be able to open for emergencies. 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 vessel operators can arrange their transit to minimize any impact caused by the modified 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: June 23, 2016. Hal R. Pitts. Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15295 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0605] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lewis and Clark River, Astoria, OR 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 Oregon State (Lewis and Clark River) highway bridge across the Lewis and Clark River, mile 1.0, at Astoria, Oregon. The deviation is necessary to accommodate bridge maintenance activities during the effective time period. The deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position such that it need not open to maritime traffic.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. on July 15, 2016 to 5 p.m. on October 31, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0605] 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.

    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]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has requested that the Lewis and Clark River Bridge, mile 1.0, be allowed to remain in the closed-to-navigation position such that it need not open to vessel traffic from 7 a.m. on July 15, 2016 until 5 p.m. on October 31, 2016. The deviation is necessary to facilitate bridge maintenance activities to include repairing and preserving the bascule drawbridge structural steel. The Lewis and Clark River Bridge provides a vertical clearance of 17 feet above mean high water when in the closed-to-navigation position. However, during the bridge maintenance activities, the bascule span of the bridge will have a containment system installed which will reduce the vertical clearance by 5 feet to 12 feet above mean high water. The normal operating schedule of this bridge is detailed at 33 CFR 117.899(c).

    This deviation allows the bascule span of the Lewis and Clark River Bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position such that it such that it need not open to maritime traffic from 7 a.m. on July 15, 2016 until 5 p.m. on October 31, 2016. However, the bascule span will be available to open on Wednesdays and Sundays with at least three-hour advanced notice. The bascule span will also open at any time for emergency situations with at least three-hour advanced notice. Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at anytime.

    Waterway usage on the Lewis and Clark River is primarily small recreational boaters and fishing vessels transiting to and from Fred Wahl Marine Construction Inc. ODOT has coordinated with Fred Wahl Marine Construction Inc. in this regard. No immediate alternate route is available 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: June 23, 2016. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15348 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0539] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Isle of Wight (Sinepuxent) Bay, Ocean City, MD AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the US 50 (Harry W. Kelly Memorial) Bridge across the Isle of Wight (Sinepuxent) Bay, mile 0.5, at Ocean City, MD. The deviation is necessary to accommodate increased vehicular traffic of the 2016 Ocean City Fireworks presentation. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position.

    DATES:

    The deviation is effective from 9:25 p.m. to 10:25 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0539] 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.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Michael Thorogood, Bridge Administration Branch Fifth District, Coast Guard, telephone 757-398-6557, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Town of Ocean City, on behalf of the Maryland State Highway Administration, who owns the U.S. 50 (Harry W. Kelly Memorial) Bridge across the Isle of Wight (Sinepuxent) Bay, mile 0.5, at Ocean City, MD, has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations set out in 33 CFR 117.559, to accommodate the increased vehicular traffic of the 2016 Ocean City Fireworks presentation.

    Under this temporary deviation, the bridge will be closed-to-navigation from 9:25 p.m. to 10:25 p.m. on July 3, 2016. The bridge is a double bascule bridge and has a vertical clearance in the closed-to-navigation position of 13 feet above mean high water.

    The Isle of Wight (Sinepuxent) Bay is used by recreational vessels. The Coast Guard has carefully considered the nature and volume of vessel traffic on the waterway in publishing this temporary deviation.

    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 in case of an emergency. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterway through our Local Notice and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessel operators can arrange their transits to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15296 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0547] Eighth Coast Guard District Annual Safety Zones; Table 165; Sector Ohio Valley AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of enforcement of regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard will enforce recurring safety zones on navigable waterways within the Sector Ohio Valley's area of responsibility to protect vessels transiting the areas and event spectators from the hazards associated with fireworks displays requiring additional safety measures. During the enforcement period, no vessels are allowed to enter, transit through, or anchor in the safety zone, unless specifically authorized by the Captain of the Port Ohio Valley (COTP) or a COTP designated representative.

    DATES:

    The regulations in 33 CFR 165.801 Table 1, Eighth Coast Guard District, will be enforced from July 2, 2016 through July 4, 2016 for the safety zones within Sector Ohio Valley identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this notice of enforcement, call or email Petty Officer James Robinson, Sector Ohio Valley, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 502-779-5347, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Coast Guard will enforce the safety zones in 33 CFR 165.801, Table 1, Nos. 14, 18, 19, 20, 26, and 51 as follows:

    No. 14, Riverview Park Independence Festival, from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 2, 2016;

    No. 18, Louisville Bats Firework Show, from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 3, 2016;

    No. 19, Waterfront Independence Festival, from 9:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on July 4, 2016;

    No. 20, All American 4th of July, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 2, 2016;

    No. 26, Grand Harbor Marina/Grand Harbor Marina July 4th Celebration, from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on July 2, 2016.

    No. 51, Evansville Freedom Celebration, from 9:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. on July 4, 2016;

    The regulations for the Eighth Coast Guard District Annual Safety Zones, § 165.801, Table 1, specifies the locations of these safety zones. As specified in § 165.23, during the enforcement period, no vessel may transit these safety zones without approval from the COTP or a COTP designated representative. Sector Ohio Valley may be contacted on VHF-FM radio channel 16 or phone at 1-800-253-7465.

    This notice of enforcement is issued under authority of 33 CFR 165.801 and 5 U.S.C. 552(a). In addition to this notice in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard will provide the maritime community with advance notification of this enforcement period via Local Notice to Mariners and updates via Marine Information Broadcasts.

    R.V. Timme, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Ohio Valley.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15352 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0584] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Cornucopia Fireworks Display, Lake Superior, Cornucopia, WI AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone in Lake Superior near Bayfield, WI. This safety zone is intended to restrict vessels from specified waters in Lake Superior during the Bayfield Fourth of July Fireworks Display. This safety zone is necessary to protect spectators from the hazards associated with the fireworks display.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective from 9:30 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. July 2, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0584 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Lieutenant Junior Grade John Mack, Waterways management, MSU Duluth, Coast Guard; telephone 218-725-3818, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking §  Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    The Coast Guard is issuing this temporary rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment pursuant to authority under section 4(a) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). This provision authorizes an agency to issue a rule without prior notice and opportunity to comment when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for not publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) with respect to this rule because doing so would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Because the event is scheduled for July 2, 2016, there is insufficient time to accommodate the comment period. Thus, delaying the effective date of this rule to wait for the comment period to run would be both impracticable and contrary to public interest because it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect spectators and vessels from the hazards associated with the event.

    We are issuing this rule, and under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making it effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Delaying the effective date of this rule would be contrary to public interest as it would inhibit the Coast Guard's ability to protect spectator and vessels from the hazards associated with the event.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The Coast Guard is issuing this rule under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1231. The Captain of the Port Duluth (COTP) has determined that potential hazards associated with fireworks displays starting at 10 p.m. on July 2, 2016 will be a safety concern for anyone within a 420-foot radius of the launch site. The likely combination of recreational vessels, darkness punctuated by bright flashes of light, and fireworks debris falling into the water presents risks of collisions which could result in serious injuries or fatalities. This rule is needed to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in the navigable waters within the safety zone during the fireworks display.

    IV. Discussion of the Rule

    This rule establishes a safety zone from 9:30 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. July 2, 2016. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters within an area bounded by a circle with a 420-foot radius of the fireworks display launching site located in Cornucopia, WI at coordinates 46°51′35″ N., 091°06′15″ W. The duration of the zone is intended to protect personnel, vessels, and the marine environment in these navigable waters during the fireworks display. No vessel or person will be permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive order related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 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. 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 not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-year of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this safety zone which will impact a small designated area of Lake Superior in Cornucopia, WI for 2 hours and during a time of year when commercial vessel traffic is normally low. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone and the rule allows vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above, this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting no more than 2 hours that will prohibit entry within a 420-foot radius from where a fireworks display will be conducted. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of the Commandant Instruction. An environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    G. 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.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add § 165.T09-0584 to read as follows:
    § 165.T09-0584 Safety zone; City of Bayfield Fourth of July Fireworks, Lake Superior, Bayfield, WI.

    (a) Location. All waters of Lake Superior within an area bounded by a circle with a 420-foot radius at position 46°51′35″ N., 091°06′15″ W.

    (b) Effective period. This safety zone is effective from 9:30 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. on July 2, 2016.

    (c) Regulations. (1) In accordance with the general regulations in § 165.23 of this part, entry into, transiting, or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Duluth, or his designated on-scene representative.

    (2) This safety zone is closed to all vessel traffic, except as may be permitted by the Captain of the Port Duluth or his designated on-scene representative.

    (3) The “on-scene representative” of the Captain of the Port is any Coast Guard commissioned, warrant, or petty officer who has been designated by the Captain of the Port to act on his behalf. The on-scene representative of the Captain of the Port will be aboard either a Coast Guard or Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel. The Captain of the Port or his designated on-scene representative may be contacted via VHF Channel 16.

    (4) Vessel operators desiring to enter or operate within the safety zone shall contact the Captain of the Port Duluth or his on-scene representative to obtain permission to do so. Vessel operators given permission to enter or operate in the safety zone must comply with all directions given to them by the Captain of the Port Duluth or his on-scene representative.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. A.H. Moore, Jr. Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Duluth.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15414 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0320] RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone; Fourth of July Fireworks North Myrtle Beach, SC AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of Myrtle Beach, SC. This safety zone is necessary to protect the public from hazards associated with launching fireworks over navigable waters of the United States. This rule will prohibit persons and vessels from being in the safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on July 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0320 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this rule, call or email Lieutenant John Downing, Sector Charleston Office of Waterways Management, Coast Guard; telephone (843) 740-3184, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    On April 14, 2016, The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting a fireworks display from 9:30 p.m. to 9:55 p.m. on July 4, 2016. In response, on June 7, 2016, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking titled North Myrtle Beach 4th of July Fireworks Display. There we stated why we issued the NPRM, and invited comments on our proposed regulatory action related to this rule. During the comment period that ended June 22, 2016, we received no comments.

    Under good cause provisions in 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), we are making this rule effective less than 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. The Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective starting July 4, 2016 because it was impracticable to publish a NPRM and a final rule 30 days or more before this event due to the limited time available between when the Coast Guard was notified of this event and the date of the event. This safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of life and property during the Fireworks display and it would be contrary to public interest not to make this rule effective by July 4, 2016.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The legal basis for the rule is the Coast Guard's authority to establish a safety zone: 33 U.S.C. 1231. The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of vessels and the navigable waters within a 500-yard radius of the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier before, during, and after the scheduled event.

    IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes, and the Rule

    As noted above, we received no comments on our NPRM published June 7, 2016. There are no changes in the regulatory text of this rule from the proposed rule in the NPRM.

    On July 4, 2016, the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a fireworks display from 9:30 p.m. to 9:55 p.m. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters within 500 yards of the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier located in Myrtle Beach, SC. The duration of the zone is intended to ensure the safety of vessels and these navigable waters before, during, and after the scheduled 9:30 p.m. to 9:55 p.m. fireworks display. No vessel or person is permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated areas by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representatives.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive Orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive Orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 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. 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 not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-day of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this safety zone which would impact a small designated area of the Atlantic Ocean for less than 1 hour during the evening when vessel traffic is normally low. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone, and the rule would allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rulemaking. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section IV.A above this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting less than 1 hour that would prohibit entry within 500 yards of the Veterans Pier. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist and Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    G. 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.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add a temporary § 165.T07-0320 to read as follows:
    § 165.T07-0320 Safety Zone; Fourth of July Fireworks North Myrtle Beach, SC.

    (a) This rule establishes a safety zone on all Atlantic Ocean waters within a 500 yard radius of Cherry Grove Pier, from which fireworks will be launched.

    (b) Definition. As used in this section, “designated representative” means Coast Guard Patrol Commanders, including Coast Guard coxswains, petty officers, and other officers operating Coast Guard vessels, and Federal, state, and local officers designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Charleston in the enforcement of the regulated areas.

    (c) Regulations. (1) All persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative.

    (2) Persons and vessels desiring to enter, transit through, or remain within the regulated area may contact the Captain of the Port Charleston by telephone at 843-740-7050, or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16, to request authorization. If authorization to enter, transit through, or remain within the regulated area is granted by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative.

    (3) The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated area by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representatives.

    (d) Enforcement period. This rule will be enforced on July 4, 2016 from 9:15 p.m. until 10 p.m.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. B.D. Falk, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Captain of the Port Charleston.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15419 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [Docket Number USCG-2016-0347] RIN 1625- AA00 Safety Zone; Fourth of July Fireworks Murrells Inlet, SC AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Temporary final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of Murrells Inlet, SC. This safety zone is necessary to protect the public from hazards associated with launching fireworks over navigable waters of the United States. This rule will prohibit persons and vessels from being in the safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective on July 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To view documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2016-0347 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions about this rule, call or email Lieutenant John Downing, Sector Charleston Office of Waterways Management, Coast Guard; telephone (843) 740-3184, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking §  Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background Information and Regulatory History

    On April 22, 2016, The Marsh Walk Group notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting a fireworks display from 9:30 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. on July 4, 2016. In response, on June 7, 2016, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking titled Fourth of July Fireworks Murrells Inlet, SC. There we stated why we issued the NPRM, and invited comments on our proposed regulatory action related to this rule. During the comment period that ended June 22, 2016, we received no comments.

    Under good cause provisions in 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), we are making this rule effective less than 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. The Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this rule effective starting July 4, 2016 because it was impracticable to publish a NPRM and a final rule 30 days or more before this event due to the limited time available between when the Coast Guard was notified of this event and the date of the event. This safety zone is necessary to ensure the safety of life and property during the Fireworks display and it would be contrary to public interest not to make this rule effective by July 4, 2016.

    III. Legal Authority and Need for Rule

    The legal basis for the rule is the Coast Guard's authority to establish a safety zone: 33 U.S.C. 1231. The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of vessels and the navigable waters within a 500-yard radius of the fireworks barge before, during, and after the scheduled event.

    IV. Discussion of Comments, Changes, and the Rule

    As noted above, we received no comments on our NPRM published June 7, 2016. There are no changes in the regulatory text of this rule from the proposed rule in the NPRM.

    On July 4, 2016 The Marsh Walk Group will host a fireworks display from 9:30 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. The safety zone will cover all navigable waters within 500 yards of the Veterans pier located on the Atlantic Ocean. The duration of the zone is intended to ensure the safety of vessels and these navigable waters before, during, and after the scheduled 9:30 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. fireworks display. No vessel or person is permitted to enter the safety zone without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated areas by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representatives.

    V. Regulatory Analyses

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and Executive Orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses based on a number of these statutes and Executive Orders, and we discuss First Amendment rights of protestors.

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 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. 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 not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    This regulatory action determination is based on the size, location, duration, and time-of-day of the safety zone. Vessel traffic will be able to safely transit around this safety zone which will impact a small designated area of the Atlantic Ocean for less than 1 hour during the evening when vessel traffic is normally low. Moreover, the Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM marine channel 16 about the zone, and the rule will allow vessels to seek permission to enter the zone.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, 5 U.S.C. 601-612, as amended, requires Federal agencies to consider the potential impact of regulations on small entities during rulemaking. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000. The Coast Guard received no comments from the Small Business Administration on this rulemaking. The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    While some owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the safety zone may be small entities, for the reasons stated in section V.A above this rule will not have a significant economic impact on any vessel owner or operator.

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

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    D. Federalism and Indian Tribal Governments

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles and preemption requirements described in Executive Order 13132.

    Also, this rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. If you believe this rule has implications for federalism or Indian tribes, please contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

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

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have determined that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This rule involves a safety zone lasting less than 1 hour that will prohibit entry within 500 yards of the Veterans Pier. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(g) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist and Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this rule.

    G. 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.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165

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

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

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

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

    2. Add a temporary § 165.T07-0347 to read as follows:
    § 165.T07-0347 Safety Zone; Fourth of July Fireworks Murrells Inlet, SC.

    (a) This rule establishes a safety zone on all Atlantic Ocean waters within a 500 yard radius of Veterans Pier, from which fireworks will be launched.

    (b) Definition. As used in this section, “designated representative” means Coast Guard Patrol Commanders, including Coast Guard coxswains, petty officers, and other officers operating Coast Guard vessels, and Federal, state, and local officers designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Charleston in the enforcement of the regulated areas.

    (c) Regulations. (1) All persons and vessels are prohibited from entering, transiting through, anchoring in, or remaining within the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative.

    (2) Persons and vessels desiring to enter, transit through, or remain within the regulated area may contact the Captain of the Port Charleston by telephone at 843-740-7050, or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16, to request authorization. If authorization to enter, transit through, or remain within the regulated area is granted by the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the Captain of the Port Charleston or a designated representative.

    (3) The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated area by Local Notice to Mariners, Broadcast Notice to Mariners, and on-scene designated representatives.

    (d) Enforcement period. This rule will be enforced on July 4, 2016 from 9:15 p.m. until 10 p.m.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. B.D. Falk, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Captain of the Port Charleston.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15415 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R07-OAR-2016-0303; FRL-9948-13-Region 7] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; State of Kansas; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Direct final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking direct final action to approve a December 1, 2015, State Implementation Plan (SIP) submittal from Kansas concerning allocations of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emission allowances. Under CSAPR, large electricity generating units in Kansas are subject to a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) requiring the units to participate in CSAPR's Federal trading program for annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX). This action approves Kansas's adoption into its SIP of state regulations establishing state-determined allocations to replace EPA's default allocations to Kansas units of CSAPR allowances for annual NOX emissions for 2017 through 2019. EPA is approving the SIP revision because it meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA's regulations for approval of an abbreviated SIP revision replacing EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations. Approval of this SIP revision does not alter any provision of CSAPR's Federal trading program for annual NOX emissions as applied to Kansas units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in the trading program (as modified by the SIP revision) remains in place. The approval is being issued as a direct final rule without a prior proposed rule because EPA views it as uncontroversial and does not anticipate adverse comment.

    DATES:

    This direct final rule will be effective August 15, 2016, without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by July 29, 2016. If EPA receives adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R07-OAR-2016-0303, to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Larry Gonzalez, Air Planning and Development Branch, Air and Waste Management Division, EPA Region 7, 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa KS 66219; telephone number: (913) 551-7041; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document “we,” “us,” or “our” refer to EPA. This section provides additional information by addressing the following:

    I. What is being addressed in this document? II. Background on CSAPR and CSAPR-Related SIP Revisions III. Conditions for Approval of CSAPR-Related SIP Revisions IV. Kansas's SIP Submittal and EPA's Analysis A. Kansas's SIP Submittal B. EPA's Analysis of Kansas' Submittal 1. Timeliness and Completeness of SIP Submittal 2. Methodology Covering All Allowances Potentially Requiring Allocation 3. Assurance That Total Allocations Will Not Exceed the State Budget 4. Timely Submission of State-Determined Allocations to EPA 5. No Changes to Allocations Already Submitted to EPA or Recorded 6. No Other Substantive Changes to Federal Trading Program Provisions V. EPA's Action on Kansas' Submittal I. What is being addressed in this document?

    EPA is taking direct final action to approve a revision to the SIP for Kansas concerning allocations of allowances used in the CSAPR 1 Federal trading program for annual emissions of NOX. Large electricity generating units in Kansas are subject to a CSAPR FIP that requires the units to participate in the Federal CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program.2 Each of CSAPR's Federal trading programs includes default provisions governing the allocation among participating units of emission allowances used for compliance under that program. CSAPR also provides a process for the submission and approval of SIP revisions to replace EPA's default allocations with state-determined allocations.

    1 Federal Implementation Plans; Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone and Correction of SIP Approvals, 76 FR 48208 (August 8, 2011), (codified as amended at 40 CFR 52.38 and 52.39 and subparts AAAAA through DDDDD of 40 CFR part 97).

    2 EPA has proposed to replace the terms “Transport Rule” and “TR” in the text of the Code of Federal Regulations with the updated terms “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule” and “CSAPR.” 80 FR 75706, 75759 (December 3, 2015). Except where otherwise noted, EPA uses the updated terms here.

    The SIP revision approved in this action incorporates into Kansas' SIP state regulations establishing state-determined allowance allocations to replace EPA's default allocations to Kansas units of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances issued for the control periods in 2017 through 2019. EPA is approving the SIP revision because it meets the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations for approval of an abbreviated SIP revision replacing EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations. Approval of this SIP revision does not alter any provision of the CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program as applied to Kansas units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIP requiring those units to participate in the program (as modified by this SIP revision) remains in place. Because the SIP revision addresses only the control periods in 2017 through 2019, absent submission and approval of a further SIP revision, allocations of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances for control periods in 2020 and later years will be made pursuant to the default allocation provisions.

    Large electricity generating units in Kansas are also subject to an additional CSAPR FIP requiring them to participate in the Federal CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program. Kansas's SIP submittal does not seek to replace the default allocations of CSAPR SO2 Group 2 allowances to Kansas units. Approval of this SIP revision concerning another CSAPR trading program has no effect on the CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program as applied to Kansas units, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in that program remains in place.

    Section II of this document summarizes relevant aspects of the CSAPR Federal trading programs and FIPs as well as the range of opportunities states have to submit SIP revisions to modify or replace the FIP requirements while continuing to rely on CSAPR's trading programs to address the states' obligations to mitigate interstate air pollution. Section III describes the specific conditions for approval of such SIP revisions. Section IV contains EPA's analysis of Kansas' SIP submittal, and section V sets forth EPA's action on the submittal.

    We are publishing this direct final rule without a prior proposed rule because we view this as a noncontroversial action and anticipate no adverse comment. However, in the Proposed Rules section of this Federal Register, we are publishing a separate document that will serve as the proposed rule to approve the SIP revision if adverse comments are received on this direct final rule. We will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. For further information about commenting on this rule, see the ADDRESSES section of this document. If EPA receives adverse comment, we will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that this direct final rule will not take effect. We will address all public comments in any subsequent final rule based on the proposed rule.

    II. Background on CSAPR and CSAPR-Related SIP Revisions

    EPA issued CSAPR in July 2011 to address the requirements of CAA section 110(a)(2)(D)(i)(I) concerning interstate transport of air pollution. As amended, CSAPR requires twenty-eight Eastern states to limit their statewide emissions of SO2 and/or NOX in order to mitigate transported air pollution unlawfully impacting other states' ability to attain or maintain three National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS): The 1997 ozone NAAQS, the 1997 annual fine particulate matter (PM2.5) NAAQS, and the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS. The emissions limitations are defined in terms of maximum statewide “budgets” for emissions of annual SO2, annual NOX, and/or ozone-season NOX by each covered state's large electricity generating units. The budgets are implemented in two phases of generally increasing stringency, with the Phase 1 budgets applying to emissions in 2015 and 2016 and the Phase 2 budgets applying to emissions in 2017 and later years. As a mechanism for achieving compliance with the emissions limitations, CSAPR established four Federal emissions trading programs: A program for annual NOX emissions, a program for ozone-season NOX emissions, and two geographically separate programs for annual SO2 emissions. CSAPR also established up to three FIPs applicable to the large electricity generating units in each covered state. Each CSAPR FIP requires a state's units to participate in one of the four CSAPR trading programs.

    CSAPR includes provisions under which states may submit and EPA will approve SIP revisions to modify or replace the CSAPR FIP requirements while allowing states to continue to meet their transport-related obligations using either CSAPR's Federal emissions trading programs or state emissions trading programs integrated with the Federal programs.3 Through such a SIP revision, a state may replace EPA's default provisions for allocating emission allowances among the state's units, employing any state-selected methodology to allocate or auction the allowances, subject to timing conditions and limits on overall allowance quantities. In the case of CSAPR's Federal trading program for ozone-season NOX emissions (or an integrated state trading program), a state may also expand trading program applicability to include certain smaller electricity generating units. However, no emissions budget increases or other substantive changes to the trading program provisions are allowed. If a state wants to replace CSAPR FIP requirements with SIP requirements under which the state's units participate in a state trading program that is integrated with and identical to the federal trading program even as to the allocation and applicability provisions, the state may submit a SIP revision for that purpose as well. A state whose units are subject to multiple CSAPR FIPs and Federal trading programs may submit SIP revisions to modify or replace the requirements under either some or all of those FIPs.

    3See 40 CFR 52.38, 52.39. States also retain the ability to submit SIP revisions to meet their transport-related obligations using mechanisms other than the CSAPR Federal trading programs or integrated state trading programs.

    States can submit two basic forms of CSAPR-related SIP revisions effective for emissions control periods in 2017 or later years.4 Specific conditions for approval of each form of SIP revision are set forth in the CSAPR regulations, as described in section III below. Under the first alternative—an “abbreviated” SIP revision—a state may submit a SIP revision that upon approval replaces the default allowance allocation and/or applicability provisions of a CSAPR Federal trading program for the state.5 Approval of an abbreviated SIP revision leaves the corresponding CSAPR FIP and all other provisions of the relevant Federal trading program in place for the state's units.

    4 CSAPR also provides for a third, more streamlined form of SIP revision that is effective only for control periods in 2016 and is not relevant here. See § 52.38(a)(3), (b)(3); § 52.39(d), (g).

    5 § 52.38(a)(4), (b)(4); § 52.39(e), (h).

    Under the second alternative—a “full” SIP revision—a state may submit a SIP revision that upon approval replaces a CSAPR Federal trading program for the state with a state trading program integrated with the Federal trading program, so long as the state trading program is substantively identical to the Federal trading program or does not substantively differ from the Federal trading program except as discussed above with regard to the allowance allocation and/or applicability provisions.6 For purposes of a full SIP revision, a state may either adopt state rules with complete trading program language, incorporate the Federal trading program language into its state rules by reference (with appropriate conforming changes), or employ a combination of these approaches.

    6 § 52.38(a)(5), (b)(5); § 52.39(f), (i).

    The CSAPR regulations identify several important consequences and limitations associated with approval of a full SIP revision. First, upon EPA's approval of a full SIP revision as correcting the deficiency in the state's SIP that was the basis for a particular CSAPR FIP, the obligation to participate in the corresponding CSAPR Federal trading program is automatically eliminated for units subject to the state's jurisdiction without the need for a separate EPA withdrawal action, so long as EPA's approval of the SIP is full and unconditional.7 Second, approval of a full SIP revision does not terminate the obligation to participate in the corresponding CSAPR Federal trading program for any units located in any Indian country within the borders of the state, and if and when a unit is located in Indian country within a state's borders, EPA may modify the SIP approval to exclude from the SIP, and include in the surviving CSAPR FIP instead, certain trading program provisions that apply jointly to units in the state and to units in Indian country within the state's borders.8 Finally, if at the time a full SIP revision is approved EPA has already started recording allocations of allowances for a given control period to a state's units, the Federal trading program provisions authorizing EPA to complete the process of allocating and recording allowances for that control period to those units will continue to apply, unless EPA's approval of the SIP revision provides otherwise.9

    7 § 52.38(a)(6), (b)(6); § 52.39(j).

    8 § 52.38(a)(5)(iv)-(v), (a)(6), (b)(5)(v)-(vi), (b)(6); § 52.39(f)(4)-(5), (i)(4)-(5), (j).

    9 § 52.38(a)(7), (b)(7); § 52.39(k).

    Certain CSAPR Phase 2 emissions budgets have been remanded to EPA for reconsideration.10 However, the CSAPR trading programs remain in effect and all CSAPR emissions budgets likewise remain in effect pending EPA final action to address the remands. Neither of the CSAPR emissions budgets applicable to Kansas units has been remanded.

    10EME Homer City Generation, L.P. v. EPA, 795 F.3d 118, 138 (D.C. Cir. 2015).

    In 2015, EPA proposed to update CSAPR to address Eastern states' interstate air pollution mitigation obligations with regard to the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Among other things, the proposed rule would establish a FIP requiring Kansas units to participate in the CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Trading Program and would make technical corrections and nomenclature changes throughout the CSAPR regulations, including the CSAPR FIPs at 40 CFR part 52 and the CSAPR Federal trading program regulations for annual NOX, ozone-season NOX, and SO2 emissions at 40 CFR part 97.11

    11 80 FR 75706, 75710, 75757 (December 3, 2015).

    III. Conditions for Approval of CSAPR-Related SIP Revisions

    Each CSAPR-related abbreviated or full SIP revision must meet the following general submittal conditions:

    Timeliness and completeness of SIP submittal. If a state wants to replace the default allowance allocation or applicability provisions of a CSAPR Federal trading program, the complete SIP revision must be submitted to EPA by December 1 of the year before the deadlines described below for submitting allocation or auction amounts to EPA for the first control period for which the state wants to replace the default allocation and/or applicability provisions.12 (This SIP submission deadline is inoperative in the case of a SIP revision that seeks only to replace a CSAPR FIP and Federal trading program with a SIP and a substantively identical state trading program integrated with the Federal trading program.) The SIP submittal completeness criteria in section 2.1 of appendix V to 40 CFR part 51 also apply.

    12 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(ii), (a)(5)(vi), (b)(4)(iii), (b)(5)(vii); § 52.39(e)(2), (f)(6), (h)(2), (i)(6).

    In addition to the general submittal conditions, a CSAPR-related abbreviated or full SIP seeking to address the allocation or auction of emission allowances must meet the following further conditions:

    Methodology covering all allowances potentially requiring allocation. For each Federal trading program addressed by a SIP revision, the SIP revision's allowance allocation or auction methodology must replace both the Federal program's default allocations to existing units 13 at 40 CFR 97.411(a), 97.511(a), 97.611(a), or 97.711(a), as applicable, and the Federal trading program's provisions for allocating allowances from the new unit set-aside (NUSA) for the state at 40 CFR 97.411(b)(1) and 97.412(a), 97.511(b)(1) and 97.512(a), 97.611(b)(1) and 97.612(a), or 97.711(b)(1) and 97.712(a), as applicable.14 In the case of a state with Indian country within its borders, while the SIP revision may neither alter nor assume the Federal program's provisions for administering the Indian country NUSA for the state, the SIP revision must include procedures addressing the disposition of any otherwise unallocated allowances from an Indian country NUSA that may be made available for allocation by the state after EPA has carried out the Indian country NUSA allocation procedures.15

    13 In the context of the approval conditions for CSAPR-related SIP revisions, an “existing unit” is a unit for which EPA has determined default allowance allocations (which could be allocations of zero allowances) in the rulemakings establishing and amending CSAPR. A spreadsheet showing EPA's default allocations to existing units is posted at www.epa.gov/crossstaterule/techinfo.html.

    14 § 52.38(a)(4)(i), (a)(5)(i), (b)(4)(ii), (b)(5)(ii); § 52.39(e)(1), (f)(1), (h)(1), (i)(1).

    15See §§ 97.412(b)(10)(ii), 97.512(b)(10)(ii), 97.612(b)(10)(ii), 97.712(b)(10)(ii).

    Assurance that total allocations will not exceed the state budget. For each Federal trading program addressed by a SIP revision, the total amount of allowances auctioned or allocated for each control period under the SIP revision (prior to the addition by EPA of any unallocated allowances from any Indian country NUSA for the state) may not exceed the state's emissions budget for the control period less the sum of the amount of any Indian country NUSA for the state for the control period and any allowances already allocated to the state's units for the control period and recorded by EPA.16 Under its SIP revision, a state is free to not allocate allowances to some or all potentially affected units, to allocate or auction allowances to entities other than potentially affected units, or to allocate or auction fewer than the maximum permissible quantity of allowances and retire the remainder.

    16 § 52.38(a)(4)(i)(A), (a)(5)(i)(A), (b)(4)(ii)(A), (b)(5)(ii)(A); § 52.39(e)(1)(i), (f)(1)(i), (h)(1)(i), (i)(1)(i).

    Timely submission of state-determined allocations to EPA. The SIP revision must require the state to submit to EPA the amounts of any allowances allocated or auctioned to each unit for each control period (other than allowances initially set aside in the state's allocation or auction process and later allocated or auctioned to such units from the set-aside amount) by the following deadlines.17 Note that the submission deadlines differ for amounts allocated or auctioned to units considered existing units for CSAPR purposes and amounts allocated or auctioned to other units.

    17 § 52.38(a)(4)(i)(B)-(C), (a)(5)(i)(B)-(C), (b)(4)(ii)(B)-(C), (b)(5)(ii)(B)-(C); § 52.39(e)(1)(ii)-(iii), (f)(1)(ii)-(iii), (h)(1)(ii)-(iii), (i)(1)(ii)-(iii).

    Units Year of the control period Deadline for submission to EPA of allocations or auction results Existing 2017 and 2018 June 1, 2016. 2019 and 2020 June 1, 2017. 2021 and 2022 June 1, 2018. 2023 and later years June 1 of the fourth year before the year of the control period. Other All years July 1 of the year of the control period.

    No changes to allocations already submitted to EPA or recorded. The SIP revision must not provide for any change to the amounts of allowances allocated or auctioned to any unit after those amounts are submitted to EPA or any change to any allowance allocation determined and recorded by EPA under the Federal trading program regulations.18

    18 § 52.38(a)(4)(i)(D), (a)(5)(i)(D), (b)(4)(ii)(D), (b)(5)(ii)(D); § 52.39(e)(1)(iv), (f)(1)(iv), (h)(1)(iv), (i)(1)(iv).

    No other substantive changes to Federal trading program provisions. The SIP revision may not substantively change any other trading program provisions, except in the case of a SIP revision that also expands program applicability as described below.19 Any new definitions adopted in the SIP revision (in addition to the Federal trading program's definitions) may apply only for purposes of the SIP revision's allocation or auction provisions.20

    19 § 52.38(a)(4), (a)(5), (b)(4), (b)(5); § 52.39(e), (f), (h), (i).

    20 § 52.38(a)(4)(i), (a)(5)(ii), (b)(4)(ii), (b)(5)(iii); § 52.39(e)(1), (f)(2), (h)(1), (i)(2).

    In addition to the general submittal conditions, a CSAPR-related abbreviated or full SIP revision seeking to expand applicability under the CSAPR NOX Ozone Season Trading Program (or an integrated state trading program) must meet the following further conditions:

    Only electricity generating units with nameplate capacity of at least 15 MWe. The SIP revision may expand applicability only to additional fossil fuel-fired boilers or combustion turbines serving generators producing electricity for sale, and only by lowering the generator nameplate capacity threshold used to determine whether a particular boiler or combustion turbine serving a particular generator is a potentially affected unit. The nameplate capacity threshold adopted in the SIP revision may not be less than 15 MWe.21

    21 § 52.38(b)(4)(i), (b)(5)(i).

    No other substantive changes to Federal trading program provisions. The SIP revision may not substantively change any other trading program provisions, except in the case of a SIP revision that also addresses the allocation or auction of emission allowances as described above.22

    22 § 52.38(b)(4), (b)(5).

    In addition to the general submittal conditions and the other applicable conditions described above, a CSAPR-related full SIP revision must meet the following further conditions:

    Complete, substantively identical trading program provisions. The SIP revision must adopt complete state trading program regulations substantively identical to the complete Federal trading program regulations at 40 CFR 97.402 through 97.435, 97.502 through 97.535, 97.602 through 97.635, or 97.702 through 97.735, as applicable, except as described above in the case of a SIP revision that seeks to replace the default allowance allocation and/or applicability provisions.

    Only non-substantive substitutions for the term “State.” The SIP revision may substitute the name of the state for the term “State” as used in the Federal trading program regulations, but only to the extent that EPA determines that the substitutions do not substantively change the trading program regulations.23

    23 § 52.38(a)(5)(iii), (b)(5)(iv); § 52.39(f)(3), (i)(3).

    Exclusion of provisions addressing units in Indian country. The SIP revision may not include references to or impose requirements on any unit in any Indian country within the state's borders and must not include the Federal trading program provisions governing allocation of allowances from any Indian country NUSA for the state.24

    24 § 52.38(a)(5)(iv), (b)(5)(v); § 52.39(f)(4), (i)(4).

    IV. Kansas's SIP Submittal and EPA's Analysis A. Kansas's SIP Submittal

    In the CSAPR rulemaking, EPA determined that air pollution transported from Kansas unlawfully affected other states' ability to attain or maintain the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 NAAQS.25 Kansas units meeting the CSAPR applicability criteria are consequently subject to CSAPR FIPs that require participation in the CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program and the CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program.26

    25 76 FR 48208, 48213 (August 8, 2011).

    26 40 CFR 52.38(a)(2); § 52.39(c); § 52.882(a); § 52.883.

    On December 1, 2015, Kansas submitted to EPA an abbreviated SIP revision that, if approved, would replace the default allowance allocation provisions of the CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program for the state's EGUs for the control periods in 2017 through 2019 with provisions establishing state-determined allocations for those control periods but that would leave the corresponding CSAPR FIP and all other provisions of that trading program in place. The SIP submittal generally consists of a duly adopted state rule, K.A.R. 28-19-274 (Nitrogen oxides; allocations), which in turn adopts by reference a document entitled “TR NOX annual allowance allocations for 2017, 2018, and 2019,” dated July 17, 2015. The latter document contains tables establishing fixed amounts of allowances to be allocated to specified Kansas electricity generating units under the provisions of the state rule. For each of the years 2017, 2018, and 2019, there is a table with allocations of all allowances in the Kansas budget other than allowances in the Indian country NUSA for Kansas. For each of those years there is a second table with potential allocations to the same units of otherwise unallocated allowances from the Indian country NUSA for Kansas if all of those allowances should be made available by EPA for state allocation. The rule also includes provisions for computing potential allocations to the same units of otherwise unallocated allowances from the Indian country NUSA for Kansas if some but not all of those allowances should be made available by EPA for state allocation. Finally, the rule includes provisions defining several terms used either in the rule's allocation provisions or in other definitions.

    The SIP revision was submitted to EPA by a letter from the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment acting as the designated representative of the Governor of Kansas. The letter describes steps taken by Kansas to provide public notice prior to adoption of the state rule. The letter also indicates that paragraphs 28-19-274(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Kansas rule, which contain definitions of certain terms differing from the definitions of the same terms in the Federal trading program regulations, are excluded from the SIP submittal.

    EPA has previously approved a separate Kansas SIP revision replacing the default allowance allocation provisions of the CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program for Kansas existing units for the control period in 2016.27 At this time, Kansas has not submitted any SIP revision to modify or replace the CSAPR FIP that requires the state's units to participate in the CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program.

    27 80 FR 50789 (August 21, 2015).

    B. EPA's Analysis of Kansas's Submittal 1. Timeliness and Completeness of SIP Submittal

    Kansas' SIP revision seeks to establish state-determined allocations of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances for the control periods in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(i)(B), the deadline for submission of state-determined allocations for the 2017 and 2018 control periods is June 1, 2016, which under § 52.38(a)(4)(ii) makes December 1, 2015 the deadline for submission to EPA of a complete SIP revision establishing state-determined allocations for those control periods. Kansas submitted its SIP revision to EPA by a letter dated and delivered electronically on December 1, 2015, and EPA has determined that the submittal complies with the applicable minimum completeness criteria in section 2.1 of appendix V to 40 CFR part 51. Because Kansas's SIP revision was timely submitted and meets the applicable completeness criteria, it meets the condition under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(ii) for timely submission of a complete SIP revision.

    2. Methodology Covering All Allowances Potentially Requiring Allocation

    Paragraph 28-19-274(c) of the Kansas rule provides that the allowance allocation methodology adopted by Kansas in the SIP revision replaces the provisions of 40 CFR 97.411(a), thereby addressing all allowances that under the default allocation provisions for the Federal trading program would be allocated to units considered existing units for CSAPR purposes (prior to allocation of any otherwise unallocated allowances from the NUSA or Indian country NUSA for Kansas). The same Kansas rule paragraph also provides that the state's allocation methodology replaces the provisions of 40 CFR 97.411(b)(1) and 97.412(a), thereby addressing allocation of allowances in the NUSA established for Kansas under the Federal trading program. In addition, paragraphs 28-19-274(d) and (e) of the Kansas rule provide procedures addressing any otherwise unallocated allowances from the Indian country NUSA for Kansas that may be made available for allocation by the state after EPA has carried out the Indian country NUSA allocation procedures. Collectively, the allocation provisions in the Kansas rule therefore enable Kansas' SIP revision to meet the condition under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(i) that the state's allocation or auction methodology must cover all allowances potentially requiring allocation by the state.

    3. Assurance That Total Allocations Will Not Exceed the State Budget

    Paragraph 28-19-274(d) of the Kansas rule provides for allowance allocations to be made in fixed amounts set forth in tables adopted by reference into the state rules. For each of the three control periods for which the rule allocates allowances, there is a table providing allocations for the allowances that absent this SIP revision would be allocated pursuant to 40 CFR 97.411(a), 97.411(b)(1), and 97.412(a). For each of the control periods, the sum of the fixed amounts allocated according to these tables is 31,323 allowances, which is equal to the Kansas budget for the control period (31,354 tons) less the amount of the Indian country NUSA for Kansas (31 tons).28 EPA has not yet allocated or recorded CSAPR allowances for the 2017 through 2019 control periods. The allocation methodology in Kansas's SIP revision therefore meets the condition under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(i)(A) that the total amount of allowances allocated under the SIP revision (before the addition of any otherwise unallocated allowances from an Indian country NUSA) may not exceed the state's budget for the control period less the amount of the Indian country NUSA for the state and any allowances already allocated and recorded by EPA.

    28See 40 CFR 97.410(a)(6)(iv), (a)(6)(vi).

    While the Kansas rule also has provisions providing potential allocations of allowances from the Indian country NUSA for Kansas, under paragraph 28-19-274(b) of the Kansas rule the only allowances available for allocation under those provisions are otherwise unallocated allowances that EPA has made available from the Indian country NUSA for state allocation after having carried out the Indian country NUSA allocation procedures. The total of the allowances allocated under the SIP revision and any allowances allocated by EPA from the Indian country NUSA for Kansas therefore will not exceed the state budget, consistent with the purpose of 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(i)(A).

    4. Timely Submission of State-Determined Allocations to EPA

    The state-determined allowance allocations established by the Kansas rule for each of the three control periods covered by the rule are included in tables that have been adopted by reference into the state rule and that were provided to EPA as part of the SIP submittal on December 1, 2015. As noted above, in the case of a SIP revision seeking to allocate allowances starting with the 2017 control period, the earliest deadline for submission to EPA of the state-determined allocations is June 1, 2016. Kansas' SIP revision therefore meets the conditions under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(i)(B) and (C) requiring that the SIP revision provide for submission of state-determined allowance allocations to EPA by the deadlines specified in those provisions.

    5. No Changes to Allocations Already Submitted to EPA or Recorded

    The Kansas rule includes no provision allowing alteration of allocations after the allocation amounts have been provided to EPA and no provision allowing alteration of any allocations made and recorded by EPA under the Federal trading program regulations, thereby meeting the condition under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4)(i)(D).

    6. No Other Substantive Changes to Federal Trading Program Provisions

    Besides the provisions addressing allowance allocations discussed above, the Kansas rule includes a number of provisions defining terms used either in the rule's allocation provisions or in other definitions. In paragraph 28-19-274(a)(1), the rule adopts by reference several terms defined in 40 CFR 97.402, and in paragraph 28-19-274(b), the rule defines a new term “Indian country new unit set-aside allowance” that is used only in the Kansas rule for purposes of allowance allocations. These provisions do not make substantive changes to the Federal trading program provisions.29

    29 EPA has proposed to make certain technical corrections to the CSAPR FIP and Federal trading program regulations in order to more accurately reflect EPA's intent as described in the CSAPR rulemaking and has also proposed to replace “TR” with “CSAPR” throughout the regulations (for example, “TR NOX Annual unit” would become “CSAPR NOX Annual unit”). See 80 FR 75706, 75758. Because the proposed technical corrections merely clarify and do not change EPA's interpretations, where the proposed corrections would apply to a provision incorporated by reference in the Kansas rule, EPA would interpret the Kansas rule as reflecting the corrections. Further, EPA anticipates that if the proposed nomenclature updates are finalized, the final CSAPR Federal regulations would explicitly provide that terms that include “CSAPR” encompass otherwise identical terms in approved SIP revisions that include “TR”.

    Paragraphs 28-19-274(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Kansas rule adopt definitions of “administrator”, “State”, and “permitting authority” that substantively differ from the definitions of these terms in the Federal trading program regulations. While these terms are not used directly in the Kansas rule, they are used in the Federal trading program definitions of some of the other terms that are adopted by reference under paragraph 28-19-274(a)(1). Inclusion of the Kansas rule's definitions of “administrator”, “State”, and “permitting authority” in the SIP revision therefore would cause the meanings of those other adopted terms as used in the Kansas rule to substantively differ from the meanings of the same terms as used in the Federal trading program regulations. After being advised of these differences by EPA, Kansas elected to exclude the provisions of paragraphs 28-19-274(a)(2)(A) and (B) of the Kansas rule from the SIP revision, as the state's letter submitting the SIP revision makes clear. (Without the excluded provisions, the rule remains fully functional for its intended purpose of allocating CSAPR allowances among the state's units.) Considering Kansas' SIP revision without the excluded rule provisions, EPA has determined that the SIP revision meets the condition under 40 CFR 52.38(a)(4) of making no substantive changes to the Federal trading program regulations beyond the provisions addressing allowance allocations.

    V. EPA's Action on Kansas' Submittal

    EPA is taking direct final action to approve the revision to Kansas' SIP submitted on December 1, 2015 concerning allocations to Kansas units of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances for the control periods in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This SIP revision adopts into the SIP the rule codified in Kansas' regulations at K.A.R. 28-19-274 excluding paragraphs 28-19-274(a)(2)(A) and (B). The Kansas rule in turn incorporates a document entitled “TR NOX annual allowance allocations for 2017, 2018, and 2019,” dated July 17, 2015, which contains tables setting forth state-determined allowance allocations to individual Kansas units. Following this approval, allocations of these allowances will be made according to the provisions of Kansas' SIP instead of CSAPR's default allocation provisions at 40 CFR 97.411(a), 97.411(b)(1), and 97.412(a). Approval of this SIP revision does not alter any provision of the Federal CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program as applied to Kansas units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in that program (as modified by this SIP revision) remains in place. EPA is approving the SIP revision because it meets the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations for approval of an abbreviated SIP revision replacing EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations, as discussed in section IV above. Because the SIP revision addresses only the control periods in 2017 through 2019, absent submission and approval of a further SIP revision, allocations of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances for control periods in 2020 and later years will be made pursuant to the default allocation provisions.

    Large electricity generating units in Kansas are also subject to an additional CSAPR FIP requiring them to participate in the Federal CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program. Kansas's SIP submittal does not seek to replace the default allocations of CSAPR SO2 Group 2 allowances to Kansas units. Approval of this SIP revision concerning another CSAPR trading program has no effect on the Federal CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program as applied to Kansas units, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in that program remains in place.

    Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, EPA is finalizing regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, EPA is finalizing the incorporation by reference of the Kansas Cross-State Air Pollution Regulations described in the direct final amendments to 40 CFR part 52 set forth below. EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    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 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 this rulemaking does not involve technical standards; 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 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 August 29, 2016. 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, Administrative practice and procedure, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides.

    Dated: June 16, 2016. Mark Hague, Regional Administrator, Region 7.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, EPA amends 40 CFR part 52 as set forth below:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart R—Kansas 2. Amend § 52.870(c), by adding entry 28-19-274, in numerical order, under the subheading entitled “General Provisions” to read as follows:
    § 52.870 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    EPA-Approved Kansas Regulations Kansas citation Title State effective date EPA approval date Explanation Kansas Department of Health and Environment Ambient Air Quality Standards and Air Pollution Control *         *         *         *         *         *         * General Provisions *         *         *         *         *         *         * K.A.R. 28-19-274 Nitrogen Oxide allocations 11/6/15 6/29/16 and [Insert Federal Register citation] Approval of EGU-specific NOX allocations does not include KAR 28-19-274(a)(2)(A) and (a)(2)(B). *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2016-15040 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2014-0636; FRL-9948-24-Region 9] Designation of Areas for Air Quality Planning Purposes; California; San Joaquin Valley; Reclassification as Serious Nonattainment for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS; Correction AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Final rule; correcting amendment.

    SUMMARY:

    This document corrects a paragraph designation error that occurred in a January 20, 2016, final rule pertaining to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) reclassification of the San Joaquin Valley in California from Moderate to Serious for the 2006 PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The paragraph designation in that rulemaking conflicts with a paragraph designation in a different final rule. The EPA, therefore, is correcting the erroneous paragraph designation.

    DATES:

    This correcting amendment is effective on June 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Wienke Tax, Air Planning Office (AIR-2), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region IX, (415) 947-4192, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The EPA published a final rule document on January 20, 2016 (81 FR 2993) to reclassify the San Joaquin Valley Moderate nonattainment area, including areas of Indian country within it, as a Serious nonattainment area for the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS. In the January 20, 2016 document, the EPA included amendatory instructions that added paragraph (e) to 40 CFR 52.247. 81 FR 2993, at 3000 (column 2). However, in a separate final rule published on January 13, 2016 (81 FR 1514), the EPA also included amendatory instructions that added paragraph (e) to 40 CFR 52.247. 81 FR 1514, at 1520 (column 2). As such, the amendments to 40 CFR 52.247 in the two final rules are in conflict and cannot be implemented together. The January 20, 2016 final rule should have included amendatory instructions adding paragraph (f), rather than (e). This document corrects that error.

    The EPA has determined that this action falls under the “good cause” exemption in section 553(b)(B) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) which, upon finding “good cause,” authorizes agencies to dispense with public participation where public notice and comment procedures are impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest. Public notice and comment for this action are unnecessary because the underlying rule for which this correcting amendment has been prepared was already subject to a 30-day comment period and because the error addressed herein does not change the regulatory language in the rule. It only changes the paragraph designation for the relevant regulatory language. Thus, no purpose would be served by additional public notice and comment, and additional public notice and comment is unnecessary.

    The EPA also finds that there is good cause under APA section 553(d)(3) for the correction in the amendatory instructions and related paragraph designation to become effective on the date of publication. Section 553(d)(3) of the APA allows an effective date less than 30 days after publication “as otherwise provided by the agency for good cause found and published with the rule.” 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). The EPA finds that resolving the conflict in the amendatory instructions in the two relevant final rules does not create any new regulatory requirements such that affected parties would need time to prepare before the rule takes effect. Rather, this rule eliminates the confusion caused by designating two paragraphs in 40 CFR 52.247 as paragraph (e). For these reasons, the EPA finds good cause under APA section 553(d)(3) for the correction in the amendatory instructions associated with the January 20, 2016 final rule to become effective on the date of publication of this final rule.

    Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Under Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), this action is not a “significant regulatory action” and therefore is not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, this action is also not subject to Executive Order 13211, “Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use” (66 FR 28355, May 22, 2001). Because the agency has made a “good cause” finding that this action is not subject to notice-and-comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act or any other statute as indicated in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, above, it is not subject to the regulatory flexibility provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) or to sections 202 and 205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) (Pub. L. 104-4). In addition, this action does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments or impose a significant intergovernmental mandate, as described in sections 203 and 204 of UMRA. This rule also does not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal government and Indian tribes, as specified by Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249, November 9, 2000), nor will it have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified by Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999). This rule also is not subject to Executive Order 13045, “Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks” (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997), because it is not economically significant. In addition, this rule does not involve technical standards, thus the requirements of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) do not apply. This rule also does not impose an information collection burden under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

    The Congressional Review Act, 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq., as added by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, generally provides that before a rule may take effect, the agency promulgating the rule must submit a rule report, which includes a copy of the rule, to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States. Section 808 allows the issuing agency to make a rule effective sooner than otherwise provided by the CRA if the agency makes a good cause finding that notice and public procedure is impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest. This determination must be supported by a brief statement. 5 U.S.C. 808(2). As stated previously, the EPA has made such a good cause finding, including the reasons therefore, and established an effective date of June 29, 2016. The EPA will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to publication of the rule in the Federal Register. 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).

    Correction

    In final rule FR Doc. 2016-00739, published in the Federal Register on January 20, 2016 (81 FR 2993), make the following correction:

    On page 3000, in the second column, remove amendatory instruction 3.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Particulate matter.

    Dated: June 14, 2016. Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator, Region IX.

    Chapter I, title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    2. Section 52.247 is amended by adding paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 52.247 Control Strategy and regulations: Fine Particle Matter.

    (f) By August 21, 2017, California must adopt and submit a Serious Area plan to provide for attainment of the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS in the San Joaquin Valley PM2.5 nonattainment area. The Serious Area plan must include emissions inventories, an attainment demonstration, best available control measures, a reasonable further progress plan, quantitative milestones, contingency measures, and such other measures as may be necessary or appropriate to provide for attainment of the 2006 PM2.5 NAAQS by the applicable attainment date, in accordance with the requirements of subparts 1 and 4 of part D, title I of the Clean Air Act.

    [FR Doc. 2016-15051 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 2 [ET Docket No. 13-44, RM-11652; FCC 16-74] Authorization of Radiofrequency Equipment and Approval of Terminal Equipment by Telecommunications AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document the Commission addresses two petitions for reconsideration of its Report and Order in this proceeding by describing how it will implement the rules that govern how it recognizes laboratories as accredited and authorized to perform the compliance testing associated with applications for equipment certification and the bodies that accredit those laboratories and extending the transition period by which time all laboratories that test for equipment certification must have FCC-recognized accreditation to perform such testing.

    DATES:

    Effective July 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brian Butler, Office of Engineering and Technology, (202) 418-2702, email: [email protected], TTY (202) 418-2989.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    1. This document does not contain [new or modified] information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13.

    2. This is a summary of the Commission's Memorandum Opinion & Order and Order on Reconsideration, ET Docket No. 13-44, RM-11652, FCC 16-74, adopted May 14, 2015, and released May 15, 2016. The full text of this document is available for inspection and copying during normal business hours in the FCC Reference Center (Room CY-A257), 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The full text may be downloaded at: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-74A1.docx.

    People with Disabilities: To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an email to [email protected] or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

    Synopsis

    3. The Commission had previously released a Report and Order in ET Docket 13-44 that made many modifications to its equipment authorization rules and procedures. Subsequently, Motorola Solutions, Inc. (Motorola) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) filed separate petitions requesting reconsideration and/or clarification of the Report and Order. Both petitions focused on a narrow set of related issues, including the process for accreditation of testing laboratories located in countries that have not entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with the United States and the transition period for such accreditation.

    4. The Memorandum Opinion and Order and Order on Reconsideration grants the petitions in part. To address petitioners' concerns that there is a lack of a clear process for the recognition of accrediting bodies within non-MRA countries, the Commission discussed how the criteria listed in Section 2.949 of its rules will apply to compliance testing laboratories that are seeking to become recognized by the Commission as properly accredited, and directed its Office of Engineering and Technology to publish whatever additional information is needed to address the form and substance application submissions should take. The Commission also extended the transition deadlines for testing laboratories to become accredited, an action that particularly affects laboratories currently operating under a specific rule provision that the Report and Order had eliminated. It found merit in the petitioners' concerns that many laboratories—including those located in countries that have not entered into a mutual recognition agreement MRA with the United States—would not be able to become accredited under the existing timeline. The Commission denied a request to let a Commission-recognized testing laboratory that is located in an MRA country vouch for a subsidiary located in non-MRA country, concluding that such action was not needed in light of the other relief it was providing.

    Ordering Clauses

    5. Pursuant to Sections 1, 4(i), 7(a), 301, 302, 303(f), 303(g), 303(r), 307(e) and 332 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. Sections 151, 154(i), 157(a), 301, 302a, 303(f), 303(g), 303(r), 307(e), and 332, this Memorandum Opinion and Order and Order on Reconsideration is adopted.

    6. The rules and requirements adopted herein will be effective July 29, 2016.

    7. The Petition for Reconsideration of The Telecommunications Industry Association is granted to the extent indicated herein and otherwise denied.

    8. The Petition for Partial Reconsideration of Motorola Solutions, Inc. is granted to the extent indicated herein and otherwise denied.

    9. The Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory Certification, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    10. The Commission will send a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order and Order on Reconsideration to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    Pursuant to the authority contained in Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 303 of the Communications Act, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j) and 303, that should no petitions for reconsideration or applications for review be timely filed, this proceeding is terminated and ET Docket No. 13-44 is closed.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 2

    Communications equipment, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 2 as follows:

    PART 2—FREQUENCY ALLOCATIONS AND RADIO TREATY MATTERS; GENERAL RULES AND REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 2 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 154, 302a, 303, and 336, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 2.950 is amended by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 2.950 Transition periods.

    (e) The Commission will no longer accept applications for § 2.948 test site listing as of July 13, 2015. Laboratories that are listed by the Commission under the § 2.948 process will remain listed until the sooner of their expiration date or through July 12, 2017 and may continue to submit test data in support of certification applications through October 12, 2017. Laboratories with an expiration date before July 13, 2017 may request the Commission to extend their expiration date through July 12, 2017.

    [FR Doc. 2016-15336 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Part 515 [Change 72; GSAR Case 2008-G506; Corrections; Docket 2008-0007; Sequence 14] RIN 3090-AI76 General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR); Rewrite of GSAR Part 515, Contracting by Negotiation; Corrections AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule; corrections.

    SUMMARY:

    The General Services Administration (GSA) is issuing a correction to Change 72; GSAR Case 2008-G506; Rewrite of GSAR Part 515, Contracting by Negotiation, which was published in the Federal Register at 81 FR 36423, June 6, 2016.

    DATES:

    Effective: July 6, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For clarification about content, contact Ms. Dana Munson at 202-357-9652. For information pertaining to the status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., Washington, DC 20405, (202) 501-4755. Please cite GSAR Case 2008-G506; Corrections.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    GSA published a document in the Federal Register at 81 FR 36423, June 6, 2016, inadvertently section 515.5 and 515.70 contained typographical errors.

    Corrections

    In the rule FR Doc. 2016-13114, published in the Federal Register at 81 FR 36423, June 6, 2016, make the following corrections:

    1. On page 36425, first column, instruction number 3, remove “revised” and add “continues” in its place.

    2. On page 36425, second column, under the heading “515.5 and 515.70 [Removed]”, revise instruction number 7 to read as follows:

    “7. Remove subparts 515.5 and 515.70.”

    Authority:

    40 U.S.C. 121(c).

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Jeffrey A. Koses, Office of Acquisition Policy, Senior Procurement Executive, General Services Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15238 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-61-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 107 and 171 [Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0041 (HM-258D)] RIN 2137-AF23 Hazardous Materials: Revision of Maximum and Minimum Civil Penalties AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    PHMSA is revising the maximum and minimum civil penalties for a knowing violation of the Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law. The “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015” (the 2015 Act), which amended the Federal Civil Penalties, Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the Inflation Adjustment Act), requires Agencies to update their civil monetary penalties through interim final rulemaking. The maximum civil penalty for a knowing violation is now $77,114, except for violations that result in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property, for which the maximum civil penalty is $179,933. In addition, the minimum civil penalty amount for a violation relating to training is now $463.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: August 1, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Laura Ulmer or Shawn Wolsey, Office of Chief Counsel, (202) 366-4400, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Civil Penalty Amendments

    Section 701 of the “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015” (the 2015 Act) (Pub. L. 114-74, 129 Stat. 599 [November 2, 2015]), which amended the Federal Civil Penalties, Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 (the Inflation Adjustment Act) (Pub. L. 101-410), requires that the Agency make an initial catch up adjustment with subsequent annual adjustments to the maximum and minimum civil penalties set forth in 49 U.S.C. 5123(a) for a knowing violation of the Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law. These changes to the maximum and minimum civil penalty amounts apply to violations assessed on or after the effective date, August 1, 2016.

    The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Implementation of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015,” M16-06, provides guidance on how to update agencies' civil penalties pursuant to the 2015 Act. For the catch up adjustment, the calculation uses multipliers to adjust the civil monetary penalties, or the minimum and maximum penalties, based on the year the penalty was established or last adjusted by statute or regulation other than under the Inflation Adjustment Act. The Agency or Department would then use the multiplier, based on the Consumer Price Index for October 2015 provided in a table in that guidance document, and multiply it by the current penalty. Congress passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012, which amended the maximum penalty for a knowing violation of the Federal hazardous material safety law, regulation, order, special permit, or approval to $75,000, and to $175,000 for a person who knowingly violates the Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of the property. MAP-21 also added a $450 minimum for a training violation. The multiplier for 2012, which was the last year these civil monetary penalties were amended by statute or regulation other than under the Inflation Adjustment Act, from the guidance document is 1.02819. After making the adjustment, all penalty levels must be rounded to the nearest dollar, but no penalty level may be increased by more than 150 percent of corresponding penalty levels in effect on November 2, 2015.

    Accordingly, PHMSA is revising the references to the maximum and minimum civil penalty amounts in its regulations to reflect the changes required by the 2015 Act. In 49 CFR 107.329, Appendix A to subpart D of 49 CFR part 107, and 49 CFR 171.1 are:

    • Revising the maximum civil penalty from $75,000 to $77,114 for a person who knowingly violates the Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law.

    • Revising the maximum civil penalty from $175,000 to $179,933 for a person who knowingly violates the Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law that results in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of the property.

    • Revising the minimum penalty amount from $450 to $463 for a violation related to training.

    As required by the 2015 Act, PHMSA is making these catch up adjustments through an interim final rule. PHMSA is not providing a notice of proposed rulemaking or an opportunity for public comment. The catch up adjustments required by the 2015 Act are statutorily required ministerial acts, for which PHMSA has no discretion, and as a result public comment is unnecessary. As such, notice and comment procedures are “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest” within the meaning of the Administrative Procedure Act. 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).

    II. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices A. Statutory/Legal Authority for This Rulemaking

    This interim final rule is published under the authority of the Federal hazardous materials transportation law (49 U.S.C. 5101 et seq.). Section 5123(a) of that law provides civil penalties for knowing violations of Federal hazardous material transportation law or a regulation, order, special permit, or approval issued under that law. This rule revises the references in PHMSA's regulations by (1) revising the maximum penalty amount for a knowing violation and a knowing violation resulting in death, serious illness, or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property to $77,114 and $179,933, respectively, and (2) revising the minimum penalty amount to $463 for a violation related to training.

    B. Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This interim final rule has been evaluated in accordance with existing policies and procedures and determined to be non-significant under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563. However, consistent with OMB memorandum M-16-06, this interim final rule was reviewed by OMB in order to make a significance determination.

    Further, this rule is not a significant regulatory action under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the DOT, 44 FR 11034; Feb. 26, 1979. It is a ministerial act for which the agency has no discretion. The economic impact of the interim final rule is minimal to the extent that preparation of a regulatory evaluation is not warranted. Given the low number of penalty actions within the scope of this interim final rule, the impacts will be very limited.

    This interim final rule is being undertaken to address our statutory requirements. This rule imposes no new costs upon persons conducting hazardous materials operations in compliance with the requirements of the HMR. Those entities not in compliance with the requirements of the HMR may experience an increased cost based on the penalties levied against them for non-compliance; however, this is an avoidable, variable cost and thus is not considered in any evaluation of the significance of this regulatory action. Moreover, as the cost is an inflationary adjustment and the magnitude of the increase is minimal, since these penalties were recently enacted, reflected costs are nominal. The amendments in this rule could provide safety benefits (i.e., larger penalties deterring knowing violators). Overall, it is anticipated this rulemaking would have minimal real costs and benefits.

    C. Executive Order 13132

    This interim final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (“Federalism”). This rule does not impose any regulation having substantial direct effects on the states, the relationship between the national government and the states, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, the consultation and funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.

    D. Executive Order 13175

    This interim final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments). Because this interim final rule does not have adverse tribal implications and does not impose direct compliance costs, the funding and consultation requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply, and, a tribal summary impact statement is not required.

    E. Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Order 13272, and DOT Procedures and Policies

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-611) requires each agency to analyze regulations and assess their impact on small businesses and other small entities to determine whether the rule is expected to have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The provisions of this rule apply specifically to all businesses transporting hazardous material. Therefore, PHMSA certifies this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    In addition, PHMSA has determined the RFA does not apply to this rulemaking. The 2015 Act requires PHMSA to publish an interim final rule and does not require PHMSA to complete notice and comment procedures under the APA. The Small Business Administration's A Guide for Government Agencies: How to Comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (2003), provides that:

    If, under the APA or any rule of general applicability governing Federal grants to state and local governments, the agency is required to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), the RFA must be considered [citing 5 U.S.C. 604(a)] . . . . If an NPRM is not required, the RFA does not apply.

    Therefore, because the 2015 Act does not require an NPRM for this rulemaking, the RFA does not apply. F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    There are no new information requirements in this interim final rule.

    G. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    A regulation identifier number (RIN) is assigned to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in spring and fall of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the Unified Agenda.

    H. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This interim final rule does not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It does not result in costs of $141.3 million or more, in the aggregate, to any of the following: State, local, or Native American tribal governments, or to the private sector.

    I. Environmental Assessment

    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4375), requires Federal agencies to consider the consequences of major Federal actions and prepare a detailed statement on actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. When developing potential regulatory requirements, PHMSA evaluates those requirements to consider the environmental impact of each amendment. Specifically, PHMSA evaluates the: Risk of release and resulting environmental impact; risk to human safety, including any risk to first responders; longevity of the packaging; and if the proposed regulation would be carried out in a defined geographic area, the resources, especially any sensitive areas, and how they could be impacted by any proposed regulations. These amendments would be generally applicable and not be carried out in a defined geographic area. Civil penalties may act as a deterrent to those violating the HMR, and, this can have a negligible positive environmental impact as a result of increased compliance with the HMR. Based on the above discussion PHMSA concludes there are no significant environmental impacts associated with this interim final rule.

    J. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received by any of our dockets using the name of the individual submitting the comments (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) which may be viewed at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/pkg/FR-2000-04-11/pdf/00-8505.pdf.

    K. Executive Order 13609 and International Trade Analysis

    Under Executive Order 13609, agencies must consider whether the impacts associated with significant variations between domestic and international regulatory approaches are unnecessary or may impair the ability of American business to export and compete internationally. In meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements.

    Similarly, the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal agencies from establishing any standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. For purposes of these requirements, Federal agencies may participate in the establishment of international standards, so long as the standards have a legitimate domestic objective, such as providing for safety, and do not operate to exclude imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards.

    PHMSA participates in the establishment of international standards in order to protect the safety of the American public, and we have assessed the effects of the interim final rule to ensure that it does not cause unnecessary obstacles to foreign trade. Accordingly, this rulemaking is consistent with Executive Order 13609 and PHMSA's obligations.

    List of Subjects 49 CFR Part 107

    Administrative practices and procedure, Hazardous materials transportation, Packaging and containers, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    49 CFR Part 171

    General information, Regulations, and Definitions.

    In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR Chapter I is amended as follows:

    PART 107—HAZARDOUS MATERIALS PROGRAM PROCEDURES 1. The authority citation for part 107 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 5101-5128, 44701; Pub. L. 101-410 section 4; Pub. L. 104-121, sections 212-213; Pub. L. 104-134, section 31001; Pub. L. 114-74 section 4 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); 49 CFR 1.81 and 1.97.

    2. Revise § 107.329 to read as follows:
    § 107.329 Maximum penalties.

    (a) A person who knowingly violates a requirement of the Federal hazardous material transportation law, an order issued thereunder, this subchapter, subchapter C of the chapter, or a special permit or approval issued under this subchapter applicable to the transportation of hazardous materials or the causing of them to be transported or shipped is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $77,114 for each violation, except the maximum civil penalty is $179,933 if the violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property. There is no minimum civil penalty, except for a minimum civil penalty of $463 for violations relating to training. When the violation is a continuing one, each day of the violation constitutes a separate offense.

    (b) A person who knowingly violates a requirement of the Federal hazardous material transportation law, an order issued thereunder, this subchapter, subchapter C of the chapter, or a special permit or approval issued under this subchapter applicable to the design, manufacture, fabrication, inspection, marking, maintenance, reconditioning, repair or testing of a package, container, or packaging component which is represented, marked, certified, or sold by that person as qualified for use in the transportation of hazardous materials in commerce is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $77,114 for each violation, except the maximum civil penalty is $179,933 if the violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property. There is no minimum civil penalty, except for a minimum civil penalty of $463 for violations relating to training.

    3. In Appendix A to subpart D of part 107, Section II.B. (“Penalty Increases for Multiple Counts”), the first sentence of the second paragraph is revised to read as follows: Appendix A to Subpart D of Part 107—Guidelines for Civil Penalties

    Under the Federal hazmat law, 49 U.S.C. 5123(a), each violation of the HMR and each day of a continuing violation (except for violations relating to packaging manufacture or qualification) is subject to a civil penalty of up to $77,114 or $179,933 for a violation occurring on or after August 1, 2016.

    PART 171—GENERAL INFORMATION, REGULATIONS, AND DEFINITIONS 4. The authority citation for part 171 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 5101-5128, 44701; Pub. L. 101-410 section 4; Pub. L. 104-134, section 31001; Pub. L. 114-74 section 4 (28 U.S.C. 2461 note); 49 CFR 1.81 and 1.97.

    5. In § 171.1, paragraph (g) is revised to read as follows:
    § 171.1 Applicability of Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to persons and functions.

    (g) Penalties for noncompliance. Each person who knowingly violates a requirement of the Federal hazardous material transportation law, an order issued under Federal hazardous material transportation law, subchapter A of this chapter, or a special permit or approval issued under subchapter A or C of this chapter is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $77,114 for each violation, except the maximum civil penalty is $179,933 if the violation results in death, serious illness or severe injury to any person or substantial destruction of property. There is no minimum civil penalty, except for a minimum civil penalty of $463 for a violation relating to training.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 14, 2016 under authority delegated in 49 CFR part 1.97. Marie Therese Dominguez, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15404 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-60-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 223 [Docket No. 1206013326-6497-03] RIN 0648-XA984 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Final Listing Determination on the Proposal To List the Nassau Grouper as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule; request for information.

    SUMMARY:

    We, NMFS, are publishing this final rule to implement our determination to list the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). We have completed a status review of the Nassau grouper in response to a petition submitted by WildEarth Guardians. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial data available, including the status review and comments received on the proposed rule, we have determined that the Nassau grouper meets the definition of a threatened species. While the species still occupies its historical range, overutilization through historical harvest has reduced the number of individuals which in turn has reduced the number and size of spawning aggregations. Although harvest of Nassau grouper has diminished due to management measures, the reduced number and size of spawning aggregations and the inadequacy of law enforcement continue to present extinction risk to Nassau grouper. Based on these considerations, described in more detail within this action, we conclude that the Nassau grouper is not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, but is likely to become so within the foreseeable future. We also solicit information that may be relevant to the designation of critical habitat for Nassau grouper, including information on physical or biological features essential to the species' conservation, areas containing these features, and potential impacts of a designation.

    DATES:

    The effective date of this final rule is July 29, 2016. Information on features, areas, and potential impacts, that may support designation of critical habitat for Nassau grouper must be received by August 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Information regarding this final rule may be obtained by contacting NMFS, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701. Supporting information, including the Biological Report, is available electronically on the NMFS Web site at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/listing_petitions/species_esa_consideration/index.html.

    You may submit information regarding potential critical habitat designation to the Protected Resources Division by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0130, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written information to the Protected Resources Division, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Adam Brame, NMFS, Southeast Regional Office (727) 209-5958; or Lisa Manning, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources (301) 427-8466.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On September 3, 2010, we received a petition from the WildEarth Guardians to list speckled hind (Epinephelus drummondhayi), goliath grouper (E. itajara), and Nassau grouper (E. striatus) as threatened or endangered under the ESA. The petition asserted that (1) the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; (2) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (3) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and (4) other natural or manmade factors are affecting the continued existence of and contributing to the imperiled statuses of these species. The petitioner also requested that critical habitat be designated for these species concurrent with listing under the ESA. Due to the scope of the WildEarth Guardians' petition, as well as the breadth and extent of the required evaluation and response, we provided species-specific 90-day findings (76 FR 31592, June 1, 2011; 77 FR 25687, May 1, 2012; 77 FR 61559, October 10, 2012).

    On October 10, 2012, we published a 90-day finding for Nassau grouper with our determination that the petition presented substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted (77 FR 61559). At that time, we announced the initiation of a formal status review and requested scientific and commercial information from the public on: (1) The status of historical and current spawning aggregation sites; (2) historical and current distribution, abundance, and population trends; (3) biological information (life history, genetics, population connectivity, etc.); (4) management measures, regulatory mechanisms designed to protect spawning aggregations, and enforcement information; (5) any current or planned activities that may adversely impact the species; and (6) ongoing or planned efforts to protect and restore the species and its habitat.

    As part of the status review process to determine whether the Nassau grouper warrants listing under the ESA, we completed a Biological Report and an extinction risk analysis (ERA). The Biological Report summarizes the taxonomy, distribution, abundance, life history, and biology of the species. The Biological Report also identifies threats or stressors affecting the status of the species as well as a description of the fisheries, fisheries management, and conservation efforts. The Biological Report incorporates information received in response to our request for information (77 FR 61559, October 10, 2012) and comments from three independent peer reviewers. We used the Biological Report to complete a threats evaluation and an ERA to determine the status of the species.

    After completing the Biological Report and considering the information received on the 90-day finding, we published a proposed rule to list Nassau grouper as a threatened species on September 2, 2014 (79 FR 51929). During a 90-day comment period, we solicited comments on our proposal from the public and any other interested parties.

    Listing Determinations Under the ESA

    We are responsible for determining whether the Nassau grouper is threatened or endangered under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires us to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the status of the species and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species. To be considered for listing under the ESA, a group of organisms must constitute a “species,” which is defined in section 3 of the ESA to include taxonomic species and “any subspecies of fish, or wildlife, or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.”

    Section 3 of the ESA defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range” and a threatened species as one “which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” Thus, we interpret an “endangered species” to be one that is presently in danger of extinction. A “threatened species,” on the other hand, is not currently in danger of extinction but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future. In other words, a key statutory difference between a threatened and endangered species is the timing of when a species may be in danger of extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future (threatened).

    Under section 4(a) of the ESA, we must determine whether any species is endangered or threatened due to any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence (sections 4(a)(1)(A) through (E)). We are required to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the status of the species and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species.

    In determining whether the Nassau grouper meets the standard of endangered or threatened, we followed a stepwise approach. First we considered the specific life history, ecology, and status of the species as documented in the Biological Report. We then considered information on factors adversely affecting and posing extinction risk to the species in a threats evaluation. In this evaluation we assessed the threats affecting the status of the species using the factors identified in ESA section 4(a)(1). We considered the nature of the threats and the species response to those threats. We also considered each threat identified, both individually and cumulatively. Once we evaluated the threats, we assessed the efforts being made to protect the species to determine if these conservation efforts were adequate to mitigate the existing threats and alter extinction risk. Finally, we considered the public comments received in response to the proposed rule. In making this finding, we have relied on the best available scientific and commercial data.

    Summary of Comments Received

    Below we address the comments received on the proposed listing for Nassau grouper. In response to our request for public comments, we received 17 written responses. The overall feedback was supportive of the rule with the exception of three commenters, who believe current regulations within the United States are sufficient in protecting this species. No comments addressed threats to Nassau grouper throughout the rest of their range. We did not receive any information on additional conservation efforts being taken.

    Comment 1: Multiple commenters supported the proposed rule to list Nassau grouper as a threatened species and further encouraged regional collaboration to develop adequate management measures.

    Response: We agree that regional collaboration will strengthen efforts to consistently manage and conserve the species, and we hope this listing will encourage collaborative efforts. In some cases, adding a species to the endangered species list leads to increased funding opportunities and potential for collaboration between state and federal partners, as well as stakeholders. We will seek regional collaborative conservation efforts within the Caribbean region to further the conservation of the species.

    Comment 2: We received comments that the existing management measures implemented by Fishery Management Councils are already effective at protecting Nassau grouper within U.S. waters, (including U.S. territorial waters of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and that the listing may add unnecessary burdens on our domestic fisheries.

    Response: We agree that the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Caribbean Fishery Management Council have taken significant steps to protect and rebuild the Nassau grouper population in U.S. waters. Unfortunately, a large part of the species' range and population is outside of U.S. jurisdiction and is therefore not directly aided by Council protections. We must make our determination based on the best scientific and commercial data available, independent of the potential burdens to our other domestic fisheries. This standard has been applied when making the Nassau grouper final listing determination.

    Comment 3: Some comments expressed concern over the economic consequences of listing Nassau grouper, including possible effects on commercial fishermen.

    Response: We are unable to consider economic impacts in a listing determination. The ESA requires us to make listing determinations by evaluating the standards and factors in section 4 of the ESA, and based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available. Listing Nassau grouper as a threatened species would not create any immediate additional regulatory requirements directly affecting commercial fishermen. Potential future regulations affecting conservation of Nassau grouper, including take and import regulations may be proposed via a separate rulemaking process which would include consideration of certain economic impacts (e.g., impacts on small businesses) and opportunities for public input. Individuals that require federal permits or funding for actions that might affect Nassau grouper might need to make adjustments to their activities to avoid jeopardizing Nassau grouper, and to avoid or minimize take of the species, but that would be a determination for a specific section 7 consultation in the future.

    Comment 4: Several comments indicated that spawning aggregation sites need to be protected and that proper enforcement of both existing and future rules is paramount in protecting the species.

    Response: We agree that the lack of adequate protections for Nassau grouper spawning aggregations and the inadequacy of law enforcement are major contributors to the species' decline throughout its range. These threats were rated ‘high’ during the ERA as explained in the proposed rule and, as such, were taken into consideration when making our final listing determination.

    Comment 5: One commenter supported the rule stating, “We agree that the best available science demonstrates that Nassau grouper is likely to be at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future, and may in fact be in danger of extinction now.” They further encouraged swift designation of critical habitat to protect spawning aggregation sites, nursery and juvenile habitat, and feeding habitat.

    Response: We acknowledge the concern raised by the commenter that the species may be in danger of extinction now and provide further detail below as to how we reached our listing determination in this final rule. With regard to critical habitat, section 4(a)(3)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)) requires that, if prudent and determinable, critical habitat be designated concurrently with the listing of a species. We do not currently have sufficient information to determine what physical and biological features within Nassau grouper habitats facilitate the species' life history strategy and thus are essential to the species' conservation. Therefore, we cannot yet determine what areas meet the definition of critical habitat under the ESA. Because critical habitat is not currently determinable, we will not designate critical habitat concurrently with this final rule. Designation of critical habitat may occur via a subsequent rule-making process if we can identify critical habitat and designation is prudent. We are soliciting information on features, areas, and impacts of designation, that may support designation of critical habitat for Nassau grouper.

    Comment 6: One commenter suggested the use of size restrictions, monitoring, closed fishing seasons for the protection of spawning aggregations, and the use of marine protected areas as measures to protect the species.

    Response: We summarize in this rule the existing regulations currently in place throughout the Caribbean Sea that include many of these suggested practices. Within U.S. waters, measures to protect Nassau grouper are already in place under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and State and Territorial fishery management authorities. As a species listed as threatened under the ESA, any federal action implemented, authorized or funded that “may affect” Nassau grouper will require consultation to ensure the action is not likely to jeopardize the species' continued existence. We may also implement additional protective regulations for Nassau grouper under section 4(d) of the ESA if we determine such regulations are necessary and advisable for the conservation of this threatened species. Issuance of a 4(d) rule would be a separate rule-making process that would include specific opportunities for public input.

    Comment 7: The U.S. Navy identified three Navy installations or properties that are within the geographic range of Nassau grouper. They expressed concern over their ability to utilize and maintain those areas with a listing and designation of critical habitat. In particular, the Navy expressed concern over their ability to conduct maintenance dredging and requested we consult with them prior to proposing critical habitat.

    Response: A rule to list Nassau grouper will require federal agencies to assess whether any actions implemented, authorized, or funded within the range of the species “may affect” Nassau grouper, and consult with NMFS to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the species' continued existence. The rule-making process for identifying critical habitat is separate from this final listing rule and would include opportunities for public participation and input, as well as coordination with all military branches. Unlike ESA listing decisions, the designation of critical habitat requires us to consider economic, national security, and other impacts of the designation.

    Comment 8: One commenter opposed the proposed rule to list Nassau grouper as a threatened species stating this is “merely a precursor to an attempt to form a basis for a push for Marine Protection Areas.”

    Response: The proposed rule to list Nassau grouper was the result of the petition we received from WildEarth Guardians, our 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial information that listing may be warranted, and our 12-month finding that listing as a threatened species was warranted. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires us to make listing determinations based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the status of the species and after taking into account efforts being made by any state or foreign nation to protect the species. We have not proposed any additional regulations affecting management of Nassau grouper as a result of the proposed listing rule. However, we will need to determine whether we can identify critical habitat for this species, and if so, make an appropriate designation of critical habitat. A critical habitat designation could have implications for fishing activities. Any designation of critical habitat would include opportunities for public input. As previously mentioned, we could also implement additional protective regulations for Nassau grouper under section 4(d) of the ESA, if we determine they are necessary and advisable for the conservation of this threatened species. Issuance of a 4(d) rule would be a separate rule-making process that would include specific opportunities for public input.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    In addition to responding to the comments, we made a number of changes in this final rule. These included making revisions to the Biological Review section (most notably in the Population Structure and Genetics, and the Fishing Impacts on Spawning Aggregations subsections), including a more detailed description of our role in the Threats Evaluation, providing more detail in the Extinction Risk Analysis section, and clarifying the role of foreign conservation measures as they relate to making our final listing determination. We made several of these changes to provide clarity on how we reached our listing determination in response to the comment that, “. . . Nassau grouper is likely to be at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future, and may in fact be in danger of extinction now.”

    Biological Review

    This section provides a summary of key biological information presented in the Biological Report (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013), which provides the baseline context and foundation for our listing determination.

    Species Description

    The Nassau grouper, E. striatus (Bloch 1792), is a long-lived, moderate sized serranid fish with large eyes and a robust body. Coloration is variable, but adult fish are generally buff, with five dark brown vertical bars, a large black saddle blotch on top of the base of the tail, and a row of black spots below and behind each eye. Color pattern can also change within minutes from almost white to bicolored to uniformly dark brown, according to the behavioral state of the fish (Longley 1917, Colin 1992, Heemstra and Randall 1993, Carter et al. 1994). A distinctive bicolor pattern is seen when two adults or an adult and large juvenile meet and is frequently observed at spawning aggregations (Heemstra and Randall 1993). There is also a distinctive dark tuning-fork mark that begins at the front of the upper jaw, extends back between the eyes, and then divides into two branches on top of the head behind the eyes. Another dark band runs from the tip of the snout through the eye and then curves upward to meet its corresponding band from the opposite side just in front of the dorsal fin. Juveniles exhibit a color pattern similar to adults (e.g., Silva Lee 1977).

    Maximum age has been estimated as 29 years, based on an ageing study using sagittal otoliths (Bush et al. 2006). Most studies indicate a rapid growth rate for juveniles, which has been estimated to be about 10 mm/month total length (TL) for small juveniles, and 8.4 to 11.7 mm/month TL for larger juveniles (Beets and Hixon 1994, Eggleston 1995). Maximum size is about 122 cm TL and maximum weight is about 25 kg (Heemstra and Randall 1993, Humann and Deloach 2002, Froese and Pauly 2010). Generation time (the interval between the birth of an individual and the subsequent birth of its first offspring) is estimated as 9-10 years (Sadovy and Eklund 1999).

    Distribution

    The Nassau grouper's confirmed distribution currently includes “Bermuda and Florida (USA), throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean Sea” (e.g., Heemstra and Randall 1993). The occurrence of Nassau grouper from the Brazilian coast south of the equator as reported in Heemstra and Randall (1993) is “unsubstantiated” (Craig et al. 2011). The Nassau grouper has been documented in the Gulf of Mexico, at Arrecife Alacranes (north of Progreso) to the west off the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, (Hildebrand et al. 1964). Nassau grouper is generally replaced ecologically in the eastern Gulf by red grouper (E. morio) in areas north of Key West or the Tortugas (Smith 1971). They are considered a rare or transient species off Texas in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico (Gunter and Knapp 1951 in Hoese and Moore 1998). The first confirmed sighting of Nassau grouper in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, which is located in the northwest Gulf of Mexico approximately 180 km southeast of Galveston, Texas, was reported by Foley et al. (2007). Many earlier reports of Nassau grouper up the Atlantic coast to North Carolina have not been confirmed. The Biological Report (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson, 2013) provides a detailed description of their distribution.

    Habitat and Depth

    The Nassau grouper is primarily a shallow-water, insular fish species that has long been valued as a major fishery resource throughout the wider Caribbean, South Florida, Bermuda, and the Bahamas (Carter et al. 1994). The Nassau grouper is considered a reef fish, but it transitions through a series of developmental shifts in habitat. As larvae, they are planktonic. After an average of 35-40 days and at an average size of 32 mm TL, larvae recruit from an oceanic environment into demersal habitats (Colin 1992, Eggleston 1995). Following settlement, juvenile Nassau grouper inhabit macroalgae (primarily Laurencia spp.), coral clumps (Porites spp.), and seagrass beds (Eggleston 1995, Dahlgren 1998). Recently-settled Nassau grouper have also been collected from rubble mounds, some from tilefish (Malacanthus plumieri), at 18 m depth (Colin et al. 1997). Post-settlement, small Nassau grouper have been reported with discarded queen conch shells (Strombus gigas) and other debris around Thalassia beds (Randall 1983, Eggleston 1995).

    Juvenile Nassau grouper (12-15 cm TL) are relatively solitary and remain in specific areas for months (Bardach 1958). Juveniles of this size class are associated with macroalgae, and both natural and artificial reef structure. As juveniles grow, they move progressively to deeper areas and offshore reefs (Tucker et al. 1993, Colin et al. 1997). Schools of 30-40 juveniles (25-35 cm TL) were observed at 8-10 m depths in the Cayman Islands (Tucker et al. 1993). No clear distinction can be made between types of adult and juvenile habitats, although a general size segregation with depth occurs—with smaller Nassau grouper in shallower inshore waters (3.7-16.5 m) and larger individuals more common on deeper (18.3-54.9 m) offshore banks (Bardach et al. 1958, Cervigón 1966, Silva Lee 1974, Radakov et al. 1975, Thompson and Munro 1978).

    Recent work by Nemeth and coworkers in the U. S. Virgin Islands (U.S.V.I.; manuscript, in prep) found more overlap in home ranges of smaller juveniles compared to larger juveniles and adults have larger home ranges with less overlap. Mean home range of adult Nassau grouper in the Bahamas was 18,305 m2 ± 5,806 (SD) with larger ranges at less structurally-complex reefs (Bolden 2001). The availability of habitat and prey was found to significantly influence home range of adults (Bolden 2001).

    Adult Nassau grouper tend to be relatively sedentary and are generally associated with high-relief coral reefs or rocky substrate in clear waters to depths of 130 m. Generally, adults are most common at depths less than 100 m (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson, 2013) except when at spawning aggregations where they are known to descend to depths of 255 m (Starr et al. 2007).

    Diet and Feeding

    Adult Nassau grouper are unspecialized, bottom-dwelling, ambush-suction predators (Randall 1965, Thompson and Munro 1978). Numerous studies describe adult Nassau grouper as piscivorous (Randall and Brock 1960, Randall 1965, Randall 1967, Carter et al. 1994, Eggleston et al. 1998). Feeding can take place around the clock although most fresh food is found in stomachs collected in the early morning and at dusk (Randall 1967). Young Nassau grouper (20.2-27.2 mm standard length; SL) feed on a variety of plankton, including pteropods, amphipods, and copepods (Greenwood 1991, Grover et al. 1998).

    Population Structure and Genetics

    Early genetic analyses indicated high gene flow throughout the geographic range of Nassau grouper but were unable to determine the relative contributions of populations (Hinegardner and Rosen 1972, Hateley 2005). A study of Nassau grouper genetic population structure, using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and nuclear microsatellite DNA, revealed no clearly defined population substructuring based on samples from Belize, Cuba, Bahamas, and Florida. These data indicated that spawning aggregations are not exclusively self-recruiting and that larvae can disperse over great distances, but the relative importance of self-recruitment and larval immigration to local populations was unclear (Sedberry et al. 1996). Similarly, a study by Hateley (2005) that analyzed samples from Belize, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Cayman Islands using enzyme electrophoresis indicated low to intermediate levels of genetic variability. Results from this study provided no evidence for population substructuring by sex or small-scale spatial distribution, or for macrogeographic stock separation. These results are consistent with a single panmictic population within the northern Caribbean basin with high gene flow through the region.

    A recent study, published subsequent to the Biological Report, analyzed genetic variation in mtDNA, microsatellites, and single nucleotide polymorphisms for Nassau grouper (Jackson et al. 2014). The study identified three potential “permeable” barriers to dispersal and concluded that large-scale oceanographic patterns likely influence larval dispersal and population structuring (regional genetic differentiation). However, the evidence of population structuring was limited. In pairwise analyses of genetic distance between the sample populations (using Fst for microsatellites and Фst for mtDNA), zero (of 171) comparisons based on microsatellite DNA were statistically signficant, only 47 (of 153) comparisons based on mtDNA were statistically significant (p < 0.00029), and there was no indication of isolation by distance in any of the genetic datasets. Overall, while this study indicated some instances of genetic differentiation, the results do not indicate a high degree of population structuring across the range. When the Jackson et al. study is considered in the context of the larger body of literature, there remains some uncertainty as to population substructuring for Nassau grouper.

    Reproductive Biology

    The Nassau grouper was originally considered to be a monandric protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning males derive from adult females that undergo a change in sex (Smith 1971, Claro et al. 1990, Carter et al. 1994). While it is taxonomically similar to other hermaphroditic groupers, the Nassau grouper is now primarily considered a gonochore with separate sexes (Sadovy and Colin 1995). Juveniles were found to possess both male and female tissue, indicating they can mature directly into either sex (Sadovy and Colin 1995). Other characteristics such as the strong size overlap between males and females, the presence of males that develop directly from the juvenile phase, the reproductive behavior of forming spawning aggregations, and the mating system were found to be inconsistent with the protogynous reproductive strategy (Colin 1992, Sadovy and Colin 1995).

    Both male and female Nassau grouper typically mature at 4-5 years of age and at lengths between 40 and 45 cm SL (44 and 50 cm TL). Size, rather than age, may be the major determinant of sexual maturation (Sadovy and Eklund 1999). Nassau grouper raised from eggs in captivity matured at 40-45 cm SL (44-50 cm TL) in just over 2 years (Tucker and Woodward 1994). Yet, the minimum age at sexual maturity based on otoliths is between 4 and 8 years (Bush et al. 1996, 2006). Most fish have spawned by age 7+ years (Bush et al. 2006).

    Fecundity estimates vary by location throughout the Caribbean. Mean fecundity estimates are generally between 3 and 5 eggs/mg of ripe ovary. For example, Carter et al. (1994) found female Nassau grouper between 30-70 cm SL from Belize yielded a mean relative fecundity of 4.1 eggs/mg ovary weight and a mean total number of 4,200,000 oocytes (range = 350,000−6,500,000). Estimated number of eggs in the ripe ovary (90.7 g) of a 44.5 cm SL Nassau grouper from Bermuda was 785,101 (Bardach et al. 1958). In the U.S.V.I., mean fecundity was 4.97 eggs/mg of ovary (s.d. = 2.32) with mean egg production of 4,800,000 eggs (Olsen and LaPlace 1979); however, this may be an overestimate as it included premature eggs that may not develop. Fecundity estimates based only on vitellogenic oocytes, from fish captured in the Bahamas indicated a mean relative fecundity of 2.9 eggs/mg ripe ovary (s.d. = 1.09; n = 64) and a mean egg production of 716,664 (range = 11,724−4,327,440 for females between 47.5-68.6 cm SL). Estimates of oocyte production from Nassau grouper induced to spawn in captivity are closer to the lower estimates based solely on vitellogenic oocyte counts.

    Spawning Behavior and Habitat

    Nassau grouper form spawning aggregations at predictable locations around the winter full moons, or between full and new moons (Smith 1971, Colin 1992, Tucker et al. 1993, Aguilar-Perera 1994, Carter et al. 1994, Tucker and Woodward 1994). Aggregations consist of hundreds, thousands, or, historically, tens of thousands of individuals. Some aggregations have persisted at known locations for periods of 90 years or more (see references in Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). Pair spawning has not been observed.

    About 50 individual spawning aggregation sites have been recorded, mostly from insular areas in the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the U.S.V.I.; however, many of these may no longer form (Figure 10 in Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). Recent evidence suggests that spawning is occurring at what may be reconstituted or novel spawning sites in both Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I. (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). Suspected or anecdotal evidence also identifies spawning aggregations in Los Roques, Venezuela (Boomhower et al. 2010) and Old Providence in Colombia's San Andrés Archipelago (Prada et al. 2004). Neither aggregation nor spawning has been reported from South America, despite the fact ripe Nassau grouper are frequently caught in certain areas (F. Cervigón, Fundacion Cientifica Los Roques-Venezuela, pers. comm. to Y. Sadovy, NMFS, 1991). Spawning aggregation sites have not been reported in the Lesser Antilles, Central America south of Honduras, or Florida.

    “Spawning runs,” or movements of adult Nassau grouper from coral reefs to spawning aggregation sites, were first described in Cuba in 1884 by Vilaro Diaz, and later by Guitart-Manday and Juarez-Fernandez (1966). Nassau grouper migrate to aggregation sites in groups numbering between 25 and 500, moving parallel to the coast or along shelf edges or even inshore reefs (Colin 1992, Carter et al. 1994, Aguilar-Perera and Aguilar-Davila 1996, Nemeth et al. 2009). Distance traveled by Nassau grouper to aggregation sites is highly variable; some fish move only a few kilometers (km), while others move up to several hundred km (Colin 1992, Carter et al. 1994, Bolden 2000). Ongoing research in the Exuma Sound, Bahamas has tracked migrating Nassau grouper up to 200 km, with likely estimates of up to 330 km, as they move to aggregation sites (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013).

    Observations suggest that individuals can return to their original home reef following spawning. Bolden (2001) reported 2 out of 22 tagged fish returning to home reefs in the Bahamas one year after spawning. Sonic tracking studies around Little Cayman Island have demonstrated that spawners may return to the aggregation site in successive months with returns to their residential reefs in between (Semmens et al. 2007). Sixty percent of fish tagged at the west end spawning aggregation site in Little Cayman in January 2005 returned to the same aggregation site in February 2005 (Semmens et al. 2007). Larger fish are more likely to return to aggregation sites and spawn in successive months than smaller fish (Semmens et al. 2007).

    It is not known how Nassau grouper select and locate aggregation sites or why they aggregate to spawn. Spawning aggregation sites are typically located near significant geomorphological features, such as projections (promontories) of the reef as little as 50 m from the shore, and close to a drop-off into deep water over a wide (6-60 m) depth range (Craig 1966, Smith 1972, Burnett-Herkes 1975, Olsen and LaPlace 1979, Colin et al. 1987, Carter 1989, Fine 1990, Beets and Friedlander 1998, Colin 1992, Aguilar-Perera 1994). Sites are characteristically small, highly circumscribed areas, measuring several hundred meters in diameter, with soft corals, sponges, stony coral outcrops, and sandy depressions (Craig 1966, Smith 1972, Burnett-Herkes 1975, Olsen and LaPlace 1979, Colin et al. 1987, Carter 1989, Fine 1990, Beets and Friedlander 1999, Colin 1992, Aguilar-Perera 1994). Recent work has identified geomorphological similarities in spawning sites that may be useful in applying remote sensing techniques to discover previously unknown spawning sites (Kobara and Heyman 2010).

    The link between spawning sites and settlement sites is also not well understood. Researchers speculate the location of spawning sites assists offshore transport of fertilized eggs. However, currents nearby aggregation sites do not necessarily favor offshore egg transport, indicating some locations may be at least partially self-recruiting (e.g., Colin 1992). In a study around a spawning aggregation site at Little Cayman, surface velocity profile drifters released on the night of peak spawning tended to remain near or returned to the spawning reef due to eddy formation, while drifters released on the days preceding the peak spawn tended to move away from the reef in line with the dominant currents (Heppell et al. 2011).

    Spawning aggregations form around the full moon between December and March (reviewed in Sadovy and Eklund 1999), though this may occur later (May-August) in more northerly latitudes (La Gorce 1939, Bardach et al. 1958, Smith 1971, Burnett-Herkes 1975). The formation of spawning aggregations is triggered by a very narrow range of water temperatures between 25°-26 °C. While day length has also been considered as a trigger for aggregation formation (Colin 1992, Tucker et al. 1993, Carter et al. 1994), temperature is evidently a more important stimulus (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). The narrow range of water temperature is likely responsible for the later reproductive season in more northerly latitudes like Bermuda.

    Spawning occurs for up to 1.5 hours around sunset for several days (Whaylen et al. 2007). At spawning aggregation sites, Nassau grouper tend to mill around for a day or two in a “staging area” adjacent to the core area where spawning activity later occurs (Colin 1992, Kadison et al. 2010, Nemeth 2012). Courtship is indicated by two behaviors that occur late in the afternoon: “following” and “circling” (Colin 1992). The aggregation then moves into deeper water shortly before spawning (Colin 1992, Tucker et al. 1993, Carter et al. 1994). Progression from courtship to spawning may depend on aggregation size, but generally fish move up into the water column, with an increasing number exhibiting the bicolor phase (Colin 1992, Carter et al. 1994).

    Spawning involves a rapid horizontal swim or a “rush” of bicolor fish following dark fish closely in either a column or cone rising to within 20-25 m of the water surface where group-spawning occurs in sub-groups of 3-25 fish (Olsen and LaPlace 1979, Carter 1986, Aguilar-Perera and Aguilar-Davila 1996). Following the release of sperm and eggs, there is a rapid return of the fragmented sub-group to the bottom. All spawning events have been recorded within 20 minutes of sunset, with most within 10 minutes of sunset (Colin 1992).

    Repeated spawning occurs at the same site for up to three consecutive months generally around the full moon or between the full and new moons (Smith 1971, Colin 1992, Tucker et al. 1993, Aguilar-Perera 1994, Carter et al. 1994, Tucker and Woodward 1994). Participation by individual fish across the months is unknown. Examination of female reproductive tissue suggests multiple spawning events across several days at a single aggregation (Smith 1972, Sadovy, NMFS, pers. obs.). A video recording shows a single female in repeated spawning rushes during a single night, repeatedly releasing eggs (Colin 1992). It is unknown whether a single, mature female will spawn continuously throughout the spawning season or just once per year.

    Status Assessments

    Few formal stock assessments have been conducted for the Nassau grouper. The most recent published assessment, conducted in the Bahamas, indicates fishing effort, and hence fishing mortality (F), in the Bahamas needs to be reduced from the 1998-2001 levels, otherwise the stocks are likely to be overexploited relative to biological reference points (Cheung et al. 2013). The population dynamic modeling by Cheung et al. (2013) found: “assuming that the closure of the spawning aggregation season is perfectly implemented and enforced, the median value of F SPR (the fishing mortality rate that produces a certain spawning potential ratio) = 35 percent on non-spawning fish would be 50 percent of the fishing mortality of the 1998 to 2001 level. The 5 percent and 95 percent confidence limits are estimated to be less than 20 percent and more than 100 percent of the fishing mortality at the 1998 to 2001 level, respectively. In other words, if (1) fishing mortality (F) rates of non-spawning fish are maintained at the 1998 to 2001 level, and (2) fishing on spawning aggregations is negligible, the median spawning potential (spawner biomass relative to the unexploited level) is expected to be around 25 percent (5 and 95 percent confidence interval (CI) of 20 and 30 percent, respectively). This level is significantly below the reference limit of 35 percent of spawning potential, meaning that there is a high chance of recruitment overfishing because of the low spawning stock biomass.”

    The Nassau grouper was formerly one of the most common and important commercial groupers in the insular tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean (Smith 1978, Randall 1983, Appeldoorn et al. 1987, Sadovy 1997). Declines in landings and catch per unit of effort (CPUE) have been reported throughout its range, and it is now considered to be commercially extinct (i.e., the species is extinct for fishery purposes due to low catch per unit effort) in a number of areas, including Jamaica, Dominican Republic, U.S.V.I., and Puerto Rico (Sadovy and Eklund 1999). Information on past and present abundance and density, at coral reefs and aggregation sites, is based on a combination of anecdotal accounts, visual census surveys, and fisheries data. Because grouper species are reported collectively in landings data, there are limited species-specific data to determine catch of Nassau grouper throughout its range.

    While fisheries dependent data are generally limited for the species throughout its range, there are some 1970s and 1980s port-sampling data from the U.S.V.I. and Puerto Rico. In the U.S.V.I., Nassau grouper accounted for 22 percent of total grouper landings, and 85 percent of the Nassau grouper catch came from spawning aggregations (D. Olsen, Chief Scientist—St. Thomas Fishermen's Association, pers. comm. to J. Rueter, NMFS, October 2013). The first U.S. survey of the fishery resources of Puerto Rico noted the Nassau grouper was common and a very important food fish, reaching a weight of 22.7 kg or more (Evermann 1900). The Nassau grouper was still the fourth-most common shallow-water species landed in Puerto Rico in the 1970s (Thompson 1978), and it was common in the reef fish fishery of the U.S.V.I. (Olsen and LaPlace 1979). By 1981, “the Nassau grouper ha[d] practically disappeared from the local catches and the ones that d[id] appear [were] small compared with previous years” (CFMC 1985). By 1986, the Nassau grouper was considered commercially extinct in the U.S. Caribbean (Bohnsack et al. 1986). About 1,000 kg of Nassau grouper landings were reported in the Puerto Rico Reef Fish Fishery during the latter half of the 1980s, and most of them were less than 50 cm indicating they were likely sexually immature (Sadovy 1997).

    A number of organizations and agencies have conducted surveys to examine the status of coral reefs and reef-fish populations throughout the western Atlantic. Results from these monitoring studies offer some indication of relative abundance of Nassau grouper in various locations, although different methods are often employed and thus results of different studies cannot be directly compared (Kellison et al. 2009). The Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment Program (AGRRA), which samples a broad spectrum of western Atlantic reefs, includes few reports of Nassau grouper, as sighting frequency (proportion of all surveys with at least one Nassau grouper present) ranged from less than 1 percent to less than 10 percent per survey from 1997-2000. Density of Nassau grouper ranged from 1 to 15 fish/hectare with a mean of 5.6 fish/hectare across all areas surveyed (AGRRA). NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CREMP) has conducted studies on coral reefs in Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I. since 2000, and sighting frequency of Nassau grouper has ranged from 0 to 0.5 percent with density between 0 to 0.5 fish/hectare. Data from SCUBA surveys conducted by the University of the Virgin Islands report a density of 4 Nassau grouper/hectare per survey across reef habitat types in the U.S.V.I. SCUBA surveys by NOAA in the Florida Keys across reef habitat types have sighting frequencies of 2-10 percent per survey, with a density of 1 Nassau grouper/hectare (NOAA's NMFS FRVC). In addition to these surveys, Hodgson and Liebeler (2002) noted that Nassau grouper were absent from 82 percent of shallow Caribbean reefs surveyed (3-10 m) during a 5-year period (1997-2001) for the ReefCheck project.

    Fishing Impacts on Spawning Aggregations

    Because we lack sufficient stock assessments or population estimates, we considered the changes in spawning aggregations as a proxy for the status of the current population. We believe the status of spawning aggregations is likely to be reflective of the overall population because adults migrate to spawning aggregations for the only known reproductive events. Historically, 50 spawning aggregation sites had been identified throughout the Caribbean (Sadovy de Mitcheson et al. 2008). Of these 50, less than 20 probably still remain (Sadovy de Mitcheson et al. 2008). Furthermore, while numbers of fish at aggregation sites once numbered in the tens of thousands (30,000-100,000 fish; Smith 1972), they have now been reduced to less than 3,000 at those sites where counts have been made (Sadovy de Mitcheson et al. 2008). Based on the size and number of current spawning aggregations the Nassau grouper population appears to be just a fraction of its historical size.

    In general, slow-growing, long-lived species (such as snappers and groupers) with limited spawning periods, and possibly with narrow recruitment windows, are susceptible to overexploitation (Bannerot et al. 1987, Polovina and Ralston 1987). The strong appeal of spawning aggregations as targets for fishing, their importance in many seasonal fisheries, and the apparent abundance of fish at aggregations make spawning aggregations particularly susceptible to over-exploitation. There are repeated reports from across the Caribbean where Nassau grouper spawning aggregations have been discovered and fished to the point that the aggregation ceased to form, or formed at such low densities that spawning was no longer viable. For example, the commercial fishing of Nassau grouper aggregations in Bermuda resulted in decreased landings from 75,000 tons in 1975 to 10,000 tons by 1981 (Luckhurst 1996, Sadovy de Mitcheson and Erisman 2012). The four known spawning aggregation sites in Bermuda ceased to form shortly thereafter and have yet to recover (Sadovy de Mitcheson and Erisman 2012). However, Nassau grouper are still present in Bermuda and reported observations have slightly increased over the last 10-15 years (B. Luckhurst, Bermuda Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Parks, Division of Fisheries, pers. comm. to Y. Sadovy, University of Hong Kong, 2012). In Puerto Rico, historical spawning aggregations no longer form, though a small aggregation has recently been found, and may be a reconstitution of one of the former aggregations (Schärer et al. 2012). In Mahahual, Quintana Roo, Mexico, aggregations of up to 15,000 fish formed each year, but due to increased fishing pressure in the 1990's, aggregations have not formed in Mahahual since 1996 (Aguilar-Perera 2006). Inadequate enforcement of management measures designed to protect spawning aggregations in Mexico has further affected aggregations (Aguilar-Perera 2006), though at least three aggregation sites remain viable. In Cuba, Nassau grouper were almost exclusively targeted during aggregation formation; because of this, there have been severe declines in the number of Nassau grouper at 8 of the 10 aggregations and moderate declines in the other 2 (Claro et al. 2009). Similar situations are known to have occurred in the Bahamas, U.S.V.I., Puerto Rico, and Honduras (Sadovy de Mitcheson and Erisman 2012, see also Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013).

    Overexploitation has also occurred in Belize. Between 1975 and 2001 there was an 80 percent decline in the number of Nassau grouper (15,000 fish to 3,000) at the Glover's Reef aggregation (Sala et al. 2001). Additionally, a 2001 assessment concluded that only 2 of the 9 aggregation sites identified in 1994 remained viable, and those had been reduced from 30,000 fish to 3,000-5,000 fish (Heyman 2002). More recent monitoring (2003-2012) at the two sites at Glover's Reef indicates further declines in the sizes of these aggregations. A maximum of 800-3,000 Nassau grouper were counted per year at these sites over the ten years of monitoring (Belize SPAG Working Group 2012).

    Further indicators of population decline through over-exploitation include reduced size and/or age of fish harvested compared to maximum sizes and ages. Nassau grouper can attain sizes of greater than 120 cm (Heemstra and Randall 1993, Humann and Deloach 2002, Froese and Pauly 2010) and live as long as 29 years (Bush et al. 2006). However, it is unusual to obtain individuals of more than 12 years of age in exploited fisheries, and more heavily fished areas yield much younger fish on average. The maximum age estimates in heavily exploited areas are depressed—9 years in the U.S.V.I. (Olsen and LaPlace 1979), 12 years in northern Cuba, 17 years in southern Cuba (Claro et al. 1990), and 21 years in the Bahamas (Sadovy and Colin 1995). Similarly, there is some indication that size at capture of both sexes declined in areas of higher exploitation versus unexploited populations within a specific region (Carter et al 1994). When exploitation is high, catches are largely comprised of juveniles. For example, most catches of Nassau grouper in heavily exploited areas of Puerto Rico, Florida (Sadovy and Eklund 1999), and Cuba (Espinosa 1980) consisted of juveniles. In exploited U.S.V.I. aggregations, harvest of Nassau grouper larger than 70 cm TL was uncommon (Olsen and LaPlace 1979).

    While direct fishing of spawning aggregations was a primary driver of Nassau grouper population declines as indicated by the observed declines in spawning aggregations (Sadovy de Mitcheson and Erisman 2012), other factors also affect abundance. For example, removal of adults from spawning runs and intensive capture of juveniles, either through direct targeting (e.g., spearfishing) or using small mesh traps or nets, also occur (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). In addition to the high fishing pressure in some areas, poaching also appears to be affecting some populations (e.g., in the Cayman Islands; Semmens et al. 2012).

    NMFS's Conclusions From the Biological Report

    The species is made up of a single population over its entire geographic range. As summarized above, multiple genetic analyses indicate that there is high gene flow throughout the geographic range of the Nassau grouper, and no clearly defined population substructuring has been identified (Hinegardner and Rosen 1972, Sedberry et al. 1996, Hateley 2005). Although a recent study (Jackson et al. 2014) reported genetic differentiation, it does not provide evidence to support biological differences between populations. We believe further studies are needed to verify and expand upon the work presented by Jackson et al (2014). Based on the best available information, we conclude there is a single population of Nassau grouper throughout the Caribbean.

    The species has patchy abundance, with declines identified in many areas. The Biological Report describes the reduction in both size and number of spawning aggregations throughout the range. Patchy abundance throughout the range of a species is common due to differences in habitat quality/quantity or exploitation levels at different locations. However, dramatic, consistent declines of Nassau grouper have been noted throughout its range. In many areas throughout the Caribbean, the species is now considered commercially extinct and numerous spawning aggregations have been extirpated with no signs of recovery.

    The species possesses life history characteristics that increase vulnerability to harvest, including slow growth to a large size, late maturation, formation of large spawning aggregations, and occurrence in shallow habitat. This conclusion is based on the Description of the Species in the Biological Report (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). Slow growth and late maturation expose sub-adults to harvest prior to reproduction. Sub-adult and adult Nassau grouper form large conspicuous spawning aggregations. These aggregations are often in shallow habitat areas that are easily accessible to fishermen and thus heavily exploited. Despite these life-history vulnerabilities, there are remaining spawning aggregations that, while reduced in size and number, still function and provide recruits into the population.

    The species is broadly distributed, and its current range is similar to its historical range. The Range-wide Distribution section of the Biological Report (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013) concluded that the current range is equivalent to the historical range, though abundance has been severely depleted.

    Threats Evaluation

    The threats evaluation was the second step in the process of making an ESA listing determination for Nassau grouper as described above in “Listing Determinations under the ESA”. The Extinction Risk Analysis Group (ERAG), which consisted of 12 NOAA Fisheries Science Center and Regional Office personnel, was asked to independently review the Biological Report and assess 4 demographic factors (abundance, growth rate/productivity, spatial structure/connectivity, and diversity) and 13 specific threats (see ERA Threat Table under supporting documents). The group members were asked to provide qualitative scores based on their perceived severity of each factor and threat.

    Members of the ERAG were asked to independently evaluate the severity, scope, and certainty for these threats currently and in the foreseeable future (30 years from now). The foreseeable future was based on the upper estimate of generation time for Nassau grouper (9-10 years) as described by Sadovy and Eklund (1999) and an age at maturity of 8 years (Bush et al. 1996, 2006). We chose 30 years, which would potentially allow recruitment of 2-3 generations of mature individuals to appear in spawning aggregations as a result of fishery management actions. Given the limited information we have to predict the impacts of threats, we felt the 30 year timeframe was the most appropriate to assess threats in the foreseeable future.

    Members of the ERAG were asked to rank each of four demographic factors and 13 identified threats as “very low risk,” “low risk,” “moderate risk,” “increasing risk,” “high risk,” or “unknown.” “Very low risk” meant that it is unlikely that the demographic factor or threat affects the species' overall status. “Low risk” meant that the demographic factor may affect species' status, but only to a degree that it is unlikely that this factor significantly elevates risk of extinction now or in the future. “Moderate risk” meant that the demographic factor or threat contributes significantly to long term risk of extinction, but does not constitute a danger of extinction in the near future. “Increasing risk” meant that the present demographic risk or threat is low or moderate, but is likely to increase to high risk in the foreseeable future if present conditions continue. Finally, “high risk” meant that the demographic factor or threat indicates danger of extinction in the near future. Each member of the ERAG evaluated risk on this scale, and we then interpreted these rankings against the statutory language for threatened or endangered to determine the status of Nassau grouper. We did not directly relate the risk levels with particular listing outcomes, because the risk levels alone are not very informative. Acknowledging the differences in terminology between the ERAG risk scale and the ESA statutory definitions of threatened and endangered, we relied upon our own judgment and expertise in reviewing the ERA to determine the status of Nassau grouper and form our final listing determination.

    ERAG members were also asked to consider the potential interactions between demographic factors and threats. If the demographic factor or threat was ranked higher due to interactions with other demographic factors or threats, each member was asked to then identify those factors or threats that caused them to score the risk higher or lower than it would have been if it were considered independently. We then examined the independent responses from each ERAG member for each demographic factor and threat and used the modal response to determine the level of threat to Nassau grouper.

    Climate change and international trade regulations (e.g., the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), as described in the Biological Report) were categorized by the ERAG as “unknown.” Habitat alteration, U.S. federal regulations, disease/parasites/abnormalities, and aquaculture were ranked as “very low risk” to “low risk.” State/territorial regulations, growth rate/productivity, abundance, spatial structure/connectivity, commercial harvest, foreign regulations, artificial selection, and diversity were ranked as “moderate risk” to “increasing risk.” Historical harvest (the effect of prior harvest on current population status), fishing at spawning aggregations, and inadequate law enforcement were classified as “high risk.” The demographic factors and threats are described below by the five ESA factors with the corresponding ERAG ranking and our analysis.

    A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    Spatial structure/connectivity and habitat alteration were considered under ESA Factor A; this included habitat loss or degradation, and the loss of habitat patches, critical source populations, subpopulations, or dispersal among populations.

    Nassau grouper use many different habitat types within the coral reef ecosystem. The increase in urban, industrial, and tourist developments throughout the species range impacts coastal mangroves, seagrass beds, estuaries, and live coral (Mahon 1990). Loss of juvenile habitat, such as macroalgae, seagrass beds, and mangrove channels is likely to negatively affect recruitment rates. Habitat alteration was ranked by the ERAG as a “low risk” threat to Nassau grouper. We agree with the ERAG that habitat alteration presents a low risk to the species and is unlikely to contribute to the threat of extinction presently or over the foreseeable future. The use of many different habitat types by Nassau grouper may spread the risk of impacts associated with habitat loss to a point that reduces overall extinction risk to the species.

    The range of Nassau grouper is influenced by spatial structure and connectivity of the population. As described in Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson (2013), a study of genetic population structure in Nassau grouper revealed no clearly defined population substructuring at the geographic locations sampled, i.e., Belize, Cuba, Bahamas, and Florida (Sedberry et al. 1996). Based on ERAG scores, spatial structure/connectivity was characterized as an “increasing” risk for Nassau grouper. We agree with the ERAG ranking and believe this increasing risk is due, in part, to the declining number and size of spawning aggregations, which affects population structure. Given the increasing risk associated with this demographic factor we believe it could lead the species to become endangered over the foreseeable future.

    B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes

    Based on ERAG rankings, historical harvest and fishing at spawning aggregations are two of the three most severe threats (the third being inadequate law enforcement) to Nassau grouper. Historical harvest and fishing at spawning aggregations were both classified as “high” risk threats to Nassau grouper. Curiously, the ERAG rankings for commercial harvest, which often includes the fishing on spawning aggregations, were lower and indicated current commercial harvest was a “moderate” threat for Nassau grouper. We believe this lower ranking may be related to the fact that the species has declined to the point that commercial harvest is not as large a threat as in decades past. This is also related to abundance which was similarly classified as a “moderate” risk for Nassau grouper.

    Two different aspects of fishing affect Nassau grouper abundance: Fishing effort throughout the non-spawning months and directed fishing at spawning aggregations or on migrating adults. In some countries Nassau grouper are fished commercially and recreationally throughout the year by handline, longline, fish traps, spear guns, and gillnets (NMFS General Canvas Landing System). Fishing at spawning aggregations is mainly conducted by handlines or by fish traps, although gillnets were being used in Mexico in the early to mid-1990s (Aguilar-Perera 2004). Declines in landings, catch per unit effort (CPUE) and, by implication, abundance in the late 1980s and early 1990s occurred throughout its range, which has led Nassau grouper to now be considered commercially extinct in a number of areas (Sadovy and Eklund 1999). Population declines and loss of spawning aggregations continue throughout the Nassau grouper's range (Sadovy de Mitcheson 2012).

    We agree with the ERAG's assessment for the threat of abundance. It is clear that the abundance of Nassau grouper has diminished dramatically over the past several decades. This decline is a direct impact of historical harvest and the overfishing of spawning aggregations. The current abundance of Nassau grouper is not causing or contributing to the species currently being in danger of extinction but does raise concern for the status of the species over the foreseeable future if abundance continues to decline.

    We disagree with the ERAG's “high risk” rating for historical harvest. We believe that while historical harvest has reduced the population size of Nassau grouper, which has in turn affected the ability of the population to recover, we don't agree that this threat continues to be a “high risk”. It seems more appropriate to consider the ERAG's risk assessment for the abundance of the current population in making our listing determination.

    Predictable spawning aggregations make Nassau grouper a vulnerable fishing target. In many places, annual landings for Nassau grouper were mostly from aggregation-fishing (e.g., Claro et al. 1990, Bush et al. 2006). Because Nassau grouper are only known to reproduce in spawning aggregations, removing ripe individuals from the spawning aggregations greatly influences population dynamics and future fishery yields (Shapiro 1987). Harvesting a species during its reproductive period increases adult mortality and diminishes juvenile recruitment rates. The loss of adults and the lack of recruitment greatly increase a species' extinction risk. The collapse of aggregations in many countries (Sadovy de Mitcheson 2012) was likely a result of overharvesting fish from spawning aggregations (Olsen and LaPlace 1979, Aguilar-Perera 1994, Sadovy and Eklund 1999). As Semmens et al. (2012) noted from the results of a mark-recapture study on Cayman Brac, Cayman Island fishermen appear to catch sufficient adult grouper outside the spawning season to seriously impact population size. It appears that fishing at spawning aggregations has depressed population size such that fishing operations away from the aggregations are also impacting population status.

    We agree that fishing at spawning aggregations has reduced the population of Nassau grouper and has affected its current status. While the ERAG determined this is a “high risk” threat, we are less certain about our determination. We believe that this threat is in large part exacerbated by the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms as discussed further below under Factor D. If existing regulatory mechanisms and corresponding law enforcement were adequate, this threat would be less of a concern. In the absence of adequate law enforcement, we believe that fishing at spawning aggregations is increasing the extinction risk of Nassau grouper.

    The final threat analyzed for Factor B was artificial selection. The ERAG scores indicated artificial selection was a “moderate” threat; however, ranking of this threat was widely distributed amongst ERAG members, indicating a high level of uncertainty about the effects of artificial selection on Nassau grouper. We recognize the uncertainty associated with this threat and believe more information is needed. That said, we do not believe available information indicates artificial selection is currently impacting the species' risk of extinction.

    C. Disease

    There is very little information on the impacts of disease, parasites, and abnormalities on Nassau grouper, yet the species is not known to be affected by any specific disease or parasite. Given this, NMFS agrees with the ERAG ranking indicating a “very low risk” threat from disease, parasites, and abnormalities. We do not believe any of these threats will rise to the level of impacting the species' status over the foreseeable future.

    D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Consideration of the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, includes whether enforcement of those mechanisms is adequate. The relevance of existing regulatory mechanisms to extinction risk for an individual species depends on the vulnerability of that species to each of the threats identified under the other factors of ESA section 4, and the extent to which regulatory mechanisms could or do control the threats that are contributing to the species' extinction risk. If a species is not currently, and not expected within the foreseeable future to become, vulnerable to a particular threat, it is not necessary to evaluate the adequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms for addressing that threat. Conversely, if a species is vulnerable to a particular threat (now or in the foreseeable future), we do evaluate the adequacy of existing measures, if any, in controlling or mitigating that threat. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss existing regulatory mechanisms for addressing the threats to Nassau grouper generally, and assess their adequacy for controlling those threats. In the Extinction Risk Analysis section, we determine if the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms is a contributing factor to the species' status as threatened or endangered because the existing regulatory mechanisms fail to adequately control or mitigate the underlying threats.

    Summary of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    As discussed in detail in the Biological Report (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013), a wide array of regulatory mechanisms exists throughout the range of Nassau grouper that are intended to limit harvest and thus maintain abundance. Existing regulatory mechanisms include minimum size restrictions, seasonal closures, spatial closures, and gear and access restrictions. We summarize some of these regulatory mechanisms below by country.

    The Bahamas has implemented a number of regulatory mechanisms to limit harvest. In the 1980s, the Bahamas introduced a minimum size of 3 lbs. (1.36 kg) for Nassau grouper. This was followed in 1998 with a 10-day seasonal closure at several spawning aggregations. An annual “two-month” fishery closure was added in December 2003 to coincide with the spawning period and was extended to three months in 2005 to encompass the December through February spawning period. Up until 2015, the implementation of the 3-month closure was determined annually and could be shortened or otherwise influenced by such factors as the economy (Sadovy and Eklund 1999). In 2015, the annual assessment of the closure was removed ensuring a fixed 3-month closure each year moving forward (Fisheries Resources [Jurisdiction and Conservation] [Amendment] Regulations 2015). During the 3-month closure there is a national ban on Nassau grouper catches; however, the Bahamas Reef Educational Foundation (BREEF; unpub. data), has reported large numbers of fish being taken according to fisher accounts with photo-documentation and confirming reports of poaching of the species during the aggregation season.

    The Bahamas has implemented several other actions that aid the conservation of Nassau grouper. There are marine parks in the Bahamas that are closed to fishing year round and therefore protect Nassau grouper. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, first established in 1959, has been closed to fishing since 1986, thus protecting both nursery and adult habitat for Nassau grouper and other depleted marine species. Other sites, including the South Berry Islands Marine Reserve (established on December 29, 2008), Southwest New Providence National Park, and North Exumas Study Site have also been established and closed to fishing. Several gear restrictions in the Bahamas are also protective of Nassau grouper. Fishing with SCUBA and the use of explosives, poisons, and spearguns is prohibited in the Bahamas, although snorkeling with sling spears is allowed. The use of bleach or other noxious or poisonous substances for fishing, or possession of such substances on board a fishing vessel, without written approval of the Minister, is prohibited. Commercial fishing in the Bahamas is restricted to only the native population and, as a consequence, all vessels fishing within the Bahamas Exclusive Fishery Zone must be fully owned by a Bahamian citizen residing in the Bahamas.

    In Belize, the first measure to protect Nassau grouper was a seasonal closure within the Glover's Reef Marine Reserve in 1993; the area was closed from December 1 to March 1 to protect spawning aggregations. A seasonal closure zone to protect Nassau grouper spawning aggregations was included when the Bacalar Chico marine reserve was established in 1996 (Paz and Truly 2007). Minimum and maximum capture sizes were later introduced (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013 and citations therein).

    In 2001 the Belize National Spawning Aggregation Working Group established protective legislation for 11 of the known Nassau grouper spawning sites within Belize. Seven of those 11 sites are monitored as regularly as possible. The Working Group meets regularly to share data and develop management strategies (www.spagbelize.org; retrieved on 15 April 2012). In 2003, Belize introduced a four-month closed season to protect spawning fish (O'Connor 2002, Gibson 2008). However, the 2003 legislation also allowed for exemptions to the closures by special license granted by the Fisheries Administrator, provided data be taken on any Nassau grouper removed. These special licenses made it difficult to enforce the national prohibition and in 2010 Belize stopped issuing permits to fish for Nassau grouper during the 4-month spawning period, except at Maugre Caye and Northern Two Caye.

    In 2009, Belize issued additional protective measures to help manage and protect the Nassau grouper. These include minimum and maximum size limits of 20 inches and 30 inches, respectively. Belize has also introduced a plan to ban spear fishing within all marine reserves (yet to be implemented). Furthermore, as a large proportion of finfish are landed as fillets, the new regulations require that all Nassau grouper be landed whole, and if filleted must have a 1-inch by 2-inch skin patch (The Belize Spawning Aggregation Working Group 2009). Other gear restrictions are in place to generally aid in the management of reef fish, such as no spearfishing on compressed air.

    Although Bermuda closed red hind aggregation sites in 1974, Nassau grouper aggregation sites located seaward of these sites were not included and continued to be fished. In 1990, a two-fish bag limit and minimum size restriction (35.6 cm FL) were enacted in Bermuda (Luckhurst 1996). Since 1996, Nassau grouper has been completely protected through a prohibition on take and possession and likely benefits from numerous no-take marine reserves (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013).

    In the Cayman Islands, the three main (“traditional”) grouper “holes” were officially protected in the late 1970's and only residents were allowed to fish by lines during the spawning season (Hill and Sadovy de Mitcheson 2013). In 1986, increasing complaints from fishermen of a decline in both numbers and size of Nassau grouper taken from the fishery prompted the implementation of a monitoring program by the Department of the Environment (Bush et al. 2006).

    Following the development of the monitoring program, the Cayman Islands implemented a number of management measures. In the early 1990s, legislation prohibited spearfishing at spawning aggregation sites. In 1998, the three main grouper holes at the eastern end of the islands were formally designated as “Restricted Marine Areas” where access requires licensing by the Marine Conservation Board (Bush et al. 2006). In February 2002, protective legislation defined a spawning season as November 1 to March 31, and an “Alternate Year Fishing” rule was passed. This law allowed fishing of the spawning aggregations to occur every other year with the first non-fishing year starting in 2003. A catch limit of 12 Nassau grouper per boat, per day during fishing years was also set. The 2002 law defined a one nautical mile (nm) “no trapping” zone around each spawning site, and set a minimum size limit of 12 inches for Nassau grouper in response to juveniles being taken by fish traps inside the sounds (Whaylen et al. 2004, Bush et al. 2006). In 2003, spearguns were restricted from use within 1 nm of any designated grouper spawning area from November through March. In 2008, it was prohibited to take any Nassau grouper by speargun anywhere in Cayman waters. Effective December 29, 2003, the Marine Conservation Board, closed fishing at all designated Nassau grouper spawning sites for a period of 8 years. The conservation measure was renewed for a further 8 years in 2011.

    In Cuba, there is a minimum size limit for Nassau grouper though this regulation is largely unprotective. The minimum size of 32 cm TL (or 570g) for Nassau grouper is less than the reported average size at maturity of 50 cm TL, indicating that Nassau grouper can be harvested before having the opportunity to reproduce. Of some benefit to Nassau grouper are more general fishing regulations such as bag limits for recreational fishing, regulations to increase selectivity of fishing gears to avoid the catch of juveniles, limits of net use during spawning aggregation time, and controls of speargun use, both commercially and recreationally. Marine protected areas have also been introduced throughout the country. In 2002, the total number of recreational licenses was limited to 3,500 for the whole country hoping to reduce directed fishing pressure nationally.

    In Mexico, following scientific documentation of declines of Nassau grouper at Mahahual (Aguilar-Perera 1994), two regulations were enacted: (1) In 1993 spear-fishing was banned at any spawning aggregation site in southern Quintana Roo; and (2) in 1997 the fishing of any grouper species was banned during December and January (Aguilar-Perera 2006). Then, in 2003, a closed season for all grouper was implemented from February 15 to March 15 in all waters of the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone. Although aimed at protecting red grouper this closure also protects Nassau grouper during a part of its spawning season (Aguilar-Perera et al. 2008). A management plan was to have gone into effect in 2012 to protect all commercially exploited groupers in Mexico's southern Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea; yet at this time the plan has not been implemented.

    In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the only documented Nassau grouper spawning aggregation site is protected from fishing in Northwest Point Marine National Park, Providenciales (DECR 2004; National Parks Ordinance and Subsidiary Legislation CAP. 80 of 1988). Similar to situations in other countries, protection of Nassau grouper habitat and spawning migration corridors on the narrow ledge of Caicos Bank is problematic as it would impose economic hardship on local fishers who depend on those areas for commercial species (e.g., spiny lobsters) and subsistence fishing (Rudd 2001).

    In U.S. federal waters, including those federal waters around Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I., take and possession of Nassau grouper have been prohibited since 1990. Since 1993, a ban on fishing/possessing Nassau grouper was implemented for the state of Florida and has since been enacted in all U.S. state waters. The species was fully protected in both state and federal waters of Puerto Rico by 2004. The Caribbean Fishery Management Council, with support of local fishermen, established a no-take marine protected area off the southwest coast of St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. in 1990. This area, known as the Hind Bank Marine Conservation District (HBMCD), was intended to protect red hind and their spawning aggregations, as well as a former Nassau grouper spawning site (Brown 2007). The HBMCD was first subject to a seasonal closure beginning in 1990 (Beets and Friedlander 1999, Nemeth 2005, Nemeth et al. 2006) to protect spawning aggregations of red hind, and was later closed to fishing year-round in 1998 (DPNR 2005). Additional fishing restrictions in the U.S.V.I. such as gear restrictions, rules on the sale of fish, and protected areas such as the Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument and Buck Island Reef National Monument where all take is prohibited, Virgin Islands National Park (commercial fishing prohibited), and several U.S.V.I. marine reserves offer additional protection to Nassau grouper. In 2006, the U.S.V.I. instituted regulations to prohibit harvest and possession of Nassau grouper in territorial waters and filleting at sea was prohibited (García-Moliner and Sadovy 2008).

    In Colombia, the San Andrés Archipelago has a number of areas that are designated as no-take fishing zones, and in 2000 the entire archipelago was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve. In 2004, large portions of the archipelago were declared as a system of marine protected areas with varying zones of fisheries management; however, enforcement is largely lacking (M. Prada, Coralina, San Andres, Colombia, pers. comm. R. Hill, NMFS, 2010). Right-to-fish laws in Colombia also require that fishermen be allowed to fish at a subsistence level even within the no-take zones (M. Prada, Coralina, San Andres, Colombia, pers. comm. R. Hill, NMFS, 2010).

    There are other Caribbean countries that have either few management measures in place or have yet to implement any conservation measures for Nassau grouper. We are not aware of special conservation or management regulations for Nassau grouper in Anguilla. In Antigua-Barbuda, while Nassau grouper is not specifically managed or protected, closed seasons were considered in 2008 for Nassau grouper and red hind, though the status of these closed seasons is not known. In the British Virgin Islands, there is a closed season for landing Nassau grouper between March 1 and May 31 (Munro and Blok 2005). In the Dominican Republic the catch and sale of ripe female Nassau grouper during the spawning season is not allowed (Bohnsack 1989, Sadovy and Eklund 1999, Box and Bonilla Mejia 2008) and at least one marine park has been established with fishing regulations. In Guadeloupe and Martinique, there are plans to protect the species (F. Gourdin, Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife—UNEP, pers. comm. to Y. Sadovy, University of Hong Kong, 2011) although no details are available at this time. In Honduras, there is no legislation that controls fishing in the snapper/grouper fishery; however, traps and spears are illegal in the Bay Islands. There are no Nassau grouper special regulations in Jamaica; yet, some marine protected areas were designated in 2011.

    Analysis of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The ERAG considered several threats under Factor D including law enforcement, international trade regulations, foreign regulations in their jurisdictional waters, U.S. federal laws, and U.S. state and territorial laws. The ERAG determined that these threats substantially contribute to the overall risk to the species. Inadequate law enforcement was noted by several ERAG members as influencing their scoring for abundance, fishing of spawning aggregations, commercial harvest, and historical harvest. Inadequate law enforcement led to higher risk scores for each of these threats. The ERAG scored law enforcement as a “high risk” threat for Nassau grouper. ERAG rankings for the other threats were widely distributed. The inadequacy of foreign regulations in jurisdictional waters was considered an “increasing” risk while the risk of international trade regulations was “unknown.” The remaining two categories of regulations (U.S. Federal and State of Florida/U.S. territory regulations) were considered “low risk” and “moderate risk” respectively. While the ERAG rankings for threats impacting the adequacy of regulatory mechanisms were generally moderate, we believe the concern about fishing at spawning aggregations (“high risk” according to the ERAG) is due in part to the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms.

    Overall, we believe existing regulatory mechanisms throughout the species' range (international trade, foreign, U.S. federal, and U.S. state and territorial regulations) vary in their effectiveness, especially in addressing the most serious threat to Nassau grouper—fishing of spawning aggregations. In some countries, an array of national regulatory mechanisms, increases in marine protected areas, and customary management may be effective at addressing fishing of spawning aggregations. For example, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (Bahamas), has been closed to fishing for over 25 years and protects both nursery and adult habitat for Nassau grouper and other marine species. In that park, there is a clear difference in the number, biomass, and size of Nassau grouper in comparison to adjacent areas where fishing is permitted (Sluka et al. 1997).

    We note, however, that many countries have few, if any, specific Nassau grouper regulations. Instead they rely on general fisheries regulations (e.g., Anguilla, Antigua-Barbuda, Colombia, and Cuba all rely only on size limits, while Guadeloupe and Martinique, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, St. Lucia, and the Turks and Caicos rely on a variety of general fishing regulations). Additionally, where Nassau grouper-specific regulations do exist, the ERAG scores indicated that law enforcement still presents a high risk threat to the species. We agree with the ERAG's risk assessment and believe that law enforcement in many foreign countries is less than adequate, thus rendering the regulations ineffective.

    Some foreign regulations may be ephemeral, unprotective of migrating adults, or inadequate to conserve the viability of a species. In some cases, regulations do not completely protect all known spawning aggregations (e.g., Belize, where 2 spawning aggregations are fished by license). In another instance, we found no protections for Nassau grouper in any foreign country during the period they move to and from spawning aggregation sites. Foreign regulations in some countries specify exemptions for “historical,” “local,” or artisanal fishermen (e.g., Colombia). Finally, some particular types of regulations are insufficient to protect the species (e.g., minimum size limits in both the Bahamas and Cuba are less than size-at-maturity).

    In some places, such as Bermuda, no recovery has been documented after years of regulations (B. Luckhurst, Bermuda Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Parks, pers. comm. to Y. Sadovy, University of Hong Kong, September, 2012). In other places (e.g., Cayman Islands) there are indications of potential recovery at spawning aggregation sites, but fishing continues to keep the population depressed (Semmens et al. 2012) and inconsistent surveys do not provide data adequate to realize impacts. Additionally, larval recruitment is highly variable due to currents in the Caribbean basin. Some populations may receive larval input from neighboring spawning aggregations, while other local circulation patterns may entrain larvae (Colin et al. 1987) making the population entirely self-recruiting.

    In conclusion, although many countries have taken regulatory measures to conserve Nassau grouper, the species faces an ongoing threat due to the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms to prevent or remediate the impacts of other threats that are elevating the species' extinction risk, particularly fishing of spawning aggregations.

    E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    The ERAG considered climate change as a threat to Nassau grouper including global warming, sea level rise, and ocean acidification for Factor E. Although Nassau grouper occur across a range of temperatures, spawning occurs when sea surface temperatures range between 25 °C-26 °C (Colin 1992, Tucker and Woodward 1996). Because Nassau grouper spawn in a narrow window of temperatures, a rise in sea surface temperature outside that range could impact spawning or shift the geographic range of it to overlap with waters within the required temperature parameters. Increased sea surface temperatures have also been linked to coral loss through bleaching and disease. Further, increased global temperatures are also predicted to change parasite-host relationships and may present additional unknown concerns (Harvell et al. 2002, Marcogliese 2001). Rising sea surface temperatures are also associated with sea level rise. If sea level changed rapidly, water depth at reef sites may be modified with such rapidity that coral and coral reefs could be affected (Munday et al. 2008).

    Another potential effect of climate change could be the loss of structural habitat in coral reef ecosystems as ocean acidification is anticipated to affect the integrity of coral reefs (Munday et al. 2008). Bioerosion may reduce the 3-dimensional structure of coral reefs (Alvarez-Filip et al. 2009), reducing adult habitat for Nassau grouper (Coleman and Koenig 2010, Rogers and Beets 2001). Results of the ERAG scores indicated that climate change was an “unknown risk” to Nassau grouper. We agree with the assessment of the ERAG and believe there is not enough information at this time to determine how climate change is affecting the extinction risk of Nassau grouper now or in the foreseeable future.

    The ERAG also considered threats from aquaculture to Nassau grouper under Factor E and determined that aquaculture was a “very low” risk threat to Nassau grouper. Experiments to determine the success rate of larval Nassau grouper culture (Watanabe et al. 1995a, 1995b) and survival of released hatchery-reared juveniles have been conducted and feasibility of restocking reefs has been tested (Roberts et al. 1995) in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. However, the potential of Nassau grouper stock enhancement, as with any other grouper species, has yet to be determined (Roberts et al. 1995). Serious concerns about the genetic consequences of introducing Nassau grouper raised in facilities, possible problems of juvenile habitat availability, introduction of maladapted individuals, and the inability of stocked individuals to locate traditional spawning locations, continue to be raised. Given the number of concerns with aquaculture and the fact that some spawning aggregations remain, we believe that it is unlikely that Nassau grouper aquaculture will develop further. Therefore we agree with the ERAG that aquaculture presents a very low extinction risk to Nassau grouper and is not contributing to the species' current status.

    Demographic factors of abundance, population growth rate/productivity and diversity were also considered by the ERAG under Factor E. Each ERAG member considered whether the species is likely to be able to maintain a sustainable population size and adequate genetic diversity. They also considered whether the species is at risk due to a loss in the breeding population, which leads to a reduction in survival and production of eggs and offspring. Trends or shifts in demographic or reproductive traits were considered when assessing the ranking of threats by each ERAG member to identify a decline in population growth rate. The ERAG scores indicated that abundance of Nassau grouper was a “moderate risk,” growth rate/productivity was an “increasing risk,” and that diversity was a “moderate risk.” We agree with these rankings and believe they are supported by the declining number and size of spawning aggregations, which affects growth rate/productivity and diversity.

    NMFS's Conclusions From Threats Evaluation

    The most serious threats to Nassau grouper are fishing at spawning aggregations and inadequate law enforcement. These threats, considered under Factors B and D, were rated by the ERAG as “high risk” threats to the species. We agree with the ERAG's assessment that these threats are currently affecting the status of Nassau grouper, putting it at a heightened risk of extinction. A variety of other threats were identified by the ERAG as also impacting the status of this species. Growth rate/productivity (Factor E), spatial structure/connectivity (Factors A and E), and effectiveness of foreign regulations (Factor D) were identified by the ERAG as “increasing risks.” Artificial selection (Factor B), abundance (Factors B and E), diversity (Factor E), commercial harvest (Factors B and D), and effectiveness of state and territory regulations (Factor D) were determined to be “moderate risks.” NMFS concurs that these threats have the potential to adversely affect the status of Nassau grouper over the foreseeable future.

    Extinction Risk Analysis

    We must assess the ERA results and make a determination as to whether the Nassau grouper is currently in danger of extinction, or likely to become so within the foreseeable future. We first evaluated the current status of the Nassau grouper in light of the four demographic factors. Based on our assessment of the ERA in regards to these demographic factors (abundance, growth rate/productivity, spatial structure and connectivity, and diversity) we do not believe the Nassau grouper is currently in danger of extinction. Each of these demographic factors was ranked by the ERAG as a moderate or increasing risk to the species' current status.

    We acknowledge that the abundance of Nassau grouper has been dramatically reduced in relation to historical records, but we do not believe abundance is currently so low that the species is at risk of extinction from stochastic events, environmental variation, anthropogenic perturbations, lack of genetic diversity, or depensatory processes. Although the reduced abundance of Nassau grouper has diminished the size and number of spawning aggregations, spawning is still occurring and abundance is increasing in some locations (e.g. Cayman Islands and Bermuda) where adequate protections are effectively being implemented. The abundance of Nassau grouper is now patchily distributed throughout the Caribbean with areas of higher abundance correlated with those areas with effective regulations. We believe the abundance of Nassau grouper in these protected areas is large enough to sustain the overall population and limit extinction risk. However, we also believe that further regulations will be necessary in other countries to counteract past population declines and ultimately recover the population of Nassau grouper throughout the Caribbean.

    Abundance is closely related with the other three demographic factors. Growth rate/productivity, spatial structure and connectivity, and diversity are all negatively affected by decreased abundance associated with overexploitation. Historical overfishing has led to a decreased average length and earlier age at maturity in exploited populations, which affects the species' ability to maintain the population growth rate above replacement level. Reductions in the number and distribution of spawning aggregations has the potential to affect larval and juvenile dispersal. This can further affect genetic diversity within the population. However, we don't believe that any of these demographic factors have been adversely affected to the point that Nassau grouper is currently in danger of extinction. As described previously, the species continues to occupy its current range, spawning is still occurring in several locations thus continuing to deliver new recruits to the population, and recovery of spawning aggregations has been documented in locations with adequate regulatory mechanisms and enforcement. The size of Nassau grouper is also increasing in areas where protections are in place (e.g., Belize and U.S.V.I.), indicating that current abundance is not adversely affecting growth rate and productivity at these locations.

    After considering the current status of Nassau grouper based on the four demographic factors, we next assessed how the identified threats are expected to affect the status of the species, including its demographic factors, over the foreseeable future. The ERAG identified a variety of threats that have the potential to impact Nassau grouper. The ERAG ranked and we agreed that several threats (habitat alteration, disease, aquaculture, and U.S. federal regulations) ranked as “very low” or “low” risk, will have little to no effect on the extinction risk of Nassau grouper within the foreseeable future. Several other threats (commercial harvest, artificial selection, foreign regulations within jurisdictional waters, and regulations of the U.S. and its territories), were ranked as moderate or increasing risks to the status of Nassau grouper. We agree that collectively these threats could cause Nassau grouper to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future.

    Finally, the ERAG identified three threats that present a “high” risk to the status of Nassau grouper over the foreseeable future. We agree with the ERAG's assessment that fishing of spawning aggregations combined with inadequate law enforcement is currently adversely affecting the status of Nassau grouper as discussed above, but disagree with the ERAG's ranking of historic harvest as a high risk. These high risk threats will continue to elevate the extinction risk of Nassau grouper over the foreseeable future. Both threats directly affect the current abundance of the species, its ability to maintain population growth rate, the population structure of the species, and its diversity in terms of genetics and overall ecology.

    As previously described, the ERAG analyzed inadequate law enforcement as a standalone threat under Factor D, inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, and ranked it as a “high risk” threat. We agree that existing regulations, and enforcement of existing regulations, are inadequate to control the threat posed by fishing on spawning aggregations, and thus this threat under Factor D is contributing to the extinction risk and status of Nassau grouper.

    Based on the information in the Biological Report and the results from the ERA, we conclude that ESA Factors B (overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes), D (inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms), and E (other natural or manmade factors) are contributing to a threatened status for Nassau grouper. Overutilization in the form of historical harvest has reduced population size and led to the collapse of spawning aggregations in many locations. While some countries have made efforts to curb harvest, fishing at spawning aggregation sites remains a “high risk” threat. Further contributing to the risk of Nassau grouper extinction is the inadequacy of regulatory control and law enforcement, which leads to continued overutilization (low abundance), reduced reproductive output, and reduced recruitment. If growth and sexual recruitment rates cannot balance the loss from these threats, populations will become more vulnerable to extinction over the future (Primack 1993).

    Protective Efforts

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the ESA requires the Secretary, when making a listing determination for a species, to take into consideration those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation to protect the species. To evaluate the efficacy of domestic efforts that have not yet implemented or that have been implemented, but have not yet demonstrated to be effective, the Services developed a joint “Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions” (“PECE”; 68 FR 15100; March 28, 2003). The PECE is designed to ensure consistent and adequate evaluation on whether domestic conservation efforts that have been recently adopted or implemented, but not yet proven to be successful, will result in recovering the species to the point at which listing is not warranted or contribute to forming the basis for listing a species as threatened rather than endangered. The PECE is expected to facilitate the development of conservation efforts by states and other entities that sufficiently improve a species' status so as to make listing the species as threatened or endangered unnecessary.

    The PECE establishes two overarching criteria to use in evaluating efforts identified in conservations plans, conservation agreements, management plans or similar documents: (1) The certainty that the conservation efforts will be implemented; and (2) the certainty that the efforts will be effective. While section 4(b)(1)(A) requires that we evaluate both domestic and foreign conservation efforts, it does not set out particular criteria for doing so. While the particular framework of the PECE policy only directly applies to consideration of domestic efforts, we have discretion to evaluate foreign efforts using a similar approach and find that it is reasonable to do so here. In our discretion, we evaluated foreign conservation efforts to protect and recover Nassau grouper that are either underway, but not yet fully implemented, or are only planned, using these overarching criteria.

    Conservation efforts with the potential to address identified threats to Nassau grouper include, but are not limited to, fisheries management plans, education about overfishing and fishing of spawning aggregations, and projects addressing the health of coral reef ecosystems. These conservation efforts may be conducted by countries, states, local governments, individuals, NGOs, academic institutions, private companies, individuals, or other entities. They also include global conservation organizations that conduct coral reef and/or marine environment conservation projects, global coral reef monitoring networks and research projects, regional or global conventions, and education and outreach projects throughout the range of Nassau grouper.

    The Biological Report summarizes known conservation efforts, including those that have yet to be fully implemented or have yet to demonstrate effectiveness. Conservation efforts that we considered that are yet to be fully implemented include Mexico's 2012 proposed management plan, Antigua-Barbuda's 2008 closed season proposal, and Guadeloupe and Martinique's plans to protect the species. Because these proposed plans are several years old with no updates or known implementation, we find that there is not a sufficient basis to conclude that there is a reasonable certainty of implementation or effectiveness. We also considered the marine protected areas implemented by Jamaica in 2011, though based on Jamaica's historic overfishing and difficulty in enforcing existing regulations, we find that there is not a sufficient basis to conclude that these marine protected areas present a reasonable certainty of effectiveness in reducing threats that contribute to Nassau grouper's extinction risk. We carefully considered the other conservation efforts summarized in the Biological Report and acknowledge that time is required to see the benefit of mature adults in the spawning aggregations; however, the continued decline in number and size of Nassau grouper spawning aggregations indicates the effectiveness of those conservation efforts is currently unknown and thus there is insufficient basis to conclude there is a reasonable certainty of effectiveness. While some conservation efforts have been partially successful on localized scales, Nassau grouper appear to still be overutilized and at heightened risk of extinction based on the ERA. After taking into account these conservation efforts, our evaluation of the section 4(a)(1) factors is that the conservation efforts do not reduce the risk of extinction of Nassau grouper to the point at which listing is not warranted.

    Significant Portion of Range

    There are two situations under which a species is eligible for listing under ESA: A species may be endangered or threatened throughout all of its range or a species may be endangered or threatened throughout only a “significant portion of its range” (SPOIR). Although the ESA does not define “SPOIR,” NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) published a final policy clarifying their interpretation of this phrase (79 FR 37577; July 7, 2014). Under the policy, if a species is found to be endangered or threatened throughout only a significant portion of its range, the entire species is subject to listing and must be protected everywhere. A portion of a species' range is “significant” if “. . . the species is not currently endangered or threatened throughout its range, but the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range.” Thus, if the species is found to be threatened or endangered throughout its range, we do not separately evaluate portions of the species' range.

    Although the SPOIR Policy had yet to go into effect during our status review of Nassau grouper, we considered the interpretations and principles contained in the 2014 Draft Policy with regards to the Nassau grouper and completed an assessment of potential “SPOIR,” which is documented in the ERA. However, throughout the status review process NMFS determined threats and risks to the status of Nassau grouper are affecting the species over the entirety of its range. Because the threats and risks are widespread throughout the entire range of this species, there is no portion of the range that can be considered “significant.”

    Listing Determination

    Based on the Biological Report, the Threats Evaluation, the Extinction Risk Analysis, and Protective Efforts we determined that the Nassau grouper warrants a threatened status under the ESA. We summarize the results of our comprehensive status review as follows: (1) The species is made up of a single population over a broad geographic range, and its current range is indistinguishable from its historical range; (2) the species possesses life history characteristics that increase vulnerability to unregulated harvest; (3) historical harvest greatly diminished the population of Nassau grouper and the species has yet to recover from this overexploitation; (4) spawning aggregations have drastically declined in size and number across the species' range; (5) there are two threats the ERAG rated as “high risk,” that we agree are affecting the current status of the species and will continue to do so over the foreseeable future—fishing at spawning aggregations and inadequate law enforcement; and (6) historical harvest has abated, though existing regulatory mechanisms and law enforcement have not been effective in preventing fishing at many spawning aggregation sites. Conservation efforts in some nations (U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S.V.I., and Belize) have almost certainly prevented further declines. Given the life history characteristics of Nassau grouper, more time will be needed to determine if these protective measures are successful in recovering the population. Collectively, the information obtained during the status review indicates the species is not currently in danger of extinction (though reduced in number, the species maintains its historical range and still forms spawning aggregations at some sites), but it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (based on continued risk of harvest, especially at spawning aggregation sites inadequately controlled by regulations and law enforcement). Accordingly, we have determined that the Nassau grouper warrants listing as a threatened species under the ESA.

    Effects of Listing

    Conservation measures provided for species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA include recovery plans (16 U.S.C. 1533(f)), critical habitat designations (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)), Federal agency consultation requirements (16 U.S.C. 1536), and protective regulations (16 U.S.C. 1533(d)). Recognition of the species' status through listing promotes conservation actions by Federal and state agencies, private groups, and individuals, as well as the international community. Both a recovery program and designation of critical habitat could result from this final listing. Given its broad range across the Caribbean Sea, a regional cooperative effort to protect and restore Nassau grouper is necessary. We anticipate that protective regulations for Nassau grouper will also be necessary for the conservation of the species. Federal, state, and the private sectors will need to cooperate to conserve listed Nassau grouper and the ecosystems upon which they depend.

    Identifying ESA Section 7 Consultation Requirements

    Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA and NMFS/FWS regulations require Federal agencies to consult with us on any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out if those actions may affect the listed species or designated critical habitat. Based on currently available information, we can conclude that examples of Federal actions that may affect Nassau grouper include, but are not limited to, artificial reef creation, dredging, pile-driving, military activities, and fisheries management practices.

    Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(5)) as: (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the ESA, on which are found those physical or biological features (a) essential to the conservation of the species and (b) that may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. “Conservation” means the use of all methods and procedures needed to bring the species to the point at which listing under the ESA is no longer necessary. Critical habitat may also include areas unoccupied by Nassau grouper if those areas are essential to the conservation of the species.

    Section 4(a)(3)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(A)) requires that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, critical habitat be designated concurrently with the listing of a species. Pursuant to 50 CFR 424.12(a), designation of critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following situations exist: Data sufficient to perform required analyses are lacking; or the biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to identify any area that meets the definition of “critical habitat.” Although we have gathered information through the status review and public comment periods on the habitats occupied by this species, we currently do not have enough information to determine what physical and biological features within those habitats facilitate the species' life history strategy and are thus essential to the conservation of Nassau grouper, and may require special management considerations or protection. To the maximum extent prudent and determinable, we will publish a proposed designation of critical habitat for Nassau grouper in a separate rule. Designations of critical habitat must be based on the best scientific data available and must take into consideration the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. Once critical habitat is designated, section 7 of the ESA requires Federal agencies to ensure that they do not fund, authorize, or carry out any actions that are likely to destroy or adversely modify that habitat. This requirement is in addition to the section 7 requirement that Federal agencies ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the continued existence of listed species.

    Identification of Those Activities That Would Constitute a Violation of Section 9 of the ESA

    Because we are proposing to list Nassau grouper as threatened, the ESA section 9 prohibitions do not automatically apply. Therefore, pursuant to ESA section 4(d), we will evaluate whether there are protective regulations we deem necessary and advisable for the conservation of Nassau grouper, including application of some or all of the take prohibitions. If protective regulations are deemed necessary, a proposed 4(d) rule would be subject to public comment.

    Policies on Peer Review

    In December 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review establishing minimum peer review standards, a transparent process for public disclosure of peer review planning, and opportunities for public participation. The OMB Bulletin, implemented under the Information Quality Act (Pub. L. 106-554) is intended to enhance the quality and credibility of the Federal government's scientific information, and applies to influential or highly influential scientific information disseminated on or after June 16, 2005. To satisfy our requirements under the OMB Bulletin, we obtained independent peer review of the Biological Report. Five independent specialists were selected from the academic and scientific community, Federal and state agencies, and the private sector for this review (with three respondents). All peer reviewer comments were addressed prior to dissemination of the final Biological Report and publication of this final rule.

    Solicitation of Information

    We are soliciting information on features and areas that may support designation of critical habitat for Nassau grouper. Information provided should identify the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species and areas that contain these features. Areas outside the occupied geographical area should also be identified if such areas themselves are essential to the conservation of the species. Essential features may include, but are not limited to, features specific to the species' range, habitats, and life history characteristics within the following general categories of habitat features: (1) Space for individual growth and for normal behavior; (2) food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; (3) cover or shelter; (4) sites for reproduction and development of offspring; and (5) habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological distributions of the species (50 CFR 424.12(b)). ESA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(h) specify that critical habitat shall not be designated within foreign countries or in other areas outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, we request information only on potential areas of critical habitat within waters in U.S. jurisdiction.

    For features and areas potentially qualifying as critical habitat, we also request information describing: (1) Activities or other threats to the essential features or activities that could be affected by designating them as critical habitat, and (2) the positive and negative economic, national security and other relevant impacts, including benefits to the recovery of the species, likely to result if these areas are designated as critical habitat.

    References

    A complete list of the references used in this final rule is available at: (http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/listing_petitions/species_esa_consideration/index.html).

    Classifications National Environmental Policy Act

    The 1982 amendments to the ESA, in section 4(b)(1)(A), restrict the information that may be considered when assessing species for listing. Based on this limitation of criteria for a listing decision and the opinion in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Andrus, 675 F. 2d 825 (6th Cir. 1981), NMFS has concluded that ESA listing actions are not subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (See NOAA Administrative Order 216-6).

    Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility Act and Paperwork Reduction Act

    As noted in the Conference Report on the 1982 amendments to the ESA, economic impacts cannot be considered when assessing the status of a species. Therefore, the economic analysis requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act are not applicable to the listing process. In addition, this final rule is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. This final rule does not contain a collection-of-information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    In keeping with the intent of the Administration and Congress to provide continuing and meaningful dialogue on issues of mutual state and Federal interest, the proposed rule was provided to the relevant agencies in each state in which the subject species occurs, and these agencies were invited to comment. We did not receive comments from any state agencies.

    Executive Order 12898, Environmental Justice

    Executive Order 12898 requires that Federal actions address environmental justice in the decision-making process. In particular, the environmental effects of the actions should not have a disproportionate effect on minority and low-income communities. This final rule is not expected to have a disproportionately high effect on minority populations or low-income populations.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 223

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Transportation.

    Dated: June 21, 2016. Samuel D Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we amend 50 CFR part 223 as follows:

    PART 223—THREATENED MARINE AND ANADROMOUS SPECIES 1. The authority citation for part 223 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; subpart B, § 223.201-202 also issued under 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 5503(d) for § 223.206(d)(9).

    2. In § 223.102, amend the table in paragraph (e) by adding an entry under the “Fishes” subheading for “Grouper, Nassau” in alphabetical order to read as follows:
    § 223.102 Enumeration of threatened marine and anadromous species.

    (e) * * *

    Species 1 Common name Scientific name Description of listed entity Citation(s) for listing determination(s) Critical habitat ESA rules *         *         *         *         *         *         * Fishes *         *         *         *         *         *         * Grouper, Nassau Epinephelus striatus Entire species [Insert Federal Register citation], June 29, 2016 NA NA *         *         *         *         *         *         * 1 Species includes taxonomic species, subspecies, distinct population segments (DPSs) (for a policy statement, see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996), and evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) (for a policy statement, see 56 FR 58612, November 20, 1991).
    [FR Doc. 2016-15101 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 600 [Docket No. 111014628-6513-02] RIN 0648-BB54 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Implementation of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This final action updates agency regulations consistent with provisions of the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 (SCA) and prohibits any person from removing any of the fins of a shark at sea, possessing shark fins on board a fishing vessel unless they are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, transferring or receiving fins from one vessel to another at sea unless the fins are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, landing shark fins unless they are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, or landing shark carcasses without their fins naturally attached. This action amends existing regulations and makes them consistent with the SCA.

    DATES:

    Effective July 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of the Environmental Assessment (EA)/Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) prepared for this action can be obtained from: Erin Wilkinson, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13437, Silver Spring MD 20910. An electronic copy of the EA/RIR/FRFA document as well as copies of public comments received can be viewed at the Federal e-rulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov/ (Docket ID: NOAA-NMFS-2012-0092).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Erin Wilkinson by phone at 301-427-8561, or by email: [email protected] or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview of the Shark Conservation Act

    Background information and an overview of the Shark Conservation Act can be found in the preamble of the proposed rule published on May 2, 2013 (78 FR 25685). Copies are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES), or can be viewed electronically at the Federal E-Rulemaking portal for this action: http://www.regulations.gov.

    II. Major Components of the Final Action

    Retaining a shark fin while discarding the shark carcass (shark finning) has been prohibited in the United States since the 2000 Shark Finning Prohibition Act. The 2010 SCA included provisions that amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to prohibit any person from: (1) Removing any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) at sea; (2) having custody, control, or possession of a fin aboard a fishing vessel unless it is naturally attached to the corresponding carcass; (3) transferring a fin from one vessel to another vessel at sea, or receiving a fin in such transfer, unless the fin is naturally attached to the corresponding carcass; or (4) landing a fin that is not naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, or landing a shark carcass without its fins naturally attached. For the purpose of the SCA and these regulations, “naturally attached,” with respect to a shark fin, means to be attached to the corresponding shark carcass through some portion of uncut skin.

    This action amends NMFS' regulations consistent with these provisions of the SCA. Specifically, the rule amends regulations at 50 CFR part 600, subpart N, to prohibit the removal of shark fins at sea, namely, the possession, transfer and landing of shark fins that are not naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, and the landing of shark carcasses without the corresponding fins naturally attached. In the preamble to the proposed rule, NMFS noted that it interprets the prohibitions in subpart N as applying to sharks, not skates and rays, and solicited public comment on whether clarification was needed in the regulatory text on this issue. See 78 FR 25685, 25686 (May 2, 2013). NMFS received only one public comment on this point, which was supportive of this interpretation, and NMFS thus affirms in this final rule that the prohibitions do not apply to skates and rays.

    This final rule also updates subpart N to be consistent with section 103(b) of the SCA regarding an exception for individuals engaged in commercial fishing for smooth dogfish. Interpretation of that exception was addressed in a rule finalized in November 2015, for Amendment 9 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (November 24, 2015; 80 FR 73128). That final rule, among other things, allows for the at-sea removal of smooth dogfish fins provided that fishing occurs within 50 nautical miles of shore along the Atlantic Coast from Maine through the east coast of Florida; smooth dogfish fin weight does not exceed 12 percent of the carcass weight on board; smooth dogfish make up at least 25 percent of the total retained catch, by weight; and the fisherman/vessel holds both federal and state permits appropriate for the retention of smooth dogfish.

    This final rule also combines the existing §§ 600.1203 and 600.1204 into one section. The text throughout 50 CFR part 600, subpart N, is amended to make it consistent with the provisions of the SCA.

    The MSA authorizes the Secretary to regulate fisheries seaward of the inner boundary of the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which is defined as a line coterminous with the seaward boundary of each U.S. coastal state. 16 U.S.C. 1802(11). Thus, as noted in the proposed rule, the SCA provisions apply to any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including persons on board U.S. and foreign vessels, engaging in activities prohibited under the statute with respect to sharks harvested seaward of the inner boundary of the EEZ. See 78 FR 25685, 25686 (May 2, 2013). Federal regulations pertaining to the conservation and management of specific shark fisheries are set forth in parts 635, 648, and 660 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations. For Atlantic highly migratory species fisheries, as a condition of its Federal permit, a vessel's fishing, catch, and gear are subject to federal requirements even when fishing in state waters. See 50 CFR 635.4(a)(10) (noting also that, when fishing within the waters of a state with more restrictive regulations, persons aboard the vessel must comply with those requirements). This rule amends 50 CFR part 600, subpart N, and does not supersede or amend any other federal regulation or requirement related to the conservation and management of sharks.

    The SCA also amended the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act, which provides for identification and certification of nations to address illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing; bycatch of protected living marine resources; and, as amended by the SCA, shark catches. 16 U.S.C. 1826h-1826k. With regard to sharks, the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act provides for identification of a nation if its fishing vessels have been engaged during the preceding calendar year in fishing activities or practices in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that target or incidentally catch sharks and the nation has not adopted a regulatory program for sharks that is comparable to the United States', taking into account different conditions. 16 U.S.C. 1826k(a)(2). NMFS published a final rule that amended the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act regulations, to make them consistent with these provisions of the SCA, on January 16, 2013 (78 FR 3338).

    III. Relationship of Regulations With Current State Laws

    The MSA provides for Federal management of fisheries in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (16 U.S.C. 1812(a)). In § 600.1201(d) of the proposed rule, NMFS noted that State and territorial statutes that address shark fins are preempted if they are inconsistent with the MSA as amended by the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, regulations under this part, and applicable federal fishery management plans and regulations. This text did not state that specific state laws were in fact preempted, and the proposed regulations themselves would not have preempted any state or territorial laws. NMFS included this text because a number of states and territories had enacted their own laws regarding shark fins, and NMFS was concerned that some of those laws, which differ from state to state, might restrict the possession of shark fins in a way that could conflict with the broader goals of the MSA as amended by the SCA, and might therefore be preempted by the MSA as amended by the SCA.

    NMFS engaged in extensive discussions with states and territories that have existing shark fin laws. During these discussions, the states and territories all expressed concern over language in the proposed rule regarding the potential for preemption of state shark fin laws that conflict with the SCA. In those discussions, NMFS sought additional information about the nature and details of the state laws and fisheries, economic factors, and the ability of federally-permitted shark fishermen to dispose of legally-landed shark fins. Following the discussions described above and further exchanges of information between NMFS and the relevant states and territories, NMFS has determined that the current shark fin laws for these states and territories are consistent with, and therefore are not preempted by, the MSA as amended by the SCA: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. The bases for these conclusions were that the shark fin laws in those states and territories would have minimal impacts on federally licensed and permitted shark harvesters, because the laws did not prohibit federally licensed and permitted fishermen from landing a legally-caught shark with fins naturally attached or selling the non-fin parts of the shark, and, based on the scale and nature of the shark fisheries in those states and territories, the laws would have minimal impacts on federal fishermen. Copies of letters exchanged between NMFS and applicable states and territories documenting those conclusions may be found on the Office of Sustainable Fisheries Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/laws_policies/sca/index.html. Copies of letters may also be requested by contacting NMFS (See ADDRESSES). Should the facts presented to NMFS change significantly, NMFS may re-engage in discussions with the applicable state or territory. NMFS is currently in discussions with one other territory that passed a shark fin law, American Samoa. NMFS encourages any state or territory considering shark fin legislation to reach out to NMFS to discuss such legislation, and NMFS will continue to take appropriate steps, including engaging with states as necessary, to support federally licensed and permitted shark harvesters.

    IV. Response to Comments

    NMFS received over 180,000 public comments on the proposed rule. These comments came from non-governmental organizations, members of Congress, Fishery Management Councils and Commissions, state governments, commercial and recreational fishermen, and other interested members of the public. Many of the comment letters were similar or raised similar issues. NMFS reviewed and considered all comments during the development of this final rule. Due to the large volume of comments received and the overlapping nature of many of the comments, we have not responded to each individually, but instead have responded to the major topics addressed in the comments. Many comments expressed support for the rule as written and have not been summarized below.

    Topic 1: Several fishermen from California commented that they support the SCA, but that the proposed rule ignored the details of their shark fishery. They indicated that due to the large size of many of the sharks (mainly mako and thresher sharks) they harvest, the fins must be removed in order to untangle the shark from the net. If not allowed to cut the fins and land the carcass without the fins, they will have to discard the animal after it has been untangled, or be in violation of the law. These commenters requested that they be able to discard the fins at sea and land the carcass without the fins. Some also requested an exemption for the California fleet that is similar to the one for dogfish where fins landed must be less than a given percentage of the total catch landed.

    Response to topic 1: The SCA does not provide an exemption for the shark fisheries off California. The only exemption provided under the statute pertains to individuals engaged in commercial fishing for smooth dogfish in certain areas of the Atlantic Ocean. See SCA section 103(b). While NMFS recognizes the nature of the mako and thresher shark fisheries, we presently do not have the authority under the SCA or any other statute to allow fins from these sharks to be removed at sea. An exemption for these fisheries would require a statutory change.

    Topic 2: Many commenters mentioned their concern about the depletion of shark species and the important role of sharks in ocean ecology. These commenters expressed support for shark protection and swift enactment of this rule. Additional comments (over 80) contained similar statements and asked for NMFS to implement the SCA.

    Response to topic 2: The SCA and all of its requirements have been in effect since January 4, 2011. NMFS notes that this rule updates existing shark finning regulations at 50 CFR part 600, subpart N, with regulations containing language that is consistent with the text of the SCA. As explained above, the international provisions of the SCA were implemented through a final rule published on January 16, 2013 (78 FR 3338), and the smooth dogfish exemption provisions of the SCA were implemented through a final rule published on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73128). With the publication of this final rule, all provisions of the SCA have been incorporated into agency regulations.

    Topic 3: A large number of comments from states, non-governmental organizations, and the public expressed concern about the preemption language in the preamble and regulatory text of the proposed rule, and asked NMFS to remove the preemption language from the preamble and regulatory text of the final rule. Many commenters asked NMFS not to preempt state laws through the regulations or suggested that NMFS was attempting to preempt state laws through the regulations. Commenters expressed that states should have the ability to regulate the sale of shark fins within their jurisdictions, and are well within their rights to do so. Some commenters also stated that NMFS took an improper approach to coordinating with states that have shark fin legislation. For example, many commenters felt it was improper to include preemption language in the proposed rule before understanding the impacts of that language, indicating which specific state laws would be preempted, or discussing the proposed rule with potentially affected states. In addition, we received a number of comments that were specific to individual state laws from state legislators, attorneys general, and governors asserting why their state laws did not conflict with the SCA.

    Response to topic 3: As explained above in Section III, and in light of Executive Order (E.O.) 13132, which calls on Federal agencies to consult with potentially affected state and local governments prior to promulgating a final rule with federalism implications, NMFS engaged in extensive discussions with states and territories that have enacted shark fin laws, and is currently in discussions with one other territory that has passed a shark fin law, American Samoa. Based on those discussions, and information provided to NMFS by the states and territories, NMFS and the states and territories identified in Section III have reached agreement that the laws in those states and territories are not preempted by the MSA as amended by the SCA. Comments on the proposed rule from state legislators, attorneys general, and governors regarding their individual state laws are not summarized here, but were addressed through the discussions with individual states and territories. NMFS has addressed concerns raised in those comments regarding potential preemption of individual state laws through exchanges of letters with the individual states and territories that document that the laws are not in conflict with or preempted by the MSA as amended by the SCA, for the reasons described in Section III above. The extent to which any state shark fin law conflicts with and might be preempted by the MSA as amended by the SCA is a fact-specific determination to be made on a case-by-case basis.

    As explained above, proposed § 600.1201(d) did not state that any state law was in fact preempted, and other sections of this rule merely codify SCA text. Any preemption would stem from a conflict between the MSA, as amended by the SCA, and a state law. NMFS has decided to remove § 600.1201(d), though, given public comment on and apparent confusion regarding the language.

    Topic 4: Many commenters stated that they believe state shark fin bans and the SCA can work together, and instead of preempting state laws, NMFS should find a way to collaborate with the individual states.

    Response to topic 4: NMFS and the states regularly work together on fisheries management issues, and will continue to do so in the future. As explained in Section III and the response to topic 3, NMFS engaged in extensive discussions with states and territories that have existing shark fin laws. NMFS and the states and territories identified in Section III have reached agreement that the current shark fin laws in those states or territories are consistent with, and therefore are not preempted by, the MSA as amended by the SCA. NMFS is currently in discussions with one other territory that has passed a shark fin law, American Samoa. NMFS encourages any state or territory considering shark fin legislation to reach out to NMFS to discuss such legislation, and NMFS will continue to take appropriate steps, including engaging with states as necessary, to support federally licensed and permitted shark harvesters.

    Topic 5: NMFS received multiple comments from seafood processors, seafood associations, Fishery Management Councils, seafood dealers, fishery partnerships, and an environmental organization that felt that those individuals and organizations working to seek total bans on shark fin trade and consumption at the state level are undermining U.S. efforts to be a leader in sustainably-managed shark fishing. Some of these commenters stated that the individual state shark fin bans need to cease, as they interfere with interstate commerce.

    Response to topic 5: Through this and other rulemakings referenced above, NMFS has incorporated all provisions of the SCA into agency regulations. As explained above, NMFS has engaged in discussions with states with shark fin laws and has concluded that they do not conflict with the MSA as amended by the SCA. The SCA supports U.S. efforts to be a leader in sustainably-managed shark fisheries. The issue of interstate commerce is beyond the scope of this rulemaking, because this rule is only updating agency regulations consistent with the SCA. Any potential interstate commerce issues would be caused by individual state laws, and therefore would not be properly addressed here.

    Topic 6: NMFS received multiple comments from seafood processors, seafood associations, dealers and fishery partnerships, Fishery Management Councils, and a scientist that expressed support for the opinion that state laws are preempted if they are inconsistent with the MSA as amended by the SCA, with some commenters asserting that this was an accurate representation of the Supremacy Clause. These commenters expressed support for preemption of state shark fin laws.

    Response to topic 6: As explained in Section III, the MSA authorizes Federal fisheries management in the U.S. exclusive economic zone. This rule itself does not preempt any state laws, and any potential preemption would be due to a conflict with the MSA as amended by the SCA. As explained above, NMFS has had discussions with certain states and territories with shark fin laws and has determined that none of the shark fin laws in those states and territories conflicts with or is preempted by the MSA as amended by the SCA.

    Topic 7: Multiple comments mentioned the savings clause in the Shark Conservation Act and the exemption for commercial fishermen engaged in commercial fishing for smooth dogfish. These commenters do not agree with having an exemption for smooth dogfish or a ratio set at 12 percent. Only one commenter expressed support for use of the statutory fin-to-carcass ratio.

    Response to topic 7: The SCA explicitly provided for a smooth dogfish exemption. Eliminating that exemption would require a statutory change. NMFS addressed interpretation of the exemption in a separate rulemaking. The final rule for that action was published on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73128).

    Topic 8: Many commenters made general statements about shark fishing and shark conservation, including stating that sharks should not be fished, expressing concern about sharks, urging added conservation mechanisms for sharks, supporting bans on all shark fishing, or providing suggestions on how they believed NMFS could improve shark management.

    Response to topic 8: These comments are beyond the scope of this rulemaking, which only updates agency regulations consistent with the SCA and doesn't address management measures for specific shark fisheries. NMFS is a leader in the sustainable management of domestic shark fisheries and the global conservation of sharks. Sharks are among the ocean's top predators and vital to the natural balance of marine ecosystems. They are also a valuable recreational species and food source. To help protect these important marine species, the United States has some of the strongest shark conservation and management measures in the world. NMFS manages the commercial and recreational shark fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico and works with U.S. regional fishery management councils to conserve and sustainably manage sharks in the Pacific Ocean.

    The U.S. manages shark fisheries using an adaptive process under the MSA based on sound science, effective and enforced management measures, and collaboration with diverse stakeholders, states, and federal partners. Sustainably managed shark fisheries provide opportunities for both commercial and recreational fishermen.

    NMFS also works with international organizations to establish global shark conservation and management measures. In addition to prohibiting shark finning in the United States, we continue to promote our fins-naturally-attached policy overseas.

    Topic 9: Many commenters interpreted the proposed rule as NMFS supporting the return of longliners to Hawaii and urged NMFS to prohibit such activity.

    Response to topic 9: These comments are beyond the scope of this rulemaking. This rule only updates agency regulations consistent with the SCA, and does not address the longline fishery in Hawaii.

    V. Changes From Proposed Action

    NMFS made only two changes from the proposed rule. First, based on NMFS' discussions with states with shark fin laws and on public comments, NMFS has removed preemption language in the proposed rule from the regulatory text of the final rule. Specifically, NMFS removed proposed § 600.1201(d), which stated that State and territorial statutes that address shark fins are preempted if they are inconsistent with the MSA as amended by the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, regulations under this part, and applicable federal fishery management plans and regulations.

    Second, NMFS revised § 600.1201(b), which addresses the exception for individuals engaged in commercial fishing for smooth dogfish. Specifically, NMFS combined proposed paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) and replaced the proposed language for those paragraphs with a cross-reference to the relevant paragraph in NMFS' regulations that interprets the smooth dogfish exception (§ 635.30(c)(5)), which was finalized on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73128), after the proposed rule for this rulemaking was published. This change was made to ensure that NMFS' interpretation and application of the smooth dogfish exception is consistent across NMFS' regulations and to make it easy for the reader to find the applicable provisions. This is not a substantive change from the proposed rule, because the language codified in § 635.30(c)(5) is consistent with the language originally proposed for § 600.1201(b)(1), and the definition of “Atlantic States” (§ 635.2) applicable to § 635.30(c)(5) is consistent with the definition of “State” originally proposed in § 600.1201(b)(2).

    VI. Classification

    Pursuant to section 305(d) of the MSA, NMFS has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable law.

    Executive Order 12866

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

    Executive Order 13132

    As explained in Section III and the response to comments, several states and territories have enacted statutes that address shark fins. In light of E.O. 13132, and in the interest of working with them, NMFS engaged in discussions with states and territories that have existing shark fin laws, and NMFS and the states and territories identified in Section III have reached agreement that the current shark fin laws in those states and territories are consistent with, and therefore are not preempted by, the MSA as amended by the SCA.

    The final rule is necessary to update NMFS' regulations to be consistent with the SCA, and it does not preempt any state laws. Any federalism implications are triggered by the provisions of the MSA, as amended by the SCA. The extent to which any state shark fin law conflicts with and might be preempted by the MSA itself, as amended by the SCA, is a fact-specific determination to be made on a case-by-case basis. Thus, after considering the public comment on and apparent confusion regarding the language, NMFS has removed the preemption language from the final rule.

    Should the facts presented to NMFS regarding any existing state or territory shark fin law change significantly, NMFS may re-engage in discussions with the applicable state or territory. If any additional states or territories are considering enacting shark fin laws, NMFS encourages them to reach out to NMFS to discuss such legislation. NMFS will continue to take appropriate steps, including engaging with states as necessary, to support federally licensed and permitted shark harvesters.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), NMFS has prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) in support of this action. The FRFA incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) that was published with the proposed rule for this action, a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, NMFS' response to those comments, relevant analysis contained in the action and its Environmental Assessment (EA), and a summary of the analyses in this rule. Copies of the analyses, EA, and FRFA are available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the FRFA follows. A description of why this action was considered, its objectives, and the legal basis for this rule is contained in the preamble to the proposed rule and is not repeated here.

    The rule updates agency regulations consistent with provisions of the SCA and prohibits any person from removing any of the fins of a shark at sea, possessing shark fins on board a fishing vessel unless they are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, transferring or receiving fins from one vessel to another at sea unless the fins are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, landing shark fins unless they are naturally attached to the corresponding carcass, or landing shark carcasses without their fins naturally attached. This action amends existing regulations and makes them consistent with the SCA.

    No significant issues were raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) did not provide any comments on the IRFA. NMFS received one comment on the proposed rule that suggested that the preemption language would impact the commenter's business. However, as explained in section III and the response to comment topic 3, any preemption would stem from a conflict between the MSA, as amended by the SCA, and a state law. In any event, NMFS has removed the preemption language from the final rule, and therefore, the commenter's concern has been addressed.

    The FRFA contains new economic information that was added to clarify information about large mesh and small mesh drift gillnet gears in the Pacific. This new information did not change the finding of no significant economic impact on small entities. Also, Section 604(a)(4) of the RFA requires agencies to provide an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule would apply. On June 24, 2014, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a final rule revising the small business size standards for several industries, effective July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647). The rule increased the size standard for Finfish Fishing from $19.0 to 20.5 million, Shellfish Fishing from $5.0 to 5.5 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $7.0 to 7.5 million. Id. at 37400. NMFS has reviewed the analyses prepared for this action in light of the new size standards. Under the former, lower size standards, all entities subject to this action were considered small entities, thus they would continue to be considered small entities under the new standards. NMFS does not believe that the new size standards affect analyses prepared for this action.

    No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. This rule does not establish any new reporting or record-keeping requirements.

    One alternative, the status quo, was considered for the proposed action. This alternative would maintain the current regulations under the Shark Finning Prohibition Act. Under this alternative, any person may remove and retain on the vessel fins (including the tail) from a shark harvested seaward of the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ; however, the corresponding carcass must also be retained on board the vessel. It would be a rebuttable presumption that shark fins landed by a U.S. or foreign fishing vessel were taken, held, or landed in violation of the regulations if the total weight of the shark fins landed exceeds 5 percent of the total dressed weight of shark carcasses on board or landed from the fishing vessel. NMFS rejected this alternative because it would not comply with the requirements of the SCA. No other alternatives meet the statutory requirements, and so none were considered.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 600

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business information, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Statistics.

    Dated: June 21, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 600 as follows:

    PART 600—MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 600 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    5 U.S.C. 561 and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. Subpart N is revised to read as follows: Subpart N—Shark Fin Removal, Possession, Transfer and Landing Sec. 600.1200 Purpose and scope. 600.1201 Relation to other laws. 600.1202 Definitions. 600.1203 Prohibitions. Subpart N—Shark Fin Removal, Possession, Transfer and Landing
    § 600.1200 Purpose and scope.

    The regulations in this subpart implement the Shark Conservation Act of 2010.

    § 600.1201 Relation to other laws.

    (a) Regulations pertaining to conservation and management (including record keeping and reporting) for certain shark fisheries are also set forth in parts 635 (for Federal Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean shark fisheries), 648 (for spiny dogfish fisheries), 660 (for fisheries off West Coast states), and 665 (for fisheries in the western Pacific) of this chapter.

    (b) This subpart does not apply to an individual engaged in commercial fishing for smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) when the conditions in § 635.30(c)(5) have been met.

    (c) This subpart does not supersede state laws or regulations governing conservation and management of state shark fisheries in state waters.

    § 600.1202 Definitions.

    (a) In addition to the definitions in the Magnuson-Stevens Act and in § 600.10, the terms used in this subpart have the following meanings:

    Fin means any of the fins of a shark (including the tail) or a portion thereof.

    Land or landing means offloading fish, or causing fish to be offloaded, from a fishing vessel, either to another vessel or to a shore side location or facility, or arriving in port, or at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp to begin offloading fish.

    Naturally attached, with respect to a shark fin, means attached to the corresponding shark carcass through some portion of uncut skin.

    (b) If there is any difference between a definition in this section and in § 600.10, the definition in this section is the operative definition for the purposes of this subpart.

    § 600.1203 Prohibitions.

    (a) It is unlawful for any person to do, or attempt to do, any of the following:

    (1) Remove a fin at sea.

    (2) To have custody, control, or possession of a fin, aboard a fishing vessel, unless the fin is naturally attached.

    (3) Transfer a fin from one vessel to another vessel at sea unless the fin is naturally attached.

    (4) Receive a fin in a transfer from one vessel to another vessel at sea unless the fin is naturally attached.

    (5) Land a fin unless the fin is naturally attached.

    (6) Land a shark carcass without all of its fins naturally attached.

    (7) Possess, purchase, offer to sell, or sell fins or shark carcasses taken, transferred, landed, or possessed in violation of this section.

    (8) When requested, fail to allow an authorized officer or any employee of NMFS designated by a Regional Administrator, or by the Director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries in the case of the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species, access to or inspection or copying of any records pertaining to the landing, sale, transfer, purchase, or other disposition of fins or shark carcasses.

    (b) For purposes of this section, it is a rebuttable presumption that:

    (1) If a fin is found aboard a vessel, other than a fishing vessel, without being naturally attached, such fin was transferred in violation of this section.

    (2) If, after landing, the total weight of fins landed from any vessel exceeds five percent of the total weight of shark carcasses landed, such fins were taken, held, or landed in violation of this section.

    [FR Doc. 2016-15413 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 635 [Docket No. 160622548-6548-01] RIN 0648-BG16 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Fisheries AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is announcing a change in the dealer landings reporting methodology for Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) from use of handwritten and faxed landings reports to use of an electronic reporting system via the Internet. The online BFT dealer report system is now available, and NMFS has determined that expedited transition to this online system is in the public interest and necessary to maintain accurate reporting given issues with the software currently being used to process faxed documents. This rule specifies the effective date for use of the online system and elimination of the fax option. These requirements apply to all Highly Migratory Species (HMS) dealers with a valid Atlantic Tunas dealer permit issued under applicable regulations.

    DATES:

    This final rule is effective July 28, 2016. Public conference call and webinars will be held on July 19 and July 22, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time.

    ADDRESSES:

    For details on the call-in and Web site information for the two public conference call and webinars, please see the table in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, under the “Public Conference Call and Webinars” heading.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brad McHale or Dianne Stephan, 978-281-9260.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Regulations implemented under the authority of the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA; 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) governing the harvest of bluefin tuna by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and the associated reporting obligations, are found at 50 CFR part 635. Section 635.5(b)(2)(i) specifies that each dealer with a valid Atlantic Tunas dealer permit issued under § 635.4 must submit the landing reports to NMFS for each bluefin received from a U.S. fishing vessel. Such reports must be submitted electronically by sending a facsimile or, once available, via the Internet, to a number or a web address designated by NMFS not later than 24 hours after receipt of the bluefin. Landing reports must include the name and permit number of the vessel that landed the bluefin and other information regarding the catch as instructed by NMFS. The purpose of this final rule is to notify Atlantic bluefin tuna dealers that the online reporting system anticipated by the regulations is now available and that landings reports may no longer be submitted electronically by fax (i.e., dealers may no longer fax the paper landings report).

    NMFS is publishing this rule without a prior proposed rule because the software NMFS uses to process the faxed forms is no longer supported and thus is unreliable and could affect reporting. Furthermore, the online reporting process will simplify and improve reporting, should not impact any members of the regulated community negatively, and will not change the substance or value of the reports. Thus, it is in the best interest of the regulated public.

    In addition to this rule, NMFS will notify the regulated community of this change through directed outreach to bluefin tuna dealers via phone calls. NMFS will hold two webinars (see Table 1 below) with instructions on use of the system, and a user manual will be posted online. No other aspects of the landings reporting system or associated requirements are affected by this final rule.

    Public Conference Call and Webinars

    NMFS will hold two public conference call and webinars to provide further information about the requirements of the final rule and use of the online BFT dealer reporting system. To participate in those calls, use the following information:

    Table 1—Date and Time of Public Conference Call and Webinars Date and time Access information July 19, 2016 1:30-3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time To participate in conference call, call: (888) 635-5002.
  • Passcode: 2877751.
  • To participate in webinar, go to: https://noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?MTID=ecb8d03bf09bf6d8dc1994502f9d2fc98.
  • Meeting Number: 992 843 839.
  • Meeting Password: NOAA.
  • July 22, 2016 1:30-3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time To participate in conference call, call: (888) 942-8620.
  • Passcode: 2999547.
  • To participate in webinar, go to: https://noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?MTID=e81c6abcd4d57bed7067b7eb38b39d355.
  • Meeting Number: 999 222 449.
  • Meeting Password: NOAA.
  • To participate in the webinars online, enter your name and email address, and click the “JOIN” button. Participants that have not used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable them to view the webinar. Presentation materials and other supporting information will be posted on the HMS Web site at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms.

    Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic HMS FMP and its amendments, ATCA, and other applicable law.

    The AA finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide an opportunity for public comment on this action for the following reasons:

    In 2005, NMFS notified the regulated community that NMFS anticipated using an online (Internet) reporting system to meet landings reporting requirements “once available,” and public comment was supportive of this approach. See the Proposed Rule to consolidate the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish, and Sharks and the FMP for Atlantic Billfish (70 FR 48804 at 48821, 48830, August 19, 2005) and the Final Rule to implement the Final Consolidated HMS FMP (71 FR 58058, October 2, 2006). NMFS is not providing an opportunity for additional notice and comment on this final rule because such notice and comment would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. NMFS was recently notified that the vendor who provides the software that has been used to process the faxed landings reports is ending support for that software, making its continued functionality and reliability uncertain. Failure of this system could result in severe delays in reporting necessary to meet NMFS' international and domestic obligations and affect NMFS' ability to monitor the fishery. Thus, it is in the public interest for the transition to the online (Internet) reporting system to occur quickly to ensure that landings data continue to be entered quickly and the fishery is accurately monitored so that quotas are not exceeded, the fishery is properly managed, and reports are timely submitted as required to comply with international and domestic requirements. Furthermore, the changes in this final rule will make it easier for bluefin tuna dealers to report landings data by providing a less burdensome online system in lieu of using paper landings reports and fax machines and will be more reliable. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive the opportunity for public comment.

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

    Additionally, although there are no new collection-of-information requirements associated with this action that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, existing collection-of information requirements still apply under the following Control Number: (1) 0648-0040, the HMS Dealer Reporting Family of Forms. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection-of-information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection-of-information displays a currently valid OMB control number. Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553, or any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., are inapplicable.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 635

    Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, Imports, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 635 is amended as follows:

    PART 635—ATLANTIC HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES 1. The authority citation for part 635 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 635.5, revise paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) to read as follows:
    § 635.5 Recordkeeping and reporting.

    (b) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (A) Landing reports. Each dealer with a valid Atlantic Tunas dealer permit issued under § 635.4 must submit the landing reports to NMFS for each bluefin received from a U.S. fishing vessel. Such reports must be submitted electronically via the Internet to a number or a web address designated by NMFS not later than 24 hours after receipt of the bluefin. Landing reports must include the name and permit number of the vessel that landed the bluefin and other information regarding the catch as instructed by NMFS. When purchasing bluefin tuna from eligible IBQ Program participants or Atlantic Tunas Purse Seine category participants, permitted Atlantic Tunas dealers must also enter landing reports into the electronic IBQ System established under § 635.15, not later than 24 hours after receipt of the bluefin. The vessel owner or operator must confirm that the IBQ System landing report information is accurate by entering a unique PIN when the dealer report is submitted. The dealer must inspect the vessel's permit to verify that it is a commercial category, the required vessel name and permit number as listed on the permit are correctly recorded in the landing report, and that the vessel permit has not expired.

    [FR Doc. 2016-15333 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 140902739-5224-02] RIN 0648-XE697 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery; 2016 Longfin Squid Trimester II Quota Harvested AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; reduction of possession limit.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is prohibiting—beginning June 27, 2016, and ending August 31, 2016—Federal longfin squid vessel permit holders from fishing for, catching, possessing, transferring, or landing more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid per trip and landing such squid more than once per calendar day. This prohibition is required by regulation because NMFS projects that 90 percent of the 2016 annual Trimester II seasonal catch limit will have been caught by the effective date. In addition, based on this determination, other restrictions regarding catch of longfin squid by federally permitted Illex squid vessels and buying longfin squid by federally permit dealers go into place. This action is intended to prevent over harvest of longfin squid during Trimester II.

    DATES:

    Effective 0001 hr local time, June 27, 2016, through August 31, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Daniel Luers, Fishery Management Specialist, (978) 282-8457.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The reader can find regulations governing the longfin squid fishery at 50 CFR part 648. The regulations require specifications for maximum sustainable yield, initial optimum yield, allowable biological catch (ABC), domestic annual harvest (DAH), domestic annual processing, joint venture processing, and total allowable levels of foreign fishing for the species managed under the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The procedures for setting the annual initial specifications are described in § 648.22.

    The 2016 longfin squid Trimester II quota was increased from 7,976,325 lb (3,618 mt) to 12,619,260 lb (5,724 mt) to account for the underage in the 2016 Trimester I catch. Trimester III quota for longfin squid will be available for harvest on September 1, 2016.

    The regulations at § 648.24(a)(1) require that when the NMFS Administrator of the Greater Atlantic Region (Regional Administrator) projects longfin squid catch will reach 90 percent of the Trimester II quota designated in the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, NMFS must prohibit Federal longfin squid vessel permit holders from fishing for, catching, possessing, transferring, or landing more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid per trip and landing such squid more than once per calendar day for the remainder of the prohibition period. This type of prohibition effectively closes the directed squid fishery. The Regional Administrator monitors the longfin squid fishery catch in each trimester based on dealer reports, state data, and other available information. Upon the projection that 90 percent of a Trimester seasonal quota has been reached, NMFS must provide at least 72 hours of advance notice to the public that this determination has been made. NMFS also publishes in the Federal Register the date that the catch is projected to reach 90 percent of the quota, and the prohibitions on catch and landings for the remainder of Trimester II. In addition, upon this determination, a vessel possessing a Federal Longfin Squid/Butterfish Moratorium permit that possesses 10,000 lb (4.54 mt) or more of Illex squid, fishing in the Illex Squid Exemption Area, as defined in Table 1 below and at § 648.23(a)(5), may possess up to 15,000 lb (6.80 mt) of longfin squid. If these vessels do not possess 10,000 lb (4.54 mt) of Illex squid, they are restricted to 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid. Once landward of the coordinates defining the Illex Squid Exemption Area, such vessels must stow all fishing gear, and render it not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2, in order to possess more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid. Also, federally permitted dealers may not receive longfin squid from federally permitted longfin squid vessels that harvest more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid through 2400 hr local time, August 31, 2016, unless it is from a trip landed by a vessel that entered port before 0001 hr on June 27, 2016, except that they may purchase up to 15,000 lb (6.80 mt) of longfin squid from permitted vessels on declared Illex squid trips fishing in the Illex Squid Exemption Area.

    The Regional Administrator has determined, based on dealer reports and other available information, that the longfin squid fleet will catch 90 percent of the total longfin squid Trimester II quota for the 2016 seasonal period from May 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016, by June 27, 2016. Therefore, effective 0001 hr local time, June 27, 2016, federally permitted vessels may not fish for, catch, possess, transfer, or land more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid per trip and land such squid more than once per calendar day. In addition, vessels that have entered port before 0001 hr on June 27, 2016, may offload and sell more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid from that trip. Vessels possessing a Federal Longfin Squid/Butterfish Moratorium permit on directed Illex squid fishing trips (i.e., possess over 10,000 lb (4.54 mt) of Illex) that are fishing in the Illex Squid Exemption Area, as defined in Table 1 below and at § 648.23(a)(5), may possess only up to 15,000 lb (6.80 mt) of longfin squid. Once landward of the coordinates defining the Illex Squid Exemption Area, such vessels must stow all fishing gear, and render it not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2, in order to possess more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid. Also, federally permitted dealers may not receive longfin squid from federally permitted longfin squid vessels that harvest more than 2,500 lb (907.2 kg) of longfin squid through 2400 hr local time, August 31, 2016, unless it is from a trip landed by a vessel that entered port before 0001 hr on June 27, 2016, except that they may purchase up to 15,000 lb (6.80 mt) of longfin squid from permitted vessels on declared Illex squid trips fishing in the Illex Squid Exemption Area.

    Table 1—Illex Squid Exemption Area Coordinates North latitude West longitude 43°58.0′ 67°22.0′ 43°50.0′ 68°35.0′ 43°30.0′ 69°40.0′ 43°20.0′ 70°00.0′ 42°45.0′ 70°10.0′ 42°13.0′ 69°55.0′ 41°00.0′ 69°00.0′ 41°45.0′ 68°15.0′ 42°10.0′ 67°10.0′ 41°18.6′ 66°24.8′ 40°55.5′ 66°38.0′ 40°45.5′ 68°00.0′ 40°37.0′ 68°00.0′ 40°30.0′ 69°00.0′ 40°22.7′ 69°00.0′ 40°18.7′ 69°40.0′ 40°21.0′ 71°03.0′ 39°41.0′ 72°32.0′ 38°47.0′ 73°11.0′ 38°04.0′ 74°06.0′ 37°08.0′ 74°46.0′ 36°00.0′ 74°52.0′ 35°45.0′ 74°53.0′ 35°28.0′ 74°52.0′ Classification

    This action is required by 50 CFR part 648 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    NMFS finds good cause pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment because it would be contrary to the public interest and impracticable. The longfin squid Trimester II fishery opened for the 2016 fishing year on May 1, 2016. Data and other information indicating the longfin squid fleet will have landed at least 90 percent of the 2016 Trimester II quota have only recently become available. Landings data is updated on a weekly basis, and NMFS monitors catch data on a daily basis as catch increases toward the limit. Further, high-volume catch and landings in this fishery increases total catch relative to the quota quickly. The regulations at § 648.24(a)(1) require such action to ensure that longfin squid vessels do not exceed the 2016 Trimester II quota. If implementation of this action is delayed to solicit prior public comment, the quota for this Trimester II may be exceeded, thereby undermining the conservation objectives of the FMP. If quotas are exceeded, the excess must also be deducted from a future Trimester and would reduce future fishing opportunities. Also, the public had prior notice and full opportunity to comment on this process when these provisions were put in place. Based on these considerations, NMFS further finds, pursuant to 5 U.S.C 553(d)(3), good cause to waive the 30-day delayed effectiveness period for the reasons stated above.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15379 Filed 6-24-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 125 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 Docket No. FAA-2016-6984; Airspace Docket No. 16-ANM-5 Proposed Amendment of Class E Airspace, Salem, OR AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to modify Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at McNary Field, Salem, OR. Two approaches, the Localizer (LOC) Y runway (RWY) 31 and the LOC/Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) Back Course (BC) approach RWY 13 were identified as needing additional airspace to meet airspace requirements. The FAA, also, found modification of the airspace for the LOC/DME BC RWY 13 posed an increased risk to the safety of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations for Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs) at the airport.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before August 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Bldg. Ground Floor Rm W12-140, Washington, DC 20590; Telephone: 1-800-647-5527, or 202-366-9826.

    You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2016-6984; Airspace Docket No. 16-ANM-5, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tracey Johnson, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057; telephone (425) 203-4500.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2016-6984/Airspace Docket No. 16-ANM-5.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    Availability of NPRMs

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

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for the address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Northwest Mountain Regional Office of the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Organization, Western Service Center, Operations Support Group, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057.

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

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

    This document would amend FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 71 by modifying Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface at McNary Field Airport, Salem, OR. On March 8, 2016 a Final Rule was published modifying the airspace at McNary Field, Salem, OR (81FR 12002). A comment was received on May 10, 2016 questioning the safety of the LOC/DME BC RWY 13 approach. The FAA concurred that the presence of terrain in the procedure turn transition airspace increased the risk to IFR operations into McNary Field, Salem, OR. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued advising pilots this approach was non-available pending the outcome of this proposal. After a review of the airspace, the FAA identified that the approach to runway 31 also was not fully contained in controlled airspace and would also be modified by this proposal. The Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface would be modified by adding segments extending from the 6.7-mile radius to 13.50 miles northwest of the airport, and extending from the 8.2-mile radius to 16.5 miles southeast of the airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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

    Environmental Review

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

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

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ANM OR E5 Salem, OR [Modified] Salem, McNary Field, OR (Lat. 44°54′34″ N., long. 123°00′09″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.2-mile radius of McNary Field from the 168° bearing from the airport clockwise to the 311° bearing, and that airspace within a 6.7-mile radius of McNary Field from the 311° bearing from the airport clockwise to the 074° bearing, and that airspace within an 8.2-mile radius of McNary Field from the 074° bearing from the airport clockwise to the 168° bearing from the airport, and that airspace 2 miles either side of the 330° bearing extending from the 6.7-mile radius 13.5 miles northwest of the airport and that airspace 4 miles southwest and 5 miles northeast of the 150° bearing extending from the 8.2-mile radius 16.5 miles southeast of the airport.

    Issued in Seattle, Washington, on June 21, 2016. Tracey Johnson, Manager, Operations Support Group, Western Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15266 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R07-OAR-2016-0303; FRL-9948-12-Region 7] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; State of Kansas; Cross-State Air Pollution Rule AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve a December 1, 2015, State Implementation Plan (SIP) submittal from Kansas concerning allocations of Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) emission allowances. Under CSAPR, large electricity generating units in Kansas are subject to a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) requiring the units to participate in CSAPR's Federal trading program for annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX). This action would approve Kansas' adoption into its SIP of state regulations establishing state-determined allocations to replace EPA's default allocations to Kansas units of CSAPR allowances for annual NOX emissions for 2017 through 2019. EPA is proposing to approve the SIP revision because it meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA's regulations for approval of an abbreviated SIP revision replacing EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations. Approval of this SIP revision would not alter any provision of CSAPR's Federal trading program for annual NOX emissions as applied to Kansas units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in the trading program (as modified by the SIP revision) would remain in place.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received by July 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-R07-OAR-2016-0303, to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e. on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Larry Gonzalez, Air Planning and Development Branch, Air and Waste Management Division, EPA Region 7, 11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, KS 66219; telephone number: (913) 551-7041; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document proposes to take action on a revision to the SIP for Kansas concerning allocations of allowances used in the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) 1 Federal trading program for annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX). We have published a direct final rule approving the State's SIP revision (s) in the Rules and Regulations section of this Federal Register, because we view this as a noncontroversial action and anticipate no relevant adverse comment. We have explained our reasons for this action in the preamble to the direct final rule. If we receive no adverse comment, we will not take further action on this proposed rule. If we receive adverse comment, we will withdraw the direct final rule and it will not take effect. We would address all public comments in any subsequent final rule based on this proposed rule. We do not intend to institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting must do so at this time. For further information, please see the information provided in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

    1 Federal Implementation Plans; Interstate Transport of Fine Particulate Matter and Ozone and Correction of SIP Approvals, 76 FR 48208 (August 8, 2011), (codified as amended at 40 CFR 52.38 and 52.39 and subparts AAAAA through DDDDD of 40 CFR part 97).

    Large electricity generating units in Kansas are subject to a CSAPR Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) that requires the units to participate in the Federal CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program.2 Each of CSAPR's Federal trading programs includes default provisions governing the allocation among participating units of emission allowances used for compliance under that program. CSAPR also provides a process for the submission and approval of SIP revisions to replace EPA's default allocations with state-determined allocations.

    2 EPA has proposed to replace the terms “Transport Rule” and “TR” in the text of the Code of Federal Regulations with the updated terms “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule” and “CSAPR.” 80 FR 75706, 75759 (December 3, 2015). EPA uses the updated terms here.

    The SIP revision approved in the direct final rule incorporates into Kansas's SIP state regulations establishing state-determined allowance allocations to replace EPA's default allocations to Kansas units of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances issued for the control periods in 2017 through 2019. EPA is approving the SIP revision because it meets the requirements of the CAA and EPA's regulations for approval of an abbreviated SIP revision replacing EPA's default allocations of CSAPR emission allowances with state-determined allocations. Approval of the SIP revision does not alter any provision of the CSAPR NOX Annual Trading Program as applied to Kansas units other than the allowance allocation provisions, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in that program (as modified by the SIP revision) remains in place. Because the SIP revision addresses only the control periods in 2017 through 2019, absent submission and approval of a further SIP revision, allocations of CSAPR NOX Annual allowances for control periods in 2020 and later years will be made pursuant to the default allocation provisions.

    Large electricity generating units in Kansas are also subject to an additional CSAPR FIP requiring them to participate in the Federal CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program. Kansas' SIP submittal does not seek to replace the default allocations of CSAPR SO2 Group 2 allowances to Kansas units. Approval of this SIP revision concerning another CSAPR trading program has no effect on the CSAPR SO2 Group 2 Trading Program as applied to Kansas units, and the FIP requiring the units to participate in that program remains in place.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

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

    Dated: June 16, 2016. Mark Hague, Regional Administrator, Region 7.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15039 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 150902809-6536-01] RIN 0648-BF12 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; Widow Rockfish Reallocation in the Individual Fishing Quota Fishery AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    In January 2011, NMFS implemented the trawl rationalization program, a type of catch share program, for the Pacific coast groundfish fishery's limited entry trawl fleet, which includes an individual fishing quota program for limited entry trawl participants. At the time of implementation, the widow rockfish stock was overfished and quota shares were allocated to quota share permit owners in the individual fishing quota program using an overfished species formula. Now that the widow rockfish stock has been rebuilt, NMFS proposes to reallocate quota shares to initial recipients based on a target species formula that will more closely represent the fishing history of permit owners when widow rockfish was a targeted species. Through this rule, NMFS also proposes to allow the trading of widow rockfish quota shares, set a deadline for divestiture in case the reallocation of widow rockfish puts any QS permit owner over an accumulation limit, and remove the daily vessel limit for widow rockfish since it is no longer an overfished species.

    DATES:

    Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before July 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0037, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0037, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-0070; Attn: Sarah Towne.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Sarah Towne, 206-526-4140, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    In January 2011, NMFS implemented a trawl rationalization program, which is a catch share program, for the Pacific coast groundfish limited entry trawl fishery. The program was implemented through Amendments 20 and 21 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan and the corresponding implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 660. Amendment 20 established the trawl rationalization program that consists of: an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for the shorebased trawl fleet (including whiting and nonwhiting sectors), and cooperative programs for the at-sea mothership and catcher/processor trawl fleets (whiting only). Amendment 21 set long-term allocations for the limited entry trawl sectors of certain groundfish species.

    In the IFQ fishery, NMFS initially allocated quota shares (QS) based on allocation formulas developed through the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council). Target species QS was allocated using limited entry trawl permit catch history. Overfished species QS was allocated based on QS of 11 target species, area of catch based on logbook data, and average bycatch ratios from observer data. The widow rockfish stock was overfished at the time of initial allocation, so widow rockfish QS was allocated to QS permit owners using the overfished species formula.

    Amendment 20 states that when an overfished species is rebuilt, there may be a reallocation of QS to facilitate the reestablishment of historic fishing opportunities. In its May 2012 Status of the Stocks Report, NMFS officially declared widow rockfish rebuilt. Based on the 2011 stock assessment results, which indicated that widow was rebuilt, the Council decided that it would consider a reallocation of widow rockfish QS. In June 2012 QS for all species was not yet transferrable, but the Council placed a moratorium on the future transfer of widow rockfish QS until the reallocation could be considered, to protect permit owners from trading an asset that the Council might redistribute. In November 2014 the Council adopted a range of alternatives for widow rockfish QS reallocation, and in April 2015 made a final recommendation to NMFS to reallocate widow rockfish using a modified target species formula.

    Accumulation limits in the IFQ program cap the amount of QS or individual bycatch quota (IBQ) that a person, individually or collectively, may own or control (QS and IBQ control limits), and set limits on the amount of quota pounds (QP) that a vessel may catch or hold in its vessel account during the year (annual vessel limits). Overfished species such as widow rockfish also have QP vessel limits (also called daily limits) that restrict the amount of available overfished species QP that a vessel account can hold on any given day.

    Proposed Action

    NMFS proposes this rule to: (1) Reallocate widow rockfish QS in the shorebased IFQ fishery to more closely reflect historic target fishing opportunities; (2) remove the moratorium on widow QS trading once reallocation and any appeals are completed; (3) set a divestiture deadline in case the reallocation puts any QS permit owner over the widow rockfish QS control limit or the aggregate nonwhiting control limit; and (4) remove the overfished species daily vessel limit for widow rockfish that restricts the amount of available QP that any vessel owner can hold on a given day. Each of these proposed actions is described in further detail below.

    Widow Rockfish Reallocation

    In 2011, NMFS initially allocated QS for 29 different species to limited entry trawl permit owners in the form of a new QS permit and associated online account (lingcod was later subdivided into two areas, so there are currently 30 IFQ species). Each year NMFS allocates QPs to QS permit owners in their online accounts, based on the amount of QS each permit owner holds and the current sector allocation. QS permit owners must transfer these pounds to a vessel account in order for them to be fished, and when a vessel goes out fishing in the IFQ program, the landings and discards are debited against their vessel account much like a check being debited against a checking account. In addition to transferring annual pounds to vessel accounts, QS permit owners can also permanently transfer shares between QS accounts (for all species except widow rockfish, pending the widow rockfish reallocation). When a QS permit owner transfers QS, they are permanently transferring their ability to access and use that percentage of the annual sector allocation. For example, if QS permit owner A sold all of their sablefish South of 36° N to permit owner B, permit owner A would no longer be allocated any sablefish South of 36° N. QPs in future years.

    The QS and IBQ that was initially allocated in 2011 was calculated in four different groups, with four different allocation formulas: 21 target species in “Group 1;” 6 incidentally caught overfished species, including widow rockfish, in “Group 2;” canary rockfish—an incidentally-caught overfished species calculated using a different formula than Group 2 species—in “Group 3;” and Pacific halibut IBQ in “Group 4.”

    The widow rockfish stock was overfished at the time of initial allocation, and therefore widow QS was calculated using a Group 2 formula. Because the Group 2 formula was based on the amount of target species (Group 1 species) QS the permit owner received, the Group 2 QS allocations purposely did not reflect the historical fishing efforts of fishermen who may have targeted those Group 2 species before they became overfished; instead the goal was to address the QS recipient's need to cover incidental catch of those overfished species based on their allocations of target species.

    Consistent with Amendment 20, and at the urging of some fishermen who were interested in a redistribution of widow rockfish QS to reflect target history instead of bycatch needs, the Council adopted a range of widow reallocation alternatives for consideration in November 2014, including: Alternative 1—status quo (no reallocation); Alternative 2—a reallocation based on the Group 1 species formula used at the time of initial allocation, with two suboptions to determine the split of widow rockfish QS between whiting and nonwhiting trips; Alternative 3—a reallocation based on nonwhiting groundfish revenue as a basis for recent participation; and Alternative 4—a reallocation that was a mix between Alternatives 1 and 2, where a portion of widow QS would not be reallocated, and a portion would be reallocated using the formula from Alternative 2. In April 2015, the Council selected the midpoint between the two Alternative 2 suboptions to establish a final alternative, Alternative 5.

    In coming to its final preferred alternative, Alternative 5, the Council took into account the expected impacts of each alternative on harvesters, processors, workers, investments, and communities, using the most recent data available, as reflected in the environmental assessment. The Council considered the geographic distribution of impacts among the communities in Washington, Oregon, and California. The Council chose to blend the Alternative 2 suboptions, which set proportions for reallocating widow rockfish based on whiting and nonwhiting trips, to balance impacts to the whiting and nonwhiting fisheries. Of all the alternatives, the Council's final preferred alternative moves the most directly toward reestablishing the targeted widow rockfish fishery and is therefore expected to better achieve optimum yield and more immediately benefit struggling communities.

    The proposed action would reallocate widow rockfish QS to individual QS permit owners in the IFQ program using the formula the Council selected in its final preferred alternative. This formula is very similar to the Group 1 species calculation that was initially used to allocate target species QS in 2011. Specifically, NMFS would reallocate widow rockfish in two parts: One portion based on the history of permits retired in the 2003 buyback program, divided equally among qualified limited entry trawl permits, and the other portion based on widow rockfish landings history. NMFS would continue to hold 10 percent of the total widow QS aside for the adaptive management program (AMP).

    For the portion of the reallocation resulting from the buyback, this rule proposes to use landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the 2003 Federal buyback program. NMFS would calculate the total buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history from 1994-2003, separately for whiting and nonwhiting trips. The whiting and nonwhiting QS pools associated with the buyback permits would be divided equally among all qualifying limited entry permits.

    For the portion of the reallocation resulting from widow rockfish landings history, this rule proposes to allocate one pool of QS based on the amount of Pacific whiting QS allocated for each permit, and the other pool based on the amount of widow rockfish caught on nonwhiting trips between 1994 and 2002, dropping the three lowest years. The Council's final preferred alternative excluded 2003 from nonwhiting trip history since widow rockfish was managed for rebuilding from late 2002-2012, and the 2003 regulations aimed to eliminate widow targeting. Because only a few nonwhiting vessels made widow landings in 2003 and because the proposed reallocation formula calculates history based on a limited entry trawl permit's share of the fleet total for each year, a relatively small amount of widow landed by a single permit in 2003 would constitute a large portion of the fleet total for that year and have a disproportionate effect on the widow QS reallocation. The Council decided that this disproportionate allocation would be unfair, and that fishermen who harvested widow in the nonwhiting fishery when it was overfished should not be rewarded with additional QS from those trips. The Council therefore excluded 2003 from the nonwhiting landings history portion of the allocation formula.

    The Council's final preferred alternative reallocates widow rockfish based on the Group 1 species calculation that was initially used to allocate target species QS in 2011. For the portion of the reallocation resulting from the buyback, the 1994-2003 period reflects the years used for Group 1 species at the time of initial allocation. For the portion of the reallocation resulting from widow rockfish landings history, 2003 was dropped from the nonwhiting pool for the reasons described above. 2003 landings would have a minimal impact on the amount of buyback QS allocated equally because all landings would be summed across all years and the buyback portion would be a subset of that total. Therefore no adjustment was made to the years used for the buyback portion (1994-2003). In contrast, 2003 landings would have a disproportionate impact on the portion of widow QS reallocated based on nonwhiting landings history because each permit's portion of landings is determined for each year. Instead of being spread equally (like buyback QS), including 2003 would allocate a disproportionate amount of widow QS directly to fishermen who targeted widow rockfish in the nonwhiting fishery when widow rockfish was overfished, as described above. For these reasons, 2003 history is included in all parts of the formula except the nonwhiting pool of the landings history portion.

    To determine how much of the total QS for each limited entry permit's widow rockfish landings history would be based on whiting trips versus nonwhiting trips, NMFS proposes to weigh each pool according to the initial issuance allocation formula specified in Amendment 21 and current regulations at § 660.140(d)(8)(iv)(A)(10) (which anticipated widow rockfish rebuilding). The formula states that 10 percent or 500 metric tons (mt), whichever is greater, will be allocated to the whiting sectors (shorebased and at-sea whiting), and the remaining amount will be allocated to the nonwhiting shorebased sector.

    By blending the two suboptions for Alternative 2, the Council established a one-time annual catch limit (ACL) value for widow of 2,569 metric tons (mt) to use for the initial issuance allocation formula. This ACL value is needed to determine the harvest guideline amount, limited entry trawl allocation, and whiting and nonwhiting sector allocations. The whiting sector allocation is then subdivided into shorebased and at-sea sector allocations. The shorebased whiting and non-whiting allocations can then be compared in order to set the percentages NMFS would use to weigh whiting and nonwhiting history in the reallocation formula. Figure 1 below walks through the entire calculation from the ACL value to the shorebased whiting and nonwhiting percentages that NMFS proposes to use for widow reallocation, and a full description of the calculation follows.

    EP29JN16.000

    NMFS proposes to use an ACL value of 2,569 mt, the midpoint of the two Alternative 2 suboptions as given in the Council's final preferred alternative, in order to determine how much of the total QS for each limited entry permit's widow rockfish landings history would be based on whiting trips versus nonwhiting trips. NMFS proposes to use a set-aside amount of 120 mt, the same value used for the widow rockfish set-aside in 2016 (in Table 2a to 50 CFR part 660, subpart C), to determine the harvest guidelines amount. NMFS would subtract the set-aside amount (120 mt) from the ACL (2,569 mt) in order to determine the harvest guideline amount (2,449 mt).

    Next, NMFS proposes to use a limited entry trawl/non-limited entry trawl split of 91 percent and 9 percent, respectively, the same split percentages used in the 2015-2016 harvest specifications (in Tables 1b and 2b to 50 CFR part 660, subpart C), to determine the limited entry trawl and non-limited entry trawl allocations. NMFS would multiply the harvest guidelines (2,449 mt) by 91 percent in order to determine the limited entry trawl allocation (2,228.59 mt), and by 9 percent in order to determine the non-limited entry trawl allocation (220.41 mt).

    As described above, NMFS proposes to use the initial issuance allocation formula specified in Amendment 21 and current regulations at § 660.140(d)(8)(iv)(A)(10) to determine how much of the limited entry trawl allocation (2,228.59 mt) would be allocated to the whiting and nonwhiting sectors. The formula states that 10 percent or 500 mt, whichever is greater, will be allocated to the whiting sectors (shorebased and at-sea whiting), and the remaining amount will be allocated to the shorebased nonwhiting sector. 500 mt is greater than 10 percent of the limited entry trawl allocation (222.859 mt), so NMFS would allocate 500 mt to the whiting sectors. The remaining amount of the limited entry trawl allocation, 1,728.59 mt, would be allocated to the shorebased nonwhiting sector.

    NMFS proposes to further divide the whiting allocation into shorebased and at-sea whiting sector allocations using a split of 42 percent and 58 percent, respectively, as specified in Amendment 21 and current regulations at § 660.55(f)(2). NMFS would allocate 42 percent of 500 mt (210 mt) to the shorebased whiting sector, and 58 percent of 500 mt (290 mt) to the at-sea whiting sectors.

    Next, NMFS proposes to combine the shorebased whiting and nonwhiting allocations to determine the total shorebased sector allocation. Based on the proposed calculation above, the 210 mt shorebased whiting sector allocation would be added to the 1,728.59 mt shorebased nonwhiting sector allocation, for a total shorebased sector allocation of 1,938.59 mt. The shorebased whiting sector allocation is 10.833 percent of the total shorebased sector allocation (210 mt divided by 1,938.59 mt). The shorebased nonwhiting sector allocation is 89.167 percent of the total shorebased sector allocation (1,728.59 mt divided by 1,938.59 mt). NMFS proposes to use these percentages to determine how much of the total QS for each limited entry permit's widow rockfish landings history would be based on whiting trips versus nonwhiting trips.

    Different ACLs cause different QS amounts to be allocated based on whiting and nonwhiting trips. The Alternative 2 suboptions, suboptions a and b, set two different ACL levels (2,000 mt and 3,790 mt, respectively), and the Council chose the midpoint of those suboptions (2,569 mt) in order to balance the impacts of widow rockfish reallocation to the shorebased whiting and nonwhiting fisheries. The midpoint ACL was chosen such that each limited entry trawl permit would receive QS based on whiting and nonwhiting landing trip history in an amount that is the midpoint of what their QS would have been under suboptions a and b (2,569 mt), rather than the midpoint between 2,000 mt and 3,790 mt (2,895 mt). Table 1 below shows the whiting/nonwhiting split outcomes of each of the Alternative 2 suboptions, and the Council's final preferred alternative whiting/nonwhiting split, which is the midpoint of suboptions a and b.

    Table 1—Whiting/Nonwhiting Split Suboptions and Final Preferred Alternative [Midpoint of suboptions] Alt 2—
  • suboption a
  • (mt)
  • Alt 2—
  • suboption b
  • (mt)
  • Final
  • preferred
  • alternative—
  • midpoint
  • (mt)
  • ACL 2,000 3,790 2,569 Set Asides 120 120 120 Harvest Guidelines (= ACL − set asides) 1,880 3,670 2,449 Limited Entry Trawl (= 91% of harvest guidelines) 1,710.8 3,339.7 2,228.59 Non-Limited Entry Trawl (= 9% of harvest guidelines) 169.2 330.3 220.41 Whiting Sectors (= 10% of limited entry trawl allocation, or 500 mt, whichever is greater) 500 500 500 Shorebased Nonwhiting (remaining LE trawl) 1,210.8 2,839.7 1,728.59 At-Sea Whiting (= 58% of whiting sector allocation) 290 290 290 Shorebased Whiting (= 42% of whiting sector allocation) 210 210 210 Total Shorebased Allocation (= shorebased nonwhiting + shorebased whiting) 1,420.8 3,049.7 1,938.59 Whiting trip percentage for widow rockfish QS landings history 14.780% 6.886% 10.833% Nonwhiting trip percentage for widow rockfish QS landings history 85.220% 93.114% 89.167%
    Eligibility

    QS permit owners are only eligible for a reallocation of widow rockfish if they are one of the 128 original QS permit owners who initially received a QS permit in 2011 based on limited entry trawl permit ownership. The 10 shorebased whiting processors who received initial QS permits with an allocation of Pacific whiting only are not eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS. Those QS permit owners who have obtained a QS permit since 2014 when NMFS accepted new QS permit applications are not eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS. However, since 2011, NMFS has received several U.S. court orders directing NMFS to transfer assets of a deceased person to a beneficiary. For those new QS permits to which NMFS administratively transferred widow rockfish QS based on a U.S. court order, NMFS will reallocate widow rockfish QS directly to these new QS permits because the shares were transferred through a legal process to a beneficiary. Limited entry trawl permit owners who did not apply for and receive a QS permit in 2011 are not eligible for reallocated widow rockfish QS; instead any history accruing to their permit will be redistributed among all other QS permit owners in proportion to their reallocated widow rockfish QS. If any QS permit owner submits a complete widow rockfish QS reallocation application but does not renew their QS permit and account for 2017, NMFS would still reallocate widow rockfish QS to the permit owner but, as stated currently in regulation, would not allocate QP for any species to a non-renewed permit. The permit owner could renew for the following year, which would enable him or her to receive and transfer QP.

    Past landings history associated with each limited entry trawl permit will accrue to the current QS permit owner who received initial QS for that limited entry permit, even if the limited entry trawl permit ownership has changed since 2011. For example, if the fictitious company XYZ Fishing owned two limited entry trawl permits in 2010: Permit A and Permit B, they would have received a QS permit (QS Permit #1) in 2011 with an initial issuance of QS that was based on the history of limited entry trawl Permits A and B. For the purposes of widow rockfish reallocation, the linkage between limited entry trawl Permits A and B and QS Permit #1 will remain in place, so that QS Permit #1 will be reallocated widow rockfish QS based on the history from limited entry trawl Permits A and B, regardless of who owns those limited entry trawl permits now. If XYZ Fishing sold both limited entry trawl permits in 2013, and therefore no longer owns them at the time widow rockfish is reallocated, the company would still receive the reallocated widow rockfish QS from limited entry Permits A and B to QS Permit #1.

    Based on the Council's action, NMFS proposes to reallocate widow rockfish based on the limited entry permit and QS permit relationship described above because the limited entry permit ownership was severed from the QS permit ownership at the time QS permits became effective in 2011. After that time, limited entry trawl permits could be sold without any effect on the QS holdings, and QS percentages could be transferred without any effect on the limited entry permit. It is likely that QS permit owners would not have sold their limited entry trawl permits if they thought they would not receive the reallocated widow rockfish QS, and similarly, it is likely that any persons who purchased a limited entry trawl permit did not believe that they would receive any future QS as part of the purchase.

    For purposes of the widow rockfish reallocation calculation, NMFS intends to use landings data from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission's PacFIN database. Although QS permit owners had the opportunity to review and revise their data in 2009, they may not have reviewed their widow rockfish history closely at that time, since widow rockfish was overfished and the QS allocation used a Group 2 formula that was not based on widow landings. NMFS wants to provide an opportunity for this review before we “freeze” the database for purposes of reallocation. “Freezing” the database means that NMFS intends to extract a dataset of the PacFIN database as of July 27, 2016, and will use that dataset for the reallocation of widow rockfish. QS permit owners have been on notice since 2012 that widow rockfish might be reallocated, and have been able to review their fish ticket data since that time. NMFS also specified at the April 2016 Council meeting that we intended to use landings data from the PacFIN database to calculate the reallocated widow rockfish QS, and that we planned to provide permit owners the opportunity to review their widow catch data before we take a snapshot of the database for the purpose of reallocation.

    If QS permit owners in the shorebased trawl IFQ program have concerns over the accuracy of their widow rockfish data in the PacFIN database, they should contact the state in which they landed those fish to correct any errors. Any revisions to an entity's fish tickets would have to be approved by the state in order to be accepted, and must be completed as of the date we freeze the database in order for the updated information to be used for the widow rockfish reallocation formula. State contacts are as follows: (1) Washington—Marjorie Morningstar (360-902-2854, [email protected]); (2) Oregon—Nadine Hurtado (503-947-6247, [email protected]); and (3) California—Marine Fisheries Statistical Unit (562-342-7130).

    Application Process

    After NMFS freezes the database for the purpose of reallocation, and assuming the final rule publishes, we will mail prefilled applications and widow rockfish reallocation QS amounts to each eligible QS permit owner (calculated using the formula in the final rule). On the application, the applicant (the QS permit owner) must: (1) Indicate whether or not they accept NMFS' calculation of the reallocated widow rockfish QS for each limited entry trawl permit, (2) provide a written description of what part of the reallocation formula requires correction and credible information to support the request for correction if they do not accept the calculation, and (3) sign, date and declare that the information in the application is true, correct and complete. NMFS proposes that complete, certified applications would be due to NMFS West Coast Region on or before September 15, 2016, that mailed applications would be postmarked no later than September 15, 2016, and that hand-delivered applications would be received no later than 5 p.m. on September 15, 2016. NMFS would not accept or review any applications postmarked or received in person after the application deadline, and any QS permit owner who does not submit an application would not be eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS. NMFS would not accept applications by email. NMFS would redistribute the shares from any incomplete or non-submitted applications to all other QS permit owners who are eligible for a reallocation of widow rockfish QS in proportion to their reallocated widow QS amount.

    Assuming the rule will be final, for all complete, certified applications that were received by the application deadline date, NMFS would issue an initial administrative determination (IAD) on or before October 1, 2016. In the IAD, NMFS would inform the applicant whether or not their application for reallocated widow rockfish QS was approved. Applicants would have 60 calendar days from the date of the IAD to appeal the decision. If any appeals were received, NMFS would reallocate widow QS amounts in 2017 consistent with all of the IADs and await any action resulting from an appeal until 2018. More information is provided below about how the appeals process would affect the widow rockfish QS trading start date and the divestiture deadline.

    If an application is approved, the QS permit owner would receive a 2017 QS permit showing the new widow rockfish QS amount in December 2016, and the new QS percentage would show in the associated QS account on or about January 1, 2017. The 2017 IFQ sector allocation for widow rockfish would be allocated to QS accounts on or about January 1, 2017, based on the reallocated widow rockfish QS amount.

    Widow Rockfish QS Trading

    Widow rockfish QS has not been transferrable at any time since the start of the IFQ program in 2011. The Council and NMFS initially placed a two-year moratorium on QS trading for all IFQ species in order to create stability during the transition to a new management system. In 2012, the Council decided to reconsider the initial widow rockfish QS allocations, and halted future trading of widow rockfish QS until the reconsideration could be completed. In August 2012, NMFS delayed QS trading for all species for an additional year in response to unrelated litigation that required the Council and NMFS to reconsider the initial allocation of Pacific whiting. In 2013 NMFS put into regulation a moratorium for the transfer of widow rockfish QS until the reallocation could be considered and implemented, but QS trading for all other IFQ species began on January 1, 2014. Since that time, QS permit owners have been able to transfer QS for all species except widow rockfish.

    NMFS proposes to lift the moratorium on the transfer of widow rockfish QS once the reallocation is completed and any resulting appeals have been processed; successful appeals could affect all reallocation amounts. Under the proposed rule, once QS permit owners have their reallocated QS percentages, and can be sure those percentages would not change as the result of an appeal, permit owners could begin trading. If NMFS does not receive any appeals by the appeals deadline, we propose to lift the moratorium on widow rockfish QS trading for January 1, 2017. If NMFS receives any appeals by the deadline, we propose to lift the moratorium on widow rockfish QS trading for January 1, 2018, because that is the date when any appeal outcome that might cause a change in widow allocations would be finalized. NMFS proposes to announce the official start date of widow rockfish QS trading through a public notice in December 2016, once we are able to determine whether appeals have been submitted.

    Deadline for Divestiture

    Control limits in the IFQ program cap the amount of QS or IBQ that a person, individually or collectively, may own or control. Amendment 20 and implementing regulations set individual control limits for each of the 30 IFQ species, as well as an aggregate limit of 2.7 percent across nonwhiting species. The individual control limit for widow rockfish is 5.1 percent. Consistent with the trawl rationalization program, some QS permit owners were initially allocated an amount of QS and IBQ that exceeded one or more of the control limits, based on their catch history during the qualifying years. The regulations provided these QS permit owners an adjustment period to hold the excess shares, but required divestiture of excess QS by November 30, 2015, for all species except widow rockfish, because widow rockfish QS was being considered for reallocation and could not be traded.

    When NMFS reallocates widow rockfish, we propose to allocate the full amount the applicant qualifies for, even if it pushes the permit owner over the 5.1 percent control limit for widow, or the 2.7 percent nonwhiting aggregate limit. NMFS would allow the QS permit owner an adjustment period to hold the excess shares and divest, consistent with the process that was used during initial allocation in 2011. Should the reallocation of widow rockfish put any QS permit owner over a QS control limit, NMFS, based on the Council's recommendation, proposes to set a divestiture deadline of November 30 in the year widow rockfish QS becomes transferrable. If NMFS does not receive any appeals on the reallocation, widow QS would become transferrable on or about January 1, 2017, and any QS permit owner who exceeded the control limit as the result of the reallocation would have until November 30, 2017, to divest of their excess holdings. If NMFS does receive one or more appeals, widow QS would become transferrable on or about January 1, 2018, and any QS permit owner who exceeded the control limit as the result of the reallocation would have until November 30, 2018, to divest of their excess holdings. QS trading occurs between January 1 through November 30 each year, but trading is halted in the month of December so that NMFS can set QP allocations based on the static year-end amount of QS and mail QS permits that are effective January 1 of the following year. This 11-month adjustment period would allow the permit owner to benefit from one year of holding excess QS, and from the sale or gifting of such an excess, but they would be required to divest of their excess in a timely manner, consistent with existing regulatory procedures.

    Widow Rockfish Daily Vessel Limit

    Vessel limits in vessel accounts restrict the amount of QPs that any vessel can catch or hold. Annual QP vessel limits are a set percentage of the IFQ sector allocation, and NMFS calculates and publishes a table annually showing the quota pound equivalents. For example, the annual QP vessel limit for widow rockfish is 8.5 percent of the current year's sector allocation. In 2016, the IFQ sector allocation for widow rockfish is 3,131,931 pounds, so the maximum amount any vessel owner can catch or bring into their vessel account in 2016 is 8.5 percent of the sector allocation, or 266,214 pounds. Unused QP vessel limits, also called “daily vessel limits,” only apply to overfished species and cap the amount of overfished species QPs any vessel account can have sitting available in their account on a given day. For example, the daily QP vessel limit for widow rockfish is 5.1 percent, or 159,728 pounds in 2016, which is lower than the annual QP vessel limit. So if a vessel account owner held the full daily vessel limit amount (159,728 pounds) available in their account and then caught 20,000 pounds, they would have 139,728 available QPs and could bring in 20,000 more, up to the daily and annual vessel limit.

    The Council and NMFS established daily vessel limits to prevent hoarding of available overfished species QPs in any one vessel account, since the IFQ sector allocations of some overfished species are so low. Now that widow rockfish is rebuilt, and the ACL has increased, NMFS proposes to remove the daily vessel limit since daily vessel limits only apply to overfished species. NMFS would remove the daily vessel limit for widow rockfish only, and would not change widow's annual vessel limit or the vessel limit of any other species. This change would better reflect the status of widow rockfish as rebuilt, and allow fishermen to hold the full annual vessel limit at any time if they chose to do so, in line with every other non-overfished IFQ species.

    Classification

    Pursuant to sections 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, other provisions of the MSA, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.

    The Council prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for this action. The draft EA is available on the Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/ or on NMFS' Web site at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/groundfish_catch_shares/rules_regulations/trawl_regulations_compliance_guides.html.

    NMFS is amending the supporting statement for the Pacific Coast groundfish trawl rationalization program permit and license information collection Office of Management and Business (OMB) Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requirements (OMB Control No. 0648-0620) to include an application form for widow rockfish reallocation. NMFS estimates the public reporting burden for this collection of information to average one hour per form, including the time for reviewing instructions, reviewing data and calculations for reallocated widow rockfish QS, and completing the form. NMFS requests any comments on the addition of the widow rockfish reallocation application form to the PRA package, including whether the paperwork would unnecessarily burden any QS permit owners.

    Pursuant to the procedures established to implement section 6 of Executive Order 12866, the Office of Management and Budget has determined that this proposed rule is not significant.

    This proposed rule was developed after meaningful collaboration, through the Council process, with the tribal representative on the Council. The proposed regulations have no direct effect on the tribes.

    NMFS prepared an initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) for this rule, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact that this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) was also prepared on the action and is included as part of the IRFA. A copy of the IRFA is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and per the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 604(a), a summary of the IRFA follows:

    When an agency proposes regulations, the RFA requires the agency to prepare and make available for public comment an IRFA that describes the impact on small businesses, non-profit enterprises, local governments, and other small entities. The IRFA aids the agency in considering all reasonable regulatory alternatives that would minimize the economic impact on affected small entities.

    The Small Business Administration defines a “small” harvesting business as one with combined annual receipts of $11 million or less for all affiliated operations worldwide. For related fish-processing businesses, a small business is one that employs 750 or fewer persons for all affiliated operations worldwide.

    This rule affects 128 QS permit owners who have received widow quota shares. When renewing their QS permits, permit owners are asked if they considered themselves small businesses based on the SBA definitions of small businesses provided above. Based on their responses, NMFS estimates that there are 110 small businesses affected by this rule.

    In January 2011, NMFS implemented the trawl rationalization program (a catch share program) for the Pacific coast groundfish limited entry trawl fishery, which includes an individual fishing quota program for limited entry trawl participants. At the time of implementation, the widow rockfish stock was overfished and quota shares were allocated to quota share permit owners in the individual fishing quota program using an overfished species formula. Now that widow rockfish has been rebuilt, NMFS proposes to reallocate quota shares to initial recipients based on a target species formula that will more closely represent the fishing history of permit owners when widow rockfish was a targeted species. Through this rule NMFS also proposes to allow the trading of widow rockfish quota shares, set a deadline for divestiture in case the reallocation of widow rockfish puts any QS permit owner over an accumulation limit, and remove the daily vessel limit for widow rockfish since it is no longer an overfished species. The reallocation of widow rockfish and lifting of the moratorium are the major measures analyzed below. Setting the divestiture deadline is administrative in nature, while elimination of the daily limit is already required because widow is no longer an overfished species.

    The Council adopted a range of widow rockfish reallocation alternatives for consideration in November 2014 including: Alternative 1—status quo (no reallocation), Alternative 2—reallocate widow using same formula (Group I species formula) that was used for other target species at the at the time of initial allocation, Alternative 3—reallocate widow based on nonwhiting groundfish revenue as a basis for recent participation, and Alternative 4—reallocate widow by blending Alternatives 1 and 2, where a portion of widow QS would not be reallocated, and a portion would be reallocated using the formula from Alternative 2. In April 2015, the Council selected Alternative 2 as its final preferred alternative, and blended two suboptions for the alternative into a final suboption-Alternative 5.

    In assessing these alternatives, the Council took into account expected impacts of each alternative on harvesters, processors, workers, investments, and communities, using the most recent data available, as reflected in the environmental assessment. The Council recognized its final decision as drawing a balance between impacts to the whiting and nonwhiting fishery, not allocating too much away from any one sector, re-establishing historic fisheries, and the geographic distribution of impacts among the communities in Washington, Oregon, and California. This action is part of an overall program designed to ensure that conservation objectives are met and is focused on mitigating some of the distributional effects of those conservation measures. As compared to Alternatives 3 or 4, Alternative 2 and the Council's final preferred alternative, Alternative 5, move most directly toward reestablishing the targeted widow rockfish fishery and is therefore expected to better achieve the OY and more immediately benefit struggling communities.

    The economic dimensions of the fishery are as follows. Annual widow rockfish ex-vessel revenues in the shorebased trawl sector ranged from $5 million to $6 million (inflation adjusted) in the mid-1990s. Annual ex-vessel revenues in the pre-trawl rationalization rebuilding era (2002-2010) averaged about $0.1 million. Since the start of trawl rationalization (2011-2014), annual ex-vessel values averaged $0.3 million. (Widow rockfish was determined to be rebuilt in 2011 and was no longer managed under a rebuilding plan beginning in the 2013-2014 biennial harvest specifications). Estimated widow catch has increased every year: in 2013, approximately 400 mt were caught; in 2014, approximately 650 mt were caught; and in 2015, about 840 mt were caught. With an ex-vessel price of $0.41 per pound, the total revenues earned in the 2015 fishery are about $760,000. The 2016 sector allocation for widow is similar to 2015, and recognizing past growth of the fishery, landings may reach 1,000 mt.

    Widow rockfish is just one of many species landed on the West Coast. During 2015, landings of groundfish, crab, salmon, and other species, generated $335 million in ex-vessel revenues. 2015 groundfish ex-vessel revenues were about $64 million with IFQ revenues estimated at $42 million. Widow rockfish ex-vessel revenues were about $760,000, constituting a very small percentage of total groundfish ex-vessel revenues.

    If the Council increases the 2017 ACL from 2,000 mt (No Action) to 13,508 mt (Alternative 1), revenues could grow to $9.0 million if prices do not change, the number of non-whiting mid-water trawlers rapidly increases, and if processors could process the increased widow rockfish landings and find the proper markets. These changes would yield an increase of $23.1 million in total West Coast income impacts, and an increase of an estimated 320 jobs.

    This rulemaking proposes to reallocate widow rockfish QS and allow those shares to be traded. With trading, QS will flow to those QS holders that most efficiently can use the QS—by using the associated QP to support their own vessels, selling or leasing the QP to other vessels, or by selling the QS to others. At the fishery level, in the long run, the alternatives reviewed here will not have a major effect on the overall amount of fish landed and processed across all the groundfish fishing communities.

    At the individual quota share holder level, this rule affects the starting point by which QS is traded and the amounts that can be traded by individual QS holders. Depending on the alternative, the total amount of QS that is to be reallocated in the IFQ fishery ranges from 0% (Alternative 1, Status Quo, Bycatch) to 28.2% (Alternative 5, Alternative 2 Midpoint). Based on ex-vessel price of $0.41 per pound, and projected sector allocations of 12,000 mt based on 2017 ACL of 13,500 mt, and projected attainment rate of 80%, the annual value of the quota pounds associated with a potential transfer of 28.2% of the quota shares is about $2.5 million. Depending on the alternative, the potential transfer of QS among communities ranges from 0 to 18%. The annual value of quota pounds associated with QS being transferred is about $1.5 million based on the 2017 ACL.

    The proposed 2017-18 ACLs of 13,500 mt and 13,800 mt are six times higher than 2015-2016 ACLs. From a fishery-wide perspective, there should not be any negative impacts on communities, QS holders, or processors because of the increase in ACLs. This huge increase in the ACLs provides increased opportunities for all of these participants.

    However, with any reallocation scheme there are some that are negatively impacted. The maximum reduction for a QS holder under either Alternative 2 or 5 is about 1.9%. Based on 2015 revenues of $760,000, the QP associated with this reduction would have a value of $15,000. Under the 2017 ACL, estimated revenues are $9.0 million, and a loss of 1.9% would be worth about $175,000. At an individual level, these two values represent maximum 2015 losses ($15,000) versus maximum potential future losses should the high ACL be implemented, prices stay constant, and 80 percent of the sector allocation be harvested ($175,000). Others will be positively impacted. The maximum increase for a QS holder under any alternative is about 2%.

    NMFS does not believe that small businesses as a class of QS holders will be negatively impacted by the proposed reallocation of widow rockfish QS. The reallocation options in large part decrease widow QS holdings for some small businesses while increasing QS holdings for other small businesses, based on historical reliance on widow rockfish as a target species. Trading of widow QS should also be beneficial to all small businesses as it gives these businesses the option to buy, sell, or lease their widow QS. Setting the divesture deadline gives any affected entities time to sell off their excess QS. Eliminating the no-longer-needed daily vessel limit for widow rockfish provides more flexibility to small businesses.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

    2. In § 660.140: a. Revise paragraphs (d)(3)(ii)(B)(2) and (d)(4)(v); b. Add paragraph (d)(9); and c. Revise paragraph (e)(4)(i) to read as follows:
    § 660.140 Shorebased IFQ Program.

    (d) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (B) * * *

    (2) Transfer of QS or IBQ between QS accounts. Beginning January 1, 2014, QS permit owners may transfer QS (except for widow rockfish QS) or IBQ to another owner of a QS permit, subject to accumulation limits and approval by NMFS. Beginning January 1, 2017 (if there are no appeals to the reallocation of widow rockfish), or January 1, 2018 (if there are appeals to the reallocation of widow rockfish), QS permit owners may transfer widow rockfish QS to another owner of a QS permit, subject to accumulation limits and approval by NMFS. NMFS will announce the QS transfer date for widow rockfish prior to January 1, 2017. QS or IBQ cannot be transferred to a vessel account. Owners of non-renewed QS permits may not transfer QS. QP in QS accounts cannot be transferred between QS accounts. NMFS will allocate QP based on the QS percentages as listed on a QS permit that was renewed during the previous October 1 through November 30 renewal period. QS transfers will be recorded in the QS account but will not become effective for purposes of allocating QPs until the following year. QS or IBQ may not be transferred between December 1 through December 31 each year. Any QS transaction that is pending as of December 1 will be administratively retracted. NMFS will allocate QP for the following year based on the QS percentages as of December 1 of each year.

    (4) * * *

    (v) Divestiture. Accumulation limits will be calculated by first calculating the aggregate non-whiting QS limit and then the individual species QS or IBQ control limits. For QS permit owners (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner named on the permit) that are found to exceed the accumulation limits during the reallocation of widow rockfish QS, an adjustment period will be provided during which they will have to completely divest their QS or IBQ in excess of the accumulation limits. If NMFS identifies that a QS permit owner exceeds the accumulation limits in 2016 or beyond, the QS permit owner must divest of the QS or IBQ in excess of the accumulation limits according to the procedure provided under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. Owners of QS or IBQ in excess of the control limits may receive and use the QP or IBQ pounds associated with that excess, up to the time their divestiture is completed.

    (A) Divestiture and redistribution process in 2016 and beyond. Any person owning or controlling QS or IBQ must comply with the accumulation limits, even if that control is not reflected in the ownership records available to NMFS as specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (iii) of this section. If NMFS identifies that a QS permit owner exceeds an accumulation limit in 2016 or beyond for a reason other than the reallocation of widow rockfish, NMFS will notify the QS permit owner that he or she has 90 days to divest of the excess QS or IBQ. In the case that a QS permit owner exceeds the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings, the QS permit owner may abandon QS to NMFS within 60 days of the notification by NMFS, using the procedure provided under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(C) of this section. After the 90-day divestiture period, NMFS will revoke all QS or IBQ held by a person (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner names on the permit) in excess of the accumulation limits following the procedures specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(v)(D) through (G) of this section. All abandoned or revoked shares will be redistributed to all other QS permit owners in proportion to their QS or IBQ holdings on or about January 1 of the following calendar year, based on current ownership records, except that no person will be allocated an amount of QS or IBQ that would put that person over an accumulation limit.

    (B) Divestiture and redistribution process for the reallocation of widow rockfish. Any person owning or controlling QS or IBQ must comply with the accumulation limits, even if that control is not reflected in the ownership records available to NMFS as specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (iii) of this section. If the reallocation of widow rockfish puts any QS permit owner over an accumulation limit, the QS permit owner will have until widow rockfish becomes transferrable to divest of their excess widow rockfish QS. In the case that a QS permit owner exceeds the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings as the result of the reallocation of widow rockfish, the permit owner may abandon QS to NMFS by November 15 of the year widow rockfish becomes transferrable, using the procedure provided under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(C) of this section. After the widow rockfish reallocation divestiture period, NMFS will revoke all QS and IBQ held by a person (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner names on the permit) in excess of the accumulation limits following the procedures specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(v)(D) through (G) of this section. All abandoned or revoked shares will be redistributed to all other QS permit owners in proportion to their QS or IBQ holdings on or about January 1 of the following calendar year, based on current ownership records, except that no person will be allocated an amount of QS or IBQ that would put that person over an accumulation limit.

    (C) Abandonment of QS. QS permit owners that are over the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings may voluntarily abandon QS if they notify NMFS in writing by the applicable deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. The written abandonment request must include the following information: QS permit number, IFQ species, and the QS percentage to be abandoned. Either the QS permit owner or an authorized representative of the QS permit owner must sign the request. QS permit owners choosing to utilize the abandonment option will permanently relinquish to NMFS any right to the abandoned QS, and the QS will be redistributed as described under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any abandoned shares.

    (D) Revocation. NMFS will revoke QS from any QS permit owner who exceeds an accumulation limit after the divestiture deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. NMFS will follow the revocation approach summarized in the following table and explained under paragraphs (d)(4)(v)(E) through (G) of this section:

    If, after the divestiture deadline, a QS permit owner exceeds . . . Then . . . An individual species control limit in one QS permit NMFS will revoke excess QS at the species level. An individual species control limit across multiple QS permits NMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount the QS percentage from each permit contributes to the total QS percentage owned. The control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings NMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount of the aggregate overage divided by the aggregate total owned.

    (E) Revocation of excess QS or IBQ from one QS permit. In cases where a person has not divested to the control limits for individual species in one QS permit by the deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section, NMFS will revoke excess QS at the species level in order to get that person to the limits. NMFS will redistribute the revoked QS following the process specified in paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any revoked shares.

    (F) Revocation of excess QS or IBQ from multiple QS permits. In cases where a person has not divested to the control limits for individual species across QS permits by the deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section, NMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount the QS percentage from each permit contributes to the total QS percentage owned. NMFS will redistribute the revoked QS following the process specified in paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any revoked shares.

    (G) Revocation of QS in excess of the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings. In cases where a QS permit owner has not divested to the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings by the deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section, NMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount of the aggregate overage divided by the aggregate total owned. NMFS will redistribute the revoked QS following the process in paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any revoked shares.

    (9) Reallocation of widow rockfish QS. (i) Additional definitions. The following definitions are applicable to paragraph (d)(9) of this section and apply to terms used for the purposes of reallocation of widow rockfish QS:

    (A) Nonwhiting trip means a fishing trip where less than 50 percent by weight of all fish reported on the state landing receipt is whiting.

    (B) PacFIN means the Pacific Fisheries Information Network of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

    (C) Relative history means the landings history of a permit for a species, year, and area subdivision, divided by the total fleet history of the sector for that species, year, and area subdivision, as appropriate.

    (D) Whiting trip means a fishing trip where greater than or equal to 50 percent by weight of all fish reported on the state landing receipt is whiting.

    (ii) Eligibility criteria for receiving reallocated widow rockfish QS. Only the owner of an original QS permit (non-shoreside processor) to which QS was initially allocated in 2011 is eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS based on the history of the limited entry trawl permit(s) that accrued to that QS permit, regardless of current limited entry permit ownership. For those new QS permits to which widow rockfish was administratively transferred by NMFS under U.S. court order, NMFS will reallocate widow rockfish QS directly to the new QS permit. Any limited entry trawl permit owners who did not submit an initial application for a QS permit will not be eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS.

    (iii) Steps for widow rockfish QS reallocation formula. The widow rockfish QS reallocation formula is applied in the following steps:

    (A) First, for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will determine a preliminary QS allocation for non-whiting trips.

    (B) Second, for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will determine a preliminary QS allocation for whiting trips.

    (C) Third, for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will combine the amounts resulting from paragraphs (d)(9)(iii)(A) and (B) of this section.

    (D) Fourth, NMFS will reduce the total widow QS reallocated to QS permit owners by 10 percent as a set aside for AMP.

    (iv) Reallocation formula for specific widow rockfish QS amounts.

    (A) Reallocation formula rules. The following rules will be applied to data for the purpose of calculating the initial reallocation of widow rockfish QS:

    (1) Limited entry trawl permits will be assigned catch history or relative history based on the landing history of the vessel(s) associated with the permit at the time the landings were made.

    (2) The relevant PacFIN dataset includes species compositions based on port sampled data and applied to data at the vessel level.

    (3) Only landings of widow rockfish which were caught in the exclusive economic zone or adjacent state waters off Washington, Oregon and California will be used for calculating the reallocation of widow rockfish QS.

    (4) History from limited entry trawl permits that have been combined with a permit that qualified for a C/P endorsement and which has shorebased permit history will not be included in the preliminary QS and IBQ allocation formula, other than in the determination of fleet history used in the calculation of relative history for permits that do not have a C/P endorsement.

    (5) History of illegal landings and landings made under non-whiting EFPs that are in excess of the cumulative limits in place for the non-EFP fishery will not count toward the allocation of QS.

    (6) The limited entry trawl permit's landings history includes the landings history of permits that have been previously combined with that permit.

    (7) If two or more limited entry trawl permits have been simultaneously registered to the same vessel, NMFS will split the landing history evenly between all such limited entry trawl permits during the time they were simultaneously registered to the vessel.

    (8) Unless otherwise noted, the calculation for the reallocation of widow rockfish QS under paragraph (d)(9) will be based on state landing receipts (fish tickets) as recorded in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 27, 2016.

    (9) For limited entry trawl permits, landings under provisional “A” permits that did not become “A” permits and “B” permits will not count toward the reallocation of widow QS, other than in the determination of fleet history used in the calculation of relative history for permits that do not have a C/P endorsement.

    (10) For limited entry trawl permits, NMFS will calculate the reallocation of widow rockfish QS separately based on whiting trips and nonwhiting trips, and will weigh each calculation according to a split between whiting trips and nonwhiting trips of 10.833 percent for whiting trips and 89.167 percent for nonwhiting trips, which is a one-time proportion necessary for the reallocation formula.

    (B) Preliminary widow rockfish QS reallocation for nonwhiting trips. The preliminary reallocation process in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(A) of this section follows a two-step process, one to allocate a pool of QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits and the other to allocate the remainder of the preliminary QS based on permit history. Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent will be allocated. In later steps, this will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(C) and (D) to determine the QS allocation.

    (1) QS to be allocated equally. The pool of QS for equal allocation will be determined using the nonwhiting trip landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program (i.e., buyback program) (68 FR 42613, July 18, 2003). The nonwhiting trip QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be the buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history for the 1994 to 2003 nonwhiting trip reallocation period. The calculation will be based on total absolute pounds with no dropped years and no other adjustments. The QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be divided equally among all qualifying limited entry permits.

    (2) QS to be allocated based on each permit's history. The pool of QS for allocation based on limited entry trawl permit nonwhiting trip history will be the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS allocated equally. This pool will be allocated to each qualifying limited entry trawl permit based on the permit's relative nonwhiting trip history from 1994 through 2002, dropping the three lowest years. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will calculate relative history using the following methodology. First, NMFS will sum the permit's widow rockfish landings on nonwhiting trips for each year in the reallocation period. Second, NMFS will divide each permit's annual sum by the shoreside limited entry trawl fleet's annual sum. NMFS will then calculate a total relative history for each permit by adding all relative histories for the permit together and subtracting the three years with the lowest relative history for the permit. The result for each permit will be divided by the aggregate sum of all total relative histories of all qualifying limited entry trawl permits. NMFS will then multiply the result from this calculation by the amount of QS in the pool to be allocated based on each permit's history.

    (C) Preliminary widow rockfish QS reallocation for whiting trips. The preliminary reallocation process in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(B) of this section follows a two-step process, one to allocate a pool of QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits and the other to allocate the remainder of the preliminary QS based on permit history. Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent will be allocated. In later steps, this will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(C) and (D) to determine the QS allocation.

    (1) QS to be allocated equally. The pool of QS for equal allocation will be determined using whiting trip landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program (i.e., buyback program) (68 FR 42613, July 18, 2003). The whiting trip QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be the buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history for the 1994 to 2003 whiting trip reallocation period. The calculation will be based on total absolute pounds with no dropped years and no other adjustments. The QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be divided equally among all qualifying limited entry permits.

    (2) QS to be allocated based on each permit's history. The pool of QS for allocation based on each limited entry trawl permit's whiting trip history will be the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS allocated equally. Widow rockfish QS for this pool will be allocated pro-rata based on each limited entry trawl permit's whiting QS from whiting trips that was established in 2010 and used to allocate the whiting trip portion of whiting QS at the time of initial implementation in 2011. Pro-rata means a percent that is equal to the percent of whiting QS from whiting trips.

    (D) QS from limited entry permits calculated separately for non-whiting trips and whiting trips. NMFS will calculate the portion of widow QS a limited entry trawl permit receives based on non-whiting trips and whiting trips separately, and will weight each preliminary QS in proportion to the one-time reallocation percentage between whiting trips and non-whiting trips of 10.833 percent and 89.167 percent, respectively.

    (1) Nonwhiting trips. To determine the amount of widow QS for non-whiting trips for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the preliminary QS for the permit from paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(A) of this section by the one-time reallocation percentage of 89.167 percent for non-whiting trips.

    (2) Whiting trips. To determine the amount of widow QS for whiting trips for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the preliminary QS for the permit from paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(B) of this section by the one-time reallocation percentage of 10.833 percent for whiting trips.

    (E) QS for each limited entry trawl permit. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will add the results for the permit from paragraphs (d)(9)(iv)(D)(1) and (D)(2) of this section in order to determine the total QS widow for that permit.

    (F) Adjustment for AMP set-aside. NMFS will reduce the widow QS reallocated to each permit owner by a proportional amount that is equivalent to a reduction of 10 percent across all widow reallocation recipients' holdings as a set aside for AMP.

    (v) Widow rockfish QS reallocation application. Persons may apply for issuance of reallocated widow rockfish QS by completing and submitting a prequalified application. A “prequalified application” is a partially pre-filled application where NMFS has preliminarily determined the landings history for each limited entry trawl permit that qualifies the applicant for a reallocation of widow QS. The application package will include a prequalified application (with landings history). The completed application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered to NMFS within normal business hours no later than September 15, 2016. If an applicant fails to submit a completed application by the deadline date, they forgo the opportunity to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS and their percentage will be redistributed to other QS permit owners in proportion to their reallocated widow QS amount.

    (vi) Corrections to the application. If an applicant does not accept NMFS' calculation in the prequalified application either in part or whole, the applicant must identify in writing to NMFS which parts the applicant believes to be inaccurate, and must provide specific credible information to substantiate any requested corrections. The completed application and specific credible information must be provided to NMFS in writing by the application deadline. Written communication must either be post-marked or hand-delivered to NMFS within normal business hours no later than September 15, 2016. Requests for corrections may only be granted for the following reasons:

    (A) Errors in NMFS' use or application of data, including:

    (1) Errors in NMFS' use or application of landings data from PacFIN;

    (2) Errors in NMFS' application of the reallocation formula;

    (3) Errors in identification of the QS permit owner, permit combinations, or vessel registration as listed in NMFS permit database;

    (vii) Submission of the application and application deadline.

    (A) Submission of the application. Submission of the complete, certified application includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    (1) The applicant is required to sign and date the application and declare that the contents are true, correct and complete.

    (2) The applicant must certify that they qualify to own reallocated widow rockfish QS.

    (3) The applicant must indicate they accept NMFS' calculation of reallocated widow rockfish QS provided in the prequalified application, or provide a written statement and credible information if they do not accept NMFS' calculation.

    (4) NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to make an IAD on reallocated widow rockfish QS.

    (B) Application deadline. A complete, certified application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered within normal business hours to NMFS, West Coast Region, Permits Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115, no later than September 15, 2016. NMFS will not accept or review any applications received or postmarked after the application deadline. There are no hardship exemptions for this deadline.

    (viii) Initial Administrative Determination (IAD). NMFS will issue an IAD for all complete, certified applications received by the application deadline date. If NMFS approves an application for reallocated widow rockfish QS, the IAD will say so, and the applicant will receive a 2017 QS permit specifying the reallocated amount of widow rockfish QS the applicant has qualified for in December 2016. If NMFS disapproves or partially disapproves an application, the IAD will provide the reasons. As part of the IAD, NMFS will indicate to the best of its knowledge whether the QS permit owner qualifies for QS or IBQ in amounts that exceed the accumulation limits and are subject to divestiture provisions given at paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section. If the applicant does not appeal the IAD within 60 calendar days of the date on the IAD, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

    (ix) Appeals. For reallocated widow rockfish QS issued under this section, the appeals process and timelines are specified at § 660.25(g), subpart C. For the reallocation of widow rockfish QS, the bases for appeal are described in paragraph (d)(9)(vi) of this section. Items not subject to appeal include, but are not limited to, the accuracy of permit landings data in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 27, 2016.

    (e) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (i) Vessel limits. For each IFQ species or species group specified in this paragraph, vessel accounts may not have QP or IBQ pounds in excess of the QP vessel limit (annual limit) in any year, and, for species covered by unused QP vessel limits (daily limit), may not have QP or IBQ pounds in excess of the unused QP vessel limit at any time. The QP vessel limit (annual limit) is calculated as all QPs transferred in minus all QPs transferred out of the vessel account. The unused QP vessel limits (daily limit) is calculated as unused available QPs plus any pending outgoing transfer of QPs.

    Species category QP Vessel
  • limit
  • (annual limit)
  • (in percent)
  • Unused QP
  • Vessel limit
  • (daily limit)
  • (in percent)
  • Arrowtooth flounder 20 Bocaccio S. of 40°10′ N. lat. 15.4 13.2 Canary rockfish 10 4.4 Chilipepper S. of 40°10′ N. lat. 15 Cowcod S. of 40°10′ N. lat. 17.7 17.7 Darkblotched rockfish 6.8 4.5 Dover sole 3.9 English sole 7.5 Lingcod: N. of 40°10′ N. lat. 5.3 S. of 40°10′ N. lat. 13.3 Longspine thornyhead: N. of 34°27′ N. lat. 9 Minor rockfish complex N. of 40°10′ N. lat.: Shelf species 7.5 Slope species 7.5 Minor rockfish complex S. of 40°10′ N. lat.: Shelf species 13.5 Slope species 9 Other flatfish complex 15 Pacific cod 20 Pacific halibut (IBQ) N. of 40°10′ N. lat. 14.4 5.4 Pacific ocean perch N. of 40°10′ N. lat. 6 4 Pacific whiting (shoreside) 15 Petrale sole 4.5 Sablefish: N. of 36° N. lat. (Monterey north) 4.5 S. of 36° N. lat. (Conception area) 15 Shortspine thornyhead: N. of 34°27′ N. lat. 9 S. of 34°27′ N. lat. 9 Splitnose rockfish S. of 40°10′ N. lat. 15 Starry flounder 20 Widow rockfish 8.5 Yelloweye rockfish 11.4 5.7 Yellowtail rockfish N. of 40°10′ N. lat. 7.5 Non-whiting groundfish species 3.2
    [FR Doc. 2016-15217 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 125 Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request June 23, 2016.

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments are requested regarding (1) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments regarding this information collection received by July 29, 2016 will be considered. Written comments should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), New Executive Office Building, 725-17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20502. Commenters are encouraged to submit their comments to OMB via email to: [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8958.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

    Title: Horse Protection Regulations.

    OMB Control Number: 0579-0056.

    Summary of Collection: 9 CFR part 11, Regulations, implement the Horse Protection Act of 1970 (Pub. L. 91-540), as amended July 13, 1976 (Pub. L. 94-360), and are authorized under section 9 of the Act. The Horse Protection Legislation was enacted to prevent showing, exhibiting, selling, or auctioning of “sore” horses, and certain transportation of sore horses in connection therewith at horse shows, horse exhibitions, horse sales, and horse auctions. A sore horse is a horse that has received pain-provoking practices that cause the horse to have an accentuated, high stepping gait. Sored horses cannot be entered in an event by any person, including trainers, riders, or owners. Management of shows, sales, exhibitions, or auctions must identify sored horses to prevent their participation under the Horse Protection Act.

    Need and Use of the Information: APHIS will collect information at specified intervals from Horse Industry Organizations (HIO) and show management. HIOs must maintain an acceptable Designated Qualified Person (DQP) program and recordkeeping system as outlined in the regulations. Information provided by the HIOs through DQPs allows APHIS to monitor and enforce the Horse Protection Act, its regulations, and certifying programs.

    Description of Respondents: Business or other for-profit.

    Number of Respondents: 1,510.

    Frequency of Responses: Recordkeeping; Reporting: Quarterly; Monthly; Annually.

    Total Burden Hours: 2,268.

    Ruth Brown, Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15271 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Information Collection: Annual Wildfire Summary Report AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension of a currently approved information collection; Annual Wildfire Summary Report.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received in writing on or before August 29, 2016 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 Tim Melchert, Fire and Aviation Management, National Interagency Fire Center, USDA Forest Service, 3833 S. Development Avenue, Boise, ID 83705.

    Comments also may be submitted via facsimile to 208-387-5375 or by email to: [email protected]

    The public may inspect comments received at National Interagency Fire Center, 3833 S. Development Avenue, Boise, ID 83705 during normal business hours. Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to 208-387-5604 to facilitate entry to the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Tim Melchert, Fire and Aviation Manager, National Interagency Fire Center, 208-387-5887.

    Individuals who use TDD may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339, 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Annual Wildfire Summary Report.

    OMB Number: 0596-0025.

    Expiration Date of Approval: August 31, 2016.

    Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Abstract: The Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2101 (note) Sec. 10) requires the Forest Service to collect information about wildfire suppression efforts by State and local firefighting agencies in support of congressional funding requests for the Forest Service State and Private Forestry Cooperative Fire Program. The program provides supplemental funding for State and local firefighting agencies. The Forest Service works cooperatively with State and local firefighting agencies to support their fire suppression efforts.

    State fire marshals and State forestry officials use form FS-3100-8 (Annual Wildfire Summary Report) to report information to the Forest Service regarding State and local wildfire suppression efforts. The Forest Service is unable to assess the effectiveness of the State and Private Forestry Cooperative Fire Program without this information. Forest Service managers evaluate the information to determine if the Cooperative Fire Program funds used by State and local fire agencies have improved fire suppression capabilities. The Forest Service shares the information with Congress as part of the annual request for funding for this program.

    The information collected includes the number of fires responded to by State or local firefighting agencies within a fiscal year, as well as the following information pertaining to such fires:

    • Fire type (timber, structural, or grassland);

    • Size (in acres) of the fires;

    • Cause of fires (lightning, campfires, arson, etc.); and

    • Suppression costs associated with the fires.

    The data gathered is not available from any other sources.

    Estimate of Burden per Response: 30 minutes.

    Type of Respondents: State fire marshals or State forestry officials.

    Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 56.

    Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 28 hours.

    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: June 21, 2016. James E. Hubbard, Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15335 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Shoshone National Forest Travel Management; Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of extension of public scoping period for the Shoshone National Forest Travel Management environmental impact statement.

    SUMMARY:

    The Shoshone National Forest (SNF) is extending the public scoping period for the SNF Travel Management environmental impact statement (EIS). The SNF previously published a notice of intent to prepare an EIS as well as notice of public scoping in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016 [81 FR 33655]. The previous notice provided for public scoping through June 27, 2016.

    DATES:

    Several individuals and organizations requested an extension of the public scoping period. The SNF Forest Supervisor has decided to accommodate these requests by extending the public scoping period through July 27, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments to Rob Robertson, 333 East Main Street, Lander, Wyoming 82520. Comments may also be sent via email to [email protected], or via facsimile to 307-332-0264.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rob Robertson at 307-335-2156 or [email protected] Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Written comments should be submitted to Shoshone National Forest, Attn: Rob Robertson, 333 E. Main St., Lander, WY 82520, or fax: 307-332-0264; or email at [email protected] . Hand-delivered comments must be provided at the Supervisors' office or any of the Ranger District offices during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays).

    Electronic comments must be submitted to [email protected] in an email message, or attached in portable document format (.pdf) or Word (.docx) format.

    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.

    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action. Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered, however.

    Dated: June 22, 2016. Rick Metzger, Acting Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15394 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-11-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service Rural Development Voucher Program AGENCY:

    Rural Housing Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in fiscal year (FY) 2006 established the demonstration Rural Development Voucher Program (RDVP), as authorized under Section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949 as amended (42 U.S.C. 1490R) (without regard to Section 542(b)). This Notice informs the public of the general policies and procedures for the RDVP for FY 2016. Rural Development Vouchers are only available to low-income tenants of Rural Development (RD)-financed multi-family properties where the Rural Rental Housing loan (Section 515) has been prepaid (either through prepayment or foreclosure action); prior to the loan's maturity date.

    DATES:

    In order for eligible tenants to participate, a voucher obligation form must be submitted within 10 months of the foreclosure or pre-payment.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie B.M. White, Director, Multi-Family Housing Portfolio Management Division, Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0782, Washington, DC 20250, telephone (202) 720-1615. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TDD by calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    This Notice outlines the process for providing voucher assistance to eligible tenants when a property owner either prepays a Section 515 loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure after September 30, 2005.

    The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Public Law 114-113, provided that the Secretary of the USDA shall carry out the Rural Development Voucher program as follows:

    That of the funds made available under this heading, $15,000,000, shall be available for rural housing vouchers to any low-income household (including those not receiving rental assistance) residing in a property financed with a Section 515 loan which has been prepaid after September 30, 2005. Provided further, that the amount of such voucher shall be the difference between comparable market rent for the Section 515 unit and the tenant paid rent for such unit: Provided further, that funds made available for such vouchers shall be subject to the availability of annual appropriations: Provided further, that the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, administer such vouchers with current regulations and administrative guidance applicable to Section 8 housing vouchers administered by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    This Notice outlines the process for providing voucher assistance to the eligible impacted families when an owner prepays a Section 515 loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure.

    II. Design Features of the RDVP

    This section sets forth the design features of the RDVP, including the eligibility of tenants, the inspection of the housing units, and the calculation of the subsidy amount.

    Rural Development Vouchers under this part are administered by the Rural Housing Service, an agency under the RD mission area, in accordance with requirements set forth in this Notice and further explained in, “The Rural Development Voucher Program Guide,” which can be obtained by contacting any RD Office. Contact information for RD offices can be found at: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices. These requirements are generally based on the housing choice voucher program regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set forth at 24 CFR part 982, unless otherwise noted by this Notice.

    The RDVP is intended to offer protection to eligible Multi-Family Housing tenants in properties financed through RD's Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program (Section 515 property) who may be subject to economic hardship due to the property owner's prepayment of the RD mortgage. When the owner of a Section 515 property pays off the loan prior to the loan's maturity date (either through prepayment or foreclosure action), the RD affordable housing requirements and Rental Assistance (RA) subsidies generally cease to exist. Rents may increase, thereby making the housing unaffordable to tenants. Regardless, the tenant may become responsible for the full payment of rent when a prepayment occurs, whether or not the rent increases.

    The Rural Development Voucher is intended to help tenants by providing an annual rental subsidy, renewable on the terms and conditions set forth herein and subject to the availability of funds, that will supplement the tenant's rent payment. This program enables a tenant to make an informed decision about remaining in the property, moving to a new property, or obtaining other financial housing assistance. Low-income tenants in the prepaying property are eligible to receive a voucher to use at their current rental property, or to take to any other rental unit in the United States and its territories. Tenants in properties foreclosed on by RD are eligible for a Rural Development Voucher under the same conditions as properties that go through the standard prepayment process.

    There are some general limitations on the use of a voucher:

    • The rental unit must pass a RD health and safety inspection, and the owner must be willing to accept a Rural Development Voucher.

    • Rural Development Vouchers cannot be used for units in subsidized housing, like Section 8 and public housing, where two housing subsidies would result. The Rural Development Voucher may be used for rental units in other properties financed by RD, but it cannot be used in combination with the RD RA program.

    • The Rural Development Voucher may not be used to purchase a home.

    a. Tenant Eligibility. In order to be eligible for the Rural Development Voucher under this Notice, the tenant must meet the following conditions:

    1. Be residing in the Section 515 project on the date of the prepayment of the Section 515 loan or foreclosure by RD;

    2. Be a United States (U.S.) citizen, U.S. citizen national, or a resident alien that meets certain qualifications. In accordance with Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. 1436a), financial assistance under this voucher program can only be provided to a United States (U.S.) citizen, U.S. non-citizen national, or a resident alien that meets certain qualifications. RD considers the tenant who applies for the voucher under this Notice as the individual receiving the financial assistance from the voucher. Accordingly, the individual tenant who applies for a voucher under this program must submit the following documentation (42 U.S.C. 1436a (d)):

    i. For citizens, a written declaration of U.S. citizenship signed under the penalty of perjury. RD may request verification of the declaration by requiring presentation of a U.S. passport, Social Security card, or other appropriate documentation, as determined by RD;

    ii. For non-citizens who are 62 years of age or older, the evidence consists of:

    A. A signed declaration of eligible immigration status; and

    B. Proof of age document; and

    iii. For all other non-citizens:

    A. A signed declaration of eligible immigration status;

    B. Alien registration documentation or other proof of immigration registration from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that contains the individual's alien admission number or alien file number; and

    C. A signed verification consent form that provides that evidence of eligible immigration status may be released to RD and USCIS for purposes of verifying the immigration status of the individual. RD shall provide a reasonable opportunity, not to exceed 30 days, for an individual to submit evidence indicating a satisfactory immigration status, or to appeal to the Immigration and Naturalization Service the verification determination of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and

    3. Be a low-income tenant on the date of the prepayment or foreclosure. A low-income tenant is a tenant whose annual income does not exceed 80 percent of the tenant median income for the area as defined by HUD. HUD's definition of median income can be found at: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il/il16/index_mfi.html.

    During the prepayment or foreclosure process, RD will evaluate the tenant to determine if the tenant is low-income. If RD determines a tenant is low-income, then within 90 days following the foreclosure or prepayment, RD will send the tenant a letter offering the tenant a voucher and will enclose a Voucher Obligation Request Form and a citizenship declaration form. If the tenant wants to participate in the RDVP, the tenant has 10 months from the date of prepayment or foreclosure to return the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the citizenship declaration to the local RD Office. If RD determines that the tenant is ineligible, RD will provide administrative appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR part 11.

    b. Obtaining a Voucher. RD will monitor the prepayment request process or foreclosure process, as applicable. As part of prepayment or foreclosure of the Section 515 property, RD will determine market rents in the housing market area prior to the date of prepayment or foreclosure. The market rents will be used to calculate the amount of the voucher each tenant is entitled to receive.

    As noted above, all tenants will be notified if they are eligible and the amount of the voucher within 90 days following the date of prepayment or foreclosure. The tenant notice will include a description of the RDVP, a Voucher Obligation Request Form, and letter from RD offering the tenant participation in RDVP. The tenant has 10 months from the date of prepayment or foreclosure to return the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the signed citizenship declaration. Failure to submit the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the signed citizenship declaration within the required timeframes eliminates the tenant's opportunity to receive a voucher. A tenant's failure to respond within the required timeframes is not appealable.

    Once the tenant returns the Voucher Obligation Request Form and the citizenship declaration to RD, a voucher will be issued within 30 days subject to the availability of funding. All information necessary for a housing search, explanations of unit acceptability, and RD contact information will be provided by RD to the tenant after the Voucher Obligation Request Form and citizenship declaration are received. In cases where the foreclosure sale yields no successful bidders and the property enters RD inventory, vouchers will only be offered upon the property's entry into inventory. The voucher cannot be used at an inventory property.

    The tenant receiving a Rural Development Voucher has an initial period of 60 calendar days from issuance of the voucher to find a housing unit. At its discretion, RD may grant one or more extensions of the initial period for up to an additional 60 days. Generally, the maximum voucher period for any tenant participating in the RDVP is 120 days. RD will extend the voucher search period beyond the 120 days only if the tenant needs and requests an extension of the initial period as a reasonable accommodation to make the program accessible to a disabled family member. If the Rural Development Voucher remains unused after a period of 150 days from the date of original issuance, the Rural Development Voucher will become void, any funding will be cancelled, and the tenant will no longer be eligible to receive a Rural Development Voucher at that property.

    If a tenant previously participated in the RDVP and was subsequently terminated, that tenant is ineligible for future participation in the RDVP.

    c. Initial Lease Term. The initial lease term for the housing unit where the tenant wishes to use the Rural Development Voucher must be for one year. The “initial lease” is the first lease signed by and between the tenant and the property owner.

    d. Inspection of Units and Unit Approval. Once the tenant finds a housing unit, Rural Development will inspect and determine if the housing standard is acceptable within 30 days of RD's receipt of the HUD Form 52517, “Request for Tenancy Approval Housing Choice Voucher Program” found at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=52517.pdf and the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint Hazards. The inspection standards currently in effect for the RD Section 515 Multi-Family Housing program apply to the RDVP. RD must inspect the unit and ensure that the unit meets the housing inspection standards set forth at 7 CFR 3560.103. Under no circumstances will RD make voucher rental payments for any period of time prior to the date that RD physically inspects the unit and determines the unit meets the housing inspection standards. In the case of properties financed by RD under the Section 515 program, RD will only accept the results of physical inspections performed no more than one year prior to the date of receipt by RD of Form HUD 52517, in order to make determinations on acceptable housing standards. Before approving tenancy or executing a Housing Assistance Payments contract, RD must first determine that the following conditions are met:

    1. The unit has been inspected by RD and passes the housing standards inspection or has otherwise been found acceptable by RD, as noted previously; and

    2. The lease includes the HUD Tenancy Addendum. A copy of the HUD Tenancy Addendum will be provided by RD when the tenant is informed he/she is eligible for a voucher.

    Once the conditions in the above paragraph are met, RD will approve the unit for leasing. RD will then execute with the owner a Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract, Form HUD-52641. The HAP contract must be executed before Rural Development Voucher payments can be made. RD will attempt to execute the HAP contract on behalf of the tenant before the beginning of the lease term. In the event that this does not occur, the HAP contract may be executed up to 60 calendar days after the beginning of the lease term. If the HAP contract is executed during this 60-day period, RD will make retroactive housing assistance payments to the owner, on behalf of the tenant, to cover the portion of the approved lease term before execution of the HAP contract. The HAP contract and lease will need to be revised to the later effective date. RD will not execute a HAP contract that is dated prior to either the prepayment date of the Section 515 loan, or the date of foreclosure, as appropriate. Any HAP contract executed after the 60-day period will be considered untimely. If the failure to execute the HAP contract within the aforementioned 60-day period lies with the owner, as determined by RD, then RD will not pay any housing assistance payment to the owner for that period.

    e. Subsidy Calculations for Rural Development Vouchers. As stated earlier, an eligible tenant will be notified of the maximum voucher amount within 90 days following prepayment or foreclosure. The maximum voucher amount for the RDVP is the difference between the market rent in the housing market area and the tenant's contribution on the date of the prepayment, as determined by RD. The voucher amount will be based on the market rent; the voucher amount will never exceed the market rent at the time of prepayment even if the tenant chooses to stay in-place.

    Also, in no event will the Rural Development Voucher payment exceed the actual tenant lease rent. The amount of the voucher will not change either over time or if the tenant chooses to move to a more expensive location.

    f. Mobility and Portability of Rural Development Vouchers. An eligible tenant that is issued a Rural Development Voucher may elect to use the voucher in the same project, or may choose to move to another location. The Rural Development Voucher may be used at the prepaid property or any other rental unit in the United States and its territories that passes RD physical inspection standards, and where the owner will accept a Rural Development Voucher and execute a Form HUD 52641. Both the tenant and landlord must inform RD if the tenant plans to move during the HAP agreement term, even to a new unit in the same complex. All moves (within a complex or to another complex) require a new voucher obligation form, a new inspection by RD, and a new HAP agreement. In addition, HUD Section 8 and federally-assisted public housing are excluded from the RDVP because those units are already federally subsidized; tenants with a Rural Development Voucher would have to give up the Rural Development Voucher to accept those other types of assistance at those properties. However, while the Rural Development Voucher may be used in other properties financed by RD, it cannot be used in combination with the RD RA program. Tenants with a Rural Development Voucher that apply for housing in an RD-financed property must choose between using the voucher or RA, if available. If the tenant relinquishes the Rural Development Voucher in favor of RA, the tenant is not eligible to receive another Rural Development Voucher while the tenant is receiving such RA.

    g. Term of Funding and Conditions for Renewal for Rural Development Vouchers. The RDVP provides voucher assistance over 12 monthly payments. The voucher is issued to the household in the name of the primary tenant as the voucher holder. The voucher is not transferable from the voucher holder to any other household member, except in the case of the voucher holder's death or involuntary household separation, such as the incarceration of the voucher holder or transfer of the voucher holder to an assisted living or nursing home facility. Upon receiving documentation of such cases, the voucher may be transferred at the Agency's discretion to another tenant on the voucher holder's lease.

    The voucher is renewable subject to the availability of appropriations to the USDA. In order to renew a voucher, a tenant must return a signed Voucher Obligation Request Form, which will be sent to the tenant within 60-90 days before the current voucher expires. If the voucher holder fails to return the renewal Voucher Obligation Request Form before the current voucher funding expires, the voucher will be terminated and no renewal will occur.

    In order to ensure continued eligibility to use the Rural Development Voucher, tenants must certify at the time they apply for renewal of the voucher that the current tenant income does not exceed the “maximum income level,” which is 80 percent of family median income (a HUD dataset broken down by State, and then by county). RD will advise the tenant of the maximum income level when the renewal Voucher Obligation Request Form is sent.

    Renewal requests will enjoy no preference over other voucher requests, and will be processed as described in this Notice.

    III. Non-Discrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident.

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

    (1) Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410;

    (2) fax (202) 690-7442; or

    (3) email: [email protected]

    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

    IV. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The information collection requirements contained in this document are those of the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) and assigned OMB control number 2577-0169.

    Dated: June 22, 2016. Tony Hernandez, Administrator, Rural Housing Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15393 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-XV-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa AGENCY:

    International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of an opportunity to apply for membership on the President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce is currently seeking applications for membership on the President's Advisory Council (Advisory Council) on Doing Business in Africa. The purpose of the Advisory Council is to advise the President through the Secretary of Commerce on strengthening commercial engagement between the United States and Africa, with a focus on advancing the President's Doing Business in Africa Campaign as described in the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa of June 14, 2012.

    DATES:

    All applications for immediate consideration for appointment must be received by the Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on July 22, 2016. After that date, ITA will continue to accept applications under this notice for a period of up to two years from the deadline to fill any vacancies that may arise.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please submit applications by email to [email protected], attention: Tricia Van Orden, Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach, President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Executive Secretariat or by mail to Tricia Van Orden, Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach, President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Executive Secretariat, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Suite 4043, Washington, DC 20230.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Executive Secretariat, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4043, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone: 202-482-4501, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (Advisory Council) was established pursuant to Executive Order No. 13675 dated August 5, 2014, and continued by Executive Order 13708 until September 30, 2017. The Advisory Council was established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App., to advise the President through the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) on strengthening commercial engagement between the United States and Africa, with a focus on advancing the President's Doing Business in Africa Campaign as described in the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa of June 14, 2012 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/africa_strategy_2.pdf). The current charter for the Advisory Council expires August 5, 2016. The Department of Commerce is in the process of renewing the charter through September 30, 2017.

    The Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Office of Advisory Committees and Industry Outreach, is accepting applications for Advisory Council members. The Advisory Council shall provide information, analysis, and recommendations to the President that address the following, in addition to other topics deemed relevant by the President, the Secretary, or the Advisory Council:

    (i) Creating jobs in the United States and Africa through trade and investment;

    (ii) developing strategies by which the U.S. private sector can identify and take advantage of trade and investment opportunities in Africa;

    (iii) building lasting commercial partnerships between the U.S. and African private sectors;

    (iv) facilitating U.S. business participation in Africa's infrastructure development;

    (v) contributing to the growth and improvement of Africa's agricultural sector by encouraging partnerships between U.S. and African companies to bring innovative agricultural technologies to Africa;

    (vi) making available to the U.S. private sector an accurate understanding of the opportunities presented for increasing trade with and investment in Africa;

    (vii) developing and strengthening partnerships and other mechanisms to increase U.S. public and private sector financing of trade with and investment in Africa;

    (viii) analyzing the effect of policies in the United States and Africa on U.S. trade and investment interests in Africa;

    (ix) identifying other means to expand commercial ties between the United States and Africa; and

    (x) building the capacity of Africa's young entrepreneurs to develop trade and investment ties with U.S. partners.

    Executive Order 13675 provides that the Advisory Council shall consist of not more than 15 private sector corporate members, including small businesses and representatives from infrastructure, agriculture, consumer goods, banking, services, and other industries. In light of the broad objectives, scope, and duties of the Advisory Council; the scope of recommendations provided during the 2014-2016 charter term; and the anticipated breadth of issues on which the new appointees may be requested to advise, the appropriate size of the Advisory Council is being discussed as part of the current rechartering process, including the possibility of a significant expansion. Any decision to alter the size of the Advisory Council will be posted on the Advisory Council Web site at http://trade.gov/pac-dbia/. The Secretary of Commerce intends to make appointments under this notice up to the current or expanded number of Advisory Council members, consistent with the Executive Order and the Advisory Council charter.

    The Advisory Council shall be broadly representative of the key industries with business interests in the functions of the Advisory Council as set forth above. Each Advisory Council member shall serve as the representative of a U.S. company engaged in activities involving trade, investment, development or finance with African markets. The Department particularly seeks applicants who are active executives (Chief Executive Officer, Executive Chairman, President or comparable level of responsibility); however, for very large companies, a person having substantial responsibility for the company's commercial activities in Africa may be considered.

    For eligibility purposes, a “U.S. company” is a for-profit firm incorporated in the United States or with its principal place of business in the United States that is (a) majority controlled (more than 50 percent ownership interest and/or voting stock) by U.S. citizens or by another U.S. entity or (b) majority controlled (more than 50 percent ownership interest and/or voting stock) directly or indirectly by a foreign parent company. Members are not required to be a U.S. citizen; however, members may not be registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Additionally, no member shall represent a company that is majority owned or controlled by a foreign government entity or entities.

    Members of the Advisory Council will be selected, in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce guidelines, based on their ability to carry out the objectives of the Advisory Council as set forth above. Members shall be selected in a manner that ensures that the Advisory Council is balanced in terms of points of view, industry subsector, activities in and with African markets, range of products and services, demographics, geography, and company size. Additional factors which will be considered in the selection of Advisory Council members include candidates' proven leadership and experience in the trade, investment, financing, development, or other commercial activities between the United States and Africa. Priority may be given to active executives (Chief Executive Officer, Executive Chairman, President or comparable level of responsibility). Appointments to the Advisory Council shall be made without regard to political affiliation.

    The Secretary appoints the members of the Advisory Council in consultation with the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), a Federal interagency group led by the Secretary of Commerce tasked with coordinating export promotion and export financing activities of the U.S. Government and development of a government-wide strategic plan to carry out such activities. Members shall serve a term of two years, at the pleasure of the Secretary.

    Members shall serve in a representative capacity, representing the views and interests of their particular industry sector. Advisory Council members are not special government employees, and will receive no compensation for their participation in Advisory Council activities. Members participating in Advisory Council meetings and events will be responsible for their travel, living and other personal expenses. Meetings will be held regularly and, to the extent practical, not less than twice annually, in Washington, DC, or other locations as feasible. Teleconference meetings may also be held as needed.

    To be considered for membership, submit the following information by 5:00 p.m. EDT on July 22, 2016 to the email or mailing address listed in the ADDRESSES section:

    1. Name and title of the individual requesting consideration.

    2. A sponsor letter from the applicant on his or her company letterhead containing a brief statement of why the applicant should be considered for membership on the Advisory Council. This sponsor letter should also address the applicant's experience and leadership related to trade, investment, financing, development, or other commercial activities between the United States and Africa.

    3. The applicant's personal resume and short bio (less than 300 words).

    4. An affirmative statement that the applicant meets all eligibility criteria, including an affirmative statement that the applicant is not required to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended.

    5. Information regarding the ownership and control of the company, including the stock holdings as appropriate, signifying compliance with the criteria set forth above.

    6. The company's size, product or service line, and major markets in which the company operates.

    7. A profile of the company's trade, investment, development, finance, partnership, or other commercial activities in or with African markets.

    8. Brief statement describing how the applicant will contribute to the work of the Advisory Council based on his or her unique experience and perspective (not to exceed 100 words).

    Dated:_June 24, 2016. Tricia Van Orden, Executive Secretary, President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15373 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DR-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-028] Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value and Final Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) determines that imports of hydrofluorocarbon blends and components thereof (HFCs) from the People's Republic of China (PRC) are being, or likely to be, sold in the United States at less than fair value (LTFV), as provided in section 735 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act). In addition, we determine that critical circumstances exist with respect to imports of the subject merchandise. The final weighted-average dumping margins for this investigation are listed in the “Final Determination Margins” section below. The period of investigation is October 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: June 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Elizabeth Eastwood or Dennis McClure, 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) 482-3874 or (202) 482-5973.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On February 1, 2016, the Department published the preliminary determination of sales at LTFV of HFCs from the PRC.1 The following events occurred since the Preliminary Determination was issued.

    1See Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Determination of Sales at Less than Fair Value, Affirmative Preliminary Determination of Critical Circumstances, in Part, and Postponement of Final Determination, 81 FR 5098 (February 1, 2016) and accompanying Decision Memorandum (Preliminary Determination).

    In February and March 2016, the Department attempted to verify the sales and factors of production (FOP) information submitted by Huantai Dongyue International Trade Co., Ltd. and Shandong Dongyue Chemical Co., Ltd. (collectively, Dongyue), in accordance with section 782(i) of the Act. However, as discussed in more detail below in the the “Verification” section of this notice, we find that Dongyue's reported data, including its separate rate application, are unverifiable, and thus cannot serve as a reliable basis for reaching a determination in this investigation. As a result, we are considering Dongyue to be part of the PRC-wide entity.

    In March 2016, we verified the sales and FOP information submitted by T.T. International Co., Ltd. (TTI), in accordance with section 782(i) of the Act.

    We invited interested party comments on the preliminary determination in this investigation. In April 2016, the petitioners,2 the two mandatory respondents (Dongyue and TTI), a U.S. manufacturer of HFCs (National Refrigerants, Inc.), and various companies claiming separate rates (Taizhou Qingsong Refrigerant New Material Co., Ltd.; Daikin America and Daikin Fluorochemicals (China) Co., Ltd. (Daikin); Weitron International Refrigeration Equipment (Kunshan) Co., Ltd. and Weitron, Inc. (Weitron); Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Ind. Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.) (Sanmei); Zhejiang Quhua Fluor‐Chemistry Co., Ltd. (Quhua); Zhejiang Quzhou Lianzhou Refrigerants Co., Ltd. (Lianzhou); Zhejiang Yonghe Refrigerant Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Yonghe); Jinhua Yonghe Fluorochemical Co., Ltd. (Jinhua Yonghe); and Shandong Huaan New Material Co., Ltd. (Huaan)) submitted case and rebuttal briefs regarding issues unrelated to the scope of this investigation.

    2 The petitioners in this case are The American HFC Coalition and its individual members and District Lodge 154 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

    In May 2016, we issued memoranda analyzing certain comments received on the scope of this investigation,3 and we invited comments related to this analysis. In this same month, the petitioners and various interested parties submitted case briefs, and the petitioners also submitted a rebuttal brief. On June 2, 2016, the Department held a public hearing.

    3See the Memoranda to Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, from Melissa Skinner, Director, Office II, entitled“Antidumping Duty Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components (HFCs) from the People's Republic of China (PRC): Analysis of Scope Comments Made by Refrigerant Solutions Limited”; and “Antidumping Duty Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components (HFCs) from the People's Republic of China (PRC): Analysis of Certain Scope Comments,” dated May 3, 2016.

    Scope of the Investigation

    The scope of the investigation covers HFCs and single HFC components of those blends thereof, whether or not imported for blending. For a complete description of the scope of the investigation, see Appendix I.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in the case and rebuttal briefs by parties in this investigation are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum.4 A list of the issues raised is attached to this notice as Appendix II. The Issues and Decision Memorandum is a public document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and it is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed and electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    4See Memorandum from Gary Taverman, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, to Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, regarding “Issues and Decision Memorandum for the Final Affirmative Determination in the Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof from the People's Republic of China,” dated concurrently with this notice (Issues and Decision Memorandum).

    Verification

    As provided in section 782(i) of the Act, in March 2016, we verified the sales and FOP information submitted by TTI for use in our final determination. We used standard verification procedures, including an examination of relevant accounting and production records, and original source documents provided by TTI.5

    5See Memorandum to The File, from Dennis McClure and Manuel Rey, Analysts, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, entitled “Verification of the Responses of T.T. International Co., Ltd. in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof from the People's Republic of China” dated April 6, 2016, and Memorandum to The File, from Dennis McClure and Manuel Rey, Analysts, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, entitled “Verification of the Responses of Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co., Ltd. in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbon Blend and Components Thereof from the People's Republic of China,” dated April 5, 2016.

    In addition, as provided in section 782(i) of the Act, in February and March 2016, we also attempted to verify the sales and FOP information submitted by Dongyue, using standard verification procedures.6 However, as noted in the Dongyue Verification Report, the Department was unable to validate the accuracy of Dongyue's accounting system.7 As a consequence, we find that Dongyue's reported data is unverifiable, and thus cannot serve as a reliable basis for reaching a determination in this investigation.8 Furthermore, we find that Dongyue was unable to support its separate rates claim at verification. Specifically, because Dongyue was unable to establish the integrity of its accounting system at verification, and the information contained in a company's accounting system is integral to the proper evaluation of its seprate rates eligibility, we find that all of the information derived from it is unverifiable. As a result, we find Dongyue to be part of the PRC-wide entity. For further discussion, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 14.

    6See Memorandum to the File from Manuel Rey, Analyst, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, entitled, “Verification of the Responses of Huantai Dongyue International Trade Co., Ltd. and Shandong Dongyue Chemical Co., Ltd. in the Antidumping Duty Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof from the People's Republic of China,” dated March 25, 2016 (Dongyue Verification Report).

    7See Dongyue Verification Report, at 2.

    8See sections 782(e)(2) and (3) of the Act.

    Changes to the Margin Calculations Since the Preliminary Determination

    Based on the Department's analysis of the comments received and our findings at verification, we made certain changes to our margin calculations for TTI. For a discussion of these changes, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum.

    Combination Rates

    In the Initiation Notice, 9 the Department stated that it would calculate combination rates for respondents that are eligible for a separate rate in this investigation. Policy Bulletin 05.1 describes this practice.10

    9See Hydrofluorocarbon Blends and Components Thereof From the People's Republic of China: Initiation of Less-Than-Fair-Value Investigation, 80 FR 43387, 43391 (July 22, 2015).

    10See Enforcement and Compliance's Policy Bulletin No. 05.1, regarding, “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-pdf.

    Final Affirmative Determination of Critical Circumstances, in Part

    For the Preliminary Determination, the Department found that critical circumstances exist with respect to imports of HFCs from the PRC produced or exported by TTI and the PRC-wide entity, and we found that critical circumstances did not exist with respect to imports of HFCs from Dongyue and the companies to which we granted a separate rate (hereafter, “separate rates companies”).11 We are not modifying our critical circumstances findings for TTI, the separate rates companies, and the PRC-wide entity for the final determination. However, as noted above, we find that Dongyue is not eligible for a separate rate in this investigation, and, thus, we are no longer making a separate critical circumstances finding with respect to this company. For further discussion, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 7. Thus, pursuant to section 735(a)(3)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.206(h)(1)-(2), we find that critical circumstances exist with respect to subject merchandise produced or exported by all respondents in this investigation except the separate rates companies.

    11See Preliminary Determination, and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 23.

    Separate Rates

    In the Preliminary Determination, we found that evidence provided by Huaan, Jinhua Yonghe, Zhejiang Yonghe, and Sanmei supported finding an absence of both de jure and de facto government control, and, therefore, we preliminarily granted a separate rate to each of these companies.12 In addition, in the Preliminary Determination, we found that Daikin and Weitron are wholly foreign-owned and do not require the Department to conduct further analyses of the de jure and de facto criteria to determine whether Daikin or Weitron is independent from government control.13 We received no information since the issuance of the Preliminary Determination that provides a basis for reconsidering these determinations. Therefore, for the final determination, we continue to find that Huaan, Jinhua Yonghe, Zhejiang Yonghe, and Sanmei, Daikin, and Weitron are eligible for separate rates.

    12Id., and accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum at 20-23. We also assigned Dongyue and TTI separate rates. See Preliminary Determination, 81 FR at 5099. However, we now find that Dongyue is no longer eligible for a separate rate. See the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 14.

    13Id.

    With respect to Zhejiang Lantian Environmental Protection Fluoro Material Co., Ltd. (Lantian Fluoro), Lianzhou, Sinochem Lantian Trade Co., Ltd. (Sinochem Lantian), Quhua, and Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co. Ltd. (Taicang), however, we determined in the Preliminary Determination that these companies failed to demonstrate an absence of de facto government control, and, thus, the Department did not grant Lantian Fluoro, Lianzhou, Sinochem Lantian, Quhua, and Taicang separate rates. For this final determination, we continue to find, based on record evidence, that Lantian Fluoro, Lianzhou, Sinochem Lantian, Quhua, and Taicang failed to demonstrate an absence of de facto government control, and we are therefore not granting these companies separate rates. For further discussion of this issue, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 8.

    Under section 735(c)(5)(A) of the Act, the rate for all other companies that have not been individually examined is normally 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 on the basis of facts available. In this final determination, the Department has calculated a rate for TTI that is not zero, de minimis, or based entirely on facts available. Therefore, the Department has assigned to the companies that have not been individually examined, but have demonstrated their eligibility for a separate rate, a margin of 101.82 percent, which is the rate for TTI.

    PRC-Wide Rate

    In our Preliminary Determination, we found that the PRC-wide entity, which includes Lantian Trade, Taicang, Lantian Environmental, Quhua, and Lianzhou, and other PRC exporters and/or producers of the merchandise under consideration during the POI did not respond to the Department's quantity and value questionnaire. As a result, we preliminarily calculated the PRC-wide rate on the basis of adverse facts available (AFA).14 For the final determination, we determined to use, as the AFA rate applied to the PRC-wide entity, 216.37 percent, the highest transaction-specific dumping margin calculated in the final determination. As we explained in the Preliminary Determination, we attempt to corroborate the highest margin contained in the Petition (i.e., 300.30 percent) by comparing it to the highest calculated transaction-specific margin.15 We determined that the highest transaction-specific margin demonstrates that the Petition rate of 300.30 percent does not have probative value. Therefore, we determined that we are unable to corroborate the 300.30 percent rate and, consequently, we used TTI's highest calculated transaction-specific margin as the PRC-wide rate.16 For these same reasons, in the final determination, we continued to base the PRC-wide rate on TTI's highest transaction-specific margin, which is now 216.37 percent. Furthermore, there is no need to corroborate the selected margin because it is based on information submitted by TTI in the course of this investigation (i.e., it is not secondary information).

    14Id., at 25.

    15 In the Preliminary Determination, we compared the highest Petition margin to the transaction-specific margins for both Dongyue and TTI, finding TTI's to be the highest. Id. However, in the final determination, we used only the transaction-specific margins for TTI in our comparison because we find Dongyue to be part of the PRC-wide entity.

    16Id., at 27-28.

    Final Determination Margins

    The Department determines that the final weighted-average dumping margins, and cash deposit rates are as follows:

    Exporter Producer Weighted-
  • average
  • margin
  • (%)
  • T.T. International Co., Ltd.17 Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co., Ltd 101.82 T.T. International Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Lantian Environmental Protection Fluoro Material Co. Ltd.* 101.82 T.T. International Co., Ltd Jinhua Yonghe Fluorochemical Co., Ltd 101.82 T.T. International Co., Ltd Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd 101.82 T.T. International Co., Ltd. Shandong Huaan New Material Co., Ltd. 101.82 T.T. International Co., Ltd. Zhejiang Zhonglan Refrigeration Technology Co., Ltd 101.82 T.T. International Co., Ltd. Dongyang Weihua Refrigerants Co., Ltd. 101.82 Daikin Fluorochemicals (China) Co., Ltd Daikin Fluorochemicals (China) Co., Ltd. 101.82 Daikin Fluorochemicals (China) Co., Ltd Arkema Daikin Advanced Fluorochemicals (Changsu) Co., Ltd. (Arkema Daikin). ** 101.82 Jinhua Yonghe Fluorochemical Co., Ltd Zhejiang Yonghe Refrigerant Co., Ltd 101.82 Shandong Huaan New Material Co., Ltd Shandong Huaan New Material Co., Ltd 101.82 Weitron International Refrigeration Equipment (Kunshan) Co., Ltd Zhejiang Lantian Environmental Protection Fluoro Material Co., Ltd 101.82 Weitron International Refrigeration Equipment (Kunshan) Co., Ltd Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co., Ltd 101.82 Weitron International Refrigeration Equipment (Kunshan) Co., Ltd Zhejiang Quzhou Lianzhou Refrigerants Co., Ltd 101.82 Weitron International Refrigeration Equipment (Kunshan) Co., Ltd Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd 101.82 Zhejiang Yonghe Refrigerant Co., Ltd Jinhua Yonghe Fluorochemical Co., Ltd 101.82 Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.). *** Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.). *** 101.82 Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.). *** Jiangsu Sanmei Chemicals Co., Ltd 101.82 PRC-Wide Entity 18 216.37 * In the Preliminary Determination, we used an incorrect name for TTI's supplier Zhejiang Lantian Environmental Protection Fluoro Material Co. Ltd. (i.e., Zhejiang Lantian Environmental Protection Flourine Materials Co. Ltd.). For further discussion, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 12. ** In the Preliminary Determination, we failed to assign a combination rate to this producer/exporter combination for Daikin. For further discussion, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 12. *** In the Preliminary Determination, we failed to include the name by which Sanmei is also known in Sanmei's producer/exporter combination rates. For further discussion, see the Issues and Decision Memorandum at Comment 12.
    Disclosure

    We intend to disclose to parties in this proceeding the calculations performed for this final determination within five days of the date of public announcement of our final determination, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.224(b).

    17 In this investigation, the Department determined to treat T.T. International, Ltd. (Dalian) and T.T. International Ltd. (Hong Kong) as a single entity (i.e., T.T. International Co., Ltd. or TTI) for purposes of this antidumping duty proceeding. See the memorandum to Melissa G. Skinner, Director, Office II, from Dennis McClure, International Trade Analyst, entitled, “Antidumping Duty Investigation of Hydrofluorocarbons from the People's Republic of China: Affiliation and Single Entity Status,” dated concurrently with this determination.

    18 This also includes Dongyue, Lantian Trade, Taicang, Lantian Environmental, Quhua, and Lianzhou.

    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 HFCs from the PRC for the companies receiving a separate rate which were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after February 1, 2016, the date of publication of the preliminary determination of this investigation in the Federal Register. For entries made by TTI and the PRC-wide entity, in accordance with section 735(c)(4)(B) of the Act, because we continue to find that critical circumstances exist, we will instruct CBP to continue to suspend liquidation of all appropriate entries of HFCs from the PRC which were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after November 3, 2015, which is 90 days prior to the date of publication of the preliminary determination of this investigation in the Federal Register. Finally, because we now find that Dongyue is part of the PRC-wide entity, we will also instruct CBP to suspend liquidation of all appropriate entries of HFCs from the PRC from Dongyue which were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after November 3, 2015, in accordance with section 735(c)(4)(B) of the Act.

    Further, pursuant to section 735(c)(1)(B)(ii) of the Act, the Department will instruct CBP to require a cash deposit equal to the amount by which normal value exceeds U.S. price as follows: (1) For the exporter/producer combinations listed in the table above, the cash deposit rate will be equal to the dumping margin which the Department determined in this final determination; (2) for all combinations of PRC exporters/producers of merchandise under consideration which have not received their own separate rate above, the cash deposit rate will be equal to the dumping margin established for the PRC-wide entity; and (3) for all non-PRC exporters of merchandise under consideration which have not received their own separate rate above, the cash deposit rate will be equal to the cash deposit rate applicable to the PRC exporter/producer combination that supplied that non-PRC exporter. The suspension of liquidation 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 our final determination. As our final determination is affirmative, in accordance with section 735(b)(2) of the Act, the ITC will determine within 45 days whether the domestic industry in the United States is materially injured, or threatened with material injury, by reason of imports or sales (or the likelihood of sales) for importation of the subject merchandise. If the ITC determines that such injury exists, 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 will serve as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) 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 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 this determination and notice in accordance with sections 735(d) and 777(i) of the Act.

    Dated: June 21, 2016. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix I—Scope of the Investigation

    The products subject to this investigation are HFCs and single HFC components of those blends thereof, whether or not imported for blending. HFC blends covered by the scope are R-404A, a zeotropic mixture consisting of 52 percent 1,1,1 Trifluoroethane, 44 percent Pentafluoroethane, and 4 percent 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane; R-407A, a zeotropic mixture of 20 percent Difluoromethane, 40 percent Pentafluoroethane, and 40 percent 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane; R-407C, a zeotropic mixture of 23 percent Difluoromethane, 25 percent Pentafluoroethane, and 52 percent 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane; R-410A, a zeotropic mixture of 50 percent Difluoromethane and 50 percent Pentafluoroethane; and R-507A, an azeotropic mixture of 50 percent Pentafluoroethane and 50 percent 1,1,1-Trifluoroethane also known as R-507. The foregoing percentages are nominal percentages by weight. Actual percentages of single component refrigerants by weight may vary by plus or minus two percent points from the nominal percentage identified above.19

    19 R-404A is sold under various trade names, including Forane® 404A, Genetron® 404A, Solkane® 404A, Klea® 404A, and Suva®404A. R-407A is sold under various trade names, including Forane® 407A, Solkane® 407A, Klea®407A, and Suva®407A. R-407C is sold under various trade names, including Forane® 407C, Genetron® 407C, Solkane® 407C, Klea® 407C and Suva® 407C. R-410A is sold under various trade names, including EcoFluor R410, Forane® 410A, Genetron® R410A and AZ-20, Solkane® 410A, Klea® 410A, Suva® 410A, and Puron®. R-507A is sold under various trade names, including Forane® 507, Solkane® 507, Klea®507, Genetron®AZ-50, and Suva®507. R-32 is sold under various trade names, including Solkane®32, Forane®32, and Klea®32. R-125 is sold under various trade names, including Solkane®125, Klea®125, Genetron®125, and Forane®125. R-143a is sold under various trade names, including Solkane®143a, Genetron®143a, and Forane®125.

    The single component HFCs covered by the scope are R-32, R-125, and R-143a. R-32 or Difluoromethane has the chemical formula CH2F2, and is registered as CAS No. 75-10-5. It may also be known as HFC-32, FC-32, Freon-32, Methylene difluoride, Methylene fluoride, Carbon fluoride hydride, halocarbon R32, fluorocarbon R32, and UN 3252. R-125 or 1,1,1,2,2-Pentafluoroethane has the chemical formula CF3CHF2 and is registered as CAS No. 354-33-6. R-125 may also be known as R-125, HFC-125, Pentafluoroethane, Freon 125, and Fc-125, R-125. R-143a or 1,1,1-Trifluoroethane has the chemical formula CF3CH3 and is registered as CAS No. 420-46-2. R-143a may also be known as R-143a, HFC-143a, Methylfluoroform, 1,1,1-Trifluoroform, and UN2035.

    Also included are semi-finished blends of Chinese HFC components. Except as described below, semi-finished blends are blends of two Chinese HFCs components (i.e., R-32, R-125, and R-143a), as well as blends of any one of these components with Chinese R-134a, that are used to produce the subject HFC blends that have not been blended to the specific proportions required to meet the definition of one of the subject HFC blends described above (R-404A, R-407A, R-407C, R-410A, and R-507A).

    This investigation includes any Chinese HFC components (i.e., R-32, R-125, and R-143a), as well as Chinese R-134a,20 that are blended in a third country to produce a subject HFC blend before being imported into the United States. Chinese R-134a is not subject to the scope of this investigation unless it is blended with another Chinese HFC component (i.e., R-32, R-125, and R-143a) into a subject blend or semi-finished blend before being imported into the United States.

    20 However, if the only Chinese content of such a third country blend is the R-134a portion, then such a third country blend is excluded from the scope of this investigation.

    Any blend or semi-finished blend that includes an HFC component other than R-32, R-125, R-143a, or R-134a is excluded from the scope of this investigation. Furthermore, semi-finished blends do not include any blends containing both HFCs R-32 and R-143a. Single-component HFCs and semi-finished HFC blends are not excluded from the scope of this investigation when blended with HFCs from non-subject countries.

    Excluded from this investigation are blends of refrigerant chemicals that include products other than HFCs, such as blends including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrocarbons (HCs), or hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs).

    Also excluded from this investigation are patented HFC blends, including, but not limited to, ISCEON® blends, including MO99TM (R-438A), MO79 (R-422A), MO59 (R-417A), MO49PlusTM (R-437A) and MO29TM (R-4 22D), Genetron® PerformaxTM LT (R-407F), Choice® R-421A, and Choice® R-421B.

    HFC blends covered by the scope of this investigation are currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) at subheadings 3824.78.0020 and 3824.78.0050. Single component HFCs are currently classified at subheadings 2903.39.2035 and 2903.39.2045, HTSUS.21 Although the HTSUS subheadings and CAS registry numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

    21 We note that HFC blends were classified at HTSUS subheading 3824.78.0000 and single component HFCs were classified at HTSUS subheading 2903.39.2030 in 2015.

    Appendix II—List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum I. Summary II. Background III. Scope of Investigation IV. Scope Comments V. Use of Adverse Facts Available VI. Margin Calculations VII. Discussion of Issues 1. Number of Classes or Kinds of Merchandise 2. Addition of the Word “Refrigerants” 3. Semi-Finished Blends 4. Third Country Blending 5. Patented Blends and Non-Named HFC Blends 6. Voluntary Respondents 7. Critical Circumstances 8. Companies Owned by a State-Owned Enterprise 9. Authority to Base the PRC-Wide Rate on AFA 10. Rejection of Qingsong's Quantity and Value and Separate Rates Responses 11. Rate Assigned to Separate Rates Companies 12. Ministerial Errors in Certain Combination Rates 13. Verification Failure for Dongyue 14. The Margin Assigned to Dongyue 15. Moot Arguments for Dongyue 16. AFA for TTI 17. Whether TTI or its Supplier is the Respondent 18. Value Added Tax Paid by the Suppliers 19. Selling Expenses Incurred by TT Hong Kong 20. Freight Expenses Paid to a Non-Market Economy Provider 21. Movement Expenses Paid by the Suppliers 22. Zip Codes Used in the Differential Pricing Analysis 23. Factors of Production (FOPs) Reported Based on the Accounting or Calendar Month 24. FOPs for Catalyst 25. Energy FOPs 26. Granting a By-Product Offset for Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) and Hydrogen Fluoride 27. Whether the By-Product Adjustment Should be Based on Sales or Production Quantity 28. Surrogate Value for HCL 29. Surrogate Value for Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride 30. Surrogate Financial Statements 31. Margin Calculation Errors VIII. Recommendation
    [FR Doc. 2016-15298 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE702 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Meeting AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of a public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) will meet July 20, 2016, through July 21, 2016.

    DATES:

    The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday July 20, 2016, and end at 12 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, 2016. For agenda details, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court, 550 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21202; telephone: 410-234-0550.

    Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674-2331 or on their Web site at www.mafmc.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher M. Moore, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, telephone: (302) 526-5255.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda

    Agenda items to be discussed at the SSC meeting include: Review fishery performance report and multi-year ABC specifications for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass and bluefish; MAFMC risk policy and assignment of CVs for Mid-Atlantic assessments; and, if time permits, review and discuss the Council's EAFM Guidance Document.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526-5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15367 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE498 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Installation of the Block Island Wind Farm Export and Inter-Array Cables AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to Deepwater Wind Block Island, LLC (DWBI) to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to the installation of the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF) Export and Inter-Array Cables.

    DATES:

    Effective May 31, 2016, through May 30, 2017.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Fiorentino, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Availability

    An electronic copy of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained by visiting the internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/. NMFS' final Environmental Assessment (EA), Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorizations to Deepwater Wind for the Take of Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction of the Block Island Wind Farm and Block Island Transmission System, which also contains a list of the references used in this document, may also be viewed on our Web site. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review.

    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined “negligible impact” in 50 CFR 216.103 as “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.”

    Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, the MMPA defines harassment as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild [Level A harassment]; or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering [Level B harassment].

    Summary of Request

    On March 11, 2016, NMFS received an application from DWBI for the taking of marine mammals incidental to the installation of the BIWF export and inter-array cables. This work was originally authorized by NMFS as part of a September 2014 (modified in June 2015) IHA issued to DWBI for construction of the BIWF (offshore installation of wind turbine generator (WTG) jacket foundations and export/inter-array cable installation (79 FR 53409; September 9, 2014)). However, only the construction activities associated with the WTG jacket foundation installation were performed during that one-year authorization which expired in October 2015. Therefore, DWBI has reapplied for a new IHA to complete the remaining export and inter-array cable installation activities. The proposed export and inter-array cable installation activities remain the same as those described in the Federal Register notice for the original 2014 BIWF IHA. NMFS determined that the application was adequate and complete on March 14, 2016. NMFS published a notice making preliminary determinations and proposing to issue an IHA on April 15, 2016 (81 FR 22216; April 15, 2016). The notice initiated a 30-day comment period.

    DWBI has begun construction of the BIWF, a 30-megawatt offshore wind farm. Construction activities began in July of 2015 with the installation of the five WTG foundations. The submarine cable (export and inter-array cables) installation is scheduled to occur sometime between May and October, 2016. Noise generated from the use of dynamically positioned (DP) vessel thrusters during cable installation may result in the take of marine mammals. Take, by Level B Harassment only, of individuals of nine species is anticipated to result from the specified activity.

    Description of the Specified Activity

    A detailed description of the activity was provided in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (81 FR 22216; April 15, 2016; pages 16302-16304). Since that time, no changes have been made to the proposed construction activities; therefore, a detailed description is not provided here. However, a brief overview of the activity is provided below.

    Overview

    The BIWF will consist of five, 6-megawatt WTGs, a submarine cable interconnecting the WTGs, and a transmission cable. The WTG jacket foundations were installed in 2015. Erection of the five WTGs, installation of the inter-array and export cable, and construction of the onshore components of the BIWF are planned for 2016. The scope of the activity covered by this IHA is limited to the use of DP vessel thrusters during installation of the submarine cable interconnecting the WTGs (inter-array cable), and a transmission cable from the northernmost WTG to an interconnection point on Block Island, Rhode Island (export cable). DP vessel thrusters are needed to keep the cable laying vessel in position during the cable installation activities. A jet plow, supported by the DP vessel, will be used to install the inter-array and export cable below the seabed as it is pulled behind the cable laying vessel.

    Dates and Duration

    BIWF cable installation activities are schedule to occur sometime between May and October, 2016. NMFS is proposing to issue an authorization effective May 2016 through May 2017, based on the anticipated work window for the in-water cable installation activities that could result in the incidental take of marine mammals. While project activities may occur for over a 6-month period, use of the DP vessel thruster during cable installation is expected to occur for approximately 28 days. Cable installation (and subsequent use of the DP vessel thruster) would be conducted 24 hours per day.

    Specified Geographic Region

    The offshore components of the BIWF will be located in state territorial waters. The WTGs will be located on average about 4.8 kilometers (km) southeast of Block Island, and about 25.7 km south of the Rhode Island mainland. The WTGs will be arranged in a radial configuration spaced about 0.8 km apart. The inter-array cable will connect the five WTGs for a total length of 3.2 km from the northernmost WTG to the southernmost WTG. Water depths along the inter-array cable range up to 23.3 meters (m). The export cable will originate at the northernmost WTG and travel 10 km to a manhole located in the town of New Shoreham (Block Island) in Washington County, Rhode Island. Water depths along the export cable submarine route range up to 36.9 m. Construction staging and laydown for offshore construction is planned to occur at the Port of Providence, Providence, Rhode Island.

    Comments and Responses

    A notice of NMFS' proposal to issue an IHA to DWBI was published in the Federal Register on April 15, 2016 (81 FR 22216). That notice described, in detail, DWBI's activity, the marine mammal species that may be affected by the proposed cable installation activities, and the anticipated effects on marine mammals and their habitat. During the 30-day public comment period, NMFS only received comments from the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission). Specific comments and responses are provided below. Comments are also posted at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/.

    Comment 1: The Commission recommended that NMFS recalculate take numbers based on an accurate estimate of the distance that DWBI expects cable-laying vessels to travel each day, and clarify the number of days of activities necessary to complete the cable installation.

    Response: As indicated in their application and in the proposed IHA, DWBI anticipates the same number of days (28) of cable installation activities as was proposed for the original 2014 (modified in 2015) IHA (79 FR 53409). Similar construction activities (submarine cable installation) for the related Block Island Transmission System project, which will interconnect Block Island to the existing Narragansett Electric Company National Grid distribution system on the Rhode Island mainland, confirm that this is an accurate estimation of cable installation project duration. Therefore, NMFS has calculated the takes to be authorized based on a maximum of 28 days of cable installation and DP vessel thruster use.

    NMFS further clarifies its take calculations as follows. The WTGs will be arranged in a radial configuration spaced about 0.8 km apart. The inter-array cable will connect the five WTGs for a total length of 3.2 km. The export cable will originate at the northernmost WTG and travel 10 km to Block Island, Rhode Island. The total line kilometers of cable to be installed, then, is 13.2 km. Assuming 28 days of cable installation, this equates to approximately 0.5 km being laid on any of the 28 days of activities. Thus, the zone of influence (ZOI) used to calculate takes is based on a daily ensonified area over 0.5 km traveled per day. As discussed below in the “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment” section, estimated takes were calculated by multiplying species density (per 100 km2) by the ZOI, multiplied by a correction factor to account for marine mammals underwater, multiplied by the number of days (28) of the specified activity.

    Comment 2: The Commission recommended a 24-hour “reset” for enumerating takes by applying standard rounding rules before summing the numbers of estimated takes across days.

    Response: NMFS appreciates the Commission's recommendation and concurs that a consistent approach to estimating potential takes, where appropriate, is important. We will consider the Commission's recommended methodology on an action-specific basis.

    Comment 3: The Commission recommended that NMFS revise its take estimates for harbor and gray seals by removing the 80-percent reduction factor that was used to calculate takes in DWBI's application and in the proposed IHA (81 FR 22216; “Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment,” pages 22226-22227).

    Response: NMFS agrees with the Commission's recommendation to no longer use a reduction factor to estimate harbor and gray seal densities in the project area. In the proposed IHA, NMFS had applied an 80-percent reduction factor for harbor and gray seal densities based on the presumption that original density estimates for the project area were an overestimation because they included breeding populations of Cape Cod (Schroeder, 2000; Ronald and Gots, 2003). NMFS has since determined that the findings used to inform that reduction factor are outdated and do not accurately reflect the average annual rate of population increase (especially for gray seal) (refer to Waring et al., 2015 for information on population size and current population trend), and this reduction factor is no longer appropriate for calculating takes for harbor and gray seals. NMFS has revised the take estimates accordingly for harbor and gray seals in this final IHA, using the original densities reported in the Northeast Navy Operations Area (OPAREA) Density Estimates (see Table 3). There is no more recent source of density information available for seals in this region.

    Comment 4: Given the potential for year-round occurrence of North Atlantic right whales off the coast of Rhode Island, including the summer months, the Commission recommended that NMFS require DWBI to operate vessels conducting cable installation activities at speeds of 10 knots or less year-round.

    Response: NMFS concurs with the Commission's recommendation to require a mandatory 10-knot vessel speed restriction throughout the duration of the project. In 2008, NMFS promulgated a regulation implementing a mandatory 10-knot speed limit for vessels 65 feet or greater in length in designated seasonal management areas (SMAs) to reduce the threat of ship collisions with right whales (see 50 CFR 224.105). The SMAs were established to provide protection for right whales, and the timing, duration, and geographic extent of the speed restrictions were specifically designed to reflect right whale movement, distribution, and aggregation patterns. The vessel speed restriction is in effect in the mid-Atlantic SMA from November 1 through April 30 to reduce the threat of collisions between ships and right whales around their migratory route and calving grounds.

    Right whales have been observed in or near Rhode Island during all four seasons. However, they are most common in the spring when they are migrating northward and in the fall during their southbound migration (Kenney and Vigness-Raposa, 2009; Right Whale Consortium, 2014)). Although there is no temporal overlap between the Mid-Atlantic SMA and DWBI's projected cable installation activities, to minimize the potential for vessel collision with right whales and other marine mammal species NMFS will require all DWBI vessels associated with cable installation activities, regardless of their length, to operate at speeds of 10 knots or less throughout the duration of the project. In addition, all DWBI vessels will adhere to NMFS guidelines for marine mammal ship striking avoidance (available online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike/), including maintaining a distance of at least 1,500 feet from right whales and having dedicated protected species observers who will communicate with the captain to ensure that all measures to avoid whales are taken (see Mitigation Measures below). NMFS believes that the size of right whales, their slow movements, and the amount of time they spend at the surface will make them extremely likely to be spotted by protected species observers during construction activities within the BIWF project area. NMFS does not anticipate any marine mammals to be impacted by vessel movement because only a limited number of vessels will be involved in construction activities and they will move at slow speeds throughout construction.

    Comment 5: Citing safety concerns (both human and environmental) and practicability, the Commission recommended that NMFS review the requirement for applicants to reduce DP thruster power levels (for systems operating at both 100 and 50 percent power) when a marine mammal is observed approaching or within the Level B harassment zone and consider input received from DWBI and other applicants subject to other powerdown requirements.

    Response: As stated in DWBI's IHA application and in the proposed IHA, powerdown procedures shall only be implemented by DWBI when reducing DP thruster use would not compromise safety (both human health and environmental) and/or the integrity of the project. Further, the powerdown requirement is consistent with the mitigation measures outlined in the original 2014 IHA and in the 2015 Biological Opinion for the BIWF. However, the Commission's comment is duly noted and it is NMFS' intent to review the effectiveness and practicability of this measure both internally and through input from other applicants and IHA holders that have implemented powerdown procedures during DP vessel thruster use.

    Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activity

    The “Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of the Specified Activities” section has not changed from what was in the proposed IHA (81 FR 22216, April 15, 2016; pages 22217-22218). The following species are both common in the waters of Rhode Island Sound and have the highest likelihood of occurring, at least seasonally, in the project area: North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus), short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and gray seal (Halichorus grypus). Three of these species are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, and fin whale.

    The proposed IHA and DWBI's application include a complete description of information on the status, distribution, abundance, vocalizations, density estimates, and general biology of marine mammal species in the study area. In addition, NMFS publishes annual stock assessment reports for marine mammals, including some stocks that occur within the study area (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals).

    Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    We provided a detailed discussion of the potential effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat in the notice of the proposed IHA (81 FR 22216; April 15, 2016; pages 22218-22224). That information has not changed and is not repeated here.

    Mitigation

    In order to issue an incidental take authorization 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 adverse impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (where relevant).

    Mitigation Measures

    DWBI shall implement the following mitigation measures during export and inter-array cable installation activities.

    Exclusion and Monitoring Zones: Exclusion zones (defined by NMFS as the Level A harassment ZOI out to the 180/190 decibel (dB) isopleth) and monitoring zones (defined by NMFS as the Level B harassment ZOI out to the 120 dB isopleth for continuous noise) are typically established to minimize impacts to marine mammals. However, noise analysis has indicated that DP vessel thruster use will not produce sound levels at 180/190 dB at any appreciable distance (see DWBI's Underwater Acoustic Modeling Report in Appendix A of the application). This is consistent with acoustic modeling results for other Atlantic wind farm projects using DP vessel thrusters (Tetra Tech, 2014; DONG Energy, 2016), as well as subsea cable-laying activities using DP vessel thruster use (Quintillion, 2015 and 2016). Therefore, injury to marine mammals is not expected and no Level A harassment exclusion zone is proposed.

    Consultation with NMFS has indicated that the monitoring zones established out to the 120 dB isopleth for continuous noise will result in zones too large to effectively monitor (up to 4.75 km). Therefore, based on precedent set by the U.S. Department of the Navy and recent European legislation regarding compliance thresholds for wind farm construction noise (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2012; OSPAR, 2008), and consistent with the previous IHA's issued to DWBI and Deepwater Wind Block Island Transmission, L.L.C. (DWBITS), DWBI will establish a monitoring zone equivalent, at a minimum, to the size of the predicted 160 dB isopleth for DP vessel thruster use (5-m radius from the DP vessel) based on DWBI's underwater acoustic modeling. All marine mammal sightings which are visually feasible beyond the 5-m 160 dB isopleth will also be recorded and potential takes will be noted. See Visual Monitoring below for additional details on monitoring requirements.

    DP Thruster Power Reduction—During cable installation a constant tension must be maintained to ensure the integrity of the cable. Any significant stoppage in vessel maneuverability during jet plow activities has the potential to result in significant damage to the cable. Therefore, during cable lay, if marine mammals enter or approach the established 160 dB isopleth monitoring zone (estimated to be a 5-m radius around the DP vessel), DWBI proposes to reduce DP thruster power to the maximum extent possible, except under circumstances when reducing DP thruster use would compromise safety (both human health and environmental) and/or the integrity of the project. After decreasing thruster energy, protected species observers (PSOs) will continue to monitor marine mammal behavior and determine if the animal(s) is moving towards or away from the established monitoring zone. If the animal(s) continues to move towards the sound source, then DP thruster use would remain at the reduced level. Normal thruster use will resume when PSOs report that marine mammals have moved away from and remained clear of the monitoring zone for a minimum of 30 minutes since last the sighting.

    Vessel Speed Restrictions—To minimize the potential for vessel collision with North Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals, all DWBI project vessels shall operate at speeds of 10 knots or less during cable installation activities.

    Ship Strike Avoidance—DWBI shall adhere to NMFS guidelines for marine mammal ship strike avoidance (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike/).

    Mitigation Conclusions

    NMFS has carefully evaluated DWBI's mitigation measures in the context of ensuring that we prescribe the means of effecting the least practicable impact on the affected marine mammal species and stocks and their habitat. Our evaluation of potential measures included consideration of the following factors in relation to one another:

    • The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure is expected to minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals;

    • The proven or likely efficacy of the specific measure to minimize adverse impacts as planned; and

    • The practicability of the measure for applicant implementation.

    Any mitigation measure(s) prescribed by NMFS should be able to accomplish, have a reasonable likelihood of accomplishing (based on current science), or contribute to the accomplishment of one or more of the general goals listed here:

    1. Avoidance or minimization of injury or death of marine mammals wherever possible (goals 2, 3, and 4 may contribute to this goal).

    2. A reduction in the numbers of marine mammals (total number or number at biologically important time or location) exposed to received levels of activities that we expect to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing harassment takes only).

    3. A reduction in the number of times (total number or number at biologically important time or location) individuals would be exposed to received levels of activities that we expect 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 activities that we expect to result in the take of marine mammals (this goal may contribute to 1, above, or to reducing the severity of harassment takes only).

    5. Avoidance or minimization of adverse effects to marine mammal habitat, paying special attention to the food base, activities that block or limit passage to or from biologically important areas, permanent destruction of habitat, or temporary destruction/disturbance of habitat during a biologically important time.

    6. For monitoring directly related to mitigation—an increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals, thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation.

    Based on our evaluation of DWBI's proposed measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS, NMFS has determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means of effecting the least practicable impact on marine mammals 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 IHA 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 incidental take authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area.

    Monitoring measures prescribed by NMFS should accomplish one or more of the following general goals:

    1. An increase in our understanding of the likely occurrence of marine mammal species in the vicinity of the action, i.e., presence, abundance, distribution, and/or density of species.

    2. An increase in our understanding of the nature, scope, or context of the likely exposure of marine mammal species to any of the potential stressor(s) associated with the action (e.g. sound or visual stimuli), through better understanding of one or more of the following: the action itself and its environment (e.g. sound source characterization, propagation, and ambient noise levels); the affected species (e.g. life history or dive pattern); the likely co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action (in whole or part) associated with specific adverse effects; and/or the likely biological or behavioral context of exposure to the stressor for the marine mammal (e.g. age class of exposed animals or known pupping, calving or feeding areas).

    3. An increase in our understanding of how individual marine mammals respond (behaviorally or physiologically) to the specific stressors associated with the action (in specific contexts, where possible, e.g., at what distance or received level).

    4. An increase in our understanding of how anticipated individual responses, to individual stressors or anticipated combinations of stressors, may impact either: the long-term fitness and survival of an individual; or the population, species, or stock (e.g. through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival).

    5. An increase in our understanding of how the activity affects marine mammal habitat, such as through effects on prey sources or acoustic habitat (e.g., through characterization of longer-term contributions of multiple sound sources to rising ambient noise levels and assessment of the potential chronic effects on marine mammals).

    6. An increase in understanding of the impacts of the activity on marine mammals in combination with the impacts of other anthropogenic activities or natural factors occurring in the region.

    7. An increase in our understanding of the effectiveness of mitigation and monitoring measures.

    8. An increase in the probability of detecting marine mammals (through improved technology or methodology), both specifically within the safety zone (thus allowing for more effective implementation of the mitigation) and in general, to better achieve the above goals.

    Visual Monitoring—Visual observation of the 160 dB monitoring zone established for DP vessel operation during cable installation will be performed by qualified and NMFS approved PSOs, the resumes of whom will be provided to NMFS for review and approval prior to the start of construction activities. Observer qualifications will include direct field experience on a marine mammal observation vessel and/or aerial surveys in the Atlantic Ocean/Gulf of Mexico. A minimum of two PSOs will be stationed aboard the cable lay vessel. Each PSO will monitor 360 degrees of the field of vision. PSOs stationed on the DP vessel will begin observation of the monitoring zone as the vessel initially leaves the dock. Observations of the monitoring zone will continue throughout the cable installation and will end after the DP vessel has returned to dock.

    Observers would estimate distances to marine mammals visually, using laser range finders, or by using reticle binoculars during daylight hours. During night operations, night vision binoculars will be used. If vantage points higher than 25 feet (7.6 m) are available, distances can be measured using inclinometers. Position data will be recorded using hand-held or vessel global positioning system (GPS) units for each sighting, vessel position change, and any environmental change.

    Each PSO stationed on the cable lay vessel will scan the surrounding area for visual indication of marine mammal presence that may enter the monitoring zone. Observations will take place from the highest available vantage point on the cable-lay vessel. General 360-degree scanning will occur during the monitoring periods, and target scanning by the PSO will occur when alerted of a marine mammal presence.

    Information recorded during each observation shall be used to estimate numbers of animals potentially taken and shall include the following:

    • Date, time, and location of construction operations;

    • Numbers of individuals observed;

    • Frequency of observations;

    • Location (i.e., distance from sound source);

    • DP vessel thruster status (i.e., energy level)

    • Weather conditions (i.e., percent cloud cover, visibility, percent glare);

    • Water conditions (i.e., Beaufort sea-state, tidal state)

    • Details of mammal sightings (species, sex, age classification (if known), numbers)

    • Reaction of the animal(s) to relevant sound source (if any) and observed behavior (e.g., avoidance, approach), including bearing and direction of travel; and

    • Details of any observed “taking” (behavioral disturbances or injury/mortality).

    All marine mammal sightings which are visually feasible beyond the 160 dB isopleth (i.e., beyond the 5-m radius around the DP vessel), will also be recorded and potential takes will be noted.

    In addition, prior to initiation of construction work, all crew members on barges, tugs and support vessels, will undergo environmental training, a component of which will focus on the procedures for sighting and protection of marine mammals. A briefing will also be conducted between the construction supervisors and crews, the PSOs, and DWBI. The purpose of the briefing will be to establish responsibilities of each party, define the chains of command, discuss communication procedures, provide an overview of monitoring purposes, and review operational procedures. The DWBI Construction Compliance Manager (or other authorized individual) will have the authority to stop or delay construction activities, if deemed necessary. New personnel will be briefed as they join the work in progress.

    Acoustic Field Verification—DWBI would perform field verification to confirm the 160-dB and 120-dB 1 µPa-m (root mean square (rms)) isopleths. Field verification during cable installation using DP thrusters will be performed using acoustic measurements from two reference locations at two water depths (a depth at mid-water and a depth at approximately 1 m above the seafloor). If field verification measurements suggest a larger monitoring zone, the preliminary 5-m-radius monitoring zone shall be modified to ensure adequate protection to marine mammals.

    Reporting Measures—As described above (Visual Monitoring) observers would record and report dates, times, and locations of construction operations; number of individuals observed and frequency of observations; location, weather, and water conditions; details of marine mammal sightings (e.g., species, sex, age, numbers, behavior); DP vessel thruster status, and details of any observed takes, including reaction of animals to sound source and any observed behavior.

    DWBI shall provide the following notifications and reports during construction activities:

    • Notification to NMFS and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) within 24-hours of beginning construction activities and again within 24-hours of completion;

    • NMFS and USACE should be notified within 24 hours whenever a monitoring zone is re-established by DWBI. After any re-establishment of the monitoring zone, DWBI will provide a report to the USACE and NMFS detailing the field-verification measurements within 7 days. This includes information, such as: a detailed account of the levels, durations, and spectral characteristics of DP thruster use, and the peak, rms, and energy levels of the sound pulses and their durations as a function of distance, water depth, and tidal cycle. NMFS and USACE will be notified within 24 hours if field verification measurements suggest a larger monitoring zone.

    • Within 90 days after completion of the construction activities, a draft technical report will be provided to NMFS and USACE that fully documents the methods, mitigation, and monitoring protocols implemented, summarizes the data recorded during monitoring (see Visual Monitoring), estimates the number of marine mammals that may have been taken during construction activities, and provides an interpretation of the results and an assessment of the implementation and effectiveness of prescribed monitoring and mitigation measures. The draft report shall be subject to review and comment by NMFS. Any recommendations made by NMFS must be addressed in the final report prior to acceptance by NMFS. The draft report will be considered the final report for this activity under this Authorization if NMFS has not provided comments and recommendations within 30 days of receipt of the draft report.

    Notification of Injured or Dead Marine Mammals—In the unanticipated event that the specified activities clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA, such as a serious injury, or mortality, DWBI would immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report would include the following information:

    ○ Time and date of the incident;

    ○ Description of the incident;

    ○ Environmental conditions (e.g., wind speed and direction, Beaufort sea state, cloud cover, and visibility);

    ○ Description of all marine mammal observations and active sound source use 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 will work with DWBI to determine the measures necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. DWBI may not resume their activities until notified by NMFS.

    In the event that DWBI discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and 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), DWBI would immediately report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the GARFO Stranding Coordinator, NMFS. The report would include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities may continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS will work with DWBI to determine whether additional mitigation measures or modifications to the activities are appropriate.

    In the event that DWBI discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and 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 to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), DWBI would report the incident to the Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the GARFO Stranding Coordinator, NMFS, within 24 hours of the discovery. DWBI would provide photographs or video footage (if available) or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS. DWBI can continue its operations under such a case.

    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].

    Underwater sound associated with the use of DP vessel thrusters during inter-array and export cable installation is the only project activity that has the potential to harass marine mammals, as defined by the MMPA. Harassment could take the form of temporary threshold shift, avoidance, or other changes in marine mammal behavior. NMFS anticipates that impacts to marine mammals would be in the form of Level B behavioral harassment and no take by injury, serious injury, or mortality is authorized. NMFS does not anticipate take resulting from the movement of vessels (i.e., vessel strike) associated with construction because there will be a limited number of vessels moving at slow speeds over a relatively shallow, nearshore area, and PSOs on the vessels will be monitoring for marine mammals and will be able to alert the vessels to avoid any marine mammals in the area.

    NMFS' current acoustic exposure criteria for estimating take are shown in Table 1 below. DWBI's modeled distances to these acoustic exposure criteria are shown in Table 2. Details on the model characteristics and results are provided in the Underwater Acoustic Modeling Report found in Appendix A of the application. As discussed in the application and in Appendix A, acoustic modeling took into consideration sound sources using the loudest potential operational parameters, bathymetry, geoacoustic properties of the project area, time of year, and marine mammal hearing ranges. Results from the acoustic modeling showed that the estimated maximum distance to the 120 dB re 1 μPa (rms) MMPA threshold was approximately 4,750 m for 10-m water depth, 4,275 m for 20-m water depth, and 3,575 m for 40-m water depth; average distance to the 120 dB re 1 μPa (rms) MMPA threshold was approximately 2,700 m over the three depths (Table 2). More information on results including figures displaying critical distance information can be found in Appendix A of the application. DWBI and NMFS believe that these estimates represent the worst-case scenario and that the actual distances to the Level B harassment threshold may be shorter. DP vessel thruster use will not produce sound levels at 180/190 dB at any appreciable distance, therefore, no injurious (Level A harassment) takes have been requested or are being authorized. To verify the distance to the MMPA thresholds calculated by underwater acoustic modeling, DWBI has committed to conducting real-time underwater acoustic measurements of the DP vessel thrusters. Field verification of actual sound propagation will enable adjustment of the MMPA threshold level distances to fit actual construction conditions, if necessary.

    Table 1—NMFS' Current Acoustic Exposure Criteria Criterion Criterion definition Threshold Non-Explosive Sound Level A Harassment (Injury) Permanent Threshold Shift (PTS) (Any level above that which is known to cause temporary threshold shift (TTS)) 180 dB re 1 µPa-m (cetaceans)/190 dB re 1 µPa-m (pinnipeds) (rms). Level B Harassment Behavioral Disruption (for impulse noises) 160 dB re 1 µPa-m (rms). Level B Harassment Behavioral Disruption (for continuous, noise) 120 dB re 1 µoPa-m (rms). Table 2—Critical Distances to MMPA Thresholds From DP Vessel Thrusters During Submarine Cable Installation Source Marine mammal level A harassment
  • 180/190 dBRMS re 1 µPa
  • (m)
  • Marine mammal level B harassment
  • 120 dBRMS re 1 µPa
  • (m)
  • Max. distance Average
  • distance
  • DP Vessel Thrusters—at 10 m N/A 4,750 2,125 DP Vessel Thrusters—at 20 m N/A 4,275 2,700 DP Vessel Thrusters—at 40 m N/A 3,575 3,400

    DWBI estimated species densities within the project area in order to estimate the number of marine mammal exposures to sound levels above 120 dB (continuous noise). The data used as the basis for estimating cetacean species density for the project area are sightings per unit effort (SPUE) taken from Kenney and Vigness-Raposa (2009). SPUE (or, the relative abundance of species) is derived by using a measure of survey effort and number of individual cetaceans sighted. SPUE allows for comparison between discrete units of time (i.e. seasons) and space within a project area (Shoop and Kenney, 1992). SPUE calculated by Kenney and Vigness-Raposa (2009) was derived from a number of sources including: (1) North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium (NARWC) database; (2) University of Rhode Island Cetacean and Turtle Assessment Program (CeTAP, 1982); (3) sightings data from the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, Inc. and Okeanos Ocean Research Foundation; (4) the Northeast Regional Stranding network (marine mammals); and (5) the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Fisheries Sampling Branch.

    The OPAREA Density Estimates (U.S. Department of the Navy, 2007) were used for estimating takes for harbor and gray seals. In the proposed IHA, NMFS had applied an 80 percent reduction factor for harbor and gray seal densities based on the presumption that original density estimates for the project area were an overestimation because they included breeding populations of Cape Cod (Schroeder, 2000; Ronald and Gots, 2003). NMFS has since determined that the findings used to inform that reduction factor are outdated and do not accurately reflect the average annual rate of population increase (especially for gray seal), and this reduction factor is no longer appropriate for calculating takes for harbor and gray seals.

    The methodology for calculating takes was described in the Federal Register notice for the proposed IHA (81 FR 22216; April 15, 2016). Estimated takes were calculated by multiplying species density (per 100 km2) by the ZOI, multiplied by a correction factor to account for marine mammals underwater, multiplied by the number of days of the specified activity.

    A detailed description of the model used to calculate zones of influence is provided in the Underwater Acoustic Modeling Report found in Appendix A of the application. Acoustic modeling was completed with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Range-dependent Acoustic Model (RAM) which is widely used by sound engineers and marine biologists due to its adaptability to describe highly complex acoustic scenarios. This modeling analysis method considers range and depth along with a geo-referenced dataset to automatically retrieve the time of year information, bathymetry, and geo-acoustic properties (e.g. hard rock, sand, mud) along propagation transects radiating from the sound source. Transects are run along compass points (45°, 90°, 135°, 180°, 225°, 270°, 315°, and 360°) to determine received sound levels at a given location. These values are then summed across frequencies to provide broadband received levels at the MMPA Level A and Level B harassment thresholds as described in Table 1. The representative area ensonified to the MMPA Level B threshold for DP vessel thruster use during cable installation was used to estimate take. The distances to the MMPA thresholds were used to conservatively estimate how many marine mammals would receive a specified amount of sound energy in a given time period and to support the development of monitoring and/or mitigation measures.

    DWBI used a ZOI of 25 km2 and a maximum installation period of 28 days to estimate take from use of the DP vessel thruster during cable installation. The ZOI represents the average daily ensonified area (using an average modeled distance to the 120 dB re 1 μPa (rms) isopleth of approximately 2.7 km) across the three representative water depths along the 13.2-km cable route. DWBI expects cable installation to occur between May and October. To be conservative, take calculations were based on the highest seasonal species density when cable installation may occur (see Table 3). The resulting take estimates (rounded to the nearest whole number) based upon these conservative assumptions for North Atlantic right, humpback, fin, and minke whales, as well as, short-beaked common and Atlantic white-sided dolphins, harbor porpoise, and harbor and gray seals are presented in Table 3. These numbers represent less than 1.5 percent of the stock for these species, respectively (Table 3). These percentages are the upper boundary of the animal population that could be affected.

    Table 3—DWBI's Estimated Take for DP Thruster Use During the BIWF Project Species Maximum
  • seasonal
  • density
  • (Number/100 km2)
  • Estimated
  • take
  • (Number)
  • Percentage
  • of stock
  • potentially
  • affected
  • North Atlantic Right Whale 0.07 1 0.22 Humpback Whale 0.11 2 0.24 Fin Whale 2.15 23 1.42 Minke Whale 0.44 5 0.02 Short-beaked Common Dolphin 8.21 87 0.07 Atlantic White-sided Dolphin 7.46 79 0.16 Harbor Porpoise 0.74 8 0.01 Harbor Seal * 9.74 110 0.15 Gray Seal * 14.16 160 0.05 * An 80 percent reduction factor for harbor and gray seal densities was applied in the proposed IHA based on the presumption that original density estimates for the project area were an overestimation because they included breeding populations of Cape Cod (Schroeder, 2000; Ronald and Gots, 2003). NMFS has since determined that the findings used to inform that reduction factor are outdated and do not accurately reflect the average annual rate of population increase (especially for gray seal). Therefore, NMFS no longer considers this reduction factor appropriate for calculating takes for harbor and gray seals.

    DWBI's requested take numbers are provided in Table 3 and this is also the number of takes NMFS has authorized. DWBI's take calculations do not take into account whether a single animal is harassed multiple times or whether each exposure is a different animal. Therefore, the numbers in Table 3 are the maximum number of animals that may be harassed during the cable installation activities (i.e., DWBI assumes that each exposure event is a different animal). These estimates do not account for prescribed mitigation measures that DWBI would implement during the specified activities and the fact that powerdown procedures shall be implemented if an animal enters the Level B harassment zone (160 dB), further reducing the potential for any takes to occur during these activities.

    DWBI did not request, and NMFS is not proposing, take from vessel strike. We do not anticipate marine mammals to be impacted by vessel movement because a limited number of vessels would be involved in construction activities and they would mostly move at slow speeds during DP vessel thruster use during cable installation activities. However, DWBI shall implement measures (e.g., vessel speed restrictions and separation distances; see Mitigation Measures) to further minimize potential impacts to marine mammals from vessel strikes during vessel operations and transit in the project area.

    Analysis and Determinations Negligible Impact

    Negligible impact is “an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival” (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-level effects). An estimate of the number of takes, alone, is not enough information on which to base an impact determination, as the severity of harassment may vary greatly depending on the context and duration of the behavioral response, many of which would not be expected to have deleterious impacts on the fitness of any individuals. In determining whether the expected takes will have a negligible impact, in addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be “taken,” NMFS must consider other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (their intensity, duration, etc.), the context of any responses (critical reproductive time or location, migration, etc.), as well as the number and nature of estimated Level A harassment takes, the number of estimated mortalities, and the status of the species.

    To avoid repetition, the discussion of our analyses applies to all the species listed in Table 3, given that the anticipated effects of this activity on these different marine mammal stocks are expected to be similar. There is no information about the nature or severity of the impacts, or the size, status, or structure of any of these species or stocks that would lead to a different analysis for this activity.

    As discussed in the “Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat” section of the proposed IHA (81 FR 22216; April 15, 2016; pages 22218-22224), permanent threshold shift, masking, non-auditory physical effects, and vessel strike are not expected to occur. There is some potential for limited temporary threshold shift (TTS); however, animals in the area would likely incur no more than brief hearing impairment (i.e., TTS) due to low source levels and the fact that most marine mammals would more likely avoid a loud sound source rather than swim in such close proximity as to result in TTS. Moreover, as the DP vessel is continually moving along the cable route over a 24-hour period, the area within the 120 dB isopleth is constantly moving (i.e., transient sound field) and shifting within a 24-hour period. Therefore, no single area in Rhode Island Sound will have noise levels above 120 dB for more than a few hours; once the DP vessel has moved through the cable-laying area, it is not likely to again, therefore reducing the likelihood of repeated impacts within the project area.

    Potential impacts to marine mammal habitat were discussed in the proposed IHA (see the “Potential Effects of the Specified Activity on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat” section) (81 FR 22216; April 15, 2016; pages 22218-22224). Marine mammal habitat may be impacted by elevated sound levels and some sediment disturbance, but these impacts would be temporary. Feeding behavior is not likely to be significantly impacted. Prey species are mobile, and are broadly distributed throughout the project area; therefore, marine mammals that may be temporarily displaced during cable installation activities are expected to be able to resume foraging once they have moved away from areas with disturbing levels of underwater noise. Because of the temporary nature of the disturbance, the availability of similar habitat and resources in the surrounding area, and the lack of important or unique marine mammal habitat, the impacts to marine mammals and the food sources that they utilize are not expected to cause significant or long-term consequences for individual marine mammals or their populations. There are no feeding areas known to be biologically important to marine mammals within the project area.

    There are no rookeries or mating grounds known to be biologically important to marine mammals within the project area. ESA-listed species for which takes are authorized are North Atlantic right, humpback, and fin whales. Recent estimates of abundance indicate a stable or growing humpback whale population, while examination of the minimum number alive population index calculated from the individual sightings database (as it existed on October 25, 2013) for the years 1990-2010 suggests a positive and slowly accelerating trend in North Atlantic right whale population size (Waring et al., 2015). There are currently insufficient data to determine population trends for fin whale (Waring et al., 2015). There is no designated critical habitat for any ESA-listed marine mammals within the project area, and none of the stocks for non-listed species authorized to be taken are considered “depleted” or “strategic” by NMFS under the MMPA.

    The mitigation measures are expected to reduce the potential for exposure of marine mammals by reducing the DP thruster power if a marine mammal is observed within the 160 dB isopleth. Additional vessel strike avoidance requirements will further mitigate potential impacts to marine mammals during vessel transit in the study area. DWBI vessels associated with the BIWF construction will adhere to NMFS guidelines for marine mammal ship striking avoidance (available online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike/), including maintaining a distance of at least 1,500 feet from right whales and having dedicated protected species observers who will communicate with the captain to ensure that all measures to avoid whales are taken. NMFS believes that the size of right whales, their slow movements, and the amount of time they spend at the surface will make them extremely likely to be spotted by PSOs during construction activities within the project area.

    DWBI did not request, and NMFS is not authorizing, take of marine mammals by injury, serious injury, or mortality. NMFS expects that takes would mainly be in the form of short-term Level B behavioral harassment in the form of brief startling reaction and/or temporary vacating of the area, or temporary decreased foraging (if such activity were occurring)—reactions that are considered to be of low severity and with no lasting biological consequences (e.g., Southall et al., 2007). This is largely due to the short time scale of the proposed activities and the nature of the DP vessel noise (i.e., low source level, constantly moving resulting in a transient sound field), as well as the required mitigation.

    Based on best available science, NMFS concludes that exposures to marine mammal species and stocks due to DWBI's DP vessel thruster use during cable installation activities would result in only short-term (temporary and short in duration) and relatively infrequent effects to individuals exposed, and not of the type or severity that would be expected to be additive for the very small portion of the stocks and species likely to be exposed. Given the intensity of the activities, and the fact that shipping contributes to the ambient sound levels in the surrounding waters, NMFS does not anticipate the authorized take estimates to impact annual rates of recruitment or survival. Animals may temporarily avoid the immediate area, but are not expected to permanently abandon the area. Major shifts in habitat use, distribution, or foraging success, are not expected

    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS finds that the total marine mammal take from DWBI's DP vessel thruster use during cable installation activities will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks.

    Small Numbers

    The takes authorized for the cable installation activities utilizing DP vessel thrusters represent 0.22 percent of the Western North Atlantic (WNA) stock of North Atlantic right whale, 0.24 percent of the Gulf of Maine stock of humpback whale, 1.42 percent of the WNA stock of fin whale, 0.02 percent of the Canadian East Coast stock of minke whale, 0.07 percent of the WNA stock of short-beaked common dolphin, 0.16 percent of the WNA stock of Atlantic white-sided dolphin, 0.01 percent of the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy stock of harbor porpoise, 0.15 percent of the WNA stock of harbor seal, and 0.05 percent of the North Atlantic stock of gray seal. These take estimates represent the percentage of each species or stock that could be taken by Level B behavioral harassment and represent extremely small numbers (less than 1.5 percent) relative to the affected species or stock sizes. Further, the take numbers are the maximum numbers of animals that are expected to be harassed during the project; it is possible that some of these exposures may occur to the same individual. Therefore, NMFS finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the populations of the affected species or stocks.

    Impact on Availability of Affected Species for Taking for Subsistence Uses

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of marine mammals implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

    Endangered Species Act

    Under section 7 of the ESA, the USACE (the federal permitting agency for the actual construction) consulted with NMFS' GARFO on the proposed BIWF project. NMFS also consulted internally on the issuance of an IHA under section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA for this activity. The resultant Biological Opinion determined that the proposed action was not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of fin, humpback, and North Atlantic right whale. NMFS has determined that the 2015 Biological Opinion remains valid and that the proposed MMPA authorization provides no new information about the effects of the action, nor does it change the extent of effects of the action, or any other basis to require reinitiation of the opinion. Therefore, the 2015 Biological Opinion meets the requirements of section 7(a)(2) of the ESA and implementing regulations at 50 CFR 402 for our issuance of an IHA under the MMPA, and no further consultation is required.

    National Environmental Policy Act

    NMFS conducted the required analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and prepared an EA for its issuance of the original BIWF IHA, issuing a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the action on August 21, 2014 (reaffirmed on June 9, 2015). The potential environmental impacts of issuance of the IHA are within the scope of the environmental impacts analyzed in NMFS' EA, which was used to support NMFS' FONSI. NMFS has determined that there are no substantial changes to the action or significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns which would require a supplement to the 2014 EA or preparation of a new NEPA document. Therefore, NMFS has determined that a new or supplemental EA or Environmental Impact Statement are unnecessary, and we shall rely on the existing EA and FONSI for this action.

    Authorization

    As a result of these determinations, NMFS has issued an IHA to DWBI for cable installation activities that use DP vessel thrusters from May 31, 2016, through May 30, 2017, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15370 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act Detailed Summary of the Great Lakes Plan on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia; Correction AGENCY:

    National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice; Correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a document in the Federal Register of June 3, 2016, entitled Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act. The information concerning the submission date has been updated.

    Other Information: The updated information for when stakeholders are invited to provide input related to concerns and successes pertaining to HABs and hypoxia in the Great Lakes region follows:

    Stakeholders are invited to submit questions and provide input related to concerns and successes pertaining to HABs and hypoxia in the Great Lakes region. The IWG-HABHRCA continues to seek general and technical feedback on topics including:

    • Regional, Great Lakes-specific priorities for:

    ○ Ecological, economic, and social research on the causes and impacts of HABs and hypoxia;

    ○ Approaches to improving monitoring and early warnings, scientific understanding, prediction and modeling, and socioeconomics of these events; and

    ○ Mitigating the causes and impacts of HABs and hypoxia.

    • Communication and information dissemination methods that state, tribal, local, and international governments and organizations may undertake to educate and inform the public concerning HABs and hypoxia in the Great Lakes; and

    • Perceived needs for handling Great Lakes HAB and hypoxia events, as well as an action strategy for managing future situations.

    Inquiries and comments may be submitted via email ([email protected]) or via U.S. mail to Caitlin Gould at NOAA, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, SSMC-4, #8237, 1305 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Technical feedback in the form of brief annotated bibliographic entries would be welcome. The Interagency Working Group will gladly accept public input at any time; however, only those that are received on or before August 19, 2016, may be considered when the Interagency Working Group finalizes the plan.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Caitlin Gould ([email protected], 240-533-0290) or Stacey DeGrasse ([email protected], 240-402-1470).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Correction

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a document in the Federal Register of June 3, 2016, entitled Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act. The information concerning the webinar dates and WebEx information have been updated.

    Dated: June 15, 2016. Mary C. Erickson, Director, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15364 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JE-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hydrographic Services Review Panel Meeting AGENCY:

    National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP) will hold a meeting that will be open to the public. Information about the HSRP and the meeting agenda will be posted at: http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/hsrp/meetings_cleveland2016.htm.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on August 30, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT; August 31, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and September 1, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Times are subject to change. For updates, please check: http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/hsrp/meetings_cleveland2016.htm.

    ADDRESSES:

    City Club of Cleveland, 830 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Lynne Mersfelder-Lewis, HSRP program manager, National Ocean Service, Office of Coast Survey, NOAA (N/NSD), 1315 East-West Highway, SSMC3 #6301, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910; telephone: 301-713-2750 ext. 166; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The meeting is open to the public, and public seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The times of onsite public comment periods, scheduled for each day, will be included in the final agenda. Each individual or group making verbal comments will be limited to a total time of five (5) minutes. Comments will be recorded. Individuals who would like to submit written statements should email their comments to [email protected] The HSRP will provide webinar and teleconference capability for the public sessions. Pre-registration is required to access the webinar: http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/hsrp/meetings_cleveland2016.htm.

    The Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP) is a Federal Advisory Committee established to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, the NOAA Administrator, on matters related to the responsibilities and authorities set forth in section 303 of the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act of 1998, as amended, and such other appropriate matters that the Under Secretary refers to the Panel for review and advice. The charter and other information are located online at http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/ocs/hsrp/CharterBylawsHSIAStatute.htm.

    Matters To Be Considered: The panel is convening to hear federal, state, regional and local partners and stakeholders on issues relevant to NOAA's navigation services, focusing on the Great Lakes area. Navigation services include the data, products, and services provided by the NOAA programs and activities that undertake geodetic observations, gravity modeling, shoreline mapping, bathymetric mapping, hydrographic surveying, nautical charting, tide and water level observations, current observations, and marine modeling. This suite of NOAA products and services support safe and efficient navigation, resilient coasts and communities, and the nationwide positioning information infrastructure to support America's commerce. The Panel will hear from federal agencies and non-federal organizations about their missions and their use of NOAA's navigation services; what value these services bring; and what improvements could be made. Other administrative matters may be considered. This agenda is subject to change.

    Special Accommodations: This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Please direct requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids to [email protected] by August 8, 2016.

    Dated: June 17, 2016. Gerd F. Glang, Rear Admiral, Director, Office of Coast Survey, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15365 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No.: PTO-P-2016-0015] Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program AGENCY:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) is implementing a pilot program to provide for earlier review of patent applications pertaining to cancer immunotherapy (“Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program” or “Pilot Program”) in support of the White House national $1 billion initiative to achieve ten years' worth of cancer research in the next five years (“National Cancer Moonshot”). The USPTO will advance applications containing a claim(s) to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy out of turn for examination if the applicant files a grantable petition to make special under the Pilot Program. The objective of the Pilot Program is to complete the examination of the application within twelve months of special status being granted. Under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, an application will be advanced out of turn for examination without meeting all of the current requirements of the accelerated examination program (e.g., the requirement for an examination support document) or the Prioritized Examination (Track I) program. This notice outlines the conditions, eligibility requirements, and guidelines of the Pilot Program.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: June 29, 2016.

    Duration: The Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program will run for twelve months from its effective date. Therefore, petitions to make special under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program must be filed before June 29, 2017. The USPTO may extend the Pilot Program (with or without modifications) or terminate it depending on the workload and resources needed to administer the Pilot Program, feedback from the public, and the effectiveness of the Pilot Program. If the Pilot Program is extended or terminated, the USPTO will provide notification to the public.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Pinchus M. Laufer, Senior Legal Advisor (telephone (571) 272-7726; electronic mail at [email protected]) or Susy Tsang-Foster, Senior Legal Advisor (telephone (571) 272-7711; electronic mail at [email protected]), of the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.

    For questions relating to a specific petition, please contact Gary B. Nickol, Supervisory Patent Examiner (telephone (571) 272-0835; electronic mail at [email protected]) or Brandon J. Fetterolf, Supervisory Patent Examiner (telephone (571) 272-2919; electronic mail at [email protected]), of Technology Center 1600.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On February 1, 2016, the White House Office of the Press Secretary announced a new, national $1 billion initiative to achieve ten years' worth of cancer research in the next five years, with the intent to aid in the global fight against cancer. See the White House Web site at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/01/fact-sheet-investing-national-cancer-moonshot. To support this initiative, the USPTO is implementing the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program to advance patent applications pertaining to cancer immunotherapy out of turn for examination to provide for earlier review. The objective of the Pilot Program is to complete the examination of an application containing a claim(s) to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy within twelve months of special status being granted. See Part XII below (Twelve-Month Goal) for more information.

    New patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order of their U.S. filing date. See section 708 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (9th ed., 7th Rev., November 2015) (MPEP). The USPTO has procedures under which an application will be advanced out of turn (accorded special status) for examination if the applicant files a petition to make special under 37 CFR 1.102(c) and (d) with the appropriate showing or a request for prioritized examination under 37 CFR 1.102(e). See 37 CFR 1.102 and MPEP section 708.02. The USPTO revised its accelerated examination procedures effective August 25, 2006, requiring that all petitions to make special comply with the requirements of the revised accelerated examination (AE) program, except those based on an inventor's health or age or the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Program. See Changes to Practice for Petitions in Patent Applications To Make Special and for Accelerated Examination, 71 FR 36323 (June 26, 2006), 1308 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 106 (July 18, 2006) (notice); see also MPEP section 708.02(a).

    The USPTO is implementing the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program to permit an application containing at least one claim to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy to be advanced out of turn (accorded special status) for examination without meeting all of the current requirements of the accelerated examination program set forth in item VIII of MPEP section 708.02(a) (e.g., examination support document) if the applicant files a grantable petition to make special under the Pilot Program. Applications that have been accorded special status based on any USPTO established procedures (such as PPH, Prioritized Examination, Accelerated Examination, Age, Health, or any other pilot program that takes up an application out of order for examination) are not eligible to be made special under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program. Applications are accorded special status under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program after grant of special status until a final disposition (defined in Part XII (Twelve-Month Goal)) is reached in the application. Under special status, an application that has not been acted on or an application with a proper RCE request will be placed on the examiner's special new docket until a first Office action on the merits. For an application in the Pilot Program where applicant is responding to a first Office action, the application will be placed on the examiner's regular amended docket. Under the Pilot Program, the USPTO is providing examiners with incentives to handle these applicant responses promptly.

    The USPTO will accept petitions to make special under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program provided that the petitions, and applications in which they are filed, meet all of the requirements set forth in this notice. The USPTO will periodically evaluate the Pilot Program to determine whether and to what extent its coverage should be expanded. In addition, the USPTO may extend the Pilot Program (with or without modifications) or terminate it depending on the workload and resources needed to administer the Pilot Program, feedback from the public, and the effectiveness of the Pilot Program. If the Pilot Program is extended or terminated, the USPTO will provide notification to the public.

    Applicants may participate in the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program by filing a petition to make special under 37 CFR 1.102(d) meeting all of the requirements set forth in this notice in either a new application or in a pending application. However, continuing applications will not automatically be accorded special status based on papers filed with a petition in a parent application. Each application must, on its own, meet all requirements for special status. No fee is required. The fee for a petition to make special under 37 CFR 1.102(d) based upon the procedure specified in this notice is hereby waived.

    Part I. Requirements for Petitions To Make Special Under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program: A petition to make special under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program may be granted in an application provided the eligibility requirements set forth in Part II and the following conditions are satisfied:

    (1) Types of Applications. The application must be a non-reissue, non-provisional utility application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), or an international application that has entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.

    (2) Claim Limit and No Multiple Dependent Claims. The application must not contain more than three independent claims and more than twenty total claims. The application must not contain any multiple dependent claims. For an application that contains more than three independent claims or twenty total claims, or any multiple dependent claims, applicant must file a preliminary amendment in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121 to cancel the excess claims and/or the multiple dependent claims at the time the petition to make special is filed. The petition must include a statement that applicant agrees that the application will not have more than three independent claims, more than twenty total claims, and any multiple dependent claims while the application is in special status under the Pilot Program.

    (3) The Application Must Include at Least One Method Claim of Treating a Cancer Using Immunotherapy. The application must include at least one claim to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy that meets the eligibility requirements in Part II of this notice. The petition must include a statement that the applicant agrees to include at least one claim to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy that meets the Pilot Program eligibility requirements while the application is in special status. For applications that have been previously examined, applicants will not be permitted to switch inventions in order to participate in the Pilot Program. See MPEP section 821.03.

    (4) Statement Regarding Method of Treating a Cancer Using Immunotherapy. The petition to make special must state that special status under the Pilot Program is sought because the application contains a claim to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy that meets the eligibility requirements discussed in Part II of this notice.

    (5) Statement Regarding Restriction Requirement. The petition must include a statement that, if the USPTO determines that the claims are directed to multiple inventions, applicant will agree to make an election without traverse in a telephonic interview, and elect an invention directed to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy that meets the eligibility requirement discussed in Part II of this notice.

    (6) Statement that Special Status Was Not Previously Granted Under Any Program. The petition must state that the application has not been previously granted special status. A petition to make special under this Pilot Program may not be filed in an application in which special status was previously granted under this Pilot Program or in any other program (e.g., age, health, PPH, AE, prioritized examination).

    (7) Time for Filing Petition. In general, the petition to make special under the Pilot Program must be filed (i) at least one day prior to the date that notice of a first Office action (which may be an Office action containing only a restriction requirement) appears in the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system (applicant may check the status of an application using PAIR); or (ii) with a proper request for continued examination (RCE) that is in compliance with 37 CFR 1.114.

    For patent applicants whose claimed cancer immunotherapy both (i) meets the eligibility requirements for this Pilot Program and (ii) is the subject of an active Investigational New Drug (IND) application filed by patent applicant or their agent (e.g., a licensee of the patent applicant or the patent applicant's assignee) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has entered phase II or phase III clinical trials, the petition may be filed any time prior to an appeal or a final rejection if patent applicant certifies both (i) and (ii) in the petition. For an application that has an outstanding Office action, patent applicant must file a complete response together with the petition.

    Therefore, the petition is only required to contain the above applicant certification if the patent application has received a first Office action or a request for continued examination (RCE) was not filed with the petition. By default, for applications that have been previously examined, if applicant makes the above certification in the petition, the above certification would necessarily apply to at least one of the examined claims since applicants are not permitted to switch inventions in order to participate in the Pilot Program. See MPEP section 821.03.

    (8) Office Form Available for Filing Petition. Applicant should use form PTO/SB/443 for filing the petition. The form will contain a check-box for the applicant to certify that the claimed cancer immunotherapy both (i) meets the eligibility requirements for this Pilot Program and (ii) is the subject of an active IND application filed by patent applicant or their agent at the FDA that has entered phase II or phase III clinical trials. The form will be available as a Portable Document Format (PDF) fillable form in EFS-Web and on the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/index.html. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that, under 5 CFR 1320.3(h), Form PTO/SB/443 does not collect “information” within the meaning of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Information regarding EFS-Web is available on the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/support-centers/patent-electronic-business-center. Failure to use the form or its equivalent could result in the Office not recognizing the request or delays in processing the request.

    (9) Electronic Filing of Petition Required. The petition to make special must be filed electronically before June 29, 2017, using the USPTO electronic filing system, EFS-Web, and selecting the document description of “Petition for Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot” on the EFS-Web screen. Any inquiries concerning electronic filing of the petition should be directed to the Electronic Business Center (EBC) at (866) 217-9197.

    (10) Publication Requirement for Applications. For unpublished applications, the petition to make special must be accompanied by a request for early publication in compliance with 37 CFR 1.219. If applicant previously filed a nonpublication request in the application, applicant must file a rescission of a nonpublication request no later than the time the petition to make special is filed. Applicant may use form PTO/SB/36 to rescind the nonpublication request.

    Part II. Eligibility Requirements—Applications Pertaining to Cancer Immunotherapy. To be eligible for the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, patent applications should be in the field of Oncology. The applications must contain at least one claim encompassing a method of ameliorating, treating, or preventing a malignancy in a human subject wherein the steps of the method assist or boost the immune system in eradicating cancerous cells. For example, this can include the administration of cells, antibodies, proteins, or nucleic acids that invoke an active (or achieve a passive) immune response to destroy cancerous cells. The Pilot Program also will consider claims drawn to the co-administration of biological adjuvants (e.g., interleukins, cytokines, Bacillus Comette-Guerin, monophosphoryl lipid A, etc.) in combination with conventional therapies for treating cancer such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Claims to administering any vaccine that works by activating the immune system to prevent or destroy cancer cell growth are included. The Pilot Program also will consider in vivo, ex vivo, and adoptive immunotherapies, including those using autologous and/or heterologous cells or immortalized cell lines.

    As in other programs, eligibility for this pilot is not restricted by (i) the nationality of the patent applicant or its agents, (ii) the location where the underlying research was undertaken or the technology was developed, or (iii) the location where the invention may be produced or manufactured.

    Part III. Decision on Petition To Make Special Under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program. If applicant files a petition to make special under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, the USPTO will decide the petition once the application has been docketed for examination. Any inquiries concerning a specific petition to make special should be directed to the appropriate Technology Center handling the petition. If the petition is granted, the application will be accorded special status under the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program until a final disposition (see Part XII (Twelve-Month Goal)). Under special status, an application that has not been acted on or an application with a proper RCE request will be placed on the examiner's special new docket until a first Office action on the merits. For an application in the Pilot Program where applicant is responding to a first Office action, the application will be placed on the examiner's regular amended docket. Under the Pilot Program, the USPTO is providing examiners with incentives to handle these applicant responses promptly.

    Applicant will be notified of the decision on the petition by the deciding official. If the application does not comply with the sequence requirements as set forth in 37 CFR 1.821 through 1.825, such that the application is not in condition for examination, or has an outstanding Office action, or if the application and/or petition does not meet all the formal requirements set forth in this notice, the USPTO will notify the applicant of the deficiency by issuing a notice. The notice will give the applicant only one opportunity to correct the deficiency. If the applicant still wishes to participate in the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, the applicant must file a proper petition and make appropriate corrections within one month or thirty days, whichever is longer. The time period for reply is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136(a). If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency indicated in the notice within the time period set forth therein, the application will not be eligible for the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program, and the application will be taken up for examination in accordance with standard examination procedures. If the application does not contain a method claim that complies with the eligibility requirements discussed in Part II of this notice, the petition will be dismissed, and the applicant will not be given an opportunity to correct the deficiency.

    Part IV. Requirement for Restriction. If the claims in the application are directed to multiple inventions, the examiner may make a requirement for restriction in accordance with current restriction practice. The examiner will contact the applicant by telephone and request an oral election of a single invention for prosecution. Applicant must make an election without traverse in a telephonic interview of an invention that is to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy that meets the eligibility requirements for this Pilot Program. If the applicant does not respond by telephone to an examiner's request for an election within two working days or refuses to make an election of an invention that is to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy, the examiner will treat the first group of claims directed to a method of treating a cancer using immunotherapy that meets the eligibility requirements of this notice as constructively elected without traverse for examination.

    Part V. First Action Interview Pilot Program Not Available. Applications accepted into the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program will not be eligible to participate in the First Action Interview Pilot Program. However, standard interview practice and procedures applicable to regular ex parte prosecution will still be available See MPEP section 713.02.

    Part VI. Period for Reply by Applicant. The time periods set for reply in Office actions for an application granted special status under the Pilot Program will be the same as those set forth in section 710.02(b) of the MPEP. However, if an applicant files a petition for any extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a), the special status of the application will be terminated, and the application will be taken up for examination in accordance with standard examination procedures.

    Part VII. Reply By Applicant. A reply to an Office action must be limited to responding to rejections, objections, and requirements made by the examiner. Any amendment to a non-final Office action will be treated as not fully responsive if it attempts to: (A) Add claims which would result in more than three independent claims, or more than twenty total claims, pending in the application; (B) add any multiple dependent claim; or (C) cancel all method claims to treating a cancer using immunotherapy. If a reply to a non-final Office action is not fully responsive because it does not comply with the Pilot Program claim requirements, but is a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action, the examiner may, at his or her discretion, provide one month or thirty days, whichever is longer, for applicant to supply a fully responsive reply. Extensions of this time period under 37 CFR 1.136(a) to the notice of nonresponsive amendment will not be permitted in order for the application to remain in special status. Any further nonresponsive amendment will be treated as non-bona fide and the time period set in the prior notice will continue to run.

    Part VIII. After-Final and Appeal Procedures: The mailing of a final Office action or the filing of a Notice of Appeal, whichever is earlier, is a final disposition for purposes of the twelve-month goal for the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program. During the appeal process, the application will be treated in accordance with the normal appeal procedure (see MPEP Chapter 1200). Any amendment, affidavit, or other evidence after a final Office action and prior to appeal must comply with 37 CFR 1.116. The filing of an RCE is a final disposition for purposes of the twelve-month goal for the Cancer Immunotherapy Pilot Program. The application will not retain its special status after the filing of a proper RCE.

    Part IX. Post-Allowance Processing. The mailing of a notice of allowance is a final disposition for the purposes of the twelve-month goal for the Pilot Program. The failure to pay the required issue fee within one (1) month of the mailing date of the Form PTOL-85 or the submission of a non-USPTO required submission under 37 CFR 1.312 will result in the allowance being processed according to the regular allowance process. A submission that includes both USPTO required changes and non-USPTO required changes under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.312 will be considered as a non-USPTO required submission for purposes of the allowance processing.

    Part X. Proceedings Outside the Normal Examination Process: If an application becomes involved in proceedings outside the normal examination process (e.g., a secrecy order, national security review, interference, derivation proceeding or petitions under 37 CFR 1.181 through 1.183), the USPTO will place the application in special status under the Cancer Immunology Pilot Program before and after such proceedings. During those proceedings, however, the application will not be under special status. For example, during an interference proceeding, the application will be treated in accordance with the normal interference procedures and will not be in special status under the Cancer Immunology Pilot Program. Once any one of these proceedings is completed, the application will continue in special status under the Pilot Program until it reaches a final disposition, but that may occur later than twelve months from the grant of special status under the Pilot Program.

    Part XI. Withdrawal From Pilot Program. There is no provision for “withdrawal” from special status under the Pilot Program. However, filing a petition for any extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) will result in the application being taken out of the Pilot Program. An applicant may abandon the application that has been granted special status under the Pilot Program in favor of a continuing application, and the continuing application will not be given special status under the Pilot Program unless the continuing application is filed with a petition to make special under the Pilot Program.

    Part XII. Twelve-Month Goal. The objective of the Cancer Immunology Pilot Program is to complete the examination of an application within twelve months of special status being granted under the Pilot Program (i.e., within twelve months from the mailing date of the decision granting the petition to make special). The twelve-month goal is successfully achieved when one of the following final dispositions occurs within twelve months from the grant of special status under the Pilot Program: (1) The mailing of a notice of allowance; (2) the mailing of a final Office action; (3) the filing of an RCE; (4) the abandonment of the application; (5) or the filing of a Notice of Appeal. The final disposition of an application, however, may occur later than the twelve-month time frame in certain situations (e.g., applicant files an amendment that does not comply with the Pilot Program claim requirements or applicant petitions for extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a)). See Part X for more information on other events that may cause examination to extend beyond this twelve-month timeframe. In any event, however, this twelve-month time frame is simply a goal. Any failure to meet the twelve-month goal or other issues relating to this twelve-month goal are neither petitionable nor appealable matters.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15533 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-16-P
    COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION Agency Information Collection Activities Under OMB Review AGENCY:

    Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (“PRA”), this notice announces that the Information Collection Request (“ICR”) abstracted below has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information collection and its expected costs and burden.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before July 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments regarding the burden estimated or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, may be submitted directly to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (“OIRA”) in OMB, within 30 days of the notice's publication, by email at [email protected] Please identify the comments by OMB Control No. 3038-0012. Please provide the Commission with a copy of all submitted comments at the address listed below. Please refer to OMB Reference No. 3038-0012, found on http://reginfo.gov. Comments may also be mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503, or submitted through the Agency's Web site at http://comments.cftc.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments through the Web site.

    Comments may also be mailed to: Christopher Kirkpatrick, Secretary of the Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street NW., Washington, DC 20581 or by Hand Deliver/Courier at the same address.

    A copy of the supporting statements for the collection of information discussed above may be obtained by visiting http://regInfo.gov. All comments must be submitted in English, or if not, accompanied by an English translation. Comments will be posted as received to http://www.cftc.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary Martinaitis, Division of Market Oversight, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, (202) 418-5209; email: [email protected], and refer to OMB Control No. 3038-0012.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The Federal Register notice with a 60-day comment period soliciting comments on this collection of information was published on March 29, 2016 (81 FR 17447).

    Title: Futures Volume, Open Interest, Price, Deliveries and Purchases/Sales of Futures for Commodities or for Derivatives Positions (OMB Control No. 3038-0012). This is a request for extension of a currently approved information collection.

    Abstract: Commission Regulation 16.01 requires the U.S. futures exchanges to publish daily information on the items listed in the title of the collection. The information required by this rule is in the public interest and is necessary for market surveillance. This rule is promulgated pursuant to the Commission's rulemaking authority contained in Section 5 of the Commodity Exchange Act, 7 U.S.C. 7 (2010).

    Burden Statement: The respondent burden for this collection is estimated to be as follows:

    Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 17 CFR Section Annual
  • number of
  • respondents
  • Frequency of
  • response
  • Total annual responses Hours per
  • response
  • Total hours
    16.01 15 Daily 3,750 0.5 1,875

    The total annual cost burden per respondent is estimated to be $6,875. The Commission based its calculation on a blended hourly wage rate of $55 for a Programmer and Compliance Manager.1

    1 In arriving at a wage rate for the hourly costs imposed, Commission staff used the Management & Professional Earnings in the Securities Industry Report, published in 2013 by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Associations (Report). The wage rate used the median salary of a Programmer and Compliance Manager as published in the 2013 Report and divided that figure by 2000 annual working hours to arrive at the hourly rate of $55.

    Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Robert N. Sidman, Deputy Secretary of the Commission.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15344 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6351-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Charter Renewal of Department of Defense Federal Advisory Committees AGENCY:

    Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Renewal of Federal Advisory Committee.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense (DoD) is publishing this notice to announce that it is renewing the charter for the Army Education Advisory Committee (“the Committee”).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jim Freeman, Advisory Committee Management Officer for the Department of Defense, 703-692-5952.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Committee's charter is being renewed in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended) and 41 CFR 102-3.50(d). The Committee's charter and contact information for the Committee's Designated Federal Officer (DFO) can be found at http://www.facadatabase.gov/. The Committee focuses on matters pertaining to the educational, doctrinal, and research policies and activities of the U.S. Army's educational programs, to include the U.S. Army's joint professional military education programs. The Committee provides the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, through the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, independent advice and recommendations across the spectrum of educational policies, school curricula, educational philosophy and objectives, program effectiveness, facilities, staff and faculty, instructional methods, and other aspects of the organization and management of these programs. In addition, the Committee provides independent advice and recommendations on matters pertaining to the Army Historical Program and the role and mission of the U.S. Army Center of Military History. The Committee is composed of no more than 15 members, and its membership includes: Not more than 13 individuals who are eminent authorities in the fields of defense, management, leadership, and academia, including those who are deemed to be historical scholars; the Chief Historian of the Army, U.S. Army, Center of Military History; and the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7 for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, who serves as a non-voting member of the Committee. All members are appointed to provide advice on behalf of the Government on the basis of their best judgment without representing any particular point of view and in a manner free from conflict of interest. Except for reimbursement of official Committee-related travel and per diem, Committee members serve without compensation.

    The DoD may establish subcommittees, task forces, or working groups to support the Committee. All subcommittees operate under the provisions of FACA and the Government in the Sunshine Act, will not work independently of the Committee, report all findings to the Committee for full deliberation and discussion, and have no authority to make decisions and recommendations, verbally or in writing, on behalf of the Committee. No subcommittee or any of its members can update or report, verbally or in writing, directly to the DoD or any Federal officers or employees.

    The Committee's DFO, pursuant to DoD policy, must be a full-time or permanent part-time DoD employee, and must be in attendance for the duration of each and every Committee or subcommittee meeting. The public or interested organizations may submit written statements to the Committee membership about the Committee's mission and functions. Such statements may be submitted at any time or in response to the stated agenda of planned Committee meetings. All written statements must be submitted to the Committee's DFO who will ensure the written statements are provided to the membership for their consideration.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15402 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Government-Industry Advisory Panel; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics), Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Federal advisory committee meeting notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing this notice to announce the following Federal advisory committee meeting of the Government-Industry Advisory Panel. This meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Public registration will begin at 1 p.m. For entrance into the meeting, you must meet the necessary requirements for entrance into the Pentagon. For more detailed information, please see the following link: http://www.pfpa.mil/access.html.

    ADDRESSES:

    Pentagon Library, Washington Headquarters Services, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155. The meeting will be held in Room M2. The Pentagon Library is located in the Pentagon Library and Conference Center (PLC2) across the Corridor 8 bridge.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    LTC Andrew Lunoff, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acquisition), 3090 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-3090, email: [email protected], phone: 571-256-9004.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Due to circumstances beyond the control of the Designated Federal Officer and the Department of Defense, the Government-Industry Advisory Panel was unable to provide public notification of its meeting of July 12, 2016, as required by 41 CFR 102-3.150(a). Accordingly, the Advisory Committee Management Officer for the Department of Defense, pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.150(b), waives the 15-calendar day notification requirement.

    Purpose of the Meeting: This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA) (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.150. The Government-Industry Advisory Panel will review sections 2320 and 2321 of title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.), regarding rights in technical data and the validation of proprietary data restrictions and the regulations implementing such sections, for the purpose of ensuring that such statutory and regulatory requirements are best structured to serve the interest of the taxpayers and the national defense. The scope of the panel is as follows: (1) Ensuring that the Department of Defense (DoD) does not pay more than once for the same work, (2) ensuring that the DoD contractors are appropriately rewarded for their innovation and invention, (3) providing for cost-effective reprocurement, sustainment, modification, and upgrades to the DoD systems, (4) encouraging the private sector to invest in new products, technologies, and processes relevant to the missions of the DoD, and (5) ensuring that the DoD has appropriate access to innovative products, technologies, and processes developed by the private sector for commercial use.

    Agenda: This will be the third meeting of the Government-Industry Advisory Panel with a series of meetings planned through September 1, 2016. The panel will cover details of 10 U.S.C. 2320 and 2321, begin understanding the implementing regulations and detail the necessary groups within the private sector and government to provide supporting documentation for their review of these codes and regulations during follow-on meetings. Agenda items for this meeting will include the following: (1) Briefing and discussion on definitions of the Five Factors in the Scope of Review in Section 813, FY16 NDAA; (2) Briefings from Navy and Army PEOs and PMs on current challenges with Intellectual Property regulations, strategies and guidance; (3) Briefing from Air Force Science and Technology community on what they need for weapons systems programs from a data rights perspective; (4) Public Comments; (5) Follow Up to Public Comments; (6) Planning for follow-on meeting.

    Availability of Materials for the Meeting: A copy of the agenda or any updates to the agenda for the July 12, 2016 meeting will be available as requested or at the following site: http://www.facadatabase.gov/committee/meetings.aspx?cid=2561.

    Minor changes to the agenda will be announced at the meeting. All materials will be posted to the FACA database after the meeting.

    Public Accessibility to the Meeting: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and subject to the availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. Registration of members of the public who wish to attend the meeting will begin upon publication of this meeting notice and end three business days (July 7) prior to the start of the meeting. All members of the public must contact LTC Lunoff at the phone number or email listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to make arrangements for Pentagon escort, if necessary. Public attendees should arrive at the Pentagon's Visitor's Center, located near the Pentagon Metro Station's south exit and adjacent to the Pentagon Transit Center bus terminal with sufficient time to complete security screening no later than 1:00 p.m. on July 12. To complete security screening, please come prepared to present two forms of identification of which one must be a pictured identification card. Government and military DoD CAC holders are not required to have an escort, but are still required to pass through the Visitor's Center to gain access to the Building. Seating is limited and is on a first-to-arrive basis. Attendees will be asked to provide their name, title, affiliation, and contact information to include email address and daytime telephone number to the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Any interested person may attend the meeting, file written comments or statements with the committee, or make verbal comments from the floor during the public meeting, at the times, and in the manner, permitted by the committee.

    Special Accommodations: The meeting venue is fully handicap accessible, with wheelchair access.

    Individuals requiring special accommodations to access the public meeting or seeking additional information about public access procedures, should contact LTC Lunoff, the committee DFO, at the email address or telephone number listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section, at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

    Written Comments or Statements: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.105(j) and 102-3.140 and section 10(a)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the public or interested organizations may submit written comments or statements to the Government-Industry Advisory Panel about its mission and/or the topics to be addressed in this public meeting. Written comments or statements should be submitted to LTC Lunoff, the committee DFO, via electronic mail, the preferred mode of submission, at the email address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section in the following formats: Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word. The comment or statement must include the author's name, title, affiliation, address, and daytime telephone number. Written comments or statements being submitted in response to the agenda set forth in this notice must be received by the committee DFO at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting so that they may be made available to the Government-Industry Advisory Panel for its consideration prior to the meeting. Written comments or statements received after this date may not be provided to the panel until its next meeting. Please note that because the panel operates under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, all written comments will be treated as public documents and will be made available for public inspection.

    Verbal Comments: Members of the public will be permitted to make verbal comments during the meeting only at the time and in the manner allowed herein. If a member of the public is interested in making a verbal comment at the open meeting, that individual must submit a request, with a brief statement of the subject matter to be addressed by the comment, at least three (3) business days in advance to the committee DFO, via electronic mail, the preferred mode of submission, at the email address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The committee DFO will log each request to make a comment, in the order received, and determine whether the subject matter of each comment is relevant to the panel's mission and/or the topics to be addressed in this public meeting. A 30-minute period near the end of the meeting will be available for verbal public comments. Members of the public who have requested to make a verbal comment and whose comments have been deemed relevant under the process described in this paragraph, will be allotted no more than three (3) minutes during this period, and will be invited to speak in the order in which their requests were received by the DFO.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15397 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID DOD-2013-OS-0199] Proposed Collection; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Defense Logistics Agency, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Defense Logistics Agency announces a proposed public information collection and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. Comments are invited on: 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; the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Consideration will be given to all comments received by August 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate for Oversight and Compliance, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Mailbox #24, Alexandria, VA 22350-1700.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name, docket number and title for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    Any associated form(s) for this collection may be located within this same electronic docket and downloaded for review/testing. Follow the instructions at http://www.regulations.gov for submitting comments. Please submit comments on any given form identified by docket number, form number, and title.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request more information on this proposed information collection or to obtain a copy of the proposal and associated collection instruments, please write to the Defense Logistics Agency Information Operations at Ogden, ATTN: Ms Janet Hilbish, 2001 Mission Drive Suite 2, DLA J62FA New Cumberland Office, New Cumberland, PA 17070, or call (717) 770-5500.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title; Associated Form; and OMB Number: Project Time Record System, OMB Control Number 0704-0452.

    Needs and Uses: Contractors working for the Defense Logistics Agency, Information Operations log into an automated project time record system and annotate their time on applicable projects. The system collects the records for the purpose of tracking workload/project activity for analysis and reporting purposes, and labor distribution data against projects for financial purposes; and to monitor all aspects of a contract from a financial perspective and to maintain financial and management records associated with the operations of the contract; and to evaluate and monitor the contractor performance and other matters concerning the contract, i.e., making payments, and accounting for services provided and received. Defense Logistics Agency, Information Operations, intends to execute this option on new contracts and, as necessary, modify existing contract agreements.

    Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions.

    Annual Burden Hours: 15,600.

    Number of Respondents: 1,200.

    Responses per Respondent: 52.

    Annual Responses: 62,400.

    Average Burden per Response: 0.25 hours (15 minutes).

    Frequency: Weekly.

    Respondents are individuals who work for Defense Logistics Agency Information Operations and log into the automated project time record system to annotate their time worked on each project.

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15392 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary [Docket ID: DOD-2016-OS-0076] Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of a Computer Matching Program AGENCY:

    Defense Manpower Data Center, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of a Computer Matching Program.

    SUMMARY:

    Subsection (e) (12) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-503), Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidelines on the Conduct of Matching Programs (54 FR 25818 published June 19, 1989), and OMB Circular No. A-130, “Management of Federal Information Resources,” revised November 28, 2000, requires agencies to publish advance notice of any proposed or revised computer matching agreement for public comment. The Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) of the Department of Defense (DoD), as the matching agency under the Privacy Act is hereby giving notice to the record subjects of a computer matching agreement with the Administration for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acting on behalf of the State Public Assistance Agencies (SPAA).

    DATES:

    This proposed action will become effective July 29, 2016 and matching may commence unless changes to the matching program are required due to public comments or by Congressional or by Office of Management and Budget objections. Any public comment must be received before the effective date.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

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

    Mail: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate for Oversight and Compliance, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Mailbox #24, Alexandria, VA 22350-1700.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Cindy Allard at telephone (703) 571-0070.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to subsection (o) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended (5 U.S.C. 552a), the DoD and the HHS have concluded an agreement to conduct a computer matching program between the agencies. The purpose of this computer matching program is to exchange personal data for the purposes of identifying individuals who are receiving Federal compensation or pension payments and are also receiving payments pursuant to Federal benefits programs being administered by the States.

    The parties to this agreement have determined that a computer matching program is the most efficient, expeditious, and effective means of obtaining and processing the information needed to identify individuals who may be ineligible for public assistance benefits, i.e., to verify client declarations of income circumstances. The principal alternative to using a computer matching program for identifying such individuals would be to conduct a manual comparison of all DoD pay/retirement/survivor pay files and the Office of Personnel Management civilian retired pay records with SPAA records of those individuals currently receiving public assistance under a Federal benefit program being administered by the State. Conducting a manual match, however, would clearly impose a considerable administrative burden, constitute a greater intrusion of the individual's privacy, and would result in additional delay in the eventual recovery of any outstanding debts. By contrast, when using the computer matching program, information on successful matches (hits) can be provided within 30 days of receipt of an electronic file of SPAA beneficiaries.

    A copy of the computer matching agreement between HHS and DoD is available upon request to the public. Requests should be submitted to Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Attention: DPCLTD Mailbox #24, Alexandria, Virginia 22350-1700 or to the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 330 C Street, SW Switzer Building, Room 3117B, Washington, DC 20024.

    Set forth below is the notice of the establishment of a computer matching program required by paragraph 6.c. of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidelines on computer matching published in the Federal Register at 54 FR 25818 on June 19, 1989.

    The matching agreement, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552a(r) of the Privacy Act, as amended, and an advance copy of this notice was submitted on June 10, 2016, to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, pursuant to paragraph 4 of Appendix I to OMB Circular No. A-130, “Federal Agency Responsibilities for Maintaining Records About Individuals,” revised November 28, 2000 (December 12, 2000 65 FR 77677).

    Dated: June 24, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

    NOTICE OF A COMPUTER MATCHING PROGRAM BETWEEN THE DEFENSE MANPOWER DATA CENTER, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; THE ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES; AND STATE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE AGENCIES FOR VERIFICATION OF CONTINUED ELIGIBILITY FOR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.

    A. PARTICIPATING AGENCIES: Participants in this computer matching program are the State Public Assistance Agencies (SPAA), the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) of the Department of Defense (DoD). The SPAA is the source agency, the agency disclosing the records for the purpose of the match; ACF is the facilitating agency, the agency acting on behalf of the SPAAs; and the DMDC is the matching agency, the agency that actually performs the match.

    B. PURPOSE OF THE MATCH: This agreement establishes an arrangement for a periodic computer matching program between DMDC as the matching agency, ACF as the facilitating agency, and the SPAAs as the source agencies who will use the data in their public assistance programs. The purpose of this matching program is to provide the SPAAs with data from DoD military and civilian pay files, the military retired pay files, survivor pay files and the Office of Personnel Management civilian retired and survivor pay files to determine eligibility and to ensure fair and equitable treatment in the delivery of benefits attributable to funds provided by the Federal Government. The SPAAs will use the matched data to verify the continued eligibility of individuals to receive public assistance benefits and, if ineligible, to take such action as may be authorized by law and regulation.

    ACF, in its role as match facilitator, will support each SPAA's efforts to ensure appropriate delivery of benefits by assisting with drafting the necessary agreements, helping arrange signatures to the agreements and acting as a central shipping point as necessary.

    This agreement sets forth the responsibility of the SPAAs with respect to information obtained pursuant to this agreement. Each SPAA match is expected to comply with pertinent requirements of the Privacy Act, including its implementing regulations and guidance.

    C. AUTHORITY FOR CONDUCTING THE MATCH: The legal authority for conducting the matching program is contained in sections 402, 1137, and 1903(r) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 602, a 1320b-7, and 1396b(r)).

    D. RECORDS TO BE MATCHED: The systems of records maintained by the respective agencies under the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a, from which records will be disclosed for the purpose of this computer match are as follows:

    1. Federal, but not State, agencies must publish system notices for “systems of records” pursuant to subsection (e)(4) of the Privacy Act and must identify “routine uses” pursuant to subsection (b)(3) of the Privacy Act for those systems of records from which they intend to disclose this information. The DoD system of records described below contains an appropriate routine use proviso which permits disclosure of information by DMDC as described in this Agreement.

    2. DMDC will use personal data from the record system identified as DMDC 01, entitled “Defense Manpower Data Center Data Base”, November 23, 2011, 76 FR 72391. As previously noted, the DoD records will be matched electronically against records supplied by the SPAAs. No information will be disclosed from any systems of records maintained by HHS.

    E. DESCRIPTION OF COMPUTER MATCHING PROGRAM: Each participating SPAA will send ACF an electronic file of eligible public assistance client information. These files are non-Federal computer records maintained by the States. Participating SPAAs can submit files to DMDC via “Connect Direct” or other secure portal arranged with DMDC. After DMDC receives the SPAA files, it will match the SPAA files against the DMDC database. The DMDC database consists of pay of DoD personnel and retirement records of non-postal Federal civilian employees and military members, both active and retired and survivor annuitants. The matching activity will take place at DMDC and will use all nine digits of the SSN. Resulting “hits” or matches will be disclosed to the relevant SPAAs.

    1. The electronic files provided by each participating SPAA will contain data elements of the client's name, SSN, date of birth, address, sex, marital status, number of dependents, information regarding the specific public assistance benefit being received, and such other data as considered necessary on no more than 10,000,000 public assistance beneficiaries.

    2. The DMDC computer database file contains approximately 4.85 million records of active duty and retired military members, including the Reserve and Guard, and approximately 3.68 million records of active and retired non-postal Federal civilian employees. Employee or retiree records may include information on benefits payable to employee or retiree dependents and/or survivors.

    3. DMDC will match the SSN on the SPAA file by computer against the DMDC database. Matching records, “hits” based on SSNs, will produce data elements of the individual's name; SSN; active or retired; if active, military service or employing agency, and current work or home address, and such other data as considered necessary.

    F. INCLUSIVE DATES OF THE MATCHING PROGRAM: This computer matching program is subject to public comment and review by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). If the mandatory 30 day period for comment has expired and no comments are received and if no objections are raised by either Congress or the OMB within 40 days of being notified of the proposed match, the computer matching program becomes effective and the respective agencies may begin the exchange at a mutually agreeable time and thereafter on a quarterly basis. By agreement between HHS and DoD, the matching program will be in effect for 18 months with an option to renew for 12 additional months unless one of the parties to the agreement advises the other by written request to terminate or modify the agreement.

    G. ADDRESS FOR RECEIPT OF PUBLIC COMMENTS OR INQUIRIES: Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Directorate for Oversight and Compliance, 4800 Mark Center Drive, Mailbox #24, Alexandria, VA 22350-1700.

    [FR Doc. 2016-15405 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers The Release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Figure Eight Island Shoreline Management Project, on Figure Eight Island, New Hanover County, NC AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), Wilmington District, Wilmington Regulatory Field Office has received a permit application for Department of the Army authorization, pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, from Figure Eight Beach Homeowners' Association Inc. (HOA) to install a terminal groin structure along Rich Inlet and to conduct a supplemental beach nourishment on approximately 4,500 linear feet of oceanfront beach and 1,400 linear feet of back barrier shoreline to protect residential homes and infrastructures along the central and northern sections of Figure Eight Island. The terminal groin structure will be placed perpendicular on the northern tip of the island along the shoulder of Rich Inlet; and the proposed source of the material for the nourishment will be dredged from an area within Nixon Channel, a back barrier channel, that has been previously used for past beach nourishment projects. In case the quantity of material from Nixon Channel is not sufficient, material pumped from (3) nearby upland disposal islands will be used to supplement the nourishment needs. The majority of the material will be disposed within the fillet area, or down shore, of the groin. Pending storm events and shoreline changes, proposed maintenance, or periodic nourishment, of the beach is once every five years, or potentially 6 separate events over the 30-year study period. Nixon Channel and the upland disposal islands are the proposed material sources for the periodic maintenance, or renourishment, events.

    DATES:

    Written comments on the FEIS must be received at (see ADDRESSES below) no later than 5 p.m. on August 1, 2016.

    Next Action: No less than 30 days from the release date of the FEIS, the COE will prepare a Record of Decision (ROD), which will reflect an issuance or denial of the permit request for the applicant's preferred alternative. The preferred alternative is described in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. A public notice will be released upon completion and signature of the ROD.

    ADDRESSES:

    Copies of comments and questions regarding the FEIS may be addressed to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, Regulatory Division. ATTN: File Number 2006-41158, 69 Darlington Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403. Copies of the FEIS can be reviewed on the Corps homepage at, http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryPermitProgram/MajorProjects.aspx, under Figure Eight Island Terminal Groin: Corps ID #SAW-2006-41158.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Questions about the proposed action and FEIS and/or to requests receive a CD or written copies of the FEIS can be directed to Mr. Mickey Sugg, Wilmington Regulatory Field Office, telephone: (910) 251-4811 or [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    1. Project Purpose and Need. Over the past several decades, the Figure Eight Beach HOA has taken action to address the continuing oceanfront erosion problems associated with Rich Inlet and Nixon Channel erosion hot-spot on the estuarine side of the island. Past actions to protect the shorelines have provided some protection, however they are seeking a longer term solution to handle shoreline erosion in order to protect the island's $907,352,900 (based on the 2012 reappraisal) assessed property tax value. The HOAs stated needs of the project continue to be the following: (1) Reduce erosion along approximately 2.3 miles of oceanfront and 0.34 mile of back barrier shorelines, (2) Provide reasonable short-term protection to residential structures to any unpredicted shoreline change over the next five years, (3) Provide long-term protection to homes and infrastructure over the next 30 years, (4) Maintain the tax value of homes, properties, and infrastructure, (5) Use beach compatible material, (6) Maintain navigation conditions within Rich Inlet and Nixon Channel, (7) Maintain recreational resources, and (8) Balance the needs of the human environment with the protection of existing natural resources.

    2. Proposed Action. Within the Town's preferred alternative, known as Alternative 5D, the installation of the terminal groin is the main component in the protection of the oceanfront shoreline. The proposed structure would be located just north of the existing homes along the southern shoulder of Rich Inlet. Its total length would be approximately 1,500 feet, which approximately 505 feet would project seaward of the 2007 mean high water shoreline. The landward 995-foot anchor section would extend across the island and terminate near the Nixon Channel Shoreline. This section would be constructed of 14,000 to 18,000 square feet of sheet pile with the last approximate 100 feet of the anchor portion wrapped with rock. Although engineering design plans are not finalized, basic construction design of the seaward 505-foot part of the structure will be in the form of a typical rubble (rock) mound feature supported by a 1.5-foot thick stone foundation blanket. Crest height or elevation of this section is estimated to be +6.0 feet NAVD for the first 400 feet and would slope to a top elevation of +3.0 feet NAVD on the seaward end. Approximately 16,000 tons of stone would be used to construct the terminal groin. The concept design of the structure is intended to allow littoral sand transport to move over, around, and through the groin once the accretion fillet has completely filled in.

    Construction of the terminal groin would be kept within a corridor varying in width from 50 feet to 200 feet. Within this corridor, a 40-70 foot wide trench would be excavated to a depth of −2.5 feet NAVD in order to construct the foundation of the landward section. The approximate 6,000 cubic yards of excavated material would be replaced on and around the structure once it's in place. Material used to build the groin would be barged down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW), through Nixon Channel, and either offloaded onto a temporary loading dock or directly onto shore. It would then be transported, via dump trucks, within the designated corridor to the construction site.

    Material used for nourishment would be dredged, using a hydraulic cutterhead plant, from a designated borrow site within Nixon Channel, which has been previously used for beach fill needs. The proposed dredging footprint in the channel area is approximately 30 acres in size and the target depth of dredging is −11.4 feet NAVD. Approximately 294,500 cubic yards would be required for both the oceanfront (237,500 cubic yards) and the Nixon Channel shoreline (57,000 cubic yards) fill areas under the 2006 and 2012 shoreline study conditions. Beach compatible material from (3) upland disposal islands would serve as a contingency sediment source.

    Engineer modeling results have shown that periodic nourishment would be required approximately once every five years to maintain the beach and Nixon Channel shorelines. The combined 5-year estimated maintenance needs for both areas are 320,000 cubic yards of material under the 2006 condition and 255,000 cubic yards of material under 2012 condition, equivalent to approximately 58,000 and 45,000 cubic yards per year respectively. This material would come from the designated Nixon Channel borrow site and the (3) upland disposal areas.

    3. Alternatives. Several alternatives have been identified and evaluated through the scoping process, and further detailed description of all alternatives is disclosed in Section 3.0 of the FEIS.

    4. Scoping Process. To date, a public scoping meeting was held on March 1, 2007; several Project Delivery Team (PDT) meetings have been held, which were comprised of local, state, and federal government officials, local residents and nonprofit organizations; the Draft EIS was released for public comments on May 18, 2012; a Public Hearing was conducted on June 7, 2012; a Supplemental EIS was released for public comments on July 10, 2015; and a second Public Hearing was held on September 2, 2015.

    The COE is currently consulting with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service Protected Resources Division under the Endangered Species Act; with U.S. Fish and Wildlife under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, and have concluded consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service Habitat Conservation Division under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Additionally, the FEIS assesses the potential water quality impacts pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, and is coordinated with the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management (DCM) to insure consistency with the Coastal Zone Management Act. The COE has coordinated closely with DCM in the development of the FEIS to ensure the process complies with the requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), as well as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The FEIS has been designed to consolidate both NEPA and SEPA processes to eliminate duplications.

    Dated: June 22, 2016. Scott McLendon, Regulatory Division Chief, Wilmington District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15310 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Public Meeting on the Environmental Assessment Addressing the Consolidation and Renovation at Marine Corps Forces Reserve Center Brooklyn, New York AGENCY:

    Department of the Navy, Department of Defense.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 United States Code [U.S.C.] Sections 4321-4370h); the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 1500-1508); Department of the Navy (DoN) Procedures for Implementing NEPA (32 CFR part 775); and Marine Corps Order P5090.2A, the United States Marine Corps Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) assessing the potential environmental impacts from the consolidation of approximately 55 full-time active duty and 549 reserve staff and their equipment from the Armed Forces Reserve Center Farmingdale and Marine Forces Reserve Center Garden City to Marine Corps Reserve Center Brooklyn. Additionally, MARFORRES would implement several associated facility and infrastructure improvements at MCRC Brooklyn, including a new utility corridor. Based on the EA analysis we are proposing to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) determining that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is not required.

    With the filing of the EA, the DON is initiating a 30-day public comment period and has scheduled a public open house to receive written comments on the EA. Federal, state, and local agencies and interested individuals are invited to attend the open house. This notice announces the date and location of the open house, and supplementary information about the environmental planning effort.

    DATES:

    The EA public 30-day review period begins June 20, 2016. MARFORRES will hold an open house for the public to learn about the project and ask questions on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Aviator Sports Club on Floyd Bennett Field.

    The DON will consider all comments received on the EA when preparing the Final EA. The DON expects to issue the Final EA in August 2016, at which time a Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register.

    Availability: The EA has been distributed to Federal and local agencies, elected officials, and the interested public. The EA can be viewed at the following Web site: http://www.marforres.marines.mil/GeneralSpecialStaff/Facilities.aspx.

    Copies are available at the Brooklyn Public Library, 2115 Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Requests for copies of the EA can be submitted to Mr. Christopher Hurst, NEPA Project Manager U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, 2000 Opelousas Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70114, or by email at [email protected]

    Comments: Attendees will be able to submit written comments at the open house. Comments may be submitted anytime during the 30-day public review period, and must be postmarked or electronically dated on or before July 15, 2016, to ensure they become part of the public record. All comments submitted during the official public review period will become part of the public record on the EA and will be responded to in the Final EA.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Christopher Hurst, NEPA Project Manager U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, 2000 Opelousas Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70114, or by email at [email protected] Please submit requests for special assistance to Mr. Hurst by June 22, 2016.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    MCRC Brooklyn encompasses approximately 70 acres of the 19,000-acre Jamaica Bay Unit of the National Park Service (NPS) Gateway National Recreation Area (NRA). MCRC Brooklyn is on the southernmost end of Floyd Bennett Field. Floyd Bennett Field was formerly U.S. Naval Air Station Brooklyn, New York, and was used from World War II until 1967, prior to its decommissioning in 1971.

    Subsequently, the majority of the 1,450-acre property was transferred from the Department of Defense (DoD) to the U.S. Coast Guard and the NPS, a bureau of the Department of the Interior. The Navy retained the southern portion of Floyd Bennett Field and a series of parcel transfers deeded the property to MARFORRES in 1998 for continued use as MCRC Brooklyn. The remainder of Floyd Bennett Field is owned and managed by NPS as part of the Gateway NRA. All utilities, roads, and other infrastructure necessary for the installation require crossing NPS lands; therefore, the Department of Navy executes, on behalf of MARFORRES, any necessary permits with NPS for rights-of-way on NPS lands.

    Gateway NRA is the nation's first urban national recreation area. It was established in 1972, is twice the size of Manhattan, and is divided into three administrative units: Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, and Staten Island. Gateway NRA has 27,025 acres of open bays, ocean, marsh islands, shoreline, dunes, maritime and successional forests, grasslands, mudflats, and open spaces. It includes marinas, greenways, campgrounds, trails, beaches, picnic grounds within historic landscapes, the remains of coastal defense works, rare structures from aviation history, and the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the United States.

    Due to an overall reduction in reserve forces, MARFORRES has examined options to consolidate training to optimize operational funds. MCRC Brooklyn is considered a highly valuable site by MARFORRES due to its potential for hosting additional units, centralized location, excess capacity, and size of its facilities. As such, MARFORRES continues to invest in modernization and renovation activities at MCRC Brooklyn. The environmental impacts from ongoing activities were analyzed in previous NEPA documents, and are therefore not part of the Proposed Action being addressed in this EA but are included in the cumulative effects analysis. Previously evaluated projects at MCRC Brooklyn include the following:

    • Renovate the interior of the MCRC Brooklyn Administration Building, the original vehicle maintenance facility (VMF), and the existing Technical Storage Warehouse. Interior renovations include upgraded utilities and reconfiguration of offices.

    • Construct a new VMF (currently under construction).

    • Install two temporary armories (440 square feet each) in the tactical vehicle area and a covered weapons cleaning area.

    • Install a 100-kilowatt (kW) demand response metering system. This system will help MARFORRES capture energy usage and savings for the installation.

    Purpose And Need: The purpose of the Proposed Action is to consolidate existing MARFORRES facilities in the greater New York City metropolitan region to allow MARFORRES to optimize training through integrated unit training opportunities, and reduce costs from the operation of underutilized reserve centers. The Proposed Action is needed to improve long-term sustainable unit readiness through coordinated training, and prepare for future mission requirements. To complete training requirements, the buildings, utilities, and assets on MCRC Brooklyn require ongoing maintenance and utilities upgrades. Infrastructure on the installation is aging and requires capital investment to address deficiencies in the buildings and meet current and future mission requirements.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. N.A. Hagerty-Ford, Commander, Office of the Judge Advocate General, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15358 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED-2016-ICCD-0078] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Educational Opportunity Centers Program (EOC) Annual Performance Report AGENCY:

    Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), Department of Education (ED).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing a reinstatement of a previously approved information collection.

    DATES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before August 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED-2016-ICCD-0078. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, LBJ, Room 2E-347, Washington, DC 20202-4537.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Rachael Couch, 202-453-6078.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department's information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

    Title of Collection: Educational Opportunity Centers Program (EOC) Annual Performance Report.

    OMB Control Number: 1840-0830.

    Type of Review: A reinstatement of a previously approved information collection.

    Respondents/Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments; Private Sector.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 126.

    Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 1,008.

    Abstract: The purposes of the EOC Program are to: Provide information regarding financial and academic assistance available for qualified adults who want to enter or continue to pursue a program of postsecondary education; provide assistance to those individuals in applying for admission to institutions at which a program of postsecondary education is offered, including preparing necessary applications for use by admissions and financial aid officers; and assist in improving the financial and economic literacy of program participants. An Educational Opportunity Centers project may provide the following services:

    (1) Public information campaigns designed to inform the community regarding opportunities for postsecondary education and training;

    (2) Academic advice and assistance in course selection;

    (3) Assistance in completing college admission and financial aid applications;

    (4) Assistance in preparing for college entrance examinations;

    (5) Education or counseling services designed to improve the financial literacy and economic literacy of students;

    (6) Guidance on secondary school reentry or entry to a general educational development (GED) program or other alternative education program for secondary school dropouts;

    (7) Individualized personal, career, and academic counseling;

    (8) Tutorial services;

    (9) Career workshops and counseling;

    (10) Mentoring programs involving elementary or secondary school teachers, faculty members at institutions of higher education (IHEs), students, or any combination of these persons; and

    (11) Programs and activities as described in items (1) through (10) that are specially designed for students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of the foster care system, or other disconnected students.

    (12) Other activities designed to meet the purposes of the EOC Program.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Kate Mullan, Acting Director, Information Collection Clearance Division, Office of the Chief Privacy Officer, Office of Management.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15312 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1956-000] Western Antelope Dry Ranch LLC; Docket No. ER16-1956-000; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Western Antelope Dry Ranch LLC`s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 13, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15389 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1888-000] Tidal Energy Marketing Inc.; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Tidal Energy Marketing Inc.'s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 11, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15279 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-127-000.

    Applicants: Verso Corporation, Verso Maine Energy LLC, Rumford Paper Company, NewPage Energy Services LLC.

    Description: Supplement to June 2, 2016 Application for Disposition of Jurisdictional Facilities under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act of Verso Corporation, et al.

    Filed Date: 6/16/16.

    Accession Number: 20160616-5174.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1819-015; ER10-1820-018; ER10-1818-013;

    ER10-1817-014.

    Applicants: Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota corporation, Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation, Public Service Company of Colorado, Southwestern Public Service Company.

    Description: Supplement to May 19, 2016 Notice of Change in Status of Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota corporation, et al.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5138.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER13-521-002; ER13-520-002; ER13-1442-002; ER13-1273-002; ER13-1272-002; ER13-1271-002; ER13-1269-002; ER13-1268-002; ER13-1267-002; ER13-1266-002; ER13-1441-002; ER13-1270-002; ER13-1266-003; ER12-1626-003; ER10-3246-003; ER10-3246-002; ER10-2605-006; ER10-2475-006; ER10-2474-006; EL15-22-000.

    Applicants: Pinyon Pines Wind I, LLC, Pinyon Pines Wind II, LLC, Solar Star California XIX, LLC, Solar Star California XX, LLC, Topaz Solar Farms LLC, CalEnergy, LLC, CE Leathers Company, Del Ranch Company, Elmore Company, Fish Lake Power LLC, Salton Sea Power Generation Company, Salton Sea Power L.L.C., Vulcan/BN Geothermal Power Company, Yuma Cogeneration Associates, Bishop Hill Energy II LLC, Cordova Energy Company LLC, Saranac Power Partners, L.P., Power Resources, Ltd., Marshall Wind Energy LLC, Grand Prairie Wind, LLC.

    Description: The BHE Renewables Companies submit tariff filing per 35.19a(b): Refund Report to be effective N/A, et al.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5141.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-1471-007; ER15-1672-006; ER12-1308-008.

    Applicants: Blue Sky West, LLC, Evergreen Wind Power II, LLC, Palouse Wind, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Blue Sky West, LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5124.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-425-004.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance-remove effective date Comprehensive Scarcity Pricing to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5132.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/28/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1967-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance filing per 4/21/2016 order in Docket No. EL13-88 to be effective 8/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5130.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1968-000.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: NYISO 205 filing tariff revisions of cost allocation methodology for RMR to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5135.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1969-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2016-06-20_Compliance filing to address NIPSCO Complaint Order to be effective 8/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5136.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1970-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Service Agreement No. 4210, Queue No. Z2-090 to be effective 6/14/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5059.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1971-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of ISA No. 3564, Queue No. Y2-099 due to Deactivation to be effective 1/31/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5071.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1972-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to Original ISA No. 4415, Queue No. Z2-028 to be effective 2/3/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5072.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1973-000.

    Applicants: Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B LLC MBR Tariff to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1974-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amended GIA and Distribution Service Agmt with San Gorgonio Westwinds II, LLC to be effective 5/27/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5097.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1975-000.

    Applicants: Alabama Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5127.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1976-000.

    Applicants: California Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5129.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1977-000.

    Applicants: CSOLAR IV South, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5130.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1978-000.

    Applicants: LQA, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5131.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1979-000.

    Applicants: New Mexico Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revision to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5133.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1980-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Energía de Mexico, S. de R. L. d.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5135.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1981-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Power Management, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5136.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1982-000.

    Applicants: Tenaska Power Services Co.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5137.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1983-000.

    Applicants: California Independent System Operator Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2016-06-21_Local Market Power Mitigation Enhancements 2015 to be effective 1/30/2017.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5138.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1984-000.

    Applicants: Texas Electric Marketing, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Market-Based Rate Tariff Revisions to be effective 6/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5139.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1985-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to OATT and OA re: Dynamic Transfers to be effective 8/20/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5142.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1986-000.

    Applicants: Michigan Electric Transmission Company, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: TOOA Filing to be effective 6/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/12/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15282 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Commission Staff Attendance

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) hereby gives notice that members of the Commission's staff may attend the following meeting related to the transmission planning activities of the Northern Tier Transmission Group, whose members include NorthWestern Corporation, Deseret Generation & Transmission Cooperative, Inc., Portland General Electric Company, Idaho Power Company, PacifiCorp, and MATL LLP: 1

    1 MATL LLP indicates that it will participate in NTTG beginning in March 2016. See MATL LLP, Transmittal, Docket No. ER16-778-000, at 1,7 (filed January 27, 2016).

    Northern Tier Transmission Group Quarter 2 Stakeholder Meeting June 28, 2016 10:00 a.m.—3:00 p.m. (MPT)

    The above-referenced meeting will be held at: Boise Airport Conference Center, 3201 Airport Way, Suite 1000, Boise, ID 83705.

    The above-referenced meeting is open to stakeholders.

    Further information may be found at this link.

    The discussions at the meeting described above may address matters at issue in the following proceeding:

    Docket No. ER16-778, MATL LLP

    For more information, contact Navin Shekar ([email protected], 202-502-6297), or Penny Ince ([email protected], 202-502-6386) at the Office of Energy Market Regulation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15342 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. OR16-19-000] BridgeTex Pipeline Company, LLC; Notice of Petition for Declaratory Order

    Take notice that on June 22, 2016, pursuant to Rule 207(a)(2) of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (Commission) Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.207(a)(2) (2015), BridgeTex Pipeline Company, LLC (BridgeTex), filed a petition for a declaratory order (1) approving the proposed tariff and overall rate structure and terms of service for a proposed expansion of the existing BridgeTex pipeline system to offer service to shippers from the Eaglebine production area in Texas (Eaglebine Expansion Project), and (2) ruling that the regulatory assurances provided by the Commission in its declaratory order issued on October 12, 2012 in Docket No. OR12-25-000, which approved the proposed tariff and rate structure of the existing BridgeTex Pipeline system, are not affected by the Eaglebine Expansion Project, all as more fully explained in the petition.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Petitioner.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on July 22, 2016.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15390 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1875-000] Hydro Renewable Energy Inc.; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Hydro Renewable Energy Inc.'s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 11, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15276 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1882-000] Boulder Solar Power, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Boulder Solar Power, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 11, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15278 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP15-1026-000.

    Applicants: Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, L.L.C.

    Description: Report Filing: MNUS Refund Report.

    Filed Date: 6/9/16.

    Accession Number: 20160609-5263.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/21/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1026-000.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Virtual Measurement Points to be effective 7/15/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/14/16.

    Accession Number: 20160614-5067.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and § 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1014-001.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Clean-Up Filing—June 2016—AMENDMENT to be effective 7/3/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/13/16.

    Accession Number: 20160613-5076.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-608-002.

    Applicants: ANR Pipeline Company.

    Description: Compliance filing Amendment to Compliance RP16-608-001 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/13/16.

    Accession Number: 20160613-5178.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-900-002.

    Applicants: Kinetica Deepwater Express, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing Kinetica Deepwater Express Tariff Revisions to Remove Gathering References to be effective 6/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/14/16.

    Accession Number: 20160614-5000.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Any person desiring to protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rule 211 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 14, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15273 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-1355-005.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Southern California Edison Company.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5039.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER13-1943-005.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2016-06-20_MISO-PJM Interregional Order 1000 Compliance Filing to be effective 1/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5072.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER13-1944-004.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance filing per 4/5/2016 order in Docket Nos. ER13-1944 et al. to be effective 1/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5107.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2850-009.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Filing to Incorporate the Terms of the MDU Settlement in ER14-2850 to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5126.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1485-001.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 2016-06-20_MI ONT PARS MISO-PJM JOA Amendment to be effective 7/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5042.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1486-001.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amendment to 4/22/16 Filing of Revisions to MISO-PJM JOA re MI-Ont PARS to be effective 7/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5041.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1609-001.

    Applicants: ID SOLAR 1, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amendment to 1 to be effective 12/31/9998.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5108.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1959-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2824R3 KMEA & Sunflower Meter Agent Agreement to be effective 6/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5038.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1960-000.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Florida, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: DEF CWIP Settlement Compliance Filing to be effective 1/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5058.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1961-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of Colorado.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 20160620_Burlington Refiled to be effective 10/1/2014.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5059.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1962-000.

    Applicants: San Joaquin Cogen, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: SJC Category 1 Notice re SW & 784/819 Revisions to be effective 6/21/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5060.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1963-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of Colorado.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 20160620_Burlington Refiled TS to be effective 4/16/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5069.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1964-000.

    Applicants: PacifiCorp.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to Cost-Based Rate Schedule to be effective 6/9/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5071.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1965-000.

    Applicants: Entergy Louisiana, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Entergy OpCos Residual Load Allocation Agreement to be effective 9/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5097.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1966-000.

    Applicants: NorthWestern Corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revised Rate Schedule FERC No. 188(MT)—Colstrip 1 and 2 Transmission Agreement to be effective 9/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5098.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES16-40-000.

    Applicants: NSTAR Electric Company.

    Description: Application of NSTAR Electric Company for Authority to Issue Short-Term Debt Securities.

    Filed Date: 6/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160620-5083.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/11/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15272 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1973-000] Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Western Antelope Blue Sky Ranch B LLC`s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 13, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15391 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-814-000.

    Applicants: Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC.

    Description: Report Filing: Fuel Refund Report in Docket No. RP16-814.

    Filed Date: 5/19/16.

    Accession Number: 20160519-5165.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1039-000.

    Applicants: WBI Energy Transmission, Inc.

    Description: Section 4(d) Rate Filing: 2016 Non-Conforming Negotiated Rate Agreement—Oasis to be effective 8/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/21/16.

    Accession Number: 20160621-5065.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/5/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15283 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No., CD16-14-000] City of Libby, MT; Notice of Preliminary Determination of a Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility and Soliciting Comments and Motions To Intervene

    On June 10, 2016, the City of Libby, MT filed a notice of intent to construct a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, pursuant to section 30 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), as amended by section 4 of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013 (HREA). The proposed Libby PRV Station Hydroelectric Project would have an installed capacity of 18 kilowatts (kW) and would be located at a 10-inch-diameter pipe in a pressure reducing station at the City of Libby water treatment plant The project would be located near the City of Libby in Lincoln County, Montana.

    Applicant Contact: Nathan Smith, 14961 NE 95th Street, Redmond, WA 98052, Phone No. (425) 861-8870.

    FERC Contact: Robert Bell, Phone No. (202) 502-6062, email: [email protected]

    Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Description: The proposed project would consist of: (1) A proposed 18-kW turbine placed in a 10-inch-diameter pipeline which the facility is entirely housed in the pressure reducing station, (2) appurtenant facilities. The proposed project would have an estimated annual generating capacity of 145 megawatt-hours.

    A qualifying conduit hydropower facility is one that is determined or deemed to meet all of the criteria shown in the table below.

    Table 1—Criteria for Qualifying Conduit Hydropower Facility Statutory provision Description Satisfies
  • (Y/N)
  • FPA 30(a)(3)(A), as amended by HREA The conduit is a tunnel, canal, pipeline, aqueduct, flume, ditch, or similar manmade water conveyance that is operated for the distribution of water for agricultural, municipal, or industrial consumption and not primarily for the generation of electricity Y FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(i), as amended by HREA The facility is constructed, operated, or maintained for the generation of electric power and uses for such generation only the hydroelectric potential of a non-federally owned conduit Y FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(ii), as amended by HREA The facility has an installed capacity that does not exceed 5 megawatts Y FPA 30(a)(3)(C)(iii), as amended by HREA On or before August 9, 2013, the facility is not licensed, or exempted from the licensing requirements of Part I of the FPA Y

    Preliminary Determination: Based upon the above criteria, Commission staff has preliminarily determined that the proposal satisfies the requirements for a qualifying conduit hydropower facility under 16 U.S.C. 823a, and is exempted from the licensing requirements of the FPA.

    Comments and Motions to Intervene: The deadline for filing comments contesting whether the facility meets the qualifying criteria is 45 days from the issuance date of this notice.

    The deadline for filing motions to intervene is 30 days from the issuance date of this notice.

    Anyone may submit comments or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210 and 385.214. Any motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified deadline date for the particular proceeding.

    Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: All filings must (1) bear in all capital letters the “COMMENTS CONTESTING QUALIFICATION FOR A CONDUIT HYDROPOWER FACILITY” or “MOTION TO INTERVENE,” as applicable; (2) state in the heading the name of the applicant and the project number of the application to which the filing responds; (3) state the name, address, and telephone number of the person filing; and (4) otherwise comply with the requirements of sections 385.2001 through 385.2005 of the Commission's regulations.1 All comments contesting Commission staff's preliminary determination that the facility meets the qualifying criteria must set forth their evidentiary basis.

    1 18 CFR 385.2001-2005 (2015).

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file motions to intervene and comments using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. A copy of all other filings in reference to this application must be accompanied by proof of service on all persons listed in the service list prepared by the Commission in this proceeding, in accordance with 18 CFR 4.34(b) and 385.2010.

    Locations of Notice of Intent: Copies of the notice of intent can be obtained directly from the applicant or such copies can be viewed and reproduced at the Commission in its Public Reference Room, Room 2A, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filing may also be viewed on the web at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp using the “eLibrary” link. Enter the docket number (e.g., CD16-14-000) in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, call toll-free 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected] For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15386 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1872-000] Marshall Solar, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Marshall Solar, LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 11, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15275 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1901-000] Elevation Solar C LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Elevation Solar C LLC's application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 11, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15280 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16-1955-000] Antelope DSR 2, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization

    This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Antelope DSR 2, LLC`s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability.

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant.

    Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant's request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is July 13, 2016.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http://www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests.

    Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers

    to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected] or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15388 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-116-000.

    Applicants: Weyerhaeuser NR Company, International Paper Company.

    Description: Supplement to May 6, 2016 Application of Weyerhaeuser NR Company, et al. under Section 203 for Disposition and Consolidation of Jurisdictional Facilities, et al.

    Filed Date: 6/22/16.

    Accession Number: 20160622-5187.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 07/5/16.

    Docket Numbers: EC16-133-000.

    Applicants: North Star Solar PV LLC.

    Description: Application for Authorization of Transaction of North Star Solar PV LLC under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5072.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following exempt wholesale generator filings:

    Docket Numbers: EG16-121-000.

    Applicants: North Star Solar PV LLC.

    Description: Notice of Self-Certification of Exempt Wholesale Generator Status of North Star Solar PV LLC.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5065.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1085-001.

    Applicants: California Independent System Operator Corporation.

    Description: Compliance filing: 20160623 Filing in Compliance with June 2, 2016 Order—DERP to be effective 6/3/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5119.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1310-000.

    Applicants: Wisconsin Public Service Corporation.

    Description: Report Filing: WPSC Refund Report Filing to be effective N/A.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5095.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1372-001.

    Applicants: Nevada Power Company.

    Description: Compliance filing: Rate Schedule No. 117 Compliance—Effective Date to be effective 6/3/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5116.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1535-001.

    Applicants: Tampa Electric Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amendatory Emergency Interchange Service Schedule A&B-2016 (Bundled) to be effective 5/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5110.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1750-002.

    Applicants: Eastern Shore Solar LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Supplement to Application for Market-Based Rate Authority to be effective 7/19/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5147.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1752-001.

    Applicants: Americhoice Energy OH, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Americhoice Energy OH Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 6/23/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5140.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1753-001.

    Applicants: Americhoice Energy IL, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Americhoice Energy IL, LLC Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 6/23/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5137.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1754-001.

    Applicants: Americhoice Energy PA, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Americhoice Energy, PA LLC, Market Based Rate Tariff to be effective 6/23/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5141.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1990-000.

    Applicants: North Star Solar PV LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Baseline New to be effective 8/22/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5061.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1991-000.

    Applicants: Northern States Power Company, a Minnesota corporation.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2016-6-23 Dean Lake SS Const Agrmt to be effective 8/24/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5109.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1992-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2041R5 Kansas City Board of Public Utilities PTP Agreement to be effective 9/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5112.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1993-000.

    Applicants: CleanChoice Energy, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: CleanChoice Energy, Inc. MBR Notice of Succession Filing to be effective 6/23/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5136.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-1994-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 1276R11 KCPL NITSA NOA to be effective 9/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/23/16.

    Accession Number: 20160623-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/14/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: June 23, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15387 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Number: PR16-59-000.

    Applicants: Rocky Mountain Natural Gas LLC.

    Description: Tariff filing per 284.123(b)(1),: Revised Statement of Operating Conditions to be effective 6/16/2016; Filing Type: 1000.

    Filed Date: 6/15/2016.

    Accession Number: 201606155101.

    Comments/Protests Due: 5 p.m. ET 7/6/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1027-000.

    Applicants: DBM Pipeline, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Negotiated Rate Filing to be effective 7/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/15/16.

    Accession Number: 20160615-5030.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1028-000.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Superseding Neg Rate Agmt (Entergy NO 35233) to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/15/16.

    Accession Number: 20160615-5036.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1029-000.

    Applicants: Cheyenne Plains Gas Pipeline Company LLC.

    Description: Permanent Capacity Release Waiver Request of Cheyenne Plains Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C.

    Filed Date: 6/15/16.

    Accession Number: 20160615-5148.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1030-000.

    Applicants: ANR Storage Company.

    Description: Petition for Approval of Settlement and Request for Shortened Comment Period and Stipulation and Agreement of ANR Storage Company.

    Filed Date: 6/16/16.

    Accession Number: 20160616-5161.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1031-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing DCGT—Baseline Filing of FERC Gas Tariff to be effective 6/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5024.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1032-000.

    Applicants: Viking Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Revision to IT Form of Service Agreement to be effective 7/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5031.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1033-000.

    Applicants: Viking Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Update Non-Conforming and Negotiated Rate Agreements to be effective 7/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5073.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1034-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: DCGT—Cancellation of FERC Gas Tariff, Second Volume Nos. 1 and 1.1 to be effective 6/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5074.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1035-000.

    Applicants: Guardian Pipeline, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Update Statement of Negotiated Rates to be effective 7/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5075.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1036-000.

    Applicants: Guardian Pipeline, L.L.C.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Update Non-Conforming and Negotiated Rate Agreements to be effective 7/18/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5087.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1037-000.

    Applicants: SWN Energy Services Company, LLC, Antero Resources Corporation.

    Description: Joint Petition of SWN Energy Services Company, LLC and Antero Resources Corporation for Temporary Waiver of Capacity Release Regulations and Policies and Related Pipeline Tariff Provisions, and Request for Shortened Comment Period and Expedited Treatment.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5123.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/24/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1038-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: DCGT—System Map URL to be effective 7/17/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5148.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified date(s). Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    Filings in Existing Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP16-131-003.

    Applicants: Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.

    Description: Compliance filing 2nd Compliance Filing in RP16-131-000 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 5/20/16.

    Accession Number: 20160520-5034.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/23/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-1026-001.

    Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Virtual Measurement Points—CORRECTION to be effective 7/16/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/15/16.

    Accession Number: 20160615-5105.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/27/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-292-002.

    Applicants: Alliance Pipeline L.P.

    Description: Compliance filing Reinstate AOS Revised to be effective 12/1/2015.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5091.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-981-001.

    Applicants: Portland Natural Gas Transmission System.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: Amendment to RP16-981-000 to be effective 6/27/2016.

    Filed Date: 6/17/16.

    Accession Number: 20160617-5130.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 6/29/16.

    Any person desiring to protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rule 211 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated June 20, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15274 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9948-52-Region 6] Adequacy Status of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Maintenance Plan 8-Hour Ozone Motor Vehicle Emission Budgets for Transportation Conformity Purposes AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of adequacy.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is notifying the public that it has found that the motor vehicle emissions budgets (MVEBs) in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana 2008 8-hour Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) Maintenance Plan State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision, submitted on May 2, 2016 by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) are adequate for transportation conformity purposes. As a result of EPA's finding, the Baton Rouge area must use these budgets for future conformity determinations.

    DATES:

    These budgets are effective July 14, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The essential information in this notice will be available at EPA's conformity Web site: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/adequacy.htm. You may also contact Mr. Jeffrey Riley, Air Planning Section (6MM-AA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75202-2733, telephone (214) 665-8542, Email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Throughout this document “we,” “us,” and “our” refers to EPA. The word “budget(s)” refers to the mobile source emissions budget for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the mobile source emissions budget for nitrogen oxides (NOX).

    On May 2, 2016, we received a SIP revision from the LDEQ. This revision consisted of a 2008 8-hour ozone NAAQS redesignation request and maintenance plan SIP for the Baton Rouge area. This submission established MVEBs for the Baton Rouge area for the years 2022 and 2027. The MVEB is the amount of emissions allowed in the state implementation plan for on-road motor vehicles; it establishes an emissions ceiling for the regional transportation network. The MVEBs are provided in Table 1:

    Table 1—Baton Rouge Maintenance Plan NOX and VOC MVEBS [Summer season tons per day] 2022 2027 NOX 14.37 10.95 VOC 13.19 11.55

    On May 6, 2016, EPA posted the availability of the Baton Rouge area MVEBs on EPA's Web site for the purpose of soliciting public comments, as part of the adequacy process pursuant to 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4). The comment period closed on June 6, 2016, and we received no comments.

    Today's notice is simply an announcement of a finding that EPA has already made. EPA Region 6 sent a letter to LDEQ on June 13, 2016, finding that the MVEBs in the Baton Rouge Maintenance Plan SIP, submitted on May 2, 2016 are adequate and must be used for transportation conformity determinations in the Baton Rouge area. This finding has also been announced on EPA's conformity Web site: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/stateresources/transconf/adequacy.htm.

    Transportation conformity is required by section 176(c) of the Clean Air Act. EPA's conformity rule, 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 93, requires that transportation plans, programs and projects conform to state air quality implementation plans and establishes the criteria and procedures for determining whether or not they do so. Conformity to a SIP means that transportation activities will not produce new air quality violations, worsen existing violations, or delay timely attainment of the national ambient air quality standards.

    The criteria by which EPA determines whether a SIP's MVEB is adequate for transportation conformity purposes are outlined in 40 CFR 93.118(e)(4). We have also described the process for determining the adequacy of submitted SIP budgets in our July 1, 2004, final rulemaking entitled, “Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments for the New 8-hour Ozone and PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Miscellaneous Revisions for Existing Areas; Transportation Conformity Rule Amendments: Response to Court Decision and Additional Rule Changes” (69 FR 40004). Please note that an adequacy review is separate from EPA's completeness review, and it should not be used to prejudge EPA's ultimate approval of the Baton Rouge Maintenance Plan SIP revision submittal. Even if EPA finds the budgets adequate, the Baton Rouge Maintenance Plan SIP revision submittal could later be disapproved.

    These new MVEBs are effective July 14, 2016. Within 24 months from the effective date of this notice, the Baton Rouge area transportation partners, such as the Capital Region Planning Commission, will need to demonstrate conformity to the new MVEBs if the demonstration has not already been made, pursuant to 40 CFR 93.104(e). See 73 FR 4419 (January 24, 2008).

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: June 17, 2016. Ron Curry, Regional Administrator, Region 6.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15408 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OGC-2016-0364; FRL 9948-50-OGC] Proposed Consent Decree, Clean Air Act Citizen Suit AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed consent decree; request for public comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with section 113(g) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (“CAA” or the “Act”), notice is hereby given of a proposed consent decree to address a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club (“Plaintiff”) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California: Sierra Club v. Gina McCarthy, No. 3:15-cv-04328-JD (N.D. Cal.). On September 22, 2015, Plaintiffs filed this matter against Gina McCarthy, in her official capacity as Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”). On February 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint alleging that, with respect to the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standards (“NAAQS”), EPA has failed to perform non-discretionary duties (1) to take final action on portions of state implementation plan (“SIP”) submissions from Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming intended to address various interstate transport requirements, and (2) to promulgate a federal implementation plan (“FIP”) for certain SIP elements for California and Kentucky. The proposed consent decree would establish a deadline for EPA to take certain specified actions.

    DATES:

    Written comments on the proposed consent decree must be received by July 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID number EPA-HQ-OGC-2016-0364, online at www.regulations.gov (EPA's preferred method); by email to [email protected]; by mail to EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; or by hand delivery or courier to EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Comments on a disk or CD-ROM should be formatted in Word or ASCII file, avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption, and may be mailed to the mailing address above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Zachary Pilchen, Air and Radiation Law Office (2344A), Office of General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460; telephone: (202) 564-2812; fax number (202) 564-5603; email address: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Additional Information About the Proposed Consent Decree

    This proposed consent decree would resolve a lawsuit filed by Plaintiffs seeking to compel the Administrator to take action under CAA section 110(k)(2)-(4). Plaintiffs allege that the Administrator has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to take final action on the portion of Louisiana's SIP submission intended to address the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to take certain specified actions by August 1, 2016, by October 3, 2016, and by December 15, 2017 to resolve those claims. See the proposed consent decree for more details.

    Plaintiffs also allege that the Administrator has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to take final action on the portion of New Jersey's SIP submission intended to address requirements of 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(D)(i)(II) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to take certain specified actions by September 30, 2016 to resolve those claims. See the proposed consent decree for more details.

    Plaintiffs also allege that the Administrator has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to take final action on the portion of New York's SIP submission intended to address requirements of 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to take certain specified actions by August 15, 2016 and by November 1, 2016 to resolve those claims. See the proposed consent decree for more details.

    Plaintiffs also allege that the Administrator has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to take final action on the portion of Wisconsin's SIP submission intended to address certain requirements of 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to take certain specified actions by August 1, 2016 and by December 16, 2016 to resolve those claims. See the proposed consent decree for more details.

    Plaintiffs also allege that the Administrator has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to take final action on the portion of Wisconsin's SIP submission intended to address certain requirements of 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(D)(i) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to take certain specified actions by September 30, 2016 and by November 18, 2016 to resolve those claims. See the proposed consent decree for more details.

    Plaintiffs also allege that the Administrator has failed to perform a non-discretionary duty to promulgate a FIP for California to address certain requirements of 42 U.S.C. 7410(a)(2)(A)-(C), (D)(i)(II)-(H), and (J)-(M) for the 2008 ozone NAAQS. Under the terms of the proposed consent decree, EPA would agree to take certain specified actions by September 23, 2016, by December 16, 2016, by March 15, 2017, and by December 15, 2017 to resolve those claims. See the proposed consent decree for more details.

    The proposed consent decree also provides for the possibility that circumstances beyond EPA's reasonable control could delay compliance with these deadlines, and provides a framework for extending these deadlines. In addition, the proposed consent decree outlines a process for Plaintiff to seek payment for the costs of litigation, including attorney fees.

    For a period of thirty (30) days following the date of publication of this notice, the Agency will accept written comments relating to the proposed consent decree from persons who are not named as parties or intervenors to the litigation in question. EPA or the Department of Justice may withdraw or withhold consent to the proposed consent decree if the comments disclose facts or considerations that indicate that such consent is inappropriate, improper, inadequate, or inconsistent with the requirements of the Act. Unless EPA or the Department of Justice determines that consent to this consent decree should be withdrawn, the terms of the consent decree will be affirmed.

    II. Additional Information About Commenting on the Proposed Consent Decree A. How can I get a copy of the proposed consent decree?

    The official public docket for this action (identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OGC-2016-0364) contains a copy of the proposed consent decree. The official public docket is available for public viewing at the Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket in the EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number for the OEI Docket is (202) 566-1752.

    An electronic version of the public docket is available through www.regulations.gov. You may use the www.regulations.gov to submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the official public docket, and access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, key in the appropriate docket identification number then select “search.”

    It is important to note that EPA's policy is that public comments, whether submitted electronically or in paper, will be made available for public viewing online at www.regulations.gov without change, unless the comment contains copyrighted material, CBI, or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Information claimed as CBI and other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute is not included in the official public docket or in the electronic public docket. EPA's policy is that copyrighted material, including copyrighted material contained in a public comment, will not be placed in EPA's electronic public docket but will be available only in printed, paper form in the official public docket. Although not all docket materials may be available electronically, you may still access any of the publicly available docket materials through the EPA Docket Center.

    B. How and to whom do I submit comments?

    You may submit comments as provided in the ADDRESSES section. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the specified comment period. Comments received after the close of the comment period will be marked “late.” EPA is not required to consider these late comments.

    If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name, mailing address, and an email address or other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD ROM you submit. This ensures that you can be identified as the submitter of the comment and allows EPA to contact you in case EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties or needs further information on the substance of your comment. Any identifying or contact information provided in the body of a comment will be included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public docket, and made available in EPA's electronic public docket. 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.

    Use of the www.regulations.gov Web site to submit comments to EPA electronically is EPA's preferred method for receiving comments. The electronic public docket system is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity, email address, or other contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. In contrast to EPA's electronic public docket, EPA's electronic mail (email) system is not an “anonymous access” system. If you send an email comment directly to the Docket without going through www.regulations.gov, your email address is automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the official public docket, and made available in EPA's electronic public docket.

    Dated: June 20, 2016. Lorie J. Schmidt, Associate General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15412 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [OMB 3060-0975] Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and Budget AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communication Commission (FCC or Commission) invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the following information collections. Comments are requested concerning: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the Commission's burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and ways to further reduce the information collection burden on small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    The FCC may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the PRA that does not display a valid OMB control number.

    DATES:

    Written comments should be submitted on or before July 29, 2016. If you anticipate that you will be submitting comments, but find it difficult to do so within the period of time allowed by this notice, you should advise the contacts below as soon as possible.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all PRA comments to Nicholas A. Fraser, OMB, via email [email protected]; and to Cathy Williams, FCC, via email [email protected] and to [email protected] Include in the comments the OMB control number as shown in the “Supplementary Information” section below.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For additional information or copies of the information collection, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918. To view a copy of this information collection request (ICR) submitted to OMB: (1) Go to the Web page <http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain>, (2) look for the section of the Web page called “Currently Under Review,” (3) click on the downward-pointing arrow in the “Select Agency” box below the “Currently Under Review” heading, (4) select “Federal Communications Commission” from the list of agencies presented in the “Select Agency” box, (5) click the “Submit” button to the right of the “Select Agency” box, (6) when the list of FCC ICRs currently under review appears, look for the OMB control number of this ICR and then click on the ICR Reference Number. A copy of the FCC submission to OMB will be displayed.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-0975.

    Title: Sections 68.105 and 1.4000, Promotion of Competitive Networks in Local Telecommunications Markets Multiple Tenant Environments (MTEs).

    Form Number: N/A.

    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit, not-for-profit institutions, and state, local and tribal government.

    Number of Respondents: 6,916 respondents; 249,833 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: .5-10 hours.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion reporting requirement and third party disclosure requirement.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 151 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Public Law 104-104.

    Total Annual Burden: 178,297 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Privacy Act Impact Assessment: No impact(s).

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: There is no need for confidentiality with this collection of information.

    Needs and Uses: This information will facilitate efficient interaction between premises owners and local exchange carriers (LECs) regarding the placement of the demarcation point, which marks the end of wiring under control of the LEC and the beginning of wiring under the control of the premises owner or subscriber. The demarcation point is a critical point of interconnection where competitive LECs can gain access to the inside wiring of the building to provide service to customers in the building. This collection will also help ensure that customer-end antennas used for telecommunications service comply with the Commission's limits on radiofrequency exposure, and it will provide the Commission with information on the state of the market. In short, this information will be used to foster competition in local telecommunications markets by ensuring that competing telecommunications providers are able to provide services to customers in multiple tenant environments.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-15337 Filed 6-28-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection Renewals; Comment Request (3064-0030, -0104 & -0122) AGENCY:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The FDIC, 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 the renewal of existing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Currently, the FDIC is soliciting comment on the renewal of the information collections described below.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before August 29, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to the FDIC by any of the following methods:

    http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/.

    Email: [email protected]. Include the name and number of the collection in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Manny Cabeza (202.898.3767), Counsel MB-3105, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

    Hand Delivery: Comments may be hand-delivered to the guard station at the rear of the 17th Street Building (located on F Street), on business days between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

    All comments should refer to the relevant OMB control number. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer for the FDIC: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Manny Cabeza, at the FDIC address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposal to renew the following currently-approved collections of information:

    1. Title: Securities of Insured Nonmember Banks and State Savings Associations.

    OMB Number: 3064-0030.

    Affected Public: Generally, any issuer of securities, reporting company, or shareholder of an issuer registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 with respect to securities registered under 12 CFR part 335.

    Annual Number of Respondents: 396 separate respondents, some filing multiple forms, resulting in 535 estimated total annual responses.

    Burden Estimate:

    Estimated number of
  • responses
  • Hours per
  • response
  • Frequency of response Number of
  • responses
  • per year
  • Estimated
  • burden
  • Form 3—Initial Statement of Beneficial Ownership 58 1 On Occasion 1 58 Form 4—Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership 297 0.5 On Occasion 4 594 Form 5—Annual Statement of Beneficial Ownership 69 1 Annual 1 69 Form 8-A 2 3 On Occasion 2 12 Form 8-C 2 2 On Occasion 1 4 Form 8-K 21 2 On Occasion 4 168 Form 10 2 215 On Occasion 1 430 Form 10-C 1 1 On Occasion 1 1 Form10-K 21 140 Annual 1 2,940 Form 10-Q 21 100 Quarterly 3 6,300 Form 12b-25 6 3 On Occasion 1 18 Form 15 2 1 On Occasion 1 2 Form 25 2 1 On Occasion 1 2 Schedule 13D 2 3 On Occasion 1 6 Schedule 13E-3 2 3 On Occasion 1 6 Schedule 13G 2 3 On Occasion 1 6 Schedule 14A 21 40 Annual 1 840 Schedule 14C 2 40 On Occasion 1 80 Schedule 14D-1 (Schedule TO) 2 5 On Occasion 1 10 Totals 535 11,546

    General Description: Section 12(i) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the “Exchange Act”) grants authority to the Federal banking agencies to administer and enforce Sections 10A(m), 12, 13, 14(a), 14(c), 14(d), 14(f), and 16 of the Exchange Act and Sections 302, 303, 304, 306, 401(b), 404, 406, and 407 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Pursuant to Section 12(i), the FDIC has the authority, including rulemaking authority, to administer and enforce these enumerated provisions as may be necessary with respect to state nonmember banks and state savings associations over which it has been designated the appropriate Federal banking agency. Section 12(i) generally requires the FDIC to issue regulations substantially similar to those issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) to carry out these responsibilities. Thus, Part 335 of the FDIC regulations incorporates by cross-reference the SEC rules and regulations regarding the disclosure and filing requirements of registered securities of state nonmember banks and state savings associations.

    This information collection includes the following:

    Beneficial Ownership Forms: FDIC Forms 3, 4, and 5 (FDIC Form Numbers 6800/03, 6800/04, and 6800/05.) Pursuant to Section 16 of the Exchange Act, every director, officer, and owner of more than ten percent of a class of equity securities registered with the FDIC under Section 12 of the Exchange Act must file with the FDIC a statement of ownership regarding such securities. The initial filing is on Form 3 and changes are reported on Form 4. The Annual Statement of beneficial ownership of securities is on Form 5. The forms contain information on the reporting person's relationship to the company and on purchases and sales of such equity securities. 12 CFR Sections 335.601 through 336.613 of the FDIC's regulations, which cross-reference 17 CFR 240.16a of the SEC's regulations, provide the FDIC form requirements for FDIC Forms 3, 4, and 5 in lieu of SEC Forms 3, 4, and 5, which are described at 17 CFR 249.103 (Form 3), 249.104 (Form 4), and 249.105 (Form 5).

    Forms 8-A and 8-C for Registration of Certain Classes of Securities. Form 8-A is used for registration of any class of securities of any issuer which is required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, pursuant to Section 12(b) or (g) of the Exchange Act, or pursuant to an order exempting the exchange on which the issuer has securities listed from registration as a national securities exchange. Form 8-C has been replaced by Form 8-A. Form 8-A is described at 17 CFR 249.208a.

    Form 8-K: Current Report. This is the current report that is used to report the occurrence of any material events or corporate changes that are of importance to investors or security holders and have not been reported previously by the registrant. It provides more current information on certain specified events than would Forms 10-Q and 10-K. The form description is at 17 CFR 249.308.

    Forms 10 and 10-C: Forms for Registration of Securities. Form 10 is the general reporting form for registration of securities pursuant to section 12(b) or (g) of the Exchange Act, of classes of securities of issuers for which no other reporting form is prescribed. It requires certain business and financial information about the issuer. Form 10-C has been replaced by Form 10. Form 10 is described at 17 CFR 249.210.

    Form 10-K: Annual Report. This annual report is used by issuers registered under the Exchange Act to provide information described in Regulation S-K, 17 CFR 229. The form is described at 17 CFR 249.310.

    Form 10-Q: Quarterly Reports. The Form 10-Q is a report filed quarterly by most reporting companies. It includes unaudited financial statements and provides a continuing overview of major changes in the company's financial position during the year, as compared to the prior corresponding period. The report must be filed for each of the first three fiscal quarters of the company's fiscal year and is due within 40 or 45 days of the close of the quarter, depending on the size of the reporting company. The description of Form 10-Q is at 17 CFR 249.308a.

    Form 12b-25: Notification of Late Filing. This notification extends the reporting deadlines for filing quarterly and annual reports for qualifying companies. The form is described at 17 CFR 249.322.

    Form 15: Certification and Notice of Termination of Registration. This form is filed by each issuer to certify that the number of holders of record of a class of security registered under section 12(g) of the Exchange Act is reduced to a specified level in order to terminate the registration of the class of security. For a bank, the number of holders of record of a class of registered security must be reduced to less than 1,200 persons. For a savings association, the number of record holders of a class of registered security must be reduced to (1) less than 300 persons or (2) less than 500 persons and the