Federal Register Vol. 81, No.15,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 15 (January 25, 2016)

Page Range3939-4158
FR Document

81_FR_15
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 4036 - Annual Update of the HHS Poverty GuidelinesPDF
81 FR 4031 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 4080 - In the Matter of Vadda Energy Corp.; Order of Suspension of TradingPDF
81 FR 4070 - In the Matter of Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 1, 2, and 3, and James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant; Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, and R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant; Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Units 1 and 2; and Southern California Edison Company, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 2 and 3, including Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations for All Facilities; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 4081 - Re-Consideration Concerning the Scope of Authorizations in a Presidential Permit Issued to Plains LPG Services, L.P. in May 2014 for Existing Pipeline Facilities on the Border of the United States and Canada Under the St. Clair RiverPDF
81 FR 4061 - Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, LA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental AssessmentPDF
81 FR 4060 - Theodore Roosevelt and Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuges, Mississippi Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Environmental AssessmentPDF
81 FR 4081 - Escalate Capital Partners SBIC III, L.P.; Notice Seeking Exemption Under Section 312 of the Small Business Investment Act, Conflicts of InterestPDF
81 FR 3941 - Small Business Size Standards: Employee Based Size Standards in Wholesale Trade and Retail TradePDF
81 FR 3949 - Small Business Size Standards: Inflation Adjustment to Monetary Based Size StandardsPDF
81 FR 4071 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
81 FR 4082 - Sanctions Lifting Actions Taken Pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of ActionPDF
81 FR 4063 - Statement of Findings: Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement ActPDF
81 FR 3939 - Lacey Act Implementation Plan; Definitions for Exempt and Regulated ArticlesPDF
81 FR 3941 - Organization and Functions; Enforcement of Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs or Activities Conducted by the Farm Credit Administration; Organization of the Farm Credit AdministrationPDF
81 FR 4067 - Correction Notice: Notice of Public Meetings in Alaska Pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act and the Federal Advisory Committee ActPDF
81 FR 4066 - Notice of Intent To AuditPDF
81 FR 4064 - Notice of Application for Extension of Public Land Order No. 5645, and Opportunity for Public Meeting; AlaskaPDF
81 FR 4051 - Extension and Redesignation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected StatusPDF
81 FR 4045 - Extension of the Designation of Sudan for Temporary Protected StatusPDF
81 FR 4064 - Notice of Open Public Meetings and Teleconferences for the National Park Service Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission ProgramPDF
81 FR 4083 - National Standards for Traffic Control Devices; the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Notice of Termination of Interim Approval IA-5PDF
81 FR 3962 - Special Local Regulations; Southern California Annual Marine Events for the San Diego Captain of the Port ZonePDF
81 FR 4037 - Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; Media-Smart Youth Leaders ProgramPDF
81 FR 3957 - Self-Certification and Employee Training of Mail-Order Distributors of Scheduled Listed Chemical ProductsPDF
81 FR 4059 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Client Session EvaluationPDF
81 FR 3976 - Special Local Regulations; Sector Ohio Valley Annual and Recurring Special Local Regulations UpdatePDF
81 FR 4059 - Alternative Requirements for the Family Unification Program (FUP)PDF
81 FR 4025 - Quadrennial Energy Review; Notice of Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 4023 - Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Spent Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of GermanyPDF
81 FR 4027 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Northern New MexicoPDF
81 FR 4027 - Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge ReservationPDF
81 FR 4029 - Ortho-Phthalaldehyde; Receipt of Application for Emergency Exemption, Solicitation of Public CommentPDF
81 FR 4028 - Request for Nominations of Candidates for EPA's Science Advisory Board 2016-2018 Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards CommitteePDF
81 FR 3959 - Professional U.S. Scouting Organization Operations at U.S. Military Installations OverseasPDF
81 FR 4016 - National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps Use Case for the Health Care SectorPDF
81 FR 4021 - Pacific Island Fisheries; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit for Offshore AquaculturePDF
81 FR 4018 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Application for an Exempted Fishing PermitPDF
81 FR 4032 - Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to PathWays PA in Philadelphia, PAPDF
81 FR 4034 - Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to the National Runaway SwitchboardPDF
81 FR 4016 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; National Security and Critical Technology Assessments of the U.S. Industrial BasePDF
81 FR 4062 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comment on Proposed Revisions to the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data StandardPDF
81 FR 4034 - Announcement of the Award a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to BCFS Health and Human Services in San Antonio, TXPDF
81 FR 4071 - Income Tax ReviewPDF
81 FR 4033 - Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Chicago, ILPDF
81 FR 4040 - Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection-007 Border Crossing Information System of RecordsPDF
81 FR 4022 - Defense Health Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 4035 - Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum in Oakland, CAPDF
81 FR 4031 - Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to Futures Without Violence in San Francisco, CAPDF
81 FR 4032 - Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to Casa de Esperanza in St. Paul, MNPDF
81 FR 4069 - Restructuring of National Labor Relations Board's Headquarters' OfficesPDF
81 FR 4030 - Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
81 FR 3963 - Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Colorado; Revisions to Common Provisions and Regulation Number 3; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 4005 - Fourteen-Day Extension of Time To File Comments and Reply CommentsPDF
81 FR 4039 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 4038 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 4037 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 4083 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: General Operating and Flight RulesPDF
81 FR 4082 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 4076 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Alternative Trading System Volume and Trading InformationPDF
81 FR 4074 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Make Nonsubstantive, Clarifying Amendments to Several Rules Relating to the Clearing of Exchange Options TransactionsPDF
81 FR 4072 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Simplification of Disclosure Requirements for Emerging Growth Companies and Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 for Smaller Reporting CompaniesPDF
81 FR 4084 - National Research Advisory Council, Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 4007 - Update Means of Providing Notification; Improving Efficacy of RecallsPDF
81 FR 4010 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures; Amendment 28PDF
81 FR 3956 - Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food; CorrectionPDF
81 FR 3970 - Reauthorization of the United States Grain Standards ActPDF
81 FR 3982 - National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan Revisions To Align With the National Response FrameworkPDF
81 FR 3967 - Protecting and Promoting the Open InternetPDF
81 FR 4086 - Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for PumpsPDF
81 FR 4067 - Fingerprint Submission RequirementsPDF

Issue

81 15 Monday, January 25, 2016 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Lacey Act Implementation Plan: Definitions for Exempt and Regulated Articles, 3939-3941 2016-01399 Children Children and Families Administration NOTICES Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grants: Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, 4033-4034 2016-01332 National Runaway Switchboard, 4034 2016-01339 PathWays PA, Philadelphia, PA, 4032 2016-01340 Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grants: Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Oakland, CA, 4035-4036 2016-01329 BCFS Health and Human Services, San Antonio, TX, 4034-4035 2016-01336 Casa de Esperanza, St. Paul, MN, 4032-4033 2016-01326 Futures Without Violence, San Francisco, CA, 4031-4032 2016-01328 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Special Local Regulations: Southern California Annual Marine Events for the San Diego Captain of the Port Zone, 3962-3963 2016-01382 PROPOSED RULES Special Local Regulations: Sector Ohio Valley Annual and Recurring Updates, 3976-3982 2016-01375 Commerce Commerce Department See

Industry and Security Bureau

See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Copyright Office Copyright Office, Library of Congress NOTICES Intent To Audit, 4066-4067 2016-01396 Defense Department Defense Department RULES Professional U.S. Scouting Organization Operations at U.S. Military Installations Overseas, 3959-3962 2016-01346 NOTICES Meetings: Defense Health Board, 4022-4023 2016-01330 Drug Drug Enforcement Administration RULES Self-Certification and Employee Training of Mail-Order Distributors of Scheduled Listed Chemical Products, 3957-3959 2016-01377 Energy Department Energy Department RULES Energy Conservation Program: Test Procedure for Pumps, 4086-4158 2016-00039 NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Acceptance and Disposition of Spent Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany, 4023-4025 2016-01371 Meetings: Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Northern New Mexico, 4027 2016-01370 Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge Reservation, 4027-4028 2016-01369 Quadrennial Energy Review, 4025-4026 2016-01372 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Colorado; Revisions to Common Provisions and Regulation Number 3; Correction, 3963-3967 2016-01319 PROPOSED RULES National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan: National Response Framework Revisions, 3982-4005 2016-00663 NOTICES Applications for Emergency Exemption: Ortho-Phthalaldehyde, 4029-4030 2016-01350 Requests for Nominations: Science Advisory Board 2016-2018 Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards Committee, 4028-4029 2016-01349 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration RULES Organization and Functions: Enforcement of Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap, etc., 3941 2016-01398 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: General Operating and Flight Rules, 4083 2016-01312 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, 3967-3969 2016-00485 PROPOSED RULES Fourteen-Day Extension of Time To File Comments and Reply Comments, 4005-4007 2016-01316 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 4030-4031 2016-01320 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 4031 2016-01446 Federal Highway Federal Highway Administration NOTICES National Standards for Traffic Control Devices: Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways; Termination of Interim Approval IA-5, 4083-4084 2016-01383 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, LA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan, 4061-4062 2016-01417 Theodore Roosevelt and Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuges, Mississippi Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan, 4060-4061 2016-01414 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food; Correction, 3956 2016-01092 Geological Geological Survey NOTICES United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard; Revisions, 4062-4063 2016-01337 Grain Inspection Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration PROPOSED RULES Reauthorization of the United States Grain Standards Act, 3970-3976 2016-01083 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Children and Families Administration

See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES HHS Poverty Guidelines; Update, 4036-4037 2016-01450
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

NOTICES Privacy Act; Systems of Records, 4040-4045 2016-01331
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Client Session Evaluation, 4059-4060 2016-01376 Alternative Requirements for the Family Unification Program, 4059 2016-01374 Industry Industry and Security Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: National Security and Critical Technology Assessments of the U.S. Industrial Base, 4016 2016-01338 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Geological Survey

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

NOTICES Statement of Findings: Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement Act, 4063-4064 2016-01401
Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Withdrawals of Public Lands: Alaska, Public Land Order No. 5645, 4064 2016-01390 Library Library of Congress See

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Marine Marine Mammal Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act; Correction, 4067 2016-01397 National Crime National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council NOTICES Fingerprint Submission Requirements, 4067-4069 2015-32460 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PROPOSED RULES Updated Means of Providing Notification; Improving Efficacy of Recalls, 4007-4010 2016-01291 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps Use Case for the Health Care Sector, 4016-4018 2016-01344 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program, 4037-4038 2016-01379 Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 4039-4040 2016-01315 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 4037-4039 2016-01313 2016-01314 National Labor National Labor Relations Board NOTICES Restructuring of National Labor Relations Board's Headquarters' Offices, 4069-4070 2016-01322 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures; Amendment 28, 4010-4015 2016-01279 NOTICES Permits: Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska, 4018-4021 2016-01342 Pacific Island Fisheries; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit for Offshore Aquaculture, 4021-4022 2016-01343 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Meetings: Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission Program, 4064-4066 2016-01386 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Confirmatory Orders: Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 1, 2, and 3, etc.; Correction, 4070-4071 2016-01420 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 4071 2016-01408 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES Income Tax Review, 4071-4072 2016-01335 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Simplification of Disclosure Requirements for Emerging Growth Companies and Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 for Smaller Reporting Companies, 4072-4074 2016-01304 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., 4076-4080 2016-01308 NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC, 4074-4076 2016-01307 Trading Suspension Orders: Vadda Energy Corp., 4080-4081 2016-01431 Small Business Small Business Administration RULES Small Business Size Standards: Employee Based Size Standards in Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade, 3941-3949 2016-01411 Inflation Adjustment to Monetary Based Size Standards, 3949-3956 2016-01410 NOTICES Conflict of Interest Exemptions: Escalate Capital Partners SBIC III, L.P., 4081 2016-01412 State Department State Department NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: China's First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors, 4082 2016-01311 Presidential Permits: Plains LPG Services, LP; Existing Pipeline Facilities on the Border of the United States and Canada Under the St. Clair River, 4081-4082 2016-01419 Sanctions Lifting Actions Taken Pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, 4082 2016-01404 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Highway Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

U.S. Citizenship U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services NOTICES Extension and Redesignation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 4051-4059 2016-01388 Extension of the Designation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 4045-4051 2016-01387 Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department NOTICES Meetings: National Research Advisory Council, 4084 2016-01297 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Energy Department, 4086-4158 2016-00039 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 15 Monday, January 25, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 357 [Docket No. APHIS-2009-0018] RIN 0579-AD11 Lacey Act Implementation Plan; Definitions for Exempt and Regulated Articles AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Affirmation of interim final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting as a final rule, without change, an interim final rule that established definitions for the terms common cultivar and common food crop and several related terms. The 2008 amendments to the Lacey Act expanded its protections to a broader range of plant species; extended its reach to encompass products, including timber, that derive from illegally harvested plants; and required that importers submit a declaration at the time of importation for certain plants and plant products. Common cultivars and common food crops are among the categorical exclusions to the provisions of the Act. The Act does not define the terms common cultivar and common food crop but instead gives authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior to define these terms by regulation. The interim final rule specifically requested comment on definitions of two related terms: Commercial scale and tree. This document responds to comments we received on those definitions.

DATES:

Effective on January 25, 2016, we are adopting as a final rule the interim final rule published at 78 FR 40940-40945 on July 9, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Parul Patel, Senior Agriculturalist, Imports, Regulations, and Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 60, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; 301-851-2351.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.), first enacted in 1900 and significantly amended in 1981, is the United States' oldest wildlife protection statute. The Act combats trafficking in “illegal” wildlife, fish, and plants. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, effective May 22, 2008, amended the Lacey Act by expanding its protections to a broader range of plants and plant products (Section 8204, Prevention of Illegal Logging Practices). As amended, the Lacey Act now makes it unlawful to, among other things, import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of any Federal, State, tribal, or foreign law that protects plants or that regulates the theft of plants; the taking of plants from a park, forest reserve, or other officially protected area; the taking of plants from an officially designated area; or the taking of plants without, or contrary to, required authorization.

The statute excludes from the definition of the term “plant” the following categories: (i) Common cultivars, except trees, and common food crops; (ii) scientific specimens for laboratory or field research (unless they are listed in an appendix to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, 27 UST 1087; TIAS 8249); as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); or pursuant to any State law that provides for the conservation of species that are indigenous to the State and are threatened with extinction); and (iii) plants that are to remain planted or to be planted or replanted (unless they are listed in an appendix to CITES; as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973; or pursuant to any State law that provides for the conservation of species that are indigenous to the State and are threatened with extinction). The Lacey Act also now makes it unlawful to make or submit any false record, account, or label for, or any false identification of, any plant covered by the Act.

In addition, Section 3 of the Lacey Act, as amended, makes it unlawful, beginning December 15, 2008, to import plants and plant products without an import declaration. The declaration must contain, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant, and name of the country from which the plant was harvested. Currently, enforcement of the declaration requirement is being phased in, as described in two notices we published in the Federal Register1 (74 FR 5911-5913 and 74 FR 45415-45418, Docket No. APHIS-2008-0119).

1 To view these notices and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2008-0119.

On August 4, 2010, we published in the Federal Register (75 FR 46859-46861, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0018) a proposal 2 to establish a new part in the plant-related provisions of title 7, chapter III of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), containing definitions for the terms common cultivar and common food crop. Common cultivars and common food crops are among the categorical exclusions to the provisions of the Act. The Act does not define the terms common cultivar and common food crop but instead gives authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to define these terms by regulation.

2 To view the proposed rule and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0018.

Comments on the proposed rule were required to be received on or before November 29, 2010. The comments we received on the proposed rule included concerns about two additional terms used in the regulations. Specifically, some commenters asked that we define the term commercial scale to clarify that the definitions apply to specialty products grown commercially on a smaller scale. One commenter also asked that we define the word tree as it is used in the regulations. The commenter noted that there is no globally accepted botanical definition for tree and stated that adding a definition to the regulations would help clarify which products require a declaration.

We agreed with the commenters that adding definitions of these terms would improve clarity. Therefore, in an interim final rule 3 published in the Federal Register on July 9, 2013 (78 FR 40940-40945, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0018), we proposed to define commercial scale as “production, in individual products or markets, that is typical of commercial activity, regardless of the production methods or amount of production of a particular facility, or the purpose of an individual shipment” and tree as “a woody perennial plant that has a well-defined stem or stems and a continuous cambium, and that exhibits true secondary growth.”

3 To view the interim final rule and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0018.

We invited public comment on these two definitions. Comments on the interim final rule were required to be received on or before August 8, 2013. We received two comments by that date. The comments were from an organization of State plant pest regulatory agencies and a retailer selling home furnishings.

One commenter supported the additional definitions as proposed. The other commenter stated that the definitions of common cultivar, common food crop, and tree do not provide enough clarity for importers to determine whether certain products are subject to provisions of the Act, but did not address the specific wording of the definitions. The commenter also asked whether certain products, including rattan, palm leaves, and willow and osier branches, were considered common cultivars and if they would be included on the list of common cultivars.

Willows and osiers are trees and therefore cannot be excepted from the declaration requirement. We note that several species of palms, including African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), carnauba palm (Copernicia spp.), and palms in the genera Astrocaryum, Bactris, and Euterpe are included on the list of common cultivars and common food crops that are excepted from the declaration requirement. Rattan and other palms are not currently excepted from the declaration requirement but may be evaluated as common food crops or common cultivars if a member of the public submits a request as described below.

As we explained in the interim final rule, the list of common cultivars and common food crops is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive. The list is available on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/lacey_act/index.shtml. The public may also send inquiries about specific taxa or commodities and requests to add taxa or commodities to the list, or remove them from the list, by writing to The Lacey Act, ATT: Common Cultivar/Common Food Crop, c/o U.S. Department of Agriculture, Box 10, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737 or by email to [email protected] and including the following information:

• Scientific name of the plant (genus, species);

• Common or trade names;

• Annual trade volume (e.g., cubic meters) or weight (e.g., metric tons/kilograms) of the commodity; and

• Any other information that will help us make a determination, such as countries or regions where grown, estimated number of acres or hectares in commercial production, and so on.

Decisions about which products will be included on the list will be made jointly by APHIS and the DOI's Fish and Wildlife Service. We will inform our stakeholders when the list is updated via email and other electronic media. We will also note updates of the list on APHIS' Lacey Act Web site mentioned above.

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

This action also affirms the information contained in the interim final rule concerning Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Executive Orders 12988 and 13175.

Paperwork Reduction Act

Section 3 of the Lacey Act makes it unlawful to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration, which must contain, among other things, the scientific name of the plant, value of the importation, quantity of the plant, and name of the country in which the plant was harvested. In addition, there is a supplemental form that must be completed if additional space is needed to declare additional plants and plant products. Also, records of the import declaration and supplemental form must be retained for at least 5 years. These collection activities have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 0579-0349. We published a notice in the Federal Register on August 21, 2014 (79 FR 49491-49492, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0073) seeking an extension of the approval for this information collection.

Common cultivars and common food crops are among the categorical exclusions to the provisions of the Act. In the July 2013 interim final rule, we advised the public that inquiries about specific taxa or commodities and requests to add taxa or commodities to the list, or remove them from the list, be sent in writing to APHIS, including information as to the scientific name of the plant (genus, species), common or trade names, annual trade volume (e.g., cubic meters) or weight (e.g., metric tons/kilograms) of the commodity, and any other information that will help us make a determination, such as countries or regions where grown, estimated number of acres or hectares in commercial production, and so on.

We inadvertently did not obtain OMB approval for this information collection activity. Therefore, in accordance with section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), we published a notice in the Federal Register on October 15, 2014 (79 FR 61846-61847, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0082), announcing our intention to initiate this information collection and to solicit comments. We have asked OMB to approve our use of this information collection for 3 years. When OMB notifies us of its decision, we will publish a document in the Federal Register providing notice of the assigned OMB control number, and we will combine this collection with OMB control number 0579-0349 once it is approved by OMB.

E-Government Act Compliance

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

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 357

Endangered and threatened species, Plants (Agriculture).

PART 357—CONTROL OF ILLEGALLY TAKEN PLANTS Accordingly, we are adopting as a final rule, without change, the interim final rule that amended 7 CFR part 357 and that was published at 78 FR 40940-40945 on July 9, 2013. Done in Washington, DC, this 15th day of January 2016. Gary Woodward, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.
[FR Doc. 2016-01399 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION 12 CFR Parts 600 and 606 RIN 3052-AD08 Organization and Functions; Enforcement of Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs or Activities Conducted by the Farm Credit Administration; Organization of the Farm Credit Administration AGENCY:

Farm Credit Administration.

ACTION:

Notice of effective date.

SUMMARY:

The Farm Credit Administration (FCA, we, Agency or our) amended our regulations to reflect internal organization changes and to update a statutory citation for the Farm Credit Act. In accordance with the law, the effective date of the rule is no earlier than 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register during which either or both Houses of Congress are in session.

DATES:

Under the authority of 12 U.S.C. 2252, the regulation amending 12 CFR parts 600 and 606 published on November 5, 2015 (80 FR 68427) is effective January 25, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Michael T. Wilson, Policy Analyst, Office of Regulatory Policy, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4124, TTY (703) 883-4056, or Jane Virga, Senior Counsel, Office of General Counsel, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, VA 22102-5090, (703) 883-4071, TTY (703) 883-4056.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Farm Credit Administration amended our regulations to reflect internal organization changes and to update a statutory citation for the Farm Credit Act. In accordance with 12 U.S.C. 2252, the effective date of the final rule is no earlier than 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register during which either or both Houses of Congress are in session. Based on the records of the sessions of Congress, the effective date of the regulations is January 25, 2016. (12 U.S.C. 2252(a)(9) and (10))

Dated: January 20, 2016. Dale L. Aultman, Secretary, Farm Credit Administration Board.
[FR Doc. 2016-01398 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6705-01-P
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION 13 CFR Part 121 RIN 3245-AG49 Small Business Size Standards: Employee Based Size Standards in Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade AGENCY:

U.S. Small Business Administration.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA or Agency) is increasing 47 small business size standards based on a concern's number of employees. These increases affect 46 industries in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sector 42, Wholesale Trade, and one industry in NAICS Sector 44-45, Retail Trade. SBA retains the size standards for the remaining industries in those sectors and the 500-employee size standard for the Federal Government's procurement of supplies under the nonmanufacturer rule. As part of its comprehensive size standards review under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA reviewed all 71 industries in NAICS Sector 42, as well as the two industries in NAICS Sector 44-45, that have employee based size standards. The revisions adopted in this rule primarily affect eligibility for SBA's financial assistance programs, and have no impact on Federal procurement programs.

DATES:

This rule is effective on February 26, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carl Jordan, Office of Size Standards, (202) 205-6618 or [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On May 19, 2014 (79 FR 28631), SBA proposed to increase employee based size standards for 46 industries in NAICS Sector 42, Wholesale Trade, and one industry in NAICS Sector 44-45, Retail Trade. The Agency proposed keeping the current size standards for the remaining industries in those sectors. SBA also proposed to retain the 500-employee size standard for Federal procurement of supplies under the nonmanufacturer rule (13 CFR 121.406).

The proposed rule sought comments from the public on the Agency's proposals and received seven comments. Generally, commenters opposed the proposed increases to the size standards in the wholesale trade industries. However, while some commenters appeared to be cognizant of the effects of the proposed increases and how they apply to various small business programs and their industries, others did not seem to be aware that the NAICS codes and size standards for the wholesale and retail trade industries do not apply to Federal Government procurement programs and the proposed increases would have no impact on size eligibility for Federal contracts.

What follows is a summary and discussion of the comments, their positions and the issues they raise, and SBA's responses. All comments are available for public review at the Federal Rulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov.

Summary and Discussion of Public Comments to the May 19, 2014 Proposed Rule

Two parties submitted identical comments, opposing SBA's proposal to increase the size standards. The commenters stated that current size standards are already too high, and expanding them will make matters worse. The commenters contended that 98 percent of all businesses (including non-employer firms) have 1-19 employees, and those businesses mostly need loans of $50,000 to $250,000. Expanding the definition of “small” is crippling their ability to get loans, they added. The commenters maintained that the average size of SBA's loan increased from $182,000 in 2008 to $547,000 in 2013, while the share of loans under $100,000, which they claimed generally go to truly small businesses, decreased from 24 percent to 9 percent.

The European Union defines the smallest unit of small business as less than 10 employees, and Australia defines “small” as 1-14 employees under its Fair Work Act, the commenters noted. In addition, they stated that the U.S. Congress defines small business as 20-25 employees “and rarely as high as 50.” The commenters asked SBA to stop focusing on 2 percent of the largest small businesses and refocus on the remaining 98 percent of small businesses because they are the ones who really need the help. The higher size standards, if adopted, will put loan assistance out of reach for most small businesses, they argued.

Another commenter that offers startup workshops to entrepreneurs expressed concerns on how SBA defines small business. Specifically, the commenter stated that almost any business with up to 500 employees can qualify as small under the current size standards. The commenter maintained that “this definition needs to be changed, but not in the direction SBA suggests, to 1,500 employees for some businesses.” He suggested that the size standard should be revised down to 300 employees.

A Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business concern opposed the 500-employee nonmanufacturer size standard. The commenter stated that it provides an unfair advantage for larger small businesses. His small business cannot compete with the larger small businesses with up to 500 employees, the commenter added. The commenter noted that pricing is one of the reasons why larger small businesses have an advantage in the bidding process for work set aside for small businesses.

A small woman-owned company submitted a comment, opposing the proposed increase to the size standard for NAICS 423610 (Electrical Apparatus and Equipment, Wiring Supplies, and Related Equipment Merchant Wholesalers) from 100 employees to 200 employees. The commenter asked how increasing the size standard would assist with startup cost and entry barriers. The commenter stated that it took almost 30 years for her business to grow from one employee to 38 employees. The proposed 200-employee standard is too large for the industry, and no company with 200 employees need assistance, the commenter added. The commenter suggested that SBA should consider converting the size standard for NAICS 423610 from employees to receipts, because it would help the Agency to better collect data on assistance to actual small businesses. The commenter stated that her company is able to compete with similarly sized companies in the industry for work reserved for small businesses, but not with large businesses. The commenter maintained that the difference between a 200-employee size business and a 38-employee business is huge, mainly because a 200-employee size business has considerably more resources when competing for Federal Government contracts. The commenter concluded by stating that the size standard for NAICS 423610 should remain at 100 employees or be converted to gross receipts.

SBA received a collective comment from four parties, including two organizations representing women-owned businesses, a trade group representing small manufacturers, and an attorney representing Federal prime contractors and subcontractors, opposing the Agency's proposal to increase the size standards for some wholesale and retail trade industries. The commenters were concerned that with increasing size standards businesses that have outgrown size standards through SBA's programs will be redefined as small. This is completely unfair to truly small firms that are not able to compete against larger firms, win contracts and grow, they explained. This is contrary to SBA's mission and the purpose of the Small Business Act to provide small business owners with opportunities to compete for and win Federal contracts, the commenters added.

The commenters stated that 90 percent of U.S. businesses have fewer than 20 employees, and felt that increasing size standards would have a negative impact on those small businesses, and on the broader economy, especially on the under-served communities. “What about the truly small businesses that often do not qualify for financial assistance because they don't meet funding qualifications, because they are too small, have insufficient capacity and resources, insufficient revenue and cash flow, and not enough relevant past performance?,” the commenters asked. The commenters maintained that larger small firms have more resources, can get better pricing and are more likely to be eligible for loans, and beat out the small firms every time.

The commenters asserted that milestones and goals that are used to justify changing size standards (i.e., number of loans awarded, number of contracts and dollars awarded to small businesses, number of people hired, etc.) should apply to truly small businesses. It is questionable as to how much of $83 billion awarded in fiscal year 2013 actually went to truly small businesses with 20 or fewer employees, they added. Going from 100 to 200 employees with unlimited revenue is a huge deal, and firms that size already have access to capital and do not need assistance, the commenters maintained. They argued that if the proposed rule is passed small businesses will be at even more risk of losing their companies because they will be competing with firms that generate 10 times their revenues and have 10 times their capacity. Accordingly, they suggested that size standards identified in the proposed rule, and generally, should be changed to gross revenues, because, they claimed, gross revenues is a better indicator of whether a business is small than number of employees. With employee based size standards without a revenue limit, a company with revenues of up to $100 million or $1 billion can qualify as small, the commenters noted. They pointed out that once a specialty trade contractors firm reaches $14 million (currently $15 million) in gross receipts, it is no longer small, but a distributor or wholesaler with 100 or 200 employees can have unlimited revenue and can still be considered small. In conclusion, the commenters recommended that SBA not approve the proposal to increase the size standards in NAICS Sectors 42 and 44-45 and that the Agency consider changing the standards to gross receipts.

Opposing the proposed increases to size standards for the wholesale and retail trade industries, a commenter stated that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data, 98 percent of all U.S. firms have less than 100 employees, 89 percent have less than 20 employees, and the average American small business has approximately 10 employees. Small business size standards should more closely reflect the actual size of American small businesses, the commenter added. He noted that SBA's size standards allow firms up to 1,500 employees to qualify as small. The commenter maintained that current size standards have an adverse effect on small businesses because, as he claimed, they favor large businesses. He stated that large businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, abuse size standards and end up getting contracts set aside for small businesses. In addition, he argued that SBA's Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office have found numerous instances of abuse of size standards and small business contracts that were awarded to large businesses.

SBA's response: From time to time, the U.S. Congress has used different thresholds, sometimes below the SBA's thresholds, to define small firms under certain laws or programs, but those thresholds apply only to those laws and programs and generally are of no relevance to SBA's size standards. In addition, what constitutes a small business in other countries does not apply and has no relevance to SBA's small business definitions and U.S. Government programs that use them. Depending on their economic and political realities, other countries have their own programs and priorities that can be very different from those in the U.S. Accordingly, small business definitions that other countries use for their Government programs can be vastly different from those established by SBA for U.S. Government programs.

SBA establishes size standards, in accordance with the Small Business Act, for purposes of establishing eligibility for Federal small business procurement and financial assistance programs. The primary statutory definition of a small business is that the firm is not dominant in its field of operation, and that a size standard varies from industry to industry to the extent necessary to reflect the differing characteristics of the various industries. 15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)(3). Accordingly, rather than representing the smallest size within an industry, SBA's size standards generally designate the largest size that a business concern can be relative to other businesses in the industry and still qualify as small for Federal Government programs that provide benefits to small businesses. In the May 19, 2014 proposed rule, SBA fully explained its Size Standards Methodology (Methodology) to establish size standards. SBA has made the Methodology available on its Web site at www.sba.gov/size, as well as on the proposed rule (79 FR 28631 (May 19, 2014)) Docket (RIN 3245-AG49) at www.regulations.gov.

Although the smallest business unit may consist of less than 10 employees, SBA's small business size standards do not necessarily reflect the smallest size of businesses. It should be noted that SBA's size standards apply to most Federal programs that provide benefits to small businesses, including small business procurement programs. Accordingly, qualifications and capabilities that businesses need to perform Federal Government contracts are an important factor in determining which company qualifies as small within an industry. Size standards based on the smallest business size would be too small, and there would not be enough capable and qualified small businesses to meet Federal Government small business contracting needs. This would lead agencies to compete contracts on a full and open basis, thereby allowing large corporations to dominate the Federal market. It is imperative that small firms have room to grow and expand without losing their small business status until they are large enough to achieve a competitive size in their industry. Additionally, it is very important to note that while the size standards may appear to include a large segment of an industry in terms of the percentage of firms, small firms represent only about a third of total industry receipts and less than 25 percent of Federal contracting dollars.

SBA does not agree with, and the data does not support, the argument that businesses with 1-19 employees mostly need loans in the amount of $50,000 to $250,000. Based on the data on firms in all 71 industries in Sector 42 and the two industries in Sector 44-45 covered in this rule that received SBA's 7(a) and 504 loans in 2014, the median loan amount among firms with less than 20 employees was about $305,500. In addition, $250,000 or higher loans accounted for 62 percent of total number of loans and 85 percent of total loan volumes for those firms. SBA also does not agree with the argument that increases in average loan amounts and decreases in smaller loans are solely due to the increases in size standards for two reasons. First, with the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act in 2010 (Jobs Act) (Pub. L. 111-240, § 1116, Sep. 27, 2010), Congress increased the maximum loan amount for SBA's 7(a) loans from $2 million to $5 million, for CDC/504 loans from $1.5 million to either $5 million or $5.5 million, depending on the project. Second, at the same time, Congress also increased the tangible net worth and net income limits of the alternative size standard for those programs from $8.5 million and $3 million to $15 million and $5 million, respectively. 15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)(5). Under the alternative size standard, businesses that are above their industry size standards can qualify for SBA guaranteed loans. These statutory changes may be important factors for the purported changes in SBA's lending. However, such changes do not necessarily mean that truly small businesses are getting fewer loans now than in 2008. For example, in industries covered by this rule, businesses with less than 20 employees received a total of $1.2 billion in loans through SBA's 7(a) and 504 programs in 2014, as compared to about $0.8 billion in 2008. That is an increase of 50 percent. Nearly 85 percent of total loans granted in those industries in 2014 went to firms with less than 20 employees.

The data does not support the argument that increasing small business size standards from 100 employees to 200 or 250 employees and thereby allowing larger businesses to qualify as small would affect the ability of truly small firms to obtain SBA's loans. For example, of the total loan amount disbursed under SBA's 7(a) and 504 programs to firms in Sector 42 during fiscal years 2012-2014, 63 percent went to firms with less than 20 employees, 89 percent to firms with less than 50 employees, and 96 percent to firms with less than 100 employees. Since the vast majority of firms that obtained SBA's loans are well below the current 100-employee size standard, the Agency does not believe that increasing it to 200 or 250 employees will have a significant negative impact on firms below the current size standard. Moreover, even if SBA decided to leave the size standard for all wholesale trade industries at the current 100-employee level, firms with more than 100 employees may still qualify as small for purposes of SBA's financial assistance. This is because, as stated above, for SBA's 7(a) and CDC/504 loan programs the Jobs Act established an alternative size standard making those firms that exceed their industry size standards eligible for SBA's 7(a) and 504 loans if their tangible net worth does not exceed $15 million and their average net income, after Federal income taxes, does not exceed $5 million over their preceding two fiscal years. Accordingly, firms whose annual receipts or number of employees are higher than their industry size standards may still qualify as small under the alternative size standard. In other words, any wholesaler that exceeded the 100-employee size standard would still be eligible for SBA's financial assistance if it met the alternative size standard. However, during fiscal years 2012-2014, less than 4 percent of total loan volume under SBA's 7(a) and 504 programs in Sector 42 went to firms with more than 100 employees. This further supports the earlier conclusion that the proposed increases to size standards in the wholesale and retail trade industries are unlikely to impact smaller firms seeking loans through SBA's financial assistance programs.

SBA does not agree with the comment that a 200-employee company with up to $1 billion in annual revenue will qualify as small under the proposed higher size standards and would compete with smaller firms for SBA's loans. It is very unlikely that a company with $1 billion in revenue will qualify for or need SBA's financial assistance. SBA provides business loan assistance only to those businesses for which the desired credit is not available on reasonable terms from non-Federal sources (13 CFR 120.101). A firm with that level of revenue would likely have access to credit with reasonable terms from non-Federal sources, making it ineligible for SBA's assistance.

With respect to the comment that truly small businesses are not able get SBA's loans, SBA has initiated fee relief for certain SBA-guaranteed loans to encourage more lending to smaller businesses. Since 2013, both the up-front guaranty fee and the lender's annual service fee for SBA's 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less have been set at zero. In addition, in 2014 the Agency introduced SBA Veterans Advantage, which reduced the up-front guaranty fee to zero on its Express loans of $150,001 up to $350,000 to qualified small businesses owned by veterans and other members of the military community. In October 2014, SBA Veterans Advantage was expanded to reduce the up-front guaranty fee by 50 percent on 7(a) loans (other than SBA Express) of $150,001 up to and including $5 million to qualified small businesses owned by veterans and other members of the military community. The fee relief provided on these loans helps remove impediments for some businesses looking to take out SBA-guaranteed loans. In 2014, SBA lending in its 7(a) program increased 7.4 percent over 2013. In 2014, SBA guaranteed 52,044 loans, up 12 percent from 2013. Nearly 60 percent of these loans were under $150,000. The number of loans of this size was up 23 percent in 2014, helped by the agency's decision to eliminate fees on loans below that level. SBA anticipates lending to continue rising, and the Agency will maintain these programs to encourage businesses in need of smaller loans to apply.

SBA does not agree with the commenters' assertion that certain milestones and goals provide impetus for changing size standards (e.g., number of loans awarded, number of contracts and dollars awarded to small businesses, number of people hired, etc.). As explained in its Methodology, SBA uses industry factors (such as average firm size, industry concentration, and startup cost and entry barriers) and Federal market conditions (e.g., small business share of total Federal contracts relative to small business share of industry receipts) as bases for changing size standards. In other words, the various milestones and goals identified by the commenters are not the reasons for changing size standards.

SBA finds it difficult to evaluate the suggestion that size standards should not exceed 300 employees, because the comment included no supporting data or analysis. Furthermore, the proposed changes would increase the standard to no more than 250 employees in any of the affected NAICS codes. As a result, this comment is not relevant to the proposed rule.

SBA does not accept the suggestion to change the basis for the size standards for wholesale trade industries from number of employees to annual receipts. In the May 19, 2014 proposed rule, SBA fully explained its Methodology, including why it uses the employee based size standards for certain industries, and receipts based size standards for others. For industries that are highly capital intensive, have low operational costs relative to their receipts, show a variation of firms within industry by stage of production or degree of vertical integration, and are more horizontally structured, SBA uses employee based size standards. Most mining, manufacturing and wholesale trade industries fall under this category. For most services retail trade, and others with more seasonal and part-time employment (such as hospitality related industries), SBA uses receipts based size standards. Because of a wide variation in values of products sold by different types of wholesalers and retailers covered by this rule, receipts are not an appropriate measure of size for those firms. Moreover, the commenters did not specify what level of receipts based size standards would be appropriate.

SBA does not agree with the argument that the proposed increase in size standards for the wholesale and retail trade industries would affect the ability of firms to compete and win Federal contracts set aside for small businesses, because the increases only apply to SBA's financial programs and other federal programs that use SBA's size standards. As stated in the proposed rule, the increases to the size standards for the wholesale and retail trade industries do not apply to Federal Government procurement programs. Similarly, the proposed increases to size standards for wholesale and retail trade industries will have no effects on size standards in other industries. None of the proposed size standards was over 250 employees. The 1,500-employee size standard that the commenters pointed out only applies to a few industries comprised of firms that are significantly larger than those in most other industries. Such examples would be Petroleum Refineries, Aircraft Manufacturing, Air Transportation, and Telecommunications Carriers. Small business size standards define businesses as small, relative to the size of all firms in the industry. In industries where enterprises are very large, a much higher size standard than for most other industries is warranted. Such industries and size standards were not the subject of the proposed rule that this rule finalizes. The commenter who opposed the SBA's proposal to retain the 500-employee size standard under the nonmanufacturer rule, except for stating that his business cannot compete with larger small businesses with up to 500 employees, did not provide any industry or Federal market data to support this point.

As stated in the proposed rule, firms in Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade industries generally carry multiple items from different industries as inventory, and therefore identify themselves with multiple NAICS codes. Different size standards for individual industries in Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade under the nonmanufacturer rule would further complicate the contracting decision process, which already entails the decision to establish an applicable manufacturing industry, along with its size standard, associated with manufacturing, production, or processing of the product being procured. SBA believes the current 500-employee size standard makes sense because Wholesale and Retail Trade firms have to compete with manufacturers for supply or product contracts set aside for small businesses, and the anchor and most common size standard for the manufacturing industries is 500 employees. SBA believes that it is appropriate to retain the current 500-employee size standard in the nonmanufacturer rule in order to keep Wholesale and Retail Trade firms competitive with manufacturers.

The revised size standards will have no impact on the ability of small businesses to continue participating in Federal Government procurement programs because their competitive status will not change. Wholesalers, dealers, distributors, retailers, etc., up to 500 employees will continue to be eligible to bid on small business set-asides under the nonmanufacturer rule, as discussed below. The 500-employee nonmanufacturer size standard helps small businesses to compete with larger suppliers so they can sell products or supplies to the Federal Government. In addition, businesses that exceed the revised size standards but have 500 employees or less and qualify under the nonmanufacturer rule are eligible for SBA's financing directly and primarily relating to the performance of that procurement. See 13 CFR 121.305. The increased size standards in this rule will not affect their eligibility for financing in that regard either. Therefore, under the revised size standards adopted in this rule, there will be no adverse impact on small businesses that participate in the Federal Government's small business procurement programs.

To qualify as small on supply or product contracts set aside for small businesses, a business concern must either: (1) Be the manufacturer or producer of the end item being procured (and the end item must be manufactured or produced in the United States) itself; (2) qualify as a “nonmanufacturer;” or (3) be considered a kit assembler. See 13 CFR 121.406. In general, to qualify as a small business nonmanufacturer the concern must: (i) Have no more than 500 employees; (ii) be primarily engaged in the retail or wholesale trade and normally sell the type of item being supplied; (iii) take ownership or possession of the item(s) with its personnel, equipment or facilities in a manner consistent with industry practice; and (iv) supply the end item of a small business manufacturer, processor or producer made in the United States, or obtain a waiver of such requirement pursuant to SBA's regulations at 13 CFR 121.1201-1204. See 13 CFR 121.406. On a small business set-aside, absent a waiver, the product must be the product of another small business, located in the United States. On a contracting opportunity set aside for small businesses, in the event an unsuccessful offeror believes that the successful bidder is not compliant with the nonmanufacturer rule, the company can and should protest the eligibility of the successful bidder to the Contracting Officer. See 13 CFR 121.1001 et seq.

It seems that there exist misconceptions about whether industry size standards for Sectors 42 and 44-45 apply to Federal Government procurement programs. As stated elsewhere in this rule, the industry size standards adopted in this rule do not apply to Federal procurements. Under 13 CFR 121.402, Federal agencies may not use NAICS codes and their size standards in Sector 42 (Wholesale Trade) or Retail Trade (Sector 44-45) for procurement of goods or supplies. Those codes and size standards apply, rather, to SBA's small business lending programs and other Federal Government programs, but not to Federal procurements. For the Federal Government's procurement of manufactured goods, supplies, or other products, the Contracting Officer must use the NAICS code and size standard for the industry that manufactures, produces, or processes the products or supplies being procured. Any nonmanufacturer firm with up to 500 employees that meets the requirements of the nonmanufacturer rule may bid as a small business on those opportunities. See 13 CFR 121.406.

Conclusion

Based on the results of the analysis of industry data provided in the proposed rule and evaluation of public comments on the proposed rule as discussed above, SBA is adopting all changes to the employee based size standards in Sectors 42 and 44-45, as published in the May 19, 2014 proposed rule.

Compliance With Executive Orders 12866, 13563, 12988, and 13132, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) and the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Ch. 35) Executive Order 12866

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this final rule is not a “significant regulatory action” for purposes of Executive Order 12866. To help explain the need for this rule and the rule's potential benefits and costs, SBA is providing below a Cost Benefit Analysis as it did in the May 19, 2014 proposed rule. This rule is also not a “major rule” under the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 800).

Cost Benefit Analysis 1. Is there a need for the regulatory action?

The revised size standards in Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade sectors better reflect the economic characteristics of small businesses in the affected industries and maximize the benefits they receive from Federal programs, other than from Federal procurement programs. SBA's mission is to aid and assist small businesses through a variety of financial, procurement, business development, and advocacy programs. To determine the intended beneficiaries of these programs, SBA establishes distinct definitions of which businesses are deemed small businesses. The Small Business Act (the Act) (15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)) delegates to SBA's Administrator the responsibility for establishing small business definitions. The Act also requires that small business definitions vary to reflect industry differences. The Jobs Act also requires SBA to review all size standards and make necessary adjustments to reflect market conditions. Public Law 111-240, sec. 1344, Sep. 27, 2010. The supplementary information section of the May 19, 2014 proposed rule explained SBA's Methodology for analyzing the size standards of industries covered by this rule. SBA makes the Methodology available on its Web site at www.sba.gov/size, as well as the on the Docket for the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov. The Methodology complies with the Small Business Act requirements and SBA's regulations that govern the establishment of size standards.

2. What are the potential benefits and costs of this regulatory action?

The most significant benefit to businesses becoming small under these increases is that they are now eligible for SBA's financial assistance programs. In addition, growing small businesses that are close to exceeding the current size standards can retain their small business status under the higher size standards, thereby enabling them to continue their participation in those programs. These include SBA's 7(a), CDC/504, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs.

SBA estimates that in the 47 industries in Sector 42 and Sector 44-45 whose size standards are being revised, nearly 4,000 firms, previously not small, will become small under the revised size standards, and therefore eligible for SBA's financial assistance programs and other Federal programs, except for procurement. That is a 1.1 percent increase to the number of firms classified as small under the current employee based size standards in those sectors. For the industries reviewed in this rule, the data indicate that it is mostly businesses much smaller than the current size standards that use the SBA's 7(a) and 504 loan programs. Based on the fiscal years 2012-2014 data, SBA estimates up to about 40 loans totaling between $20 million and $25 million could be made under its 7(a) and CDC/504 programs to these newly defined small businesses under the new size standards. Increasing the size standards will likely result in more small business guaranteed loans to businesses in those industries, but it is impractical to try to estimate exactly the number and total volumes of loans. There are two reasons for this: (1) Under the Jobs Act, SBA can now guarantee substantially larger loans than in the past; and (2) as described above, the Jobs Act established a higher alternative size standard for business concerns that do not meet the size standards for their industry. Therefore, SBA finds it difficult to quantify the actual impact of these size standards on its 7(a) and 504 loan programs.

Newly defined small businesses will also benefit from SBA's EIDL program. The EIDL program is contingent on the number and severity of disaster occurrences, and therefore SBA cannot make a meaningful estimate of this impact.

Because NAICS codes in the Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade sectors and their industry size standards do not apply to Federal procurement programs, and because SBA is making no change to the 500-employee size standard under the nonmanufacturer rule, this rule will not affect participation in Federal procurement programs. However, retaining the current 500-employee size standard under the nonmanufacturer rule will, in fact, enable firms in Wholesale and Retail Trade industries to maintain their eligibility for Federal supply procurements intended for small businesses. Federal procurement programs provide targeted opportunities for small businesses under SBA's business development programs, such as the 8(a) Business Development (BD) program, Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDB), small businesses located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone), women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB), and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB).

More businesses will benefit from a variety of Federal regulatory and other programs that use SBA's size standards. Such benefits may include, but are not limited to, reduced fees, less paperwork, or exemption from compliance or other regulatory requirements.

To the extent that those 4,000 newly defined additional small firms under the revised size standards become active in seeking SBA's financial assistance, the changes may entail some additional administrative costs to the Government because of more businesses being eligible for the assistance. For example, there may be more firms seeking SBA's guaranteed loans. It will not, however, increase the number of firms eligible to enroll in the System of Award Management (SAM) database, because applicants to SBA's loans are not required to register in SAM. It also will not increase the number of firms eligible to seek certification as 8(a) BD, HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, SDVOSB, or SDB status, because revisions to industry size standards in the Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade sectors do not apply to Federal procurement. Among those newly defined small businesses seeking SBA's financial assistance, there could be some additional costs associated with compliance and verification of small business status. However, SBA believes that these added administrative costs will be minimal because mechanisms are already in place to handle these requirements.

The revisions to the existing employee based size standards in Sector 42 and Sector 44-45 are consistent with SBA's statutory mandate to assist those businesses that it considers small. This regulatory action promotes the Administration's objectives. One of SBA's goals in support of the Administration's objectives is to help small businesses succeed through fair and equitable access to capital and credit, Government contracts, and management and technical assistance. Although these revised standards will not increase access to Federal contracts, they will ensure that intended beneficiaries have access to other small business programs designed to assist them.

Executive Order 13563

A description of the need for this regulatory action and benefits and costs associated with this action that relate to Executive Order 13563 are included above in the Cost Benefit Analysis under Executive Order 12866.

In an effort to engage interested parties in this action, SBA has presented its size standards Methodology (discussed above under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION) to various industry associations and trade groups. SBA also met with a number of industry groups and individual businesses to get their feedback on its Methodology and other size standards issues. In addition, SBA presented its size standards Methodology to businesses in 13 cities in the U.S. and sought their input as part of Jobs Act tours. The presentation also included information on the latest status of the comprehensive size standards review and on how interested parties can provide SBA with input and feedback on the size standards review.

Individuals and business persons who have expressed interest in the size standards for one or more NAICS sectors receive a copy of SBA proposed and final rules. SBA sent copies of the May 19, 2014 proposed rule to the interested individuals, seeking their comments on proposed changes to employee based size standards for a number of wholesale trade and retail trade industries, and the Agency's proposal to retain the 500-employee nonmanufacturer size standard. SBA also published the proposed rule in the Federal Register and invited comments from any interested members of the public. SBA received seven comments on the proposed rule and has addressed them thoroughly.

Additionally, SBA sent letters to the Directors of the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at several Federal agencies with considerable procurement responsibilities requesting their feedback on how the agencies use SBA's size standards and whether current size standards meet their programmatic needs (both procurement and non-procurement). SBA considered all input, suggestions, recommendations, and relevant information obtained from industry groups, individual businesses, and Federal agencies in preparing this rule.

The review of employee based size standards in NAICS Sector 42 and Sector 44-45 is consistent with Executive Order 13563, Sec. 6, calling for retrospective analyses of existing rules. The last comprehensive review of size standards was in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, except for periodic adjustments for inflation to monetary based size standards (most recently, effective July 14, 2014; see 79 FR 33647), most reviews of size standards were limited to a few specific industries in response to requests from the public and Federal agencies. SBA recognizes that changes in industry structure and the Federal marketplace over time have rendered existing size standards for some industries no longer supportable by current data. Accordingly, in 2007, SBA began a comprehensive review of its size standards to ensure that existing size standards have supportable bases and to revise them when necessary. In addition, the Jobs Act requires SBA to conduct a detailed review of all size standards and to make appropriate adjustments to reflect market conditions. Specifically, the Jobs Act requires SBA to conduct a detailed review of at least one-third of all size standards during every 18-month period from the date of its enactment, and do a complete review of all size standards not less than once every five years thereafter. Public Law 111-240, sec. 1344, Sep. 27, 2010.

Executive Order 12988

This action meets applicable standards set forth in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. The action does not have retroactive or preemptive effect.

Executive Order 13132

For purposes of Executive Order 13132, SBA has determined that this rule does not have substantial, direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, SBA has determined that this rule has no federalism implications warranting preparation of a federalism assessment.

Paperwork Reduction Act

For the purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Ch. 35, SBA has determined that this rule does not impose any new reporting or record keeping requirements.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), this rule may have a significant impact on a substantial number of small businesses in Sector 42, Wholesale Trade, and some small businesses in Sector 44-45, Retail Trade. As described above, this rule may affect small businesses seeking loans under SBA's 7(a), 504/CDC, and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs, and assistance under other Federal small business programs, except procurement.

Immediately below, SBA sets forth a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) of this rule addressing the following questions: (1) What are the need for and objectives of the rule? (2) What are SBA's description and estimate of the number of small businesses to which the rule will apply? (3) What are the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of the rule? (4) What are the relevant federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the rule? and (5) What alternatives will allow the Agency to accomplish its regulatory objectives while minimizing the impact on small businesses?

1. What are the need for and objectives of the rule?

Changes in industry structure, technological changes, productivity growth, mergers and acquisitions, and updated industry definitions have changed the structure of many industries in Sector 42 and Sector 44-45. Such changes can be sufficient to support revisions to current size standards for some industries. Based on the analysis of the latest data available, SBA believes that the revised standards in this rule more appropriately reflect the size of businesses that need Federal assistance. The Jobs Act also requires SBA to review all size standards and make necessary adjustments to reflect market conditions.

2. What are SBA's description and estimate of the number of small businesses to which the rule will apply?

SBA estimates that nearly 4,000 more firms in Sector 42 and Sector 44-45 will become small for financial assistance under the revised employee based size standards. That represents 1.1 percent of total firms that are small under current employee based size standards in all such industries in those sectors. The adopted rule will enable more small businesses to retain their small business status for a longer period. Additionally, many firms that may have exceeded the current size standards and lost their eligibility for SBA's financial assistance and other Federal programs for small businesses will regain eligibility for those programs under the revised employee based size standards.

3. What are the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule?

The size standard changes impose no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on small businesses. Qualifying for SBA's financial assistance does not require that businesses register in the System for Award Management (SAM) database and certify in SAM that they are small at least once annually. However, some newly qualified small businesses under the revised size standards may want to participate in the Federal Government procurement and other programs that require firms to register and certify in SAM. Small businesses may become aware from this rule that they have been eligible to sell goods and supplies to the Federal Government under the 500-employee nonmanufacturer size standard. Therefore, to participate as a prime contractor, those businesses must comply with SAM requirements. There are no costs associated with either SAM registration or annual recertification. Changing size standards alters the access to SBA's financial assistance programs and other Federal programs that assist small businesses, but does not impose a regulatory burden because they neither regulate nor control business behavior.

4. What are the relevant federal rules, which may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the rule?

Under Section 3(a)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)(2)(C), Federal agencies must use SBA's size standards to define a small business, unless specifically authorized by statute to do otherwise. In 1995, SBA published in the Federal Register a list of statutory and regulatory size standards that identified the application of SBA's size standards as well as other size standards used by Federal agencies (60 FR 57988 (November 24, 1995)). SBA is not aware of any Federal rule that would duplicate or conflict with establishing or revising size standards.

However, the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)(2)(C)) and SBA's regulations (13 CFR 121.903) allow Federal agencies to develop different size standards if they believe that SBA's size standards are not appropriate for their programs, with the approval of SBA's Administrator. The SBA's regulations (see 13 CFR 121.903(c)) authorize a Federal agency to establish an alternative small business definition for the sole purpose of performing a regulatory flexibility analysis pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601(3)), after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

5. What alternatives will allow the Agency to accomplish its regulatory objectives while minimizing the impact on small entities?

By law, SBA is required to develop numerical size standards for establishing eligibility for Federal small business assistance programs. Other than varying size standards by industry and changing the size measures, no practical alternative exists to the systems of numerical size standards.

List of Subjects in 13 CFR Part 121

Administrative practice and procedure, Government procurement, Government property, Grant programs—business, Individuals with disabilities, Loan programs—business, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Small businesses.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, SBA amends 13 CFR part 121 as follows:

PART 121—SMALL BUSINESS SIZE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 121 continues to read as follows: Authority:

15 U.S.C. 632, 634(b)(6), 662, and 694a(9).

2. In § 121.201, in the table “Small Business Size Standards by NAICS Industry” revise the entries for “423110”, “423120”, “423130”, “423310”, “423320”, “423330”, “423410”, “423420”, “423430”, “423450”, “423460”, “423490”, “423510”, “423610”, “423620”, “423690”, “423710”, “423720”, “423730”, “423810”, “423860”, “423920”, “424110”, “424120”, “424130”, “424210”, “424320”, “424340”, “424410”, “424420”, “424430”, “424440”, “424450”, “424470”, “424490”, “424510”, “424610”, “424690”, “424710”, “424720”, “424810”, “424820”, “424910”, “424920”, “424940”, “424950”, and “454310” to read as follows:
§ 121.201 What size standards has SBA identified by North American Industry Classification System codes? Small Business Size Standards by NAICS Industry NAICS Codes NAICS U.S. Industry title Size standards in millions of dollars Size standards in number of employees *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423110 Automobile and Other Motor Vehicle Merchant Wholesalers 250 423120 Motor Vehicle Supplies and New Parts Merchant Wholesalers 200 423130 Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers 200 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423310 Lumber, Plywood, Millwork, and Wood Panel Merchant Wholesalers 150 423320 Brick, Stone, and Related Construction Material Merchant Wholesalers 150 423330 Roofing, Siding, and Insulation Material Merchant Wholesalers 200 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423410 Photographic Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 200 423420 Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 200 423430 Computer and Computer Peripheral Equipment and Software Merchant Wholesalers 250 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423450 Medical, Dental, and Hospital Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 200 423460 Ophthalmic Goods Merchant Wholesalers 150 423490 Other Professional Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 150 423510 Metal Service Centers and Other Metal Merchant Wholesalers 200 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423610 Electrical Apparatus and Equipment, Wiring Supplies, and Related Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 200 423620 Household Appliances, Electric Housewares, and Consumer Electronics Merchant Wholesalers 200 423690 Other Electronic Parts and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 250 423710 Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 150 423720 Plumbing and Heating Equipment and Supplies (Hydronics) Merchant Wholesalers 200 423730 Warm Air Heating and Air-Conditioning Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 150 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423810 Construction and Mining (except Oil Well) Machinery and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 250 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423860 Transportation Equipment and Supplies (except Motor Vehicle) Merchant Wholesalers 150 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 423920 Toy and Hobby Goods and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 150 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424110 Printing and Writing Paper Merchant Wholesalers 200 424120 Stationery and Office Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 150 424130 Industrial and Personal Service Paper Merchant Wholesalers 150 424210 Drugs and Druggists' Sundries Merchant Wholesalers 250 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424320 Men's and Boys' Clothing and Furnishings Merchant Wholesalers 150 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424340 Footwear Merchant Wholesalers 200 424410 General Line Grocery Merchant Wholesalers 250 424420 Packaged Frozen Food Merchant Wholesalers 200 424430 Dairy Product (except Dried or Canned) Merchant Wholesalers 200 424440 Poultry and Poultry Product Merchant Wholesalers 150 424450 Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 200 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424470 Meat and Meat Product Merchant Wholesalers 150 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424490 Other Grocery and Related Products Merchant Wholesalers 250 424510 Grain and Field Bean Merchant Wholesalers 200 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424610 Plastics Materials and Basic Forms and Shapes Merchant Wholesalers 150 424690 Other Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers 150 424710 Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 200 424720 Petroleum and Petroleum Products Merchant Wholesalers (except Bulk Stations and Terminals) 200 424810 Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 200 424820 Wine and Distilled Alcoholic Beverage Merchant Wholesalers 250 424910 Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 200 424920 Book, Periodical, and Newspaper Merchant Wholesalers 200 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 424940 Tobacco and Tobacco Product Merchant Wholesalers 250 424950 Paint, Varnish, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 150 *         *         *         *         *         *         * 454310 Fuel Dealers 100 *         *         *         *         *         *         *
Dated: January 15, 2016. Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-01411 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8025-01-P
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION 13 CFR Part 121 RIN 3245-AG60 Small Business Size Standards: Inflation Adjustment to Monetary Based Size Standards AGENCY:

U.S. Small Business Administration.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule finalizes, without change, the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA or Agency) June 12, 2014 interim final rule that adjusted monetary small business size standards (i.e., receipts, assets, net worth, and net income) for inflation that has occurred since the last inflation adjustment in 2008. Specifically, the interim final rule increased by 8.73 percent all industry specific monetary small business size standards (except the $750,000 receipts based size standard for agricultural enterprises established by the Small Business Act). The interim final rule also increased by the same rate the tangible net worth and net income based alternative size standard for the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program and receipts based size standards for Sales of Government Property (Other Than Manufacturing) and Stockpile Purchases. This final rule adopts those increases, without change.

DATES:

This rule is effective on January 25, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carl Jordan, Office of Size Standards, (202) 205-6618 or [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Inflation Adjustment

SBA's small business size regulations require that the Agency examine the impact of inflation on monetary size standards (e.g., receipts, tangible net worth, net income, and assets) and make necessary adjustments at least once every five years. (13 CFR 121.102(c)). Accordingly, on June 12, 2014, SBA published an interim final rule (IFR) that increased by 8.73 percent all industry specific monetary small business size standards (except the $750,000 receipts based size standard for agricultural enterprises established by the Small Business Act) (79 FR 33647). Previous to the June 12, 2014 interim final rule, SBA had last updated size standards for inflation on August 18, 2008 (see 73 FR 41237 (July 18, 2008)).

In addition, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Jobs Act), Public Law 111-240, sec. 1344, Sep. 27, 2010, requires SBA to review all size standards every five years and make necessary adjustments to reflect current industry and Federal market conditions.

In accordance with the Jobs Act, SBA has completed a review of all industry specific monetary based size standards using the latest industry and Federal contracting data available. As part of that review, SBA did not take into consideration inflation that had occurred since 2008. In the IFR, SBA provided reasons for not considering inflation as part of the comprehensive review. Specifically, SBA could not combine static industry data with the fluctuating inflation during the course of the review that produced a series of rules for different sectors at different times. Trying to do so would have resulted in different inflation factors for different industries, thereby making size standards inconsistent among industries.

Summary and Discussion of Public Comments on the June 12, 2014 IFR

On June 12, 2014, SBA issued an IFR (79 FR 33647), increasing by 8.73 percent all industry specific monetary small business size standards (except the $750,000 receipts based size standard for agricultural enterprises established by the Small Business Act). The adjustment represented inflation, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) price index, since the previous inflation adjustment published in July 2008. The 8.73 percent increase was applied to 492 industry specific size standards (487 receipts based and five assets based) and three program specific size standards, namely: (1) Tangible net worth and net income based alternative size standards for the SBIC Program (13 CFR 121.301(c)); (2) Sales of Government Property Other Than Manufacturing (13 CFR 121.502); and (3) Stockpile Purchases (13 CFR 121.512). For the reasons SBA provided in the June 12, 2014 IFR, SBA did not increase the tangible net worth and net income based alternative size standards for SBA's 504 and 7(a) Loan Programs (13 CFR 121.301(b)). Increases became effective July 14, 2014.

The IFR requested comments from the public on SBA's methodology of using the GDP price index for adjusting size standards and suggestions for alternative measures of inflation, on whether SBA should adjust employee based size standards for labor productivity growth and technical changes similar to adjusting monetary based size standards for inflation, and on changes to program specific size standards. SBA received 13 comments, eight of which supported the increases. All comments are available at the Federal Rulemaking Portal, www.regulations.gov. Below is a discussion of those comments and SBA's responses.

Comment on the Inflation Index

A construction company commented in favor of increasing size standards for inflation. The commenter recommended, however, that SBA use the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rather than the GDP price index that the Agency used.

SBA response: In the IFR, SBA reviewed various measures of inflation and provided an explanation why the Agency selected the GDP price index, rather than other indices such as the CPI, as the most appropriate measure for adjusting size standards. Moreover, the commenter did not provide a convincing justification as to why the CPI is a better measure of inflation than the GDP price index. For these reasons, SBA is not adopting the commenter's recommendation in this final rule, but will consider it in future adjustments.

Comment on Rounding

While supporting increases to size standards for inflation and using the GDP price index, another commenter recommended that SBA round the results in increments of $100,000 rather than $500,000. It seemed “. . . arbitrary and too generous for some and harmful to others,” the commenter noted. The rounding reduced some size standards by $200,000—for example, $27.7 million to $27.5 million—and this will have an impact on a lot of companies, the commenter maintained.

SBA's response: As in the previous inflation adjustments, SBA rounded the results to the nearest $500,000 to avoid having too many size standards, in light of public criticism that the Agency's size standards are overly complicated. Having too many size standards, especially with minor differences, can lead to confusion and unnecessary complexity in their application. Among the 16 receipts based size standards adjusted for inflation, only three ($15 million, $20.5 million, and $27.5 million) were reduced by $200,000 due to rounding. This is minuscule relative to the adjusted size standards, which SBA believes would not cause much harm to businesses. Thus, in this final rule, SBA is not readjusting the size standards for inflation by rounding them to $200,000. However, SBA will consider applying alternative rounding amounts in future adjustments to size standards for inflation.

Comment on the SBIC Alternative Size Standard

Fully supporting size standards increases for inflation, one commenter stated that the increase to the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) size standard allows SBICs to effectively deploy capital to growing small businesses. The commenter recommended that SBA allow automatic, formulaic updates to the size standards based on the GDP price index without prior public participation.

Another commenter supported a greater increase to the tangible net worth and net income based alternative size standard that applies to the SBIC Program. The commenter argued that the increase should be greater because SBA has not increased the alternative size standard for the SBIC Program since the 1994 inflation adjustment. For the increase in the June 12, 2014 IFR SBA used the GDP price index, which resulted in an increase to the SBIC alternative size standard to $19.5 million in tangible net worth and $6.5 million in average net income after federal income tax, the commenter explained. Furthermore, the commenter pointed out that had SBA used the increase in the GDP price index since the 1994 adjustment, the resulting size standard would be $26.5 million in tangible net worth and $8.8 million in average net income after federal income tax. The commenter further contended that Producer Price Index (PPI) could be a better index to use for the SBIC Program because most of the SBIC investment goes to small manufacturers. PPI, in the commenter's opinion, would raise the size standard to $31.3 million in tangible net worth and $10.4 million in average net income after federal income tax. Finally, the commenter suggested adopting $20 million in tangible net worth and $7.0 million in average net income after federal income tax. The commenter also raised concerns about the definition of “tangible net worth.” Specifically, the commenter pointed out that for the SBIC Program the only intangible element SBA deducts from net worth to determine tangible net worth is “goodwill.” The commenter recommended that the Agency should allow the deduction of all intangibles, not just goodwill, in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

SBA's response: In any given measurement period, inflation may be insignificant or even negative. Given the 8.73 percent rate of inflation for the period covered by this rule, SBA believes that a 5-year review for size standards for inflation is adequate. More frequent, smaller increases (or decreases) would lead to confusion in applying size standards, particularly in Federal contracting. Furthermore, to change size standards SBA must comply with Federal rulemaking and the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), which require SBA to seek public comment on contemplated changes, as well as comply with other laws and Executive Orders to address the impact of regulatory changes on small businesses. If inflation is really large, SBA may adjust the size standards more frequently than the 5-year interval.

It should be noted that the subject rule was an IFR, seeking public comments, rather than a proposed rule. Therefore, the revised size standards in the IFR were effective July 14, 2014. The IFR applied the 8.73 percent increase for inflation to all size standards across the board. Any significant deviation from that would require a separate rulemaking action for the SBIC Program. SBA can consider modifying the size standard for the SBIC Program in the future, provided that relevant data and program needs would support a size standard that is different from the one adopted in this rule. The “tangible net worth” measure of business size applies to the alternative size standards for SBA's financial programs. Accordingly, any concerns or issues regarding the definition of “tangible net worth” are better addressed to SBA's Office of Investment and Innovation.

SBA recognizes that inflation may not impact every industry or program equally. SBA's small business size standards apply to a wide variety of Federal Government programs, including the SBIC Program, and to businesses engaged in multiple industries. Although SBICs may support firms in many manufacturing industries, it is not limited to the manufacturing sector. For these reasons, SBA uses a broad measure of inflation for the entire U.S. economy to determine the most appropriate rate of inflation by which to adjust all of its monetary size standards. In the IFR, SBA explains in detail why the GDP price index, rather than other measures such as the PPI, is the most appropriate measure of inflation for adjusting size standards. SBA's decisions not to adjust the SBIC alternative size standard from 1994 to the 2008 inflation adjustment were dictated by SBIC's programmatic considerations. Because the $20 million tangible net worth and $7 million net income size standards recommended by the commenter are very close to SBA's inflation adjusted levels of $19.5 million tangible net worth and $6.5 million net income published in the IFR, SBA is not making any change in this final rule.

Comments on the Dredging Size Standard

SBA received six comments on the size standard for the Dredging and Cleanup Services exception under NAICS 237990, Other Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction. The June 12, 2014 IFR increased the size standard for Dredging and Cleanup Services from $25.5 million to $27.5 million in average annual receipts. Four of the six commenters strongly supported the increase, while two opposed it. The four commenters supporting the increase maintained that the increase is vital to account for the escalating costs of labor, equipment, and equipment maintenance. They also stated that it will allow firms that grew because of the costs of inflation to remain small and eligible for Federal procurement opportunities for small businesses.

One of the commenters supporting the increase to the dredging size standard for inflation suggested that SBA take the four largest costs on dredging projects (i.e., fuel, labor, insurance and equipment costs) into account to calculate the inflation index for the dredging size standard. Arguing that dredging costs have increased more than the GDP price index, the commenter requested that the size standard for dredging be raised to $30 million.

Two dredging contractors, on the other hand, stated that the increase is unjustified, and strongly oppose it. They argued that the recent increase to the dredging size standard accounted for inflationary factors and was sufficiently substantial to offset any need for an adjustment for inflation. One opined that a reasonable amount of time should lapse prior to increasing the size standard again. Representing a large marine construction and dredging contractor, another commenter argued that the increase to the dredging size standard reduces his company's (and presumably other similar businesses) potential bid market while enhancing the market power of the “big smalls,” allowing them to dominate the “small smalls” further. The commenter maintained that fuel prices are actually down while newer engines burn less fuel. Advances in automation, reduced plastic pipe prices, and improved engine metallurgy are a few examples of improved cost efficiencies a firm must adopt to stay competitive, the commenter added.

SBA's response: On July 18, 2012, as part of SBA's comprehensive review of size standards under the Jobs Act, SBA had proposed to increase the size standard for the Dredging and Surface Cleanup Activities exception under NAICS 237990 from $20 million to $30 million in average annual receipts (77 FR 42197). SBA received several comments against the proposed increase. After reviewing comments and reevaluating the relevant industry data, the Agency adopted a $25.5 million size standard in the final rule (78 FR 77334 (December 23, 2013)). In the June 12, 2014 IFR, it was increased to $27.5 million for inflation. Adjustments in the IFR are in addition to revisions that were part of SBA's ongoing comprehensive size standards review. SBA's comprehensive size standards review primarily focused on industry structure (i.e., average firm size, startup costs and entry barriers, industry concentration, and distribution of firms by business size) and Federal contracting trends. It did not consider the impacts of inflation on size standards.

For the comprehensive review, SBA reviewed size standards on a Sector by Sector basis over a period of several years. Including inflation in the analysis would have meant applying different inflation rates to different sectors. Specifically, the amount of inflation adjustment would be lower for sectors reviewed earlier in the cycle and higher for those reviewed later, resulting in inconsistent size standards across sectors and industries. To avoid this, SBA decided to review all monetary based size standards for inflation separately at one time upon completion of the review of all monetary based industry size standards.

In the IFR, SBA increased all monetary based industry size standards by 8.73 percent across the board for inflation, including those that were increased more substantially than the dredging size standard under the comprehensive review. SBA's regulations require that the Agency examine the impact of inflation on size standards at least once every five years and adjust them as needed. Five years had passed between the current inflation adjustment and the previous adjustment issued in July 2008. A majority of the commenters argued that the increase in the dredging size standard is warranted given the increases in fuel, labor, insurance and equipment costs. Moreover, based on the Federal procurement data for fiscal years 2012-2014, no additional dredging firms would gain small business status under the adjusted size standard, suggesting that there would be very minimal impact, if any, on firms below the previous $25.5 million size standard. For these reasons, SBA is adopting $27.5 million in average annual receipts as the size standard for Dredging and Surface Cleanup Activities exception under NAICS 237990, as published in the IFR.

Comment on the Size Standard for Architectural Services

An association representing architects expressed concerns that the increase in size standard for Architectural Services (NAICS 541310) from $7.0 million to $7.5 million will pose additional burdens on small architecture firms and does not reflect the current business environment in the profession.

The association stated that the SBA's February 10, 2012 final rule on Sector 54 (Professional, Technical and Scientific Services) notes that “the Administration's goal is to increase the size standard participation to 42 percent of each applicable industry.” The association stated that under the current $7 million size standard for architecture, over 95.5 percent of firms qualify as small businesses, more than double the goal, and raising it to $7.5 million will increase that to 96 percent. The association maintained that there have been significant deflationary pressures on the cost of design and construction projects due to the economic crisis, fewer projects, and increased competition. There has not been sufficient inflation in the sector to justify increasing the size standard, the association added. The association further maintained that the size standard does not reflect the way architects conduct business. For example, an architect may have to hire engineers to complete building projects, and in some cases, similar to travel agencies, an architectural firm can pass through up to 50 percent of its fees to subcontractors, the association added.

The association concluded that additional increase to the size standard will hurt small businesses by allowing larger firms with greater resources and marketing dollars to push out smaller firms without those resources.

SBA's response: To account for inflation that occurred since the previous inflation adjustment of July 2008, in the June 12, 2014 IFR, SBA increased the size standard for NAICS 541310 (Architectural Services) from $7 million to $7.5 million in average annual receipts. As part of SBA's comprehensive size standards review, on March 16, 2011, SBA had issued a proposed rule to increase the size standard for NAICS 541310 and other industries under NAICS Industry Group 5413 (Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services) from $4.5 million to $19 million in average annual receipts (76 FR 14323). SBA received significant adverse comments to the proposed increase. After weighing the comments and reevaluating the relevant industry and Federal contracting data, SBA adopted $7 million as the size standard for NAICS 541310 (77 FR 7490 (February 10, 2012)). As stated elsewhere in this final rule and explained in the IFR, for the comprehensive review, size standards were evaluated against the latest industry and contracting factors, but not against the inflation that occurred since the previous inflation adjustment in July 2008.

The association's statement that in the February 10, 2012 final rule SBA noted that the Administration's goal is to increase the size standard participation to 42 percent of each applicable industry is not correct. SBA has not established such a goal. For the majority of industries the current size standards include 90-95 percent of firms as small, and in some industries more. Thus, the size standard for architects including 95-96 percent of firms as small is not inconsistent with most other industries. Moreover, although the $7.5 million size standard for architectural services includes 95-96 percent of firms, it includes less than 50 percent of total industry receipts and less than 30 percent of Federal contracting dollars.

SBA does not agree with the argument that, because architectural firms subcontract up to 50 percent of their work to other disciplines, the receipts based size standard does not reflect the industry. In response to the comments on the March 16, 2011 proposed rule that SBA should allow architectural firms to exclude subcontracting costs when calculating the receipts, SBA provided in the February 10, 2012 final rule (see page 7502) an extensive explanation of how the Agency calculates receipts and what a company can and cannot exclude from the revenue computation.

More importantly, it should be noted that the business model of architectural firms is not comparable with that of travel agencies. A travel agency may collect the full value of a cruise, flight, etc., from its customers, but must remit most of those funds to the provider of the services sold. It retains only a small commission or fee and never has any rights to the balance of the funds it collects. Those funds do not increase the travel agency's asset base and are not available to reduce its liabilities. On the other hand, receipts an architectural firm collects can be used to replenish inventory, pay employees and other subcontracting costs, reduce payables and debt, pay bonuses, and for other business purposes. They add to the business' asset base and net worth, and reduce liabilities. Further, the Economic Census data that SBA uses in determining size standards include these various costs as part of a company's gross receipts. Accordingly, SBA's small business size regulations (13 CFR 121.104) continue to state, “. . . subcontractor costs, reimbursements for purchases a contractor makes at a customer's request, and employee-based costs such as payroll taxes, may not be excluded from receipts.”

SBA also does not agree with the association's argument that an additional increase to the size standard will hurt small businesses by allowing larger firms with greater resources to push out smaller firms without those resources. First, it did not provide any data or analysis to support the argument. Second, the data from the Federal Procurement Data System—Next Generation (FPDS-NG) do not suggest that the increase in the size standard for architectural services from $4.5 million to $7 million in 2012 has hurt firms below the prior $4.5 million size standard. For example, during fiscal years 2010-2011 (i.e., prior to the size standard increase), firms below $4.5 million received about 25 percent of total Federal contract dollars awarded under NAICS 541310. Firms under $4.5 million still accounted for 25 percent of total contract dollars during fiscal years 2013-2014 (i.e., after the size standard increase), despite a 33 percent decline in total Federal dollars in that NAICS code as compared to fiscal years 2010-2011. Moreover, during fiscal years 2013-2014 (i.e., under the $7 million size standard) firms below $4.5 million accounted for 85 percent of total dollars awarded to small businesses, as compared to only about 4 percent going to firms from $4.5 million to $7 million. Based on these trends, SBA does not expect an increase to the size standard by $500,000 to cause much harm to and burden on firms below $4.5 million.

Comment on the Size Standards for NAICS Subsector 562

An elected official also commented on the interim final rule with questions on the rate of increase in the size standards for NAICS Subsector 562, Waste Management and Remediation Services. First, the commenter asked whether the rate of increase in the size standards for waste management service businesses reflects a similar increase in the GDP inflation rate and if not, what factors have been used to justify a larger increase. Second, the commenter asked, if there is a discrepancy, whether the amount of the increase comported with SBA's own protocol used in other business increases. Third, the commenter asked whether there was a large discrepancy in size of businesses in this category or rates of inflation between regions of the country, and if so whether these discrepancies are significant enough to warrant region-specific NAICS size rules.

SBA's response: The rate of increase that SBA applied to adjust size standards in NAICS Subsector 562 reflects the same GDP price index rate that the Agency applied to all monetary based small business size standards. Inflation based on the GDP price index increased 8.73 percent from the first quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2013. As in the previous inflation adjustments, SBA also used the GDP price index in the latest inflation adjustment, because, as explained in the interim final rule, for purposes of small business size standards it is the most comprehensive measure of movement in the general price level in the economy. As part of the comprehensive size standards review under the Jobs Act, on December 6, 2012, SBA published a final rule increasing several size standards in NAICS Subsector 562 (77 FR 72691). The increases in size standards in NAICS Subsector 562 for inflation are in addition to the increases SBA adopted under the comprehensive review.

SBA establishes small business size standards only on a nationwide basis. SBA believes it would be unmanageable to establish and use size standards if they were established on a regional basis. First, the data SBA uses to review or update size standards are generally limited to the national level. Second, size standards are used to determine eligibility for various Federal programs, including Federal Government contracting, and SBA loan programs. If the size standards were to vary by geographic region, it would be very difficult to use them. For example, it would be difficult to determine what size standards to apply when businesses located in one region bid for Federal work to be performed in another region. Similarly, it would be difficult to determine eligibility for an SBA loan when a firm has operations in more than one region.

General Comment on Size Standards Increases

Another commenter stated that 98 percent of businesses (including non-employer firms) are “truly small” having only 1-19 employees. The commenter noted, correctly, that SBA leaves non-employer firms out of its statistics. The commenter claimed that the average size of SBA's loan increased from $182,000 in 2008 to $547,000 in 2013, while the share of loans under $100,000, which he claims generally go to truly small businesses, decreased from 24 percent to 9 percent. The commenter used these statistics to argue that the expansion of small business size definitions has allowed large corporations to qualify as small, resulting in significantly larger loans to a few, elite larger corporations. The commenter cited the European Union and Australian small business definitions and other definitions used by the U.S. Congress (e.g., 25 and 50 employees), and stated that SBA's size standards now include 99 percent of employer firms and 99.4 percent of all firms.

SBA's response: SBA acknowledges that some of its size standards could include as much as 97 percent to 99 percent of firms in a given industry. However, it is very important to point out that while it may appear to be a large segment of an industry in terms of the percentage of firms, small firms in those industries represent only about a third of total industry receipts and less than 25 percent of Federal contracting dollars.

What constitutes a small business in other countries does not apply and has no relevance to SBA's small business definitions and U.S. Government programs that use them. Depending on their economic and political realities, other countries have their own programs and priorities that can be very different from those in the U.S. Accordingly, small business definitions other countries use for their Government programs can be vastly different from those established by SBA for U.S. Government programs. From time to time, the U.S. Congress has used different thresholds, sometimes below the SBA's thresholds, to define small firms under certain laws or programs, but those thresholds apply only to those laws and programs and generally are of no relevance to SBA's size standards. SBA establishes size standards, in accordance with the Small Business Act, for purposes of establishing eligibility for Federal small business procurement and financial assistance programs. The primary statutory definition of a small business is that the firm is not dominant in its field of operation. Accordingly, rather than representing the smallest size within an industry, SBA's size standards generally designate the largest size that a business concern can be relative to other businesses in the industry and still qualify as small for Federal Government programs that provide benefits to small businesses.

SBA does not agree that increases in average loan amounts and decreases in smaller loans are solely due to the increases in size standards for two reasons. First, with the passage of the Jobs Act in 2010, Congress increased the limits for SBA's 7(a) loans from $2 million to $5 million, for CDC/504 loans from $1.5 million to $5.5 million, and for 7(a) express loans from $300,000 to $1 million. Second, at the same time, Congress also increased the tangible net worth and net income limits of the alternative size standard from $8.5 million and $3 million to $15 million and $5 million, respectively. Under the alternative size standard, businesses that are above their industry size standards can qualify for SBA's loans. These statutory changes may be important factors for the purported changes in SBA's lending. However, such changes do not necessarily mean that truly small businesses are getting fewer loans now than in 2008. In fact, businesses with less than 10 employees received a total of $12.1 billion in loans through SBA's 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs in 2014, as compared to $10.6 billion in 2008. That was in increase of more than 14 percent.

Conclusion

With due consideration of all public comments as discussed above, in this final rule, SBA is adopting the increases in all industry specific monetary size standards for inflation, as published in the IFR. SBA is also adopting the increases in three program specific size standards, namely the SBIC Program, Sales of Government Property (Other Than Manufacturing), and Stockpile Purchases. Similarly, SBA is also deleting references to the Surety Bond Guarantee size standards for contracts awarded in 2005 in the Presidentially declared disaster areas following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, and the determination date for eligibility under the Agency's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program in connection with the same 2005 hurricanes, as published in the IFR.

Accordingly, SBA is issuing this final rule to adopt, without change, the interim final rule published on June 12, 2014.

Compliance With Executive Orders 12866, 13563, 12988, and 13132, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) and the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Ch. 35) Executive Order 12866

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this final rule is not a “significant regulatory action” for purposes of Executive Order 12866. To help explain the need for this rule and the rule's potential benefits and costs, SBA provided a Cost Benefit Analysis in the June 14, 2014 interim final rule. This is also not a “major rule” under the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 800).

1. Is there a need for the regulatory action?

SBA's statutory mission is to aid and assist small businesses through various financial, procurement, business development, and advocacy programs. To assist the intended beneficiaries of these programs effectively, SBA must establish distinct definitions of which businesses are deemed small businesses. The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)) (Act) delegates to the SBA Administrator the responsibility for establishing small business definitions. The Act also requires that small business definitions vary to reflect industry differences. The supplementary information to this final rule explains the approach SBA follows when adjusting size standards for inflation. Based on the rise in the general level of prices, SBA believes that an inflation adjustment to size standards is necessary to reflect small businesses in industries with monetary size standards.

2. What are the potential benefits and costs of this regulatory action?

The most significant benefit to businesses of this final rule is to enable those that have exceeded size standards simply due to inflation to regain eligibility for Federal small business assistance programs. This will also help businesses to retain small business eligibility for Federal programs for a longer period. These programs include SBA's financial assistance programs, economic injury disaster loans, and Federal procurement programs intended for small businesses. Federal agencies use SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program, Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone), Women-owned Small Businesses (WOSB), Economically Disadvantaged Women-owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB), and Service-disabled Veteran-owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) Programs to provide contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses. Federal agencies also use SBA's size standards for other regulatory and program purposes. These programs assist small businesses to become more knowledgeable, stable, and competitive. SBA estimates that this rule will enable approximately 8,500 firms in industries with receipts based size standards and about 170 firms in industries with assets based size standards, currently above SBA's size standards, to gain small business status and become eligible for these programs. This will increase the small business share of total receipts in industries with receipts based size standards from 31.2 percent to 31.8 percent and the small business share of total assets in industries with assets based size standards from 8.8 percent to 9.4 percent.

Three groups will benefit from the revisions of size standards in this rule: (1) Some businesses that are above the current size standards may gain small business status under the higher, inflation-adjusted size standards, thereby enabling them to participate in Federal small business assistance programs; (2) growing small businesses that are close to exceeding the current size standards will be able to retain their small business status under the higher size standards, thereby enabling them to continue their participation in the programs; and (3) Federal agencies that will have a larger pool of small businesses from which to draw for their small business procurement programs.

Based on the FPDS-NG data for fiscal years 2012-2014, SBA estimates that firms gaining small business status under the inflation adjusted size standards could receive Federal contracts totaling $150 million to $175 million annually under SBA's small business, 8(a), SDB, HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, and SDVOSB Programs, and unrestricted procurements. The added competition for many of these procurements can also result in lower prices to the Government for procurements reserved for small businesses, but SBA cannot quantify this benefit.

Based on the fiscal years 2012-2014 data, SBA estimates about 70 additional loans totaling about $30 million could be made to these newly defined small businesses under SBA's 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs under the adjusted size standards. Increasing the size standards will likely result in more guaranteed loans to small businesses in these industries, but it is impractical to try to estimate the exact number and total amount of loans. There are two reasons for this: (1) Under the Jobs Act, SBA can now guarantee substantially larger loans than in the past; and (2) as described above, the Jobs Act established an alternative size standard ($15 million in tangible net worth and $5 million in net income after income taxes) for business concerns that do not meet the size standards for their industry. Therefore, SBA finds it difficult to quantify the actual impact of these inflation adjusted size standards on its 7(a) and 504 Loan Programs.

Newly defined small businesses will also benefit from SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. Since this program is contingent on the occurrence and severity of a disaster in the future, SBA cannot make a meaningful estimate of this impact.

In addition, newly defined small businesses will also benefit through reduced fees, less paperwork, and fewer compliance requirements that are available to small businesses through the Federal Government.

To the extent that those nearly 8,700 additional small firms could become active in Federal procurement programs, the adjusted size standards in this final rule may entail some additional administrative costs to the Government as a result of more businesses being eligible for Federal small business programs. For example, there will be more firms seeking SBA's guaranteed loans, more firms eligible for enrollment in the System of Award Management (SAM) database, and more firms seeking certification as 8(a) or HUBZone firms or qualifying for small business, WOSB, EDWOSB, SDVOSB, and SDB status. Among those newly defined small businesses seeking SBA's assistance, there could be some additional costs associated with compliance and verification of small business status and protests of small business status. However, SBA believes that these added administrative costs will be minimal because mechanisms are already in place to handle these requirements.

In some cases, Federal Government contracts may have higher costs. With a greater number of businesses defined as small, Federal agencies may choose to set aside more contracts for competition among small businesses, rather than using full and open competition. The movement from unrestricted to small business set-aside contracting might result in competition among fewer total bidders, although there will be more small businesses eligible to submit offers. However, the additional costs associated with fewer bidders are expected to be minor since, by law, procurements may be set aside for small businesses, or set aside for competition among 8(a), HUBZone, WOSB, EDWOSB, or SDVOSB Program participants only if awards are expected to be made at fair and reasonable prices. In addition, there may be higher costs when more full and open contracts are awarded to HUBZone businesses that receive price evaluation preferences.

The size standards adjustments in this final rule may have some distributional effects among large and small businesses. Although SBA cannot estimate with certainty the actual outcome of the gains and losses among small and large businesses, it can identify several probable impacts. There may be a transfer of some Federal contracts to small businesses from large businesses. Large businesses may have fewer Federal contract opportunities as Federal agencies decide to set aside more contracts for small businesses. In addition, some Federal contracts may be awarded to HUBZone concerns instead of large businesses since these firms may be eligible for a price evaluation preference for contracts when they compete on a full and open basis.

Similarly, some businesses defined as small under the current size standards may obtain fewer Federal contracts due to the increased competition from more businesses defined as small under the proposed size standards. This transfer may be offset by a greater number of Federal procurements set aside for all small businesses. The number of newly defined and expanding small businesses that are willing and able to sell to the Federal Government will limit the potential transfer of contracts from large and currently defined small businesses. SBA cannot estimate the potential distributional impacts of these transfers with any degree of precision.

The revisions to the current monetary based industry size standards for 481 industries and 11 “exceptions” and to the monetary based size standards for other specific programs are consistent with SBA's statutory mandate to assist small business. This regulatory action promotes the Administration's objectives. One of SBA's goals in support of the Administration's objectives is to help individual small businesses succeed through fair and equitable access to capital and credit, Government contracts, and management and technical assistance. Reviewing and modifying size standards, when appropriate, including periodic inflation adjustments, ensure that intended beneficiaries have access to small business programs designed to assist them.

Executive Order 13563

A description of the need for this regulatory action and benefits and costs associated with this action including possible distributions impacts that relate to Executive Order 13563 is included above in the Cost Benefit Analysis under Executive Order 12866.

In an effort to engage interested parties in this action, SBA gave appropriate consideration to all input, suggestions, recommendations, and relevant information obtained from industry groups, individual businesses, and Federal agencies in preparing this final rule.

The review of size standards in industries and financial assistance programs covered in this final rule is consistent with Executive Order 13563, Section 6, calling for retrospective analyses of existing rules. The last inflationary adjustment of monetary based size standards occurred in July 2008.

In addition to the inflationary adjustment of monetary based size standards published in the June 12, 2014 interim final rule, as part of the comprehensive size standards review, SBA reviewed all the receipts and assets based industry size standards and made necessary adjustments to ensure that they reflect current industry and market conditions.

Executive Order 12988

This action meets applicable standards set forth in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden. The action does not have retroactive or preemptive effect.

Executive Order 13132

For purposes of Executive Order 13132, SBA has determined that this final rule will not have substantial, direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, SBA has determined that this final rule has no federalism implications warranting preparation of a federalism assessment.

Paperwork Reduction Act

For the purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Ch. 35, SBA has determined that this final rule will not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping requirements.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), this rule may have a significant impact on a substantial number of small businesses in the industries covered by the rule. As described above, this rule may affect small businesses seeking Federal contracts, loans under SBA's 7(a), 504 and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs, and assistance under other Federal small business programs.

Immediately below, SBA sets forth a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) of this rule addressing the following questions: (1) What are the need for and objective of the rule? (2) What are SBA's description and estimate of the number of small businesses to which the rule will apply? (3) What are the projected reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements of the rule? (4) What are the relevant Federal rules that may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the rule? and (5) What alternatives will allow the Agency to accomplish its regulatory objectives while minimizing the impact on small businesses?

1. What are the need for and objective of the rule?

As discussed in the supplemental information, the revision to the monetary based size standards for inflation more appropriately defines small businesses. This final rule restores small business eligibility in real terms to businesses that have grown above the size standard due to inflation rather than due to increased business activity. A review of the latest inflation indexes indicates that inflation has increased sufficiently to warrant an increase to the current monetary based size standards.

Section 3(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)) gives SBA the authority to establish and change size standards. Within its administrative discretion, SBA implemented a policy in its regulations to review the effect of inflation on size standards at least once every five years (13 CFR 121.102(c)) and make any changes as appropriate. As discussed in the supplementary information, inflation has increased at a sufficient level since the time of the 2008 final rule to warrant a further adjustment to size standards at this time.

2. What are SBA's description and estimate of the number of small businesses to which the rule will apply?

SBA estimates that about 8,500 additional firms will become small because of increased receipts based size standards of 476 industries and 11 “exceptions.” That represents 0.2 percent of total firms that are small under current monetary based size standards. This will result in an increase in the small business share of total industry receipts in those industries from 31.2 percent under the current size standards to 31.8 percent under the inflation-adjusted size standards. Due to the adjustment of assets based size standards in five industries, about 170 additional firms will gain small business status in those industries. This will increase the small business share of total assets in those industries from 8.8 percent to 9.4 percent. The size standards adopted in this final rule will enable businesses that have exceeded the size standards for their industries to regain small business status. It will also help currently small businesses to retain their small business status for a longer period. Many firms may have lost their eligibility and find it difficult to compete at current size standards with companies that are significantly larger than they are. SBA believes the competitive impact will be positive for existing small businesses and for those that exceed the size standards but are on the very low end of those that are not small. They might otherwise be called or referred to as mid-sized businesses, although SBA only defines what is small; entities that are not small are “other than small.”

3. What are the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule?

The inflation adjustment to size standards imposes no additional reporting or recordkeeping requirements on small businesses. However, qualifying for Federal procurement and a number of other programs requires that businesses register in the SAM database and certify in SAM that they are small at least once annually. Therefore, newly eligible small businesses opting to participate in those programs must comply with SAM requirements. Businesses whose status changes in SAM from other than small to small must update their SAM profiles and complete the “representations and certifications” sections of SAM. However, there are no costs associated with SAM registration or certification. Changing size standards alters access to SBA's programs that assist small businesses, but does not impose a regulatory burden because they neither regulate nor control business behavior.

4. What are the relevant Federal rules, which may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with the rule?

Under section 3(a)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632(3)(a)(2)(C), Federal agencies must use SBA's size standards to define a small business, unless specifically authorized by statute to do otherwise. In 1995, SBA published in the Federal Register a list of statutory and regulatory size standards that identified the application of SBA's size standards as well as other size standards used by Federal agencies (60 FR 57988 (November 24, 1995)). SBA is not aware of any Federal rule that would duplicate or conflict with establishing size standards.

However, the Small Business Act and SBA's regulations allow Federal agencies to develop different size standards if they believe that SBA's size standards are not appropriate for their programs, with the approval of SBA's Administrator (13 CFR 121.903). The SBA's regulations (13 CFR 121.903(c)) authorize an agency to establish an alternative small business definition for the sole purpose of performing a regulatory flexibility analysis pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601(3)), after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

5. What alternatives will allow the Agency to accomplish its regulatory objectives while minimizing the impact on small entities?

By law, SBA is required to develop numerical size standards for establishing eligibility for Federal small business assistance programs. Other than varying size standards by industry and changing the size measures, no practical alternative exists to the systems of numerical size standards.

SBA's only other consideration was whether to adopt the size standards presented in the interim final rule with no further increase for the inflation. However, SBA believes that the inflation that has occurred since the publication of the June 12, 2014 interim final rule is not sufficient to warrant an additional increase at this time.

List of Subjects in 13 CFR Part 121

Administrative practice and procedure, Government procurement, Government property, Grant programs—business, Individuals with disabilities, Loan programs—business, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Small businesses.

PART 121—SMALL BUSINESS SIZE REGULATIONS For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the interim rule amending 13 CFR part 121, which was published at 79 FR 33647 on June 12, 2014, is adopted as a final rule without change. Dated: January 12, 2016. Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-01410 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8025-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Parts 1, 11, 16, 106, 110, 114, 117, 120, 123, 129, 179, and 211 [Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0920] RIN 0910-AG36 Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food; Correction AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Final rule; correction.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is correcting a final rule that published in the Federal Register of September 17, 2015. That final rule amended our regulation for current good manufacturing practice in manufacturing, packing, or holding human food to modernize it, and to add requirements for domestic and foreign facilities that are required to register under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) to establish and implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food. That final rule also revised certain definitions in our current regulation for registration of food facilities to clarify the scope of the exemption from registration requirements provided by the FD&C Act for “farms.” The final rule published with some editorial and inadvertent errors. This document corrects those errors.

DATES:

Effective: January 26, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jenny Scott, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-300), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-2166.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In the Federal Register of Thursday, September 17, 2015 (80 FR 55908), FDA published the final rule “Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food” with some editorial and inadvertent errors. This action is being taken to correct inadvertent errors in the preamble and codified.

In FR Doc. 2015-21920, appearing on page 55908 in the Federal Register of Thursday, September 17, 2015, the following corrections are made:

1. On page 55908, in the first column, the headings section of the document, under the line containing “[Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0920],” is corrected by adding “RIN 0910-AG36”.

2. On page 55938, in the second column, in the first paragraph under “VII. Comments on Proposed General Revisions to Current Part 110 (Final Part 117),” “revising provisions directed to preventing contamination of food and food-contact substances” is corrected to read “revising provisions directed to preventing contamination of food and food-contact surfaces.”

3. On page 56151, beginning in the second column, revise § 117.8 to read as follows:
“§ 117.8 Applicability of subpart B of this part to the off-farm packing and holding of raw agricultural commodities.

Except as provided by § 117.5(k)(1), subpart B of this part applies to the off-farm packaging, packing, and holding of raw agricultural commodities. Compliance with this requirement for raw agricultural commodities that are produce as defined in part 112 of this chapter may be achieved by complying with subpart B of this part or with the applicable requirements for packing and holding in part 112 of this chapter.”

§ 117.405 [Corrected]
4. On page 56164, in the first column, in § 117.405 Requirements to establish and implement a supply chain program, paragraph (c) introductory text is corrected to read as follows:

“(c) When a supply-chain-applied control is applied by an entity other than the receiving facility's supplier (e.g., when a non-supplier applies controls to certain produce (i.e., produce covered by part 112 of this chapter), because growing, harvesting, and packing activities are under different management), the receiving facility must:”

Dated: January 14, 2016. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2016-01092 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Drug Enforcement Administration 21 CFR Part 1314 [Docket No. DEA-347] RIN 1117-AB30 Self-Certification and Employee Training of Mail-Order Distributors of Scheduled Listed Chemical Products AGENCY:

Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This document finalizes the Drug Enforcement Administration's rule implementing the requirements of the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2010 establishing self-certification and training requirements for mail-order distributors of scheduled listed chemical products. This action finalizes without change the interim final rule with request for comment published on April 13, 2011.

DATES:

This rule takes effect January 25, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Barbara J. Boockholdt, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22512; Telephone: (202) 598-6812.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Legal Authority

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) implements and enforces titles II and III of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, as amended. 21 U.S.C. 801-971. Titles II and III are referred to as the “Controlled Substances Act” and the “Controlled Substances Import and Export Act,” respectively, but they are collectively referred to as the “Controlled Substances Act” or the “CSA” for the purposes of this action. The DEA publishes the implementing regulations for these statutes in title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 1300 to 1321. The CSA and its implementing regulations are designed to prevent, detect, and eliminate the diversion of controlled substances and listed chemicals into the illicit market while providing for the legitimate medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States.

The CSA grants the Attorney General authority to promulgate rules and regulations relating to the registration and control of the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of controlled substances and listed chemicals, 21 U.S.C. 821, and the efficient execution of his statutory functions. 21 U.S.C. 871(b). The Attorney General has delegated this authority to the Administrator of the DEA, 28 CFR 0.100(b), who in turn has redelegated certain authorities to the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the DEA Office of Diversion Control (“Deputy Assistant Administrator”), 28 CFR part 0, appendix to subpart R.

By this document, the DEA finalizes the interim final rule, “Self-Certification and Employee Training of Mail-Order Distributors of Scheduled Listed Chemical Products” published on April 13, 2011, at 76 FR 20518. This rule became effective on April 13, 2011. The interim final rule solicited public comments for which the comment period closed on June 13, 2011. No comments were received in response to the publication. No changes are being made to the rule.

Background

The preamble to the interim final rule explained that section 2 of the Combat Methamphetamine Enhancement Act of 2010 (MEA) (Pub. L. 111-268, 124 Stat. 2847) amended 21 U.S.C. 830(e)(2) to establish new requirements for mail-order distributors to self-certify with the DEA in order to sell scheduled listed chemical products at retail. Sales “at retail” are those intended for personal use. 21 U.S.C. 802(48); 21 CFR 1300.02(b). As Congress directed in the MEA, the DEA has established through this rule criteria for certifications of mail-order distributors consistent with the criteria previously established for certifications of other regulated sellers.1 The self-certification must include a statement that the mail-order distributor understands the requirements applicable under 21 CFR part 1314 and agrees to comply with those requirements. Prior to certification, mail-order distributors of scheduled listed chemical products are required to provide the DEA-developed training (available at the DEA's Web site) to their employees.

1 The DEA initially established criteria for certifications for regulated sellers pursuant to the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA), Public Law 109-177, 120 Stat. 256. The DEA implemented the retail sales provisions of the CMEA through Interim Final Rule, “Retail Sales of Scheduled Listed Chemical Products; Self-Certification of Regulated Sellers of Scheduled Listed Chemical Products,” published Sept. 26, 2006 at 71 FR 56008; corrected at 71 FR 60609, Oct. 13, 2006.

The MEA is the most recent in a series of legislative actions aimed at preventing illicit drug manufacturers' access to methamphetamine precursor chemicals and enhancing penalties for methamphetamine production and trafficking. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug in schedule II of the CSA. As recognized through the acts of Congress, the clandestine manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine have been and continue to be serious national public health problems.2

2E.g., H.R.Rep. No. 109-299, pt. 2 (2005); For a summary of effects of methamphetamine abuse and addiction see NIDA InfoFacts: Methamphetamine (available at http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine).

Who are “mail-order distributors” subject to the training and self-certification requirements?

The MEA refers to “mail-order distributors” but does not define the term. As stated in the interim final rule, the idea of mail-order distributor is developed in 21 CFR part 1314, which discusses regulated persons who make a sale at retail of a scheduled listed chemical product and are required under § 1310.03(c) to submit a report of the sales transaction to the Administration. 21 CFR 1314.100(a). The CSA and its implementing regulations impose recordkeeping and reporting requirements on regulated persons who engage in transactions with a nonregulated person or who engage in an export transaction involving ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, including drug products containing these chemicals, and who use or attempt to use the Postal Service or any private or commercial carrier. 21 CFR 1310.03(c). Of those subject to the recordkeeping and reporting requirements, only those distributors who engage in mail-order sales at retail of scheduled listed chemical products are subject to the training and self-certification requirements. 21 CFR 1314.101 and 1314.102. A “mail-order sale,” for purposes of part 1314, is defined by DEA regulations as a retail sale of scheduled listed chemical products for personal use where a regulated person uses or attempts to use the U.S. Postal Service or any private or commercial carrier to deliver the product to the customer. 21 CFR 1314.03. Mail-order sales include purchase orders submitted by phone, mail, fax, Internet, or any method other than a face-to-face transaction. Id. The terms “regulated person,” “scheduled listed chemical product,” and “at retail” are defined in 21 U.S.C. 802.

The DEA is taking this opportunity in publishing this final rule to provide in this supplementary information a clearer discussion of the development of the statutory and regulatory requirements relating to “mail-order distributors” than was included in the preamble of the interim final rule. Before 1996 persons now labeled as “mail-order distributors” were not subject to specific regulation as a distinct group. Beginning in 1996, Congress has imposed a number of requirements on these distributors, specifically, in such laws as the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996 (CMCA), Public Law 104-237, 110 Stat. 3099; the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000 (MAPA), Public Law 106-310, 114 Stat. 1227; the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 (CMEA), Public Law 109-177, 120 Stat. 256; and the MEA.

The CMCA established monthly reporting requirements applicable to regulated persons who engage in transactions with nonregulated persons involving ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine (including drug products containing these chemicals) and use or attempt to use the Postal Service or any private or commercial carrier. 21 U.S.C. 830(b)(3)(B). The DEA implemented the monthly reporting requirement at 21 CFR 1310.03(c). The MAPA amended 21 U.S.C. 830(b)(3)(B) to require regulated persons also to report mail-order export transactions involving ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine.

The MAPA also established exemptions from the mail-order reporting requirements, including an exemption relating to non-“face-to-face” transactions. 21 U.S.C. 830(b)(3)(D)(ii). That exemption stipulates that retail distributors generally are not required to report non-face-to-face sales of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved (FDA-approved) drug products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or phenylpropanolamine to ultimate users if the seller's activities related to those products are almost exclusively confined to sales for personal use, both in terms of number and volume of sales. Id.; 21 U.S.C. 802(49). Subsequently, the CMEA specified, however, that this clause is not applicable to sales of scheduled listed chemical products at retail. 21 U.S.C. 830(b)(3)(D)(ii). The DEA interprets this to mean that “retail stores that deliver these products to customers by mail or delivery services will need to comply with the provisions for mail order sales reporting for these transaction[s].” 71 FR 56008, 56011, Sept. 26, 2006.

Certain additional requirements apply to mail-order distributors. For instance, under the CMEA, mail-order distributors making retail sales of scheduled listed chemical products must confirm the purchaser's identity and may not sell more than 7.5 grams of ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base in scheduled listed chemical products per customer during a 30-day period. 21 U.S.C. 830(e)(2)(A)-(B). Most recently, the MEA added the requirement that mail-order distributors self-certify in order to sell scheduled listed chemical products at retail, and makes it unlawful for any person to negligently fail to self-certify as required under section 830. 21 U.S.C. 830(e)(2)(C) and 842(a)(10).

Which locations are subject to the self-certification requirement?

Section 2 of the MEA, codified at 21 U.S.C. 830(e)(2)(c), requires the Attorney General to establish by regulation “criteria for certifications of mail-order distributors that are consistent with the criteria established for the certifications of regulated sellers” under the CMEA. The CMEA specifies that a separate certification is required for each place of business at which scheduled listed chemical products are sold at retail. 21 U.S.C. 830(e)(1)(B)(ii)(II); 21 CFR 1314.40(c). The DEA analyzed the plain language and purpose of the statute to interpret the meaning of “each place of business” where retail sales are made.3 As described in the interim final rule, DEA concludes that mail-order distributors are required to certify at: (1) Every location that prepares or packages product for distribution to customers, and (2) every location where employees accept payment for such sales. This interpretation is consistent with the intent of the MEA to ensure that mail-order distributors of scheduled listed chemical products are aware of their recordkeeping, reporting, customer identification, and sales limit requirements.

3 The DEA notes that this statutory language is materially different than the language requiring entities that manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances or list I chemicals to register at “each principal place of business or professional practice.” 21 U.S.C. 822(e). The intent and rationale for the two requirements are different, as well.

Regulatory Analyses Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review)

This regulation has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review,” section 1(b), Principles of Regulation. It has been determined that this is not “a significant regulatory action.” As discussed above, and in the interim final rule, this action is codifying statutory provisions and involves no agency discretion as to regulatory alternatives. As analyzed in the interim final rule at 76 FR 20158, the DEA has determined that the MEA's requirements will not impose an annual cost on the economy of $100 million or more, the standard for an economically significant rule under Executive Order 12866. The DEA received no public comments with respect to the interim final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

To address the new mandates of the MEA, the DEA has revised its existing information collection “Self-Certification, Training and Logbooks for Regulated Sellers and Mail-Order Distributors of Scheduled Listed Chemical Products,” Information Collection 1117-0046. The MEA requires mail-order distributors to train any employee who will be involved in selling scheduled listed chemical products and to document the training. Mail-order distributors must also self-certify to the DEA that all affected employees have been trained and that the mail-order distributor is in compliance with all provisions of the CMEA. No comments were received by the DEA regarding the information collection.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Deputy Assistant Administrator, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-612), has reviewed this regulation and by approving it certifies that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As noted in the interim final rule, the RFA applies to rules that are subject to notice and comment. The DEA determined, as explained in the interim final rule, that public notice and comment were impracticable and contrary to the public interest. Consequently, the RFA does not apply.

Although the RFA does not apply to this rulemaking, the DEA has reviewed the potential impacts in the interim final rule, in which the DEA certified that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on small entities. As published in the interim final rule, based on reports filed, DEA expects that the rule will affect only 9 firms, two of which are not small based on the Small Business Administration's size standards. For the seven small firms, the only costs are the $21 annual fee, the time required to complete the certification (0.5 hours or about $20 for a new self-certification application), and cost of training (0.5 hours or about $10). The cost of compliance for these firms, which appear to have between 5 and 25 employees, not all of whom would need to be trained, is less than $200 and in most cases, less than $100. The smallest mail order pharmacies (those with fewer than five employees) have average annual sales of $1 million. The cost of compliance is, therefore, less than 0.1 percent of sales and would not impose a significant economic burden on any small entity.

The DEA received no public comments with respect to the interim final rule and the DEA has not received any other information that would materially change the impact of this rule on small entities. Therefore, the DEA concludes this rulemaking will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This rule will not impose unfunded mandates as defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 109 Stat. 48). This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

This regulation meets the applicable standards set forth in section 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 Civil Justice Reform.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

This rulemaking has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132, and the DEA has determined that this action does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. This rulemaking does not impose enforcement responsibilities on any State; nor does it diminish the power of any State to enforce its own laws. The requirements of this rule are mandated under the MEA, and the DEA has no authority to alter them or change the preemption. Accordingly, this rulemaking does not have federalism implications warranting the application of Executive Order 13132.

Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation)

The DEA has analyzed this action under Executive Order 13175 and this rule will not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; will not impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments; and will not preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary impact statement is not required.

Congressional Review Act

This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Congressional Review Act). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It will not cause a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of the United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.

List of Subjects in 21 CFR Part 1314

Drug traffic control, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, the interim final rule amending 21 CFR part 1314 which was published at 76 FR 20518 on April 13, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change.

Dated: January 19, 2016. Louis J. Milione, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control.
[FR Doc. 2016-01377 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-09-P
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary 32 CFR Part 252 [Docket ID: DOD-2012-OS-0170] RIN 0790-AI98 Professional U.S. Scouting Organization Operations at U.S. Military Installations Overseas AGENCY:

Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, DoD.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This rule updates policy and outlines fiscal and logistical support the DoD may provide to qualified scouting organizations operating on U.S. military installations overseas based on Executive Order 12715, Support of Overseas Scouting Activities for Military Dependents, and pertinent statutes as discussed below. It is DoD policy to cooperate with and assist qualified scouting organizations in establishing and providing facilities and services, within available resources, at locations outside the United States to support DoD personnel and their families.

DATES:

This rule is effective February 24, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Chris Wright, 703-588-0172.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Department of Defense published a proposed rule on November 24, 2014 (79 FR 69777-69781), with a request for public comments. The 60-day public comment period ended on January 23, 2015. One public comment was received. This comment is addressed as follows:

Comment: It is my opinion that this unchecked support of the scouting organizations violates the Establishment Clause of Amendment I to the United States Constitution. The Boy Scouts have acted as a religious organization by using religion as a reason to exclude gay scout leaders. Providing facilities and equipment free of charge effectively supports this effort and therefore violates the Establishment Clause. I wholeheartedly do not support this rule change.

Response: During litigation, the Department of Defense (DoD), along with the Department of Justice, has consistently defended the legality of the statutorily authorized support to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and other organizations. In briefs, the Government has argued that: (1) The BSA is a civic organization, which focuses on citizenship training, community service and outdoor activities and physical fitness; (2) DoD support to the BSA has advanced several compelling military purposes; and (3) DoD support to the BSA does not result in Government indoctrination or endorsement of religion.

Executive Summary I. Purpose of the Regulatory Action

This rule provides that support provided by DoD is documented in written agreements and signed by the appropriate regional combatant commander. Also, it would require installation-specific support and services to be based on a written agreement and signed by the installation commander or designee. These agreements will replace the need for these organizations to submit individual articles of incorporation, written constitutions, charters, or articles of agreement to gain approval from the installation commander to operate on the installation. In addition to Executive Order 12715, Title 10 of the United States Code specifies the DoD's authority to issue rules in this area.

Title 10, U.S.C., section 2606 provides that: The Secretary may collaborate with qualified scouting organizations in establishing and providing facilities and services for members of the armed forces and their dependents, and civilian employees of the Department of Defense and their dependents, at locations outside the United States. Qualified scouting organizations may be furnished support such as some transportation support, available office space, warehousing, utilities, supplies and a means of communication, without charge. The Secretary may reimburse a qualified scouting organization for all or part of the pay of an employee of that organization for any period during which the employee was performing services, however any such reimbursement may not be made from appropriated funds. Employees of a qualified scouting organization will not be considered to be employees of the United States, and the term “qualified scouting organization” means the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and the Boy Scouts of America.

Title 10, U.S.C., section 2554 provides that: The Secretary of Defense is authorized to lend to the Boy Scouts of America without reimbursement, for the use and accommodation of Scouts, Scouters, and officials who attend any national or world Boy Scout Jamboree, items such as cots, blankets, commissary equipment, flags, refrigerators, and other equipment. Additionally, expendable medical supplies and services, as may be necessary or useful to the extent that items are in stock and items or services are available, can be provided at no expense to the United States Government for the delivery, return, rehabilitation, or replacement of such items. Before delivering such property, the Secretary of Defense will take good and sufficient bond for the safe return of such property in good order and condition, and the whole without expense to the United States. The Secretary of Defense is also authorized to provide, without expense to the United States Government, transportation from the United States or military commands overseas, and return, on vessels of the Military Sealift Command or aircraft of the Air Mobility Command for Boy Scouts, Scouters, and officials certified by the Boy Scouts of America, as representing the Boy Scouts of America at any national or world Boy Scout Jamboree to the extent that such transportation will not interfere with the requirements of military operations. The Secretary of Defense shall take from the Boy Scouts of America, a good and sufficient bond for the reimbursement to the United States, of the actual costs of transportation. If a Boy Scout Jamboree is held on a military installation, the Secretary of Defense may provide personnel services and logistical support at the military installation in addition to the support previously stated. Other departments of the Federal Government are authorized, under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary thereof, to provide to the Boy Scouts of America equipment and other services under the same conditions and restrictions prescribed in the preceding subsections for the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense shall provide at least the same level of support for a national or world Boy Scout Jamboree as was provided for the preceding national or world Boy Scout Jamboree. The Secretary of Defense may waive all support if it determines that providing the support would be detrimental to the national security of the United States.

Title 10, U.S.C., section 2555 provides: The Secretary of Defense is authorized to provide, without expense to the United States Government, transportation from the United States or military commands overseas, and return, on vessels of the Military Sealift Command or aircraft of the Air Mobility Command for Girl Scouts and officials certified by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America at any International World Friendship Event or Troops on Foreign Soil meeting which is endorsed and approved by the National Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America and is conducted outside of the United States. Support is also authorized for United States citizen delegates coming from outside of the United States to triennial meetings of the National Council of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, and for the equipment and property of Girl Scouts and officials, to the extent that such transportation will not interfere with the requirements of military operations. Before furnishing any transportation, the Secretary of Defense shall take from the Girl Scouts of the United States of America a good and sufficient bond for the reimbursement to the United States by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, of the actual costs of transportation furnished. Amounts paid to the United States to reimburse it for the actual costs of transportation furnished will be credited to the current applicable appropriations or funds to which such costs were charged and shall be available for the same purposes as such appropriations or funds.

Executive Order 12715, May 3, 1990, 55 FR 19051, discusses the cooperation and assistance authorized by section 2606(a) of title 10, and requires the Secretary of Defense to issue regulations concerning support.

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

This rule discusses the types of support DoD installation commanders are authorized to provide, ensures appropriated fund (APF) and non-appropriated fund (NAF) assets are used correctly, and requires the cost of the support provided to be shared by each of the Military Services in proportion to benefits derived by their members from overseas scouting programs.

III. Costs and Benefits

Program costs are less than $700,000 per year, consisting primarily of salaries, transportation costs, and supplies to support scouting programs that directly complement and improve quality of life programming for military families overseas.

Retrospective Review

This rule is part of DoD's retrospective plan, completed in August 2011, under Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.” DoD's full plan and updates can be accessed at: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR+PR+N+O+SR;rpp=10;po=0;D=DOD-2011-OS-0036.

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

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

Sec. 202, Pub. L. 104-4, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

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

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

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

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

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

Executive Order 13132, “Federalism”

DoD has determined this final rule would not have federalism implications under Executive Order 13132. It does not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 252

Military installations, Military personnel, Scout organizations.

Accordingly 32 CFR part 252 is added to read as follows:

PART 252—PROFESSIONAL U.S. SCOUTING ORGANIZATION OPERATIONS AT U.S. MILITARY INSTALLATIONS OVERSEAS Sec. 252.1 Purpose. 252.2 Applicability. 252.3 Definitions. 252.4 Policy. 252.5 Responsibilities. 252.6 Procedures. Authority:

E.O. 12715, May 3, 1990, 55 FR 19051; 10 U.S.C. 2606, 2554, and 2555.

§ 252.1 Purpose.

This part updates policy and outlines fiscal and logistical support that the DoD may provide to qualified scouting organizations operating on U.S. military installations overseas.

§ 252.2 Applicability.

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

§ 252.3 Definitions.

These terms and their definitions are for the purposes of this part.

DoD personnel and their families. Members of the Military Services and their family members and DoD civilian employees and their family members.

Military Services. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

Qualified scouting organization. The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Sponsored organization or sponsored council. Scouting organizations or councils authorized to operate as scouting affiliates on military installations.

§ 252.4 Policy.

It is DoD policy to cooperate with and assist qualified scouting organizations in establishing and providing facilities and services, within available resources, at locations outside the United States to support DoD personnel and their families in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2606, 2554, and 2555 and Executive Order 12715, “Support of Overseas Scouting Activities for Military Dependents”.

§ 252.5 Responsibilities.

(a) The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) oversees development and implementation of this part.

(b) The DoD Component heads implement this part and comply with its provisions.

(c) In addition to the responsibilities in paragraph (b) of this section and acting as the DoD Executive Agent for DoD support to the BSA and GSUSA local councils and organizations in areas outside of the United States in accordance with 32 CFR part 212, the Secretary of the Army:

(1) Makes policy determinations in coordination with the other Military Department Secretaries regarding topics including, but not limited to, support that:

(i) DoD installation commanders are authorized to provide to the scouting program and personnel.

(ii) The scouting organization provides to DoD.

(2) Ensures accountability for appropriated fund (APF) and non-appropriated fund (NAF) assets used in the support of qualified scouting organizations.

(3) Provides input for and works with the scouting organizations in establishing the extent and scope of the annual scouting programs in support of DoD personnel and their families within the parameters established in this part and available resources.

(4) Ensures that the cost of the support provided is shared by each of the Military Services in proportion to benefits derived by their members from scouting programs overseas.

§ 252.6 Procedures.

(a) General guidance. (1) Support provided by DoD and services provided by qualified scouting organizations is documented in a written agreement and signed by the appropriate regional combatant commander or designee. Installation-specific support and services are documented in a written agreement and signed by the installation commander or designee. This agreement replaces the need for qualified scouting organizations to submit individual articles of incorporation, written constitutions, charters, or articles of agreement to gain approval from the installation commander to operate on the installation as required by 32 CFR part 212.

(2) Overseas installation commanders may authorize DoD support for qualified scouting organizations outside the United States when:

(i) Support is permitted under international agreements with the host nation, if applicable.

(ii) Support is permitted pursuant to law and DoD issuances.

(iii) Such support is within the capabilities of their respective installations.

(iv) Providing such support will not impede fulfillment of the military mission.

(3) Committees composed of representatives of the Military Services will be formed to review annual qualified scouting organization budget requirements.

(4) Overseas scouting committees will provide the overseas scouting organizations with information on the scouting requirements of DoD personnel and will monitor and evaluate the scouting organizations' efforts to satisfy those requirements.

(5) Funds raised by the scouting organizations, as a non-Federal entity, cannot be commingled with NAF funds and will be made available for annual audits.

(6) Employees of a qualified scouting organization are not considered to be U.S. Government employees, or employees of an instrumentality of the United States for the purpose of benefits or entitlements.

(i) APF and NAFs are not used to reimburse their salaries and benefits.

(ii) They are not entitled to participate in the NAF retirement fund.

(iii) Serving in those positions does not constitute NAF employment credit or produce rehire priority.

(7) These organizations generally are not covered under the terms of United States' Status of Forces or other relevant agreements with host nations.

(i) Questions regarding whether they are covered under such agreements should be referred to the legal office servicing the applicable command. Applicability of any relevant agreements would be addressed with the host nation only by the applicable command, and not the organization.

(ii) To the extent the organization is not covered under any relevant agreement, host nation laws apply. In all cases, the host nation will determine the scope and extent of the applicability of host nation laws to these employees.

(b) Funding guidance. (1) Any APF and NAF support provided will be programmed and approved on an annual basis by the DoD Components. NAF support is authorized for youth activities programs in accordance with DoD Instruction 1015.15, “Establishment, Management, and Control of Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities and Financial Management of Supporting Resources” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/101515p.pdf) and for qualified scouting organizations in accordance with paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

(2) APF may be used in conjunction with overseas scouting organizations. The following services may be provided on a non-reimbursable basis:

(i) Transportation of executive personnel (to include household goods and baggage) of qualified scouting organizations:

(A) When on invitational travel orders.

(B) To and from overseas assignments.

(C) While providing scouting support to DoD personnel and their families. Transportation of supplies of qualified scouting organizations necessary to provide such support may also be provided.

(ii) Office space where regular meetings can be conducted, and space for recreational activities.

(iii) Warehousing.

(iv) Utilities.

(v) Means of communication.

(3) DoD may provide the following additional support to scouting executives assigned overseas:

(i) Pursuant to section API 3.18 of DoD 4525.6-M, “Department of Defense Postal Manual” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/452506m.pdf), access to use Military Services postal services is authorized.

(ii) Pursuant to section 4.3.2.2.2 of Department of Defense Education Activity Regulation 1342.13, “Eligibility Requirements for Education of Elementary and Secondary School-age Dependents in Overseas Areas” (available at http://www.dodea.edu/Offices/Regulations/index.cfm), access to DoD Dependents Schools (overseas) may be provided on a space-available, tuition-paying basis.

(iii) Pursuant to 32 CFR part 230, use of military banking facilities operated under DoD contracts is authorized.

(iv) Pursuant to DoD Instruction 1015.10, “Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Programs” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/101510p.pdf), the use of morale, welfare, and recreation programs may be provided.

(v) Pursuant to 32 CFR part 161, medical care in uniformed services facilities on a space-available basis at rates specified in uniformed services instructions, with charges collected locally, is authorized.

(vi) Pursuant to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-45, “Rental and Construction of Government Quarters” (available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a045) and subparagraph 2.c(1)(e) of DoD 4165.63-M, “DoD Housing Management” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/416563m.pdf), when DoD-sponsored civilian personnel serving DoD military installations at foreign locations cannot obtain suitable housing in the vicinity of an installation, they and their families may occupy DoD housing on a rental basis. The Military Service determines the priority of such leasing actions. These civilians are required to pay the established rental rate in accordance with DoD 4165.63-M and Military Service guidance.

(vii) Pursuant to DoD Instruction 1330.17, “DoD Commissary Program” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/133017p.pdf), overseas installation commanders or Secretaries of the Military Departments may extend commissary access through official support agreements.

(viii) Pursuant to DoD Instruction 1330.21, “Armed Services Exchange Regulations” (available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/133021p.pdf), the Secretaries of the Military Departments may grant Armed Forces Exchange deviations with regard to authorized patron privileges for individuals or classes and groups of persons at specific installations when based on alleviating individual hardships.

(4) NAF may be used in conjunction with qualified scouting organizations to:

(i) Reimburse for salaries and benefits of employees of those organizations for periods during which their professional scouting employees perform services in overseas areas in direct support of DoD personnel and their families.

(ii) Reimburse travel to and from official meetings of the overseas scouting committee upon approval from the appropriate combatant commander.

(5) The total amount of NAF support for the scouting program must not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the scouting program.

Dated: January 20, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
[FR Doc. 2016-01346 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket No. USCG-2015-1103] Special Local Regulations; Southern California Annual Marine Events for the San Diego Captain of the Port Zone AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION:

Notice of enforcement of regulation.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard will enforce the Hanohano Ocean Challenge special local regulations on Saturday, January 23, 2016. This event occurs in Mission Bay in San Diego, CA. These special local regulations are necessary to provide for the safety of the participants, crew, spectators, sponsor safety vessels, and general users of the waterway. During the enforcement period, persons and vessels are prohibited from entering into, transiting through, or anchoring within this regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, or his designated representative.

DATES:

The regulations in 33 CFR 100.1101 will be enforced for the location listed in item 16 in Table 1 to 33 CFR 100.1101 from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. on January 23, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have questions on this notice of enforcement, call or email Petty Officer Randolph Pahilanga, Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego, CA; telephone (619) 278-7656, email [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Coast Guard will enforce the special local regulations in 33 CFR 100.1101 in support of the Hanohano Ocean Challenge (Item 16 on Table 1 of 33 CFR 100.1101) in Mission Bay in San Diego, CA from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2016.

Under the provisions of 33 CFR 100.1101, persons and vessels are prohibited from entering into, transiting through, or anchoring within this regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, or his designated representative. Spectator vessels may safely transit outside the regulated area, but may not anchor, block, loiter, or impede the transit of participants or official patrol vessels. The Coast Guard may be assisted by other Federal, State, or local law enforcement agencies in patrol and notification of this regulation.

This document is issued under authority of 33 CFR 100.1101 and 5 U.S.C. 552(a). In addition to this document in the Federal Register, the Coast Guard will provide the maritime community with advance notification of this enforcement period via the Local Notice to Mariners and local advertising by the event sponsor.

If the Captain of the Port Sector San Diego or his designated representative determines that the regulated area need not be enforced for the full duration stated on this document, he or she may use a Broadcast Notice to Mariners or other communications coordinated with the event sponsor to grant general permission to enter the regulated area.

Dated: January 4, 2016. J.S. Spaner, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port, San Diego.
[FR Doc. 2016-01382 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R08-OAR-2015-0493; FRL-9941-46-Region 8] Approval and Promulgation of Air Quality Implementation Plans; Colorado; Revisions to Common Provisions and Regulation Number 3; Correction AGENCY:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is approving State Implementation Plan (SIP) revisions submitted by the State of Colorado on March 31, 2010, May 16, 2012 and May 13, 2013. The revisions are to Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (Commission) Regulation Number 3, Parts A, B and D and Common Provisions Regulation. The revisions include administrative changes to permitting requirements for stationary sources, updates to the fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) implementation rule related to the federal New Source Review (NSR) Program, changes to address previous revisions to Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN) regulations that EPA disapproved or provided comments on, revisions to definitions, and minor editorial changes. Also in this action, EPA is correcting a final rule pertaining to Colorado's SIP published on April 24, 2014. In our April 24, 2014 action, regulatory text and corresponding “incorporation by reference” (IBR) materials were inadvertently excluded for greenhouse gas permitting revisions to the Common Provisions Regulation and minor editorial changes to the Common Provisions Regulation and Parts A, B and D of Regulation Number 3 (adopted October 10, 2010). This action is being taken under section 110 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

DATES:

This rule is effective on February 24, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID No. EPA-R08-OAR-2015-0493. All documents in the docket are listed on the www.regulations.gov Web site. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically through www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Air Program, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 8, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-1129. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to view the hard copy of the docket. You may view the hard copy of the docket Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jaslyn Dobrahner, Air Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 8, Mail Code 8P-AR, 1595 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-1129, (303) 312-6252, [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

In our notice of proposed rulemaking published on September 14, 2015 (80 FR 55055), EPA proposed to either approve or take no action on revisions to Common Provisions Regulation and Regulation Number 3, Parts A, B and D submitted by the State of Colorado on March 31, 2010, May 16, 2012 and May 13, 2013. In this rulemaking, we are taking final action on revisions to Common Provisions Regulation which include adding compounds to the definition of “negligibly reactive volatile compounds” (NRVOC), clarifying NRVOC and volatile organic compound (VOC) testing methodologies within the definition of “volatile organic compound,” and revising the definition of “incinerator” along with minor editorial changes. We are also taking final action on revisions to Regulation Number 3, Parts A, B and D which include revisions to State permitting requirements for stationary sources to incorporate changes to the federal NSR Program related to PM2.5, revisions to address past rule revisions that were disapproved or commented on by EPA, administrative revisions to permitting requirements for stationary sources in Colorado, and deferral of the permitting requirements for biogenic sources of carbon dioxide emissions to ensure consistency with federal greenhouse gas permitting requirements. The revisions also make several miscellaneous changes along with minor editorial changes. The reasons for our approval and taking no action are provided in detail in the proposed rule (80 FR 55055, September 14, 2015).

In this action, EPA is also taking final action to correct a final rule published in the Federal Register on April 24, 2014 (79 FR 22772). In this rule, we inadvertently did not include regulatory text and corresponding IBR materials for our approvals to (1) greenhouse gas permitting revisions to Common Provisions Regulation, and (2) minor editorial changes to the Common Provisions Regulation and Parts A, B and D of Regulation Number 3 (adopted October 10, 2010).

II. Response to Comments

We received one comment on our proposed rule.

Comment: The State of Colorado requested EPA approve provisions that we proposed to exclude from the IBR material related to tertiary butyl acetate within the State's Common Provisions Regulation. The State concludes that these provisions are consistent with federal requirements when read in conjunction with Regulation Number 3, Part A, Appendix B, which has been approved by EPA.

Response: Under a final rule promulgated on November 29, 2004 (69 FR 69298), tertiary butyl acetate is excluded from the definition of VOC for purposes of VOC emissions limitations and VOC content requirements, but continues to be defined as a VOC for purposes of all recordkeeping, emissions reporting and inventory requirements which apply to VOCs. We agree with the State that the federal reporting requirements for tertiary butyl acetate are met through the State's inclusion of tertiary butyl acetate in Appendix B of the Commission's Regulation Number 3, Part A which ensures that this compound would be reported to the State as a distinct class, separate from other VOCs. Therefore, we are approving within Common Provisions Regulation the words “Tertiary Butyl Acetate (2-Butanone)” in the definition “NRVOCs” and the last sentence in the definition of “VOC” stating the photochemical dispersion modeling requirement for tertiary butyl acetate.

III. Final Action

For the reasons expressed in the proposed rule, EPA is approving revisions to sections I.A., I.B., I.C., I.D., I.E., I.F., I.G., II.B., II.C., II.E.2. and II.H of the State's Common Provisions Regulation from the March 31, 2010 submittal as shown in Table 1 below. We are also approving revisions to Parts A, B and D of the State's Regulation Number 3 from the May 16, 2012 and May 13, 2013 submittals (Table 1), except for those revisions we are not taking action on as represented in Table 2 below. Finally, EPA is correcting regulatory text and IBR published in the Federal Register on April 24, 2014 (79 FR 22772).

A comprehensive summary of the revisions in Colorado's Common Provisions Regulation and Regulation Number 3 Parts A, B and D organized by EPA's action, reason for “no action” and submittal date are provided in Table 1 and Table 2 below.

Table 1—List of Colorado Revisions That EPA Is Approving Revised sections in March 31, 2010; May 16, 2012; and May 13, 2013 submissions that EPA is approving March 31, 2010 submittal—Common Provisions Regulation: I.A., I.B., I.C., I.D., I.E., I.F., I.G., II.B., II.C., II.E.2., II.H. May 16, 2012 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part A: I.B.17., I.B.28.c., I.B.44.b.(i), I.B.44.e.(ii)(B), II.C.2.b.(ii), II.D.1.q., II.D.1.ppp., II.D.1.uuu., II.D.1.dddd. May 13, 2013 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part A: I.A., I.B.7., I.B.28., I.B.43., II.D.1., II.D.1.dddd., V.I.2., VI.B.5., Appendix B. May 16, 2012 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part B: II.D.1.c., II.D.1.m., III.G.1. May 13, 2013 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part B: III.C.1.a. May 16, 2012 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part D: II.A.24.f., II.A.26.c., II.A.26.e.-II.A.26.k. (re-numbering), II.A.42., III.B., V.A., V.A.3., V.A.4., VI.A.2.a., VI.A.4., VI.B.3.a.(ii) and (iv)-(ix), VI.B.3.a.(iii) in reference to removal of total suspended particulate matter monitoring exemption, VI.B.3.c., VI.B.3.e., VI.D.2., X.A.1., X.A.2., XIII.B., XIII.D. May 13, 2013 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part D: I.B.2., I.B.4., I.C., II.A.4.c., II.A.17., II.A.22.d.(ix)(B), II.A.40.5.(b), V.A.3.b., V.A.6., VI.B.3.d., VI.B.3.e. Table 2—List of Colorado Revisions That EPA Is Taking No Action On [Revised sections in March 31, 2010; May 16, 2012; and May 13, 2013 submissions that EPA is taking no action on] Revised section Reason for “No Action” Revision in state-only
  • section of SIP
  • Revision in current section of SIP Revision in disapproved section of SIP Revision
  • superseded by revision in February 20, 2015 state submittal (will be reconciled in future rulemaking)
  • Revision to be made in future state submittal
    March 31, 2010 submittal—Common Provisions Regulation: II.J. X X May 16, 2012 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part A: I.B.31.c X I.B.31.d X II.D.1.sss X II.D.1.ttt X II.D.1.xxx X II.D.1.ffff X May 13, 2013 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part A: I.B.31.d X May 16, 2012 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part D: II.A.5.a X II.A.5.b X II.A.23 X II.A.25 X II.A.26.d. revision to PM2.5 net emission increase X II.A.38 X VI.A.2. introductory paragraph X VI.A.2.c X VI.B.3.a.(iii) in reference to PM2.5 monitoring exemption X VI.B.3.d X May 13, 2013 submittal—Regulation Number 3, Part D: II.A.1.a X II.A.1.c X II.A.1.e X II.A.20.b X II.A.22 X II.A.23.c X II.A.26.a.(i) X II.A.26.f.iii X II.A.38.g X II.A.40.5. introductory paragraph X II.A.40.5.(a) X VI.A.1.c X
    IV. Incorporation by Reference

    In this rule, the EPA is including regulatory text that includes incorporation by reference. In accordance with requirements of 1 CFR 51.5, the EPA is incorporating by reference Colorado Air Quality Control Commission regulations discussed in section III, Final Action of this preamble. The EPA has made, and will continue to make, these documents generally available electronically through www.regulations.gov and/or in hard copy at the appropriate EPA office (see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble for more information).

    V. Statutory and Executive Orders Review

    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 final action merely approves some state law as meeting federal requirements; this final action does not impose additional requirements beyond those imposed by state law. For that reason, this final action:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Under section 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, petitions for judicial review of this action must be filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the appropriate circuit by March 25, 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 CAA section 307(b)(2).)

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 52

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Carbon monoxide, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Greenhouse gases, Lead, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Particulate matter, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Sulfur oxides, Volatile organic compounds.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Shaun L. McGrath, Regional Administrator, Region 8.

    40 CFR part 52 is amended to read as follows:

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

    42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.

    Subpart G—Colorado 2. Section 52.320(c), the Table is amended: a. Under “5 CCR 1001-02 Common Provision Regulation” by revising entries “I” and “II”; b. Under “5 CCR 1001-05, Regulation Number 3, Part A, Concerning General Provisions Applicable to Reporting and Permitting” by revising entries “I”, II” “V”, “VI”, “VIII”, and “Appendix B”; c. Under “5 CCR 1001-05, Regulation Number 3, Part B, Concerning Construction Permits” by revising entries “II” and “III”; and d. Under “5 CCR 1001-05, Regulation Number 3, Part D, Concerning Major Stationary Source New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration” by revising entries “I”, “II”, “III”, “V”, “VI”, “X” “XIII”, “XIV”, and “XV”

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 52.320 Identification of plan.

    (c) * * *

    Title State effective date EPA effective date Final rule citation/date Comments *         *         *         *         *         *         * 5 CCR 1001-02, Common Provisions Regulation I. Definitions, Statement of Intent, and General Provisions Applicable to all Emission Control Regulations adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission 1/30/10
  • 12/15/10
  • 1/25/16 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/16 Except I.G. Definitions, “Construction” and “Day”
    II. General 1/30/10 1/25/16 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/16 Except II.I; II.J.5. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 5 CCR 1001-05, Regulation Number 3, Part A, Concerning General Provisions Applicable to Reporting and Permitting I. Applicability 12/15/2010
  • 12/15/2011
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/16 Except I.B.31.c. and I.B.31.d.
    II. Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN) Requirements 12/15/2010
  • 12/15/2011
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * V. Certification and Trading of Emission Reduction Credits Offset and Netting Transactions 12/15/2010
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    VI. Fees 12/15/2010
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * VIII. Technical Modeling and Monitoring Requirements 12/15/2010 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 *         *         *         *         *         *         * Appendix B, Non-criteria Reportable Pollutants (Sorted by BIN) 12/15/2010
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    5 CCR 1001-05, Regulation Number 3, Part B, Concerning Construction Permits *         *         *         *         *         *         * II. General Requirements for Construction Permits 12/15/2010
  • 12/15/2011
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    III. Construction Permit Review Procedures 12/15/2010
  • 12/15/2011
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    5 CCR 1001-05, Regulation Number 3, Part D, Concerning Major Stationary Source New Source Review and Prevention of Significant Deterioration I. Applicability 12/15/2010
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    II. Definitions 12/15/2010
  • 12/15/2011
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 Except II.A.26.d., the phrase “and only PM2.5 emissions can be used to evaluate the net emissions increase for PM2.5
    III. Permit Review Procedures 12/15/2011 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 *         *         *         *         *         *         * V. Requirements Applicable to Nonattainment Areas 12/15/2011
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016
    VI. Requirements applicable to attainment and unclassifiable areas and pollutants implemented under Section 110 of the Federal Act (Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program) 12/15/2010
  • 12/15/2011
  • 2/15/2013
  • 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 Except for VI.A.1.c., the phrase “for phases that commence construction more than 18 months after the initial granting of the permit”; VI.A.2., the phrase “either Section VI.A.2.a. or b., as clarified for any relevant air pollutant, in Section VI.A.2.c.”; VI.A.2.c.; VI.B.3.a.(iii) in reference to PM2.5 monitoring exemption; and VI.B.3.d.
    *         *         *         *         *         *         * X. Air Quality Limitations 12/15/2011 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 *         *         *         *         *         *         * XIII. Federal Class I Areas 12/15/2011 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 XIV. Visibility 12/15/2010 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 XV. Actuals PALs 12/15/2010 1/25/2016 [Insert Federal Register citation], 1/25/2016 *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    [FR Doc. 2016-01319 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 8 [GN Docket No. 14-28; DA 15-1425] Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission, via the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB or Bureau) temporarily extends an exemption for smaller broadband Internet access service providers from compliance with certain enhancements to the exiting transparency rule that governs the content and format of disclosures made by providers. The exemption is available to providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband connections as per the provider's most recent Form 477, aggregated over all of the providers' affiliates. These actions are necessary to enable consideration of whether to make the exemption permanent after the Commission completes its burden analysis.

    DATES:

    Effective February 24, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jerusha Burnett, Consumer Policy Division, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554, (202) 418-0526.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Document DA 15-1425, released December 15, 2015 in GN Docket No. 14-28, temporarily extending the exemption for smaller providers from enhanced transparency requirements established in the Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, GN Docket No. 14-28, Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and Order (2015 Open Internet Order), published at 80 FR 19738, April 13, 2015. The full text of document DA 15-1425 will be available for public inspection and copying via ECFS, and during regular business hours at the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. Document DA 15-1425 can also be downloaded in Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) at: https://www.fcc.gov/document/open-internet-small-business-exemption-extension-order.

    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 and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

    Final Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Analysis

    The Commission currently has an Office and Management and Budget (OMB) collection 3060-1158 pending OMB's review and approval of a revision containing modified information collection requirements adopted in the Commission's 2015 Open Internet Order, published at 80 FR 19736, April 18, 2015. This collection contains information collection requirements for a temporary exemption for smaller broadband Internet access service providers imposed by the transparency rule, which are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995. Public Law 104-13. However, document DA 15-1425 does not modify the existing information collection requirements contained in OMB collection 3060-1158, and it does not contain new or modified information collection requirements subject to the PRA. In addition, therefore, it does not contain any new or modified information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002. Public Law 107-198. See also 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    Synopsis Introduction

    1. In document DA 15-1425, CGB finds that at this time it cannot fully evaluate the impact of removing the temporary exemption for smaller broadband Internet access service providers from the enhancements to the Open Internet transparency rule previously adopted by the Commission in the 2015 Open Internet Order. The information collection and disclosure requirements imposed by the transparency rule are subject to the PRA. The Commission is proceeding through the PRA process, which involves estimating the burden of complying with the transparency rule enhancements for providers of all sizes and obtaining approval from OMB. To avoid acting prematurely in advance of that approval, CGB therefore extends the temporary exemption for smaller providers until December 15, 2016. At that time, the Bureau expects that the PRA process will be complete and that the full Commission will be able to consider whether and, if so, how best to extend the temporary exemption from the enhanced transparency requirements with the benefit of more complete information.

    Background

    2. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, the Commission adopted certain enhancements to the existing transparency rule that governs the content and format of disclosures made by providers of broadband Internet access service. These enhanced transparency requirements built upon the original transparency rule the Commission adopted in 2010 to provide critical information to end-user consumers, edge providers, and the Internet community regarding commercial terms, performance characteristics, and network practices. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, the Commission concluded that the enhanced requirements adopted were modest in nature, yet critical to consumers, and, indeed, that some may have already been required by the 2010 rule.

    3. The Commission temporarily exempted from the enhanced transparency requirements those providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband subscribers, as per their most recent Form 477, aggregated over all of the providers' affiliates. At the same time, the Commission directed CGB to seek comment on both the appropriateness of the exemption as well as the threshold, and to adopt an order announcing whether it is maintaining an exemption and at what level by no later than December 15, 2015.

    4. On June 22, 2015, the Bureau released a Public Notice, published at 80 FR 38424, July 15, 2015, seeking comment on whether to maintain the temporary exemption and, if so, the appropriate threshold for whether a provider qualified for such an exemption. The Public Notice also clarified that the threshold should be measured in terms of broadband connections, rather than in terms of subscribers or subscriber lines. For this reason, the Public Notice made clear that the current exemption from the enhanced transparency requirements applied to providers with 100,000 or fewer broadband connections.

    Smaller Provider Exemption

    5. CGB hereby extends the temporary exemption for smaller providers from the enhanced transparency requirements until December 15, 2016. At that time, the Bureau expects that the PRA process will be complete and that the full Commission will be able to consider whether and, if so, how best to address the exemption from the enhanced transparency requirements for small providers with the benefit of more complete information.

    6. The Bureau cannot agree with those commenters that claim that the enhanced transparency requirements offer no tangible benefit to customers of smaller providers. As the Commission stated in the 2015 Open Internet Order, the enhanced transparency requirements, while modest, are critical to enable end-user consumers to make informed choices about broadband Internet access services by providing them with timely information tailored to their needs. Similarly, the Commission stated that such requirements provide edge providers with the information necessary to develop new content, applications, services, and devices that promote the virtuous cycle of investment and innovation. The Commission noted in the 2015 Open Internet Order that it received numerous complaints from consumers after the 2010 rules took effect, suggesting that broadband providers were not providing the information that end users and edge providers need to receive and the Commission continues to receive such complaints. Commenters critical of the enhanced transparency requirements offer no evidence that Internet customers do not have the same complaints today that they raised in the period following the 2010 rules, nor do they present evidence that customers of smaller providers are less in need of these essential informational disclosures than are customers of larger providers. It is a matter of historical record that Open Internet issues do not necessarily concern the actions of only large broadband providers. Furthermore, the Bureau agrees with the commenter who noted that rural subscribers deserve the same benefits as all other subscribers.

    7. In determining whether and, if so, how to best to address the exemption, the Bureau must balance the benefit of the transparency rule enhancements to consumers against the impact on small providers of removing the exemption. Until the PRA process is complete, however, the Bureau finds that we cannot fully evaluate this impact. Despite the Commission's finding that the enhancements adopted in the 2015 Open Internet Order are modest, a few commenters cite specific requirements as being particularly burdensome for smaller providers. The Commission is currently evaluating comments in response to the initial burden estimates and is preparing final burden estimates. In addition, in response to requests for additional clarity regarding the enhanced compliance obligations, the Bureau anticipates that the Commission may release a public notice in the near future, similar to the guidance provided in 2011 on interpreting the transparency requirements. Such guidance may provide greater certainty as to the enhanced disclosure obligations and alleviate commenter concerns regarding potential liability for inadvertent non-compliance.

    8. The 2015 Open Internet Order directed the Bureau to seek comment on the smaller provider exemption and to adopt an order announcing whether it is maintaining an exemption and at what level by no later than December 15, 2015. To avoid making a premature determination prior to PRA approval, the Bureau therefore extends the exemption until December 15, 2016. At that time, the Bureau expects that the PRA process will be complete and that the full Commission will be able to consider whether and, if so, how best, to address the exemption from the enhanced transparency requirements for small providers with the benefit of more complete information.

    Smaller Provider Threshold

    9. The Commission set the exemption threshold at 100,000 or fewer broadband connections as per providers' most recent Form 477, aggregated over all of the providers' affiliates. The Bureau agrees with those commenters who support the use of this threshold. As the Commission noted, this threshold is analogous to that which was used in the 2013 Rural Call Completion Order, published at 78 FR 76218, December 17, 2013, and advocated for by parties who sought such an exemption in this proceeding. Although some parties advocate that the Bureau should broaden this exemption to include entities that serve 500,000 or fewer broadband connections, the Bureau is concerned from our internal review of the relevant Form 477 data that this change would substantially increase the number of consumers who would be temporarily excluded from receiving the information that the Commission has deemed essential for them to make informed choices about broadband services. Absent a more compelling reason than a desire to protect such providers from burdens that the Commission has concluded are modest in nature, the Bureau believes the Commission's threshold of 100,000 or fewer broadband connections as measured by their most recent Form 477, aggregated over all affiliates remains a reasonable basis to delineate which providers are likely to be most affected by the burden of complying with the enhanced disclosure requirements. Furthermore, the Bureau notes that providers with between 100,000 and 500,000 connections were not covered by the exemption established by the Commission in the 2015 Open Internet Order and, presumably, have already begun the process of coming into compliance. The Bureau does not agree with the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Advocacy and CTIA that the Commission has adopted a size standard that differs from the SBA's size standard and thus requires SBA approval for regulatory enforcement purposes. The 100,000 connection threshold is not a business size. Rather it exempts businesses (both larger and smaller) based on an analysis of the relative costs of requiring compliance. By CGB's action here, the Bureau extends the exemption already set by the Commission in the 2015 Open Internet Order, using a threshold which itself is analogous to a threshold the Commission has used in the past.

    Form 477

    10. In the Public Notice, the Bureau sought comment on whether smaller providers that fail to file a Form 477 should be ineligible for the exemption. One commenter notes that not all providers are required to submit Form 477 and suggests that these providers be allowed to offer an alternative reporting mechanism to avail themselves of the exemption. The Bureau agrees, in this limited circumstance, that providers that are not required to file a Form 477 can avail themselves of the exemption by demonstrating that they served 100,000 or fewer broadband connections aggregated over all the providers' affiliates at the relevant time should any complaint arise. In all other instances, however, the exemption will be tied to the information provided on Form 477. In the 2015 Open Internet Order, the Commission expressly linked the exemption to the number of connections reported via the Form 477. The Bureau finds no basis in the record to revisit that decision herein. As a result, providers obligated to file Form 477 that do not fulfill their obligation to file such information in a timely manner will be ineligible for the exemption, even if they serve 100,000 or fewer broadband connections aggregated over all of the providers' affiliates.

    Congressional Review Act

    The Commission will not send a copy of DA 15-1425 pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, because the Commission adopted no rules therein. See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A). Rather than adopting rules, the Commission exercised its statutory authority to extend an exemption for smaller broadband Internet access service providers from compliance with certain enhancements to the exiting transparency rule that governs the content and format of disclosures made by providers by Order until December 15, 2016.

    Ordering Clause

    Pursuant to sections 4(i) and 4(j) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), (j), and § 8.3 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 8.3, and the authority delegated in §§ 0.141 and 0.361 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 0.141, 0.361, and in 2015 Open Internet Order, that document DA 15-1425 is adopted.

    Federal Communications Commission. Mark Stone, Deputy Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.
    [FR Doc. 2016-00485 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    81 15 Monday, January 25, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration 7 CFR Part 800 RIN 0580-AB13 Reauthorization of the United States Grain Standards Act AGENCY:

    Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) is proposing to revise existing regulations and add new regulations under the United States Grain Standards Act (USGSA), as amended, in order to comply with amendments to the USGSA made by the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015. Specifically, this rulemaking proposes to eliminate mandatory barge weighing, remove the discretion for emergency waivers of inspection and weighing, revise GIPSA's fee structure, revise exceptions to official agency geographic boundaries, extend the length of licenses and designations, and impose new requirements for delegated States.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    We invite you to submit comments on this rule. In your comments, please include the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) and the volume, date, and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

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

    • Mail, hand deliver, or courier to Dexter Thomas, GIPSA, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Room 2526-S, Washington, DC 20250-3642.

    Comments will be available online at www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be inspected at the mail address listed above between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. A copy of this proposed rule is available through the GIPSA homepage at http://www.gipsa.usda.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Barry Gomoll, 202-720-8286.

    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview

    On September 30, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015, Public Law 114-54, (The Reauthorization Act). In addition to extending certain provisions of the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 71-87k) to 2020, the Reauthorization Act also made several changes to the existing law. Therefore, this proposed rule would amend 7 CFR part 800 to comply with the amendments made by the Reauthorization Act. Specifically, this proposed rule would:

    • Remove the requirement to officially weigh inbound barge shipments at export port locations (§§ 800.15 and 800.216);

    • require GIPSA to approve all requests for waivers of official inspection and weighing requirements for export grain in “emergencies or other circumstances which would not impair the objectives of the [USGSA]” (§ 800.18);

    • base the portion of fees assessed on tonnage on the 5-year rolling average of export tonnage volume (§ 800.71);

    • adjust fees annually to maintain a 3 to 6 month operating reserve for inspection and supervision services (§ 800.71);

    • remove the provision that allows applicants to request service from an official agency outside an assigned geographic region after 90 days of nonuse of service (§ 800.117);

    • waive the geographic boundaries established for official agencies between two adjacent official agencies if both official agencies agree in writing to the waiver. (§ 800.117);

    • without changing current termination dates, terminate inspection licenses every 5 years instead of every 3 years (§ 800.175);

    • require delegated States to notify GIPSA of any intent to temporarily discontinue official inspection or weighing services at least 72 hours in advance, except in the case of a major disaster (§ 800.195);

    • require delegated States to submit to a GIPSA review of their delegation by every 5 years in order to certify that they comply with the requirements for delegation under the USGSA (§ 800.195);

    • require designated official agencies to respond to concerns identified during GIPSA's consultations with customers as part of the renewal of a designation (§ 800.196); and

    • extend the minimum length of designation for official agencies from 3 years to 5 years (§ 800.196).

    Fees

    GIPSA last made changes to its fee schedule on May 1, 2013 (78 FR 22151-66). At that time, GIPSA determined that the existing fee schedule for inspection and weighing services would not generate enough revenue to adequately cover program costs through fiscal year 2017. To correct this problem and to build an operating reserve, GIPSA increased fees by 5 percent in fiscal year 2013 and an additional 2 percent for each successive year through fiscal year 2017.

    In addition, GIPSA restructured its tonnage fees to more accurately reflect the administrative and supervisory costs at the national and local level. In order to establish an equitable tonnage fee for all export tonnage utilizing the official system, GIPSA began assessing the national tonnage fee for all export grain inspected and/or weighed (excluding land carrier shipments to Canada and Mexico) by delegated States and designated agencies. GIPSA also shifted workers compensation costs from the national to the local level to fully reflect where those workers compensation costs originated.

    Before the Reauthorization Act, GIPSA used projected future tonnage volumes as a basis for tonnage fees. However, the Reauthorization Act amended the USGSA to require that tonnage fees be based on the five-year rolling average of export tonnage volumes. In order to comply with this new tonnage fee requirement, under this proposed rule, GIPSA would adjust both the national and local tonnage fees on a yearly basis. Under this proposed rule, the national tonnage fee would be the national program administrative costs (the costs of management and support of official inspection and weighing) for the previous fiscal year divided by the average export tonnage for the previous 5 fiscal years. Also, the local tonnage fees would be the Field Office administrative costs (the costs of management, support, and maintenance of each Field Office) for the previous fiscal year divided by the average tonnage serviced by that Field Office for the previous 5 fiscal years.

    The Reauthorization Act further requires adjustment of all of GIPSA's fees for the performance, supervision, and administration of official inspection and weighing services at least annually to maintain a 3 to 6 month operating reserve. Given that the number of requests for official inspection and weighing services varies with the amount of grain produced and exported, an operating reserve allows funding of operations in periods with lower than usual revenue. In order to maintain an operating reserve, this proposed rule would increase or decrease inspection and weighing fees when the operating reserve is less than 3 times or more than 6 times monthly operating expenses. For every $1 million that the operating reserve is below 3 months or above 6 months of operating expenses, GIPSA would increase or decrease fees by 2 percent respectively. This proposed rule would also set a 5 percent limit on changes to fees for service per calendar year. GIPSA's annual user fee revenue for performance, supervision, and administration of official inspection and weighing is approximately $40 million. Therefore, an increase or decrease of 2 to 5 percent would approximately equal between $0.8 and $2 million annually.

    In addition to annual reviews of fees, GIPSA would continue to evaluate the financial status of the official inspection and weighing services to ensure that the revenue for each service covers the cost to GIPSA of providing that service. Also, GIPSA would continue to seek out cost saving measures and implement appropriate changes to reduce costs and minimize the need for fee increases.

    This action is authorized under the USGSA (7 U.S.C. 79(j)), which provides for the establishment and collection of fees that are reasonable and, as nearly as practicable, cover the costs of the services rendered, including associated administrative and supervisory costs. The tonnage fees cover the GIPSA administrative and supervisory costs for the performance of GIPSA's official inspection and weighing services; including personnel compensation and benefits, travel, rent, communications, utilities, contractual services, supplies, and equipment.

    Exceptions to Geographic Boundaries

    The Reauthorization Act requires changes to GIPSA's exception program for official agencies to operate outside of their geographically assigned areas. Before the Reauthorization Act, the regulations provided for three types of exceptions: Timely service, nonuse of service for 90 consecutive days, and barge probe inspections. The Reauthorization Act amended the USGSA to eliminate the nonuse of service exception and add a provision for geographically adjacent agencies to provide service in each other's assigned geographic territories if they both agree in writing at the request of an applicant. This proposed rule would revise the current regulations to comply with the changes to the USGSA by the Reauthorization Act.

    GIPSA currently has 104 agreements for agencies operating outside of their assigned territory and GIPSA would continue to honor those agreements. Under this proposed rule, an agency would be permitted to provide service at a location in another adjacent agency's territory, provided that both agencies and the applicant for service submit an agreement in writing to GIPSA.

    Delegations

    As required by the Reauthorization Act, this proposed rule would impose new requirements on State agencies that GIPSA delegates to perform export inspection and weighing services at export port locations under the USGSA. The Reauthorization Act requires the Secretary to certify that State agencies are meeting statutory requirements. Accordingly, every 5 years, a delegated State agency must submit to a review as to whether it meets the criteria for delegation set forth in the USGSA. This proposed rule would implement a process mirroring the existing process that GIPSA uses to renew the designations of official agencies. The Reauthorization Act also requires that a delegated State must notify GIPSA in writing of any intent to discontinue providing official service at least 72 hours before any discontinuation. This proposed rule would add this requirement to the section of the regulations concerning responsibilities of delegated States (7 CFR 800.195(f)).

    Emergency Waivers

    The Reauthorization Act amended the USGSA to require GIPSA to waive the mandatory official inspection and weighing of export grain “in emergency or other circumstances that would not impair the objectives of this Act whenever the parties to a contract for such shipment mutually agree to the waiver and documentation of such agreement is provided to the Secretary prior to shipment.” To clarify what constitutes an emergency regarding this provision, this proposed rule would define the term “emergency” in the regulations.

    The final product of all official inspection and weighing services is the official certificate. This certificate is used to represent the grain shipment in trade and may be presented as prima facie evidence in court. Part of GIPSA's mission is to facilitate the marketing of cereals and oilseeds. The inability to issue a certificate does not achieve this mission. In the single historical instance that an emergency was declared, events outside of the control of the State and GIPSA prevented inspectors from safely inspecting grain and accordingly prevented prompt issuance of certificates. Therefore, this rule would define “emergency” to be a situation outside the control of GIPSA or a delegated State that prevents prompt issuance of certificates. This would allow grain shipments to continue in the event that the official system is not able to fully perform all of its duties.

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and the Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Office of Management and Budget has designated this proposed rule as not significant under Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulation Review.” Since grain export volume can vary significantly from year to year, estimating the impact in any future fee changes can be difficult. GIPSA recognizes the need to provide predictability to the industry for inspection and weighing fees. While not required by the Reauthorization Act, this proposed rule would limit the impact of a large annual change in fees by setting an annual cap of 5 percent for increases or decreases in inspection and weighing fees. The statutory requirement to maintain an operating reserve between 3 and 6 months of operating expenses ensures that GIPSA can adequately cover its costs without imposing an undue burden on its customers.

    Currently, GIPSA regularly reviews its user-fee financed programs to determine if the fees charged for performing official inspection and weighing services adequately cover the cost of providing those services. This policy remains unchanged in this proposed regulation. GIPSA will continue to seek out cost saving measures and implement appropriate changes to reduce its costs to provide alternatives to fee increases.

    This proposed rule is unlikely to have an annual effect of $100 million or adversely affect the economy. The changes to the regulation in this proposed rule are a direct response to Congressional action. Also, under the requirements set forth in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601-12), GIPSA has considered the economic impact of this proposed rule on small entities. The purpose of the Regulatory Flexibility Act is to fit regulatory actions to the scale of businesses subject to such actions. This ensures that small businesses will not be unduly or disproportionately burdened. GIPSA is proposing this rule solely because the Reauthorization Act amended the USGSA, which requires that the regulations be updated to reflect the changes made to the USGSA by the Reauthorization Act.

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines small businesses by their North American Industry Classification System Codes (NAICS). This proposed rule would affect customers of GIPSA's official inspection and weighing services in the domestic and export grain markets (NAICS code 115114). Fees for that program are in Schedules A (Tables 1-3) and B of § 800.71 of GIPSA's regulations (7 CFR 800.71).

    Under the USGSA, all grain exported from the United States must be officially inspected and weighed. GIPSA provides mandatory inspection and weighing services at 45 export facilities in the United States and 7 facilities for U.S. grain transshipped through Canadian ports. Five delegated State agencies provide mandatory inspection and weighing services at 13 facilities. All of these facilities are owned by multi-national corporations, large cooperatives, or public entities that do not meet the requirements for small entities established by the SBA. Further, the provisions of this proposed rule would apply equally to all entities. The USGSA requires the registration of all persons engaged in the business of buying grain for sale in foreign commerce. In addition, those persons who handle, weigh, or transport grain for sale in foreign commerce must also register. The regulations found at 7 CFR 800.30 define a foreign commerce grain business as persons who regularly engage in buying for sale, handling, weighing, or transporting grain totaling 15,000 metric tons or more during the preceding or current calendar year. Currently, there are 108 registrants registered to export grain, most of which are not small businesses.

    Most users of the official inspection and weighing services do not meet the SBA requirements for small entities. Further, GIPSA is required by statute to make services available to all applicants and to recover the costs of providing such services as nearly as practicable, while maintaining a 3 to 6 month operating reserve. There would be no additional reporting, record keeping, or other compliance requirements imposed upon small entities as a result of this proposed rule. GIPSA has not identified any other federal rules which may duplicate, overlap, or conflict with this proposed rule. Because this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not provided.

    Executive Order 12988

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, “Civil Justice Reform.” This proposed rule would not preempt State or local laws, regulations, or policies unless they represent an irreconcilable conflict with this proposed rule. This proposed rule would not have retroactive effect.

    Executive Order 13132

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13132, “Federalism.” The policies in this proposed rule would not have any substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between federal government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among various levels of government, except as required by law. This proposed rule does not impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments. Because States already retain records for their ordinary operations, the proposed § 800.195(g)(4) should not have a significant impact on State governments. Therefore, consultation with the States is not required.

    Executive Order 13175

    This proposed rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 13175, “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.” To our knowledge, this rule would not have tribal implications that require tribal consultation under Executive Order 13175. If a Tribe requests consultation, GIPSA will work with the USDA Office of Tribal Relations to ensure meaningful consultation is provided where changes, additions, and modifications identified in this rule are not expressly mandated by the Reauthorization Act.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), the information collection and record keeping requirements included in this proposed rule has been approved by the OMB under control number 0580-0013, which expires on January 31, 2018.

    GIPSA is committed to complying with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, which requires Government agencies in general to provide the public the option of submitting information or transacting business electronically to maximum extent possible.

    E-Government Compliance

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

    List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 800

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

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, GIPSA proposes to amend 7 CFR part 800 as follows:

    PART 800—GENERAL REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 800 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 71-87k.

    2. In § 800.0, add in alphabetical order definitions for “Emergency”, “Field Office administrative costs”, “National program administrative costs”, “Operating expenses”, and “Operating reserve” to read as follows:
    § 800.0 Meaning of terms.

    (b) * * *

    Emergency. A situation outside the control of the Service or a delegated State that prevents prompt issuance of certificates in accordance with § 800.160(c).

    Field Office administrative costs. The costs of management, support, and maintenance of a Field Office, including, but not limited to, the management and administrative support personnel, rent, and utilities. This does not include any costs directly related to providing original or review inspection or weighing services.

    National program administrative costs. The costs of national management and support of official grain inspection and/or weighing. This does not include the Field Office administrative costs and any costs directly related to providing service.

    Operating expenses. The total costs to the Service to provide official grain inspection and/or weighing services.

    Operating reserve. The amount of funds the Service has available to provide official grain inspection and/or weighing services.

    § 800.15 [Amended]
    3. Amend § 800.15 by removing paragraph (b)(2) and redesignating paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) as (b)(2) and (b)(3), respectively. 4. Revise § 800.18(b)(7) to read as follows:
    § 800.18 Waivers of the official inspection and Class X weighing requirements.

    (b) * * *

    (7) Emergency waiver. (i) Upon request, the requirements for official inspection or Class X weighing must be waived whenever the Service determines:

    (A) That an emergency exists that precludes official inspection or Class X weighing;

    (B) That granting an emergency waiver will not impair the objectives of the Act; and

    (C) The buyer and seller mutually agree to the waiver.

    (ii) To qualify for an emergency waiver, the exporter or elevator operator must submit a timely written request to the Service for the emergency waiver and also comply with all conditions that the Service may require.

    5. Revise § 800.71 to read as follows:
    § 800.71 Fees assessed by the Service.

    (a) Official inspection and weighing services. The fees shown in Schedule A apply to official inspection and weighing services performed by FGIS in the U.S. and Canada. The fees shown in Schedule B apply to official domestic inspection and weighing services performed by delegated States and designated agencies, including land carrier shipments to Canada and Mexico. The fees charged to delegated States by the Service are set forth in the State's Delegation of Authority document. Failure of a delegated State or designated agency to pay the appropriate fees to the Service within 30 days after becoming due will result in an automatic termination of the delegation or designation. The delegation or designation may be reinstated by the Service if fees that are due, plus interest and any further expenses incurred by the Service because of the termination, are paid within 60 days of the termination.

    (1) Schedule A—Fees for official inspection and weighing services performed in the United States and Canada, effective October 1, 2015. Canada fees include the noncontract hourly rate, the Toledo Field Office tonnage fee, and the actual cost of travel.

    Table 1 of Schedule A—Fees for Official Services Performed at an Applicant's Facility in an Onsite FGIS Laboratory 1 Monday to
  • Friday
  • (6 a.m. to
  • 6 p.m.)
  • Monday to
  • Friday
  • (6 p.m. to
  • 6 a.m.)
  • Saturday,
  • Sunday, and
  • overtime 2
  • Holidays
    (1) Inspection and Weighing Services Hourly Rates (per service representative): 1-year contract ($ per hour) $40.20 $42.10 $48.20 $71.40 Noncontract ($ per hour) 71.40 71.40 71.40 71.40 (2) Additional Tests (cost per test, assessed in addition to the hourly rate): 3 (i) Aflatoxin (rapid test kit method) 11.40 (ii) Aflatoxin (rapid test kit method-applicant provides kit) 4 9.40 (iii) All other Mycotoxins (rapid test kit method) 20.80 (iv) All other Mycotoxins (rapid test kit method-applicant provides kit) 4 18.80 (v) NIR or NMR Analysis (protein, oil, starch, etc.) 2.70 (vi) Waxy corn (per test) 2.70 (vii) Fees for other tests not listed above will be based on the lowest noncontract hourly rate (viii) Other services (a) Class Y Weighing (per carrier): (1) Truck/container 0.70 (2) Railcar 1.70 (3) Barge 3.00 (3) Tonnage Fee (assessed in addition to all other applicable fees, only one tonnage fee will be assessed when inspection and weighing services are performed on the same carrier): (i) All outbound carriers serviced by the specific Field Office (per-metric ton): (a) League City 0.192 (b) New Orleans 0.094 (c) Portland 0.191 (d) Toledo 0.306 (e) Delegated States 5 0.061 (f) Designated Agencies 5 0.061 1 Fees apply to original inspection and weighing, re-inspection, and appeal inspection service and include, but are not limited to, sampling, grading, weighing, prior to loading stowage examinations, and certifying results performed within 25 miles of an employee's assigned duty station. Travel and related expenses will be charged for service outside 25 miles as found in § 800.72(a). 2 Overtime rates will be assessed for all hours in excess of 8 consecutive hours that result from an applicant scheduling or requesting service beyond 8 hours, or if requests for additional shifts exceed existing staffing. 3 Appeal and re-inspection services will be assessed the same fee as the original inspection service. 4 Applicant must provide the test kit, instrument hardware, calibration control, and all supplies required by the test kit manufacturer. 5 Tonnage fee is assessed on export grain inspected and/or weighed, excluding land carrier shipments to Canada and Mexico.
    Table 2 of Schedule A—Services Performed at Other Than an Applicant's Facility in an FGIS Laboratory 1 2 (1) Original Inspection and Weighing (Class X) Services: (i) Sampling only (use hourly rates from Table 1 of this section) (ii) Stationary lots (sampling, grade/factor, & checkloading): (a) Truck/trailer/container (per carrier) $22.50 (b) Railcar (per carrier) 33.30 (c) Barge (per carrier) 209.10 (d) Sacked grain (per hour per service representative plus an administrative fee per hundredweight) (CWT) 0.08 (iii) Lots sampled online during loading (sampling charge under (1)(i) of this table, plus): (a) Truck/trailer container (per carrier) 13.50 (b) Railcar (per carrier) 28.10 (c) Barge (per carrier) 143.00 (d) Sacked grain (per hour per service representative plus an administrative fee per hundredweight) (CWT) 0.08 (iv) Other services: (a) Submitted sample (per sample—grade and factor) 13.50 (b) Warehouseman inspection (per sample) 23.60 (c) Factor only (per factor—maximum 2 factors) 6.60 (d) Checkloading/condition examination (use hourly rates from Table 1 of this section, plus an administrative fee per hundredweight if not previously assessed) (CWT) 0.08 (e) Re-inspection (grade and factor only. Sampling service additional, item (1)(i) of this table) 14.60 (f) Class X Weighing (per hour per service representative) 71.40 (v) Additional tests (excludes sampling): (a) Aflatoxin (rapid test kit method) 33.60 (b) Aflatoxin (rapid test kit method-applicant provides kit) 3 31.60 (c) All other Mycotoxins (rapid test kit method) 43.20 (d) All other Mycotoxins (rapid test kit method-applicant provides kit) 3 41.20 (e) NIR or NMR Analysis (protein, oil, starch, etc.) 11.40 (f) Waxy corn (per test) 11.40 (g) Canola (per test-00 dip test) 11.40 (h) Pesticide Residue Testing: 4 (1) Routine Compounds (per sample) 240.90 (2) Special Compounds (Subject to availability) 128.40 (i) Fees for other tests not listed above will be based on the lowest noncontract hourly rate from Table 1 of this section. (2) Appeal inspection and review of weighing service.5 (i) Board Appeals and Appeals (grade and factor) 91.50 (a) Factor only (per factor—max 2 factors) 48.20 (b) Sampling service for Appeals additional (hourly rates from Table 1 of this section) (ii) Additional tests (assessed in addition to all other applicable tests): (a) Aflatoxin (rapid test kit method) 33.60 (b) Aflatoxin (rapid test kit method-applicant provides kit) 3 31.60 (c) All other Mycotoxins (rapid test kit method) 52.60 (d) All other Mycotoxins (rapid test kit method-applicant provides kit) 3 50.60 (e) NIR or NMR Analysis (protein, oil, starch, etc.) 19.80 (f) Sunflower oil (per test) 19.80 (g) Mycotoxin (per test-HPLC) 157.30 (h) Pesticide Residue Testing: 4 (1) Routine Compounds (per sample) 240.90 (2) Special Compounds (Subject to availability) 128.40 (i) Fees for other tests not listed above will be based on the lowest noncontract hourly rate from Table 1 of this section. (iii) Review of weighing (per hour per service representative) 92.30 (3) Stowage examination (service-on-request):4 (i) Ship (per stowage space) (minimum $285.00 per ship) 57.00 (ii) Subsequent ship examinations (same as original) (minimum $171.00 per ship) 57.00 (iii) Barge (per examination) 45.80 (iv) All other carriers (per examination) 18.00 1 Fees apply to original inspection and weighing, re-inspection, and appeal inspection service and include, but are not limited to, sampling, grading, weighing, prior to loading stowage examinations, and certifying results performed within 25 miles of an employee's assigned duty station. Travel and related expenses will be charged for service outside 25 miles as found in § 800.72(a). 2 An additional charge will be assessed when the revenue from the services in Schedule A, Table 2, does not cover what would have been collected at the applicable hourly rate as provided in § 800.72(b). 3 Applicant must provide the test kit, instrument hardware, calibration control, and all supplies required by the test kit manufacturer. 4 If performed outside of normal business, 11/2 times the applicable unit fee will be charged. 5 If, at the request of the Service, a file sample is located and forwarded by the Agency, the Agency may, upon request, be reimbursed at the rate of $3.50 per sample by the Service. Table 3 of Schedule A—Miscellaneous Services 1 (1) Grain grading seminars (per hour per service representative) 2 $71.40. (2) Certification of diverter-type mechanical samplers (per hour per service representative) 2 71.40. (3) Special weighing services (per hour per service representative): 2 (i) Scale testing and certification 92.90. (ii) Scale testing and certification of railroad track scales 92.90. (iii) Evaluation of weighing and material handling systems 92.90. (iv) NTEP Prototype evaluation (other than Railroad Track Scales) 92.90. (v) NTEP Prototype evaluation of Railroad Track Scale 92.90. (vi) Use of GIPSA railroad track scale test equipment per facility for each requested service. (Track scales tested under the Association of American Railroads agreement are exempt.) 557.30. (vii) Mass standards calibration and re-verification 92.90. (viii) Special projects 92.90. (4) Foreign travel (hourly fee) 3 92.90. (5) Online customized data service: (i) One data file per week for 1 year 557.30. (ii) One data file per month for 1 year 334.40. (6) Samples provided to interested parties (per sample) 3.50. (7) Divided-lot certificates (per certificate) 2.20. (8) Extra copies of certificates (per certificate) 2.20. (9) Faxing (per page) 2.20. (10) Special mailing Actual Cost. (11) Preparing certificates onsite or during other than normal business hours (use hourly rates from Table 1 of this section). 1 Any requested service that is not listed will be performed at $71.40 per hour. 2 Regular business hours—Monday through Friday—service provided at other than regular business hours will be charged at 11/2 times the applicable hourly rate. (See the definition of “business day” in § 800.0(b)) 3 Foreign travel charged hourly fee of $92.90 plus travel, per diem, and related expenditures.

    (2) Schedule B—Fees for FGIS Supervision of Official Inspection and Weighing Services Performed by Delegated States and/or Designated Agencies in the United States. The supervision fee charged by the Service is $0.011 per metric ton of domestic U.S. grain shipments inspected and/or weighed, including land carrier shipments to Canada and Mexico.

    (b) Annual review of fees. For each calendar year, starting with 2017, the Service will review the fees in Schedule A and publish fees effective January 1 of each year according to the following:

    (1) Tonnage fees. Tonnage fees will consist of the national tonnage fee and local tonnage fees and will be calculated and rounded to the nearest $0.001 per metric ton. All outbound grain officially inspected and/or weighed by the Field Offices in New Orleans, League City, Portland, and Toledo will be assessed the national tonnage fee plus the appropriate local tonnage fee. Export grain officially inspected and/or weighed by delegated States and official agencies, excluding land carrier shipments to Canada and Mexico, will be assessed the national tonnage fee only. The fees will be set according to the following:

    (i) National tonnage fee. The national tonnage fee is the national program administrative costs for the previous fiscal year divided by the average yearly tons of export grain officially inspected and/or weighed by delegated States and designated agencies, excluding land carrier shipments to Canada and Mexico, and outbound grain officially inspected and/or weighed by the Service during the previous 5 fiscal years.

    (ii) Local tonnage fee. The local tonnage fee is the Field Office administrative costs for the previous fiscal year divided by the average yearly tons of outbound grain officially inspected and/or weighed by the Field Office during the previous 5 fiscal years. The local tonnage fee is calculated individually for each Field Office.

    (2) Operating reserve. In order to maintain an operating reserve not less than 3 and not more than 6 months, the Service will review the value of the operating reserve at the end of each fiscal year and adjust fees according to the following:

    (i) Between 3 months and 6 months. If the operating reserve is greater than or equal to 3 times the monthly operating expenses and less than or equal to 6 times the monthly operating expenses, the Service will not make any fee adjustments other than provided for in paragraphs (b)(1) and (c) of this section.

    (ii) Less than 3 months. If the operating reserve is less than 3 times the monthly operating expenses, the Service will increase all fees in Schedule A by 2 percent for each $1,000,000, rounded down, that the operating reserve is less than 3 times the monthly operating expense, with a maximum increase of 5 percent annually. Except for fees based on tonnage or hundredweight, all fees will be rounded to the nearest $0.10.

    (iii) Greater than 6 months. If the operating reserve is greater than 6 times the monthly operating expenses, the Service will decrease all fees in Schedule A by 2 percent for each $1,000,000, rounded down, that the operating reserve is greater than 6 times the monthly operating expense, with a maximum decrease of 5 percent annually. Except for fees based on tonnage or hundredweight, all fees will be rounded to the nearest $0.10.

    (c) Periodic review. The Service will periodically review and adjust all fees in Schedules A and B as necessary to ensure they reflect the true cost of providing and supervising official service. This process will incorporate any fee adjustments from paragraph (b) of this section.

    (d) Miscellaneous fees for other services—(1) Registration certificates and renewals. (i) The nature of your business will determine the fees that your business must pay for registration certificates and renewals:

    (A) If you operate a business that buys, handles, weighs, or transports grain for sale in foreign commerce, you must pay $135.00.

    (B) If you operate a business that buys, handles, weighs, or transports grain for sale in foreign commerce and you are also in a control relationship (see definition in section 17A(b)(2) of the Act) with respect to a business that buys, handles, weighs, or transports grain for sale in interstate commerce, you must pay $270.00.

    (ii) If you request extra copies of registration certificates, you must pay $2.20 for each copy.

    (2) Designation amendments. If you submit an application to amend a designation, you must pay $75.00.

    (3) Scale testing organization. If you submit an application to operate as a scale testing organization, you must pay $250.00.

    7. Amend § 800.117 by removing paragraph (b)(2), redesignating paragraph (b)(3) as (b)(2), and adding a new paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:
    § 800.117 Who shall perform original services.

    (b) * * *

    (3) Written agreement. If the assigned official agency agrees in writing with the adjacent official agency to waive the current geographic area restriction at the request of the applicant for service, the adjacent official agency may provide service at a particular location upon approval by the Service.

    8. Revise paragraph (a) of § 800.175 to read as follows:
    § 800.175 Termination of licenses.

    (a) Term of license. Each license shall terminate in accordance with the termination date shown on the license and as specified in paragraph (b) of this section. The termination date for a license shall be no less than 5 years or more than 6 years after the issuance date for the initial license; thereafter, every 5 years. Upon request of a licensee and for good cause shown, the termination date may be advanced or delayed by the Administrator for a period not to exceed 60 days.

    9. Amend § 800.195 by adding paragraphs (f)(11) and (g)(4) to read as follows:
    § 800.195 Delegations.

    (f) * * *

    (11) Notification to Secretary. A delegated State shall notify the Secretary of its intention to temporarily discontinue official inspection and/or weighing services for any reason, except in the case of a major disaster. The delegated State must provide written notification to the Service no less than 72 hours in advance of the discontinuation date.

    (g) * * *

    (4) Review. At least once every 5 years, a delegated State shall submit to a review of its delegation by the Service in accordance with the criteria and procedures for delegation prescribed in section 7(e) of the Act, this section of the regulations, and the instructions. The Administrator may revoke the delegation of a State according to this subsection if the State fails to meet or comply with any of the criteria for delegation set forth in the Act, regulations, and instructions.

    10. Amend § 800.196 by revising paragraphs (e)(2)(ii) and (iii), adding paragraph (e)(2)(iv), and revising paragraph (h)(1)(i) to read as follows:
    § 800.196 Designations.

    (e) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (ii) The applicant meets the conditions and criteria specified in the Act and regulations;

    (iii) The applicant is better able than any other applicant to provide official services; and

    (iv) The applicant addresses concerns identified during consultations that the Service conducts with applicants for service to the satisfaction of the Service.

    (h) Termination and renewal—(1) Every 5 years—(i) Termination. A designation shall terminate at a time specified by the Administrator, but not later than 5 years after the effective date of the designation. A notice of termination shall be issued by the Service to a designated agency at least 120 calendar days in advance of the termination date. The notice shall provide instructions for requesting renewal of the designation. Failure to receive a notice from the Service shall not exempt a designated agency from the responsibility of having its designation renewed on or before the specified termination date.

    11. Amend § 800.216 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:
    § 800.216 Activities that shall be monitored.

    (c) Grain handling activities. Grain handling activities subject to monitoring for compliance with the Act include, but are not limited to:

    (1) Shipping export grain without inspection or weighing;

    (2) Violating any Federal law with respect to the handling, weighing, or inspection of grain;

    (3) Deceptively loading, handling, weighing, or sampling grain; and

    (4) Exporting grain without a certificate of registration.

    Larry Mitchell, Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01083 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-KD-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG-2015-1039] RIN 1625-AA08 Special Local Regulations; Sector Ohio Valley Annual and Recurring Special Local Regulations Update AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard is amending and updating its special local regulations relating to recurring marine parades, regattas, and other events that take place in the Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley area of responsibility (AOR). This document informs the public of regularly scheduled events that require additional safety measures through establishing a special local regulation. Through this document the current list of recurring special local regulations is updated with revisions, additional events, and removal of events that no longer take place in Sector Ohio Valley's AOR. When these special local regulations are enforced, certain restrictions are placed on marine traffic in specified areas. Additionally, this one proposed rulemaking project reduces administrative costs involved in producing separate proposed rules for each individual recurring special local regulation and serves to provide notice of the known recurring special local regulations throughout the year.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2015-1039 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this proposed rule, call or email Petty Officer James Robinson, Sector Ohio Valley, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (502) 779-5347, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Table of Abbreviations CFR Code of Federal Regulations DHS Department of Homeland Security E.O. Executive order FR Federal Register NPRM Notice of proposed rulemaking Pub. L. Public Law § Section U.S.C. United States Code II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    The Captain of the Port (COTP) Ohio Valley is proposing to establish, amend, and update its current list of recurring special local regulations.

    These special local regulations are proposed to be added, amended, and updated to the list of annually recurring special local regulations under 33 CFR 100.801 in Table 1 for annual special local regulations in the COTP Ohio Valley zone. The Coast Guard will address all comments accordingly, whether through response, additional revision to the regulation, or otherwise. Additionally, these recurring events are provided to the public through local avenues and planned by the local communities.

    The current list of annual and recurring special local regulations occurring in Sector Ohio Valley's AOR is published under 33 CFR 100.801. That most recent list was created August 19, 2015 through the rulemaking 80 FR 50196, which finalized the interim rule published April 22, 2014, 79 FR 22381, which received no adverse comments. The August 19, 2015 rulemaking established under 33 CFR 100.801 created the current comprehensive list of recurring safety zones.

    The Coast Guard's authority for establishing a special local regulation is contained at 33 U.S.C. 1233. The Coast Guard is amending and updating the special local regulations under 33 CFR part 100 to include the most up to date list of recurring special local regulations for events held on or around navigable waters within Sector Ohio Valley's AOR. These events include marine parades, boat races, swim events, and other marine related events. The current list under 33 CFR 100.801 requires amending to provide new information on existing special local regulations, updating to include new special local regulations expected to recur annually or biannually, and to remove special local regulations that are no longer required. Issuing individual regulations for each new special local regulation, amendment, or removal of an existing special local regulation creates unnecessary administrative costs and burdens. This single proposed rulemaking will considerably reduce administrative overhead and provides the public with notice through publication in the Federal Register of the upcoming recurring special local regulations.

    The Coast Guard encourages the public to participate in this proposed rulemaking through the comment process so that any necessary changes can be identified and implemented in a timely and efficient manner.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    33 CFR part 100 contains regulations to provide effective control over regattas and marine parades conducted on U.S. navigable waters in order to ensure the safety of life in the regattas or marine parade area. Section 100.801 provides the regulations applicable to events taking place in the Eighth Coast Guard District and also provides a table listing each event and special local regulation. This section requires amendment from time to time to properly reflect the recurring special local regulations in Sector Ohio Valley's AOR. This proposed rule amends and updates § 100.801 replacing the current Table 1 for Sector Ohio Valley.

    Additionally, this proposed rule adds 16 new recurring special local regulations and removes 8 special local regulations.

    Sixteen new recurring special local regulations are added under the new Table 1 of § 100.801 for Sector Ohio Valley:

    Date Event/sponsor Ohio Valley
  • location
  • Regulated area
    2 days—last weekend in September Captain Quarters Regatta Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 595.0-597.0 (Kentucky). 1 day—One of the last three weekends in June Louisville Race the Bridge Triathlon Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 601.5-603.0 (Kentucky). 2 days—Second or third weekend in September Louisville Dragon Boat Festival Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 603.0-603.5 (Kentucky). 1 day—One of the last two weekends in September Ohio River Open Water Swim Prospect, KY Ohio River, Mile 588.0-590.0 (Kentucky). 1 day—Third weekend in May World Triathlon Corporation/IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 463.0-466.0 (Tennessee). 1 day—Second weekend in July Bradley Dean/Renaissance Man Triathlon Florence, AL Tennessee River, Mile 255.0-257.0 (Alabama). 1 day—Last weekend in August Tennessee Clean Water Network/Downtown Dragon Boat Races Knoxville, TN Tennessee River, Mile 647.0-649.0 (Tennessee). 1 day—Last weekend in September World Triathlon Corporation/IRONMAN Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 463.0-467.0 (Tennessee). 1 day—Third weekend in November TREC-RACE/Pangorge Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 444.0-455.0 (Tennessee). 2 days—weekend before Labor Day SUP3Rivers The Southside Outside Pittsburgh, PA Monongahela River, Mile 0.0-3.09 Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-0.25 (Pennsylvania). 1 day—Saturday before Labor Day Wheeling Dragon Boat Race Wheeling, WV Ohio River, Mile 90.4-91.5 (West Virginia). 1 day—Third Saturday in July Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club/St. Brendan's Cup Currach Regatta Pittsburgh, PA Ohio River, Miles 7.0-9.0, back channel (Pennsylvania). Second Sunday in September Ohio River Sternwheel Festival Committee Sternwheel race reenactment Marietta, OH Ohio River, Mile 170.5-172.5 (Ohio). Second Saturday in September Parkesburg Paddle Fest Parkersburg, WV Ohio River, Mile 184.3-188 (West Virginia). Three days during the fourth weekend in September New Martinsville Records and Regatta Challenge Committee New Martinsville, WV Ohio River, Mile 128-129 (West Virginia) 3 days—1st week of August EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Pittsburgh, PA Ohio River, Mile 0.0-0.5, Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-0.6, and Monongahela River, Mile 0.0-0.5 (Pennsylvania).

    This proposed rule removes the following 8 special local regulations from the existing Table 1 of § 100.801:

    Date Event/sponsor Ohio Valley
  • location
  • Regulated area
    1 day—Third weekend in July Headfirst Performance/Cardinal Harbor Triathlon Finchville, KY Ohio River, Mile 595 (Kentucky). 1 day—First or second weekend in August Evansville Goodwill Industries/Ducks on the Ohio Evansville, IN Ohio River, Mile 792.0-796.0 (Indiana). 1 day—First or second weekend in June Southern Indiana Triathlon Inc./Southern Indiana Triathlon Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 600.0-603.0 (Kentucky). 1 day—Last weekend in June SOS Triathlon Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 602.0-603.5 (Kentucky). 1 day—First or second weekend in July City of Livermore Canoe Race Livermore, KY Green River, Mile 71.0-71.5 (Kentucky). 1 day—First or second weekend in July Jam Brand Sports, LLC/Buckhead Border Challenge Triathlon Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 602.0-604.0 (Kentucky). 1 day—First weekend in August Kentucky Derby Festival/Venetian Boat Parade Festival New Albany, IN Ohio River, Mile 596.0-604.3 (Indiana). 1 day—Second weekend in August North Oldham High School/North Oldham Ohio River Swim LaGrange, KY Ohio River, Mile 595 (Kentucky).

    The effect of this proposed rule will be to restrict general navigation during these events. Vessels intending to transit the designated waterway through the special local regulations will only be allowed to transit the area when the COTP Ohio Valley, or designated representative, has deemed it safe to do so or at the completion of the event.

    IV. Regulatory Analyses

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

    A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    E.O.s 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. E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This proposed rule has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    The Coast Guard expects the economic impact of this proposed rule to be minimal, and therefore a full regulatory evaluation is unnecessary. This proposed rule establishes special local regulations limiting access to certain areas under 33 CFR part 100 within Sector Ohio Valley's AOR. The effect of this proposed rulemaking will not be significant because these special local regulations are limited in scope and duration. Additionally, the public is given advance notification through local forms of notice, the Federal Register, and/or Notices of Enforcement and thus will be able to plan operations around the special local regulations in advance. Deviation from the special local regulations established through this proposed rulemaking may be requested from the appropriate COTP and requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Broadcast Notices to Mariners and Local Notices to Mariners will also inform the community of these special local regulations so that they may plan accordingly for these short restrictions on transit. Vessel traffic may request permission from the COTP Ohio Valley or a designated representative to enter the restricted area.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA), 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 proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    This proposed rule will affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners or operators of vessels intending to transit the special local regulation areas during periods of enforcement. The special local regulations will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they are limited in scope and will be in effect for short periods of time. Before the enforcement period, the Coast Guard COTP will issue maritime advisories widely available to waterway users. Deviation from the special local regulations established through this proposed rulemaking may be requested from the appropriate COTP and requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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

    C. Collection of Information

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

    Also, this proposed rule does not have tribal implications under E.O. 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 proposed 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 proposed rule would not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this proposed rule elsewhere in this preamble.

    F. Environment

    We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Management Directive 023-01 and Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule is categorically excluded under section 2.B.2, figure 2-1, paragraph (34)(h) of the Instruction because it involves establishment of special local regulations related to marine event permits for marine parades, regattas, and other marine events. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed 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.

    V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.

    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.

    We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).

    Documents mentioned in this NPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site's instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 100

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

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the U.S. Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 100 as follows:

    PART 100—SAFETY OF LIFE ON NAVIGABLE WATERWAYS 1. The authority citation for part 100 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1233.

    2. Amend § 100.801 by revising table 1 of § 100.801 to read as follows:
    § 100.801 Annual Marine Events in the Eighth Coast Guard District. Table 1 of § 100.801—Ohio Valley Captain of the Port Zone Annual and Recurring Marine Events Date Event/sponsor Ohio Valley
  • location
  • Regulated area
    1. The first Saturday in April University of Charleston Rowing/West Virginia Governor's Cup Regatta Charleston, WV Kanawha River, Mile 59.9-61.4 (West Virginia). 2. 1 day—Saturday before Memorial Day weekend Venture Outdoors/Venture Outdoors Festival Pittsburgh, PA Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-0.25
  • Monongahela River 0.0-0.25 (Pennsylvania).
  • 3. 1 day—During the last week of April or first week of May Kentucky Derby Festival/Belle of Louisville Operating Board/Great Steamboat Race Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 596.0-604.3 (Kentucky). 4. 1 day—First or second weekend in May REV3/REV3 Triathlon Knoxville, TN Tennessee River, Mile 646.0-649.0 (Tennessee). 5. 1 day—Third weekend in May World Triathlon Corporation/IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 463.0-466.0 (Tennessee). 6. 1 day—Second weekend in June Chattanooga Parks and Rec/Chattanooga River Rats Open Water Swim Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 464.0-469.0 (Tennessee). 7. 1 day—Third or fourth weekend in June Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau/Mountaineer Triathlon Morgantown, WV Monongahela River, Mile 101.0-102.0 (West Virginia). 8. 2 days—First weekend of June Kentucky Drag Boat Association Pisgah Bay, KY Tennessee River, Mile 30.0 (Kentucky). 9. Fourth Sunday in June Green Umbrella/Ohio River Paddlefest Cincinnati, OH Ohio River, Mile 459.5-470.2 (Ohio and Kentucky). 10. 1 day—Fourth or fifth Sunday in September Green Umbrella/Great Ohio River Swim Cincinnati, OH Ohio River, Mile 469.8-470.2 (Ohio and Kentucky). 11. 1 day—One of the last two weekends in September Ohio River Open Water Swim Prospect, KY Ohio River, Mile 588.0-590.0 9 (Kentucky). 12. 2 days-Second or third weekend in September Louisville Dragon Boat Festival Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 603.0-603.5 (Kentucky). 13. 1 day—Third or fourth Sunday of July Tucson Racing/Cincinnati Triathlon Cincinnati, OH Ohio River, Mile 469.3-470.2 (Ohio). 14. 2 days—First weekend of July Kentucky Drag Boat Association Pisgah Bay, KY Tennessee River, Mile 30.0 (Kentucky). 15. 1 day—Second weekend in July Bradley Dean/Renaissance Man Triathlon Florence, AL Tennessee River, Mile 255.0-257.0 (Alabama). 16. 3 days—One of the first two weekends in July Madison Regatta, Inc./Madison Regatta Madison, IN Ohio River, Mile 555.0-560.0 (Indiana). 17. 1 day—Third Saturday in July Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club/St. Brendan's Cup Currach Regatta Pittsburgh, PA Miles 7-9, Ohio River back channel (Pennsylvania). 18. 1 day—One of the last three weekends in June Louisville Race the Bridge Triathlon Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 601.5-603.0 (Kentucky). 19. 1 day—Fourth weekend in June Team Magic/Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 463.0-465.0 (Tennessee). 20. 1 day—Fourth weekend in July Team Magic/Music City Triathlon Nashville, TN Cumberland River, Mile 190.0-192.0 (Tennessee). 21. 2 days—Last two weekends in July or first week of August Friends of the Riverfront Inc./Pittsburgh Triathlon and Adventure Races Pittsburgh, PA Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-1.5 (Pennsylvania). 22. 3 days—First week of August EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta Pittsburgh, PA Ohio River, Mile 0.0-0.5, Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-0.6, and Monongahela River, Mile 0.0-0.5 (Pennsylvania) 23. 2 days—First weekend of August Kentucky Drag Boat Association Pisgah Bay, KY Tennessee River, Mile 30.0 (Kentucky). 24. 2 days—last weekend in September Captain Quarters Regatta Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 595.0-597.0 (Kentucky). 25. 2 days—Second or third weekend in October Norton Healthcare/Ironman Triathlon Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 601.5-604.5 (Kentucky). 26. 2 days—Third full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) in August Ohio County Tourism/Rising Sun Boat Races Rising Sun, IN Ohio River, Mile 504.0-508.0 (Indiana and Kentucky). 27. 1 day—Last weekend in August Tennessee Clean Water Network/Downtown Dragon Boat Races Knoxville, TN Tennessee River, Mile 647.0-649.0 (Tennessee) 28. 3 days—Third weekend in August Governors' Cup/UWP-IJSBA National Championships Charleston, WV Kanawha River, Mile 56.7-57.6 (West Virginia). 29. 2 days—Fourth weekend in July Herd Racing LLC/Huntington Classic Huntington, WV Ohio River, Mile 307.3-309.3 (West Virginia). 30. 2 days—Last weekend in September Fall Records Challenge Committee/Fall Records Challenge New Martinsville, WV Ohio River, Mile 128.5-129.5 (West Virginia). 31. 2 days—Labor Day weekend Wheeling Vintage Race Boat Association Ohio/Wheeling Vintage Regatta Wheeling, WV Ohio River, Mile 090.4-091.5 (West Virginia). 32. 2 days—Weekend before Labor Day SUP3Rivers The Southside Outside Pittsburgh, PA Monongahela River, Mile 0.0-3.09 Allegheny River Mile 0.0-0.25 (Pennsylvania) 33. 1 day—Saturday before Labor Day Wheeling Dragon Boat Race Wheeling, WV Ohio River, Mile 90.4-91.5 (West Virginia). 34. 1 day—First or second weekend in September Cumberland River Compact/Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival Nashville, TN Cumberland River, Mile 190.0-192.0 (Tennessee). 35. 2 days—First or second weekend in September State Dock/Cumberland Poker Run Jamestown, KY Lake Cumberland (Kentucky). 36. 3 days—First or second weekend in September Sailing for a Cure Foundation/SFAC Fleur de Lis Regatta Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 601.0-604.0 (Kentucky). 37. 1 day—One weekend, last half of September Harbor House of Louisville/Ken“Ducky” Derby Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 602.0-604.0 (Kentucky). 38. 1 day—Last weekend in September World Triathlon Corporation/IRONMAN Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 463.0-467.0 (Tennessee) 39. 1 day—Second weekend in September City of Clarksville/Clarksville Riverfest Cardboard Boat Regatta Clarksville, TN Cumberland River, Mile 125.0-126.0 (Tennessee). 40. 2 days—First weekend of October Three Rivers Rowing Association/Head of the Ohio Regatta Pittsburgh, PA Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-4.0 (Pennsylvania). 41. 1 day—First or second weekend in October Lookout Rowing Club/Chattanooga Head Race Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 464.0-467.0 (Tennessee). 42. 1 day—Third weekend in November TREC-RACE/Pangorge Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 444.0-455.0 (Tennessee). 43. 3 days—First weekend in November Atlanta Rowing Club/Head of the Hooch Rowing Regatta Chattanooga, TN Tennessee River, Mile 464.0-467.0 (Tennessee). 44. One Saturday in June or July Paducah Summer Festival/Cross River Swim Paducah, KY Ohio River, Mile 934-936 (Kentucky). 45. 1 day—During the last weekend in May Louisville Metro Government/Mayor's Healthy Hometown Subway Fresh Fit, Hike, Bike and Paddle Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 602.0-603.5 (Kentucky). 46. 4 days—Second or third weekend in June Hadi Shrine/Evansville Freedom Festival Air Show Evansville, IN Ohio River, Mile 791.0-795.0 (Indiana). 47. 1 day—Second or third Saturday in July Allegheny Mountain LMSC/Search for Monongy Pittsburgh, PA Allegheny River, Mile 0.0-0.6 (Pennsylvania). 48. 1 day—July 4th Wellsburg 4th of July Committee/Wellsburg 4th of July Fireworks Wellsburg, WV Ohio River, Mile 73.5-74.5 (West Virginia). 49. 1 day—During the first week of July Evansville Freedom Celebration/4th of July Freedom Celebration Evansville, IN Ohio River, Mile 791.0-796.0 (Indiana). 50. 1 day—First weekend in September Louisville Metro Government/Mayor's Healthy Hometown Subway Fresh Fit, Hike, Bike and Paddle Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 602.0-603.5 (Kentucky). 51. 2 days—Third or fourth weekend in July Dare to Care/KFC Mayor's Cup Paddle Sports Races/Voyageur Canoe World Championships Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 601.0-604.0 (Kentucky). 52. 3 days—Fourth weekend in August Kentucky Drag Boat Association/Thunder on the Green Livermore, KY Green River, Mile 70.0-71.5 (Kentucky). 53. 1 day—Fourth weekend in August Team Rocket Tri-Club/Rocketman Triathlon Huntsville, AL Tennessee River, Mile 333.0-334.5 (Alabama). 54. 3 days—First or second weekend in September Hadi Shrine/Owensboro Air Show Owensboro, KY Ohio River, Mile 755.0-759.0 (Kentucky). 55. 1 day—First Sunday in August HealthyHuntington.org/St. Marys Tri-state Triathlon Huntington, WV Ohio River, Mile 307.3-308.3 (West Virginia). 56. 2 days—First Weekend in August Buckeye Outboard Association/Portsmouth Challenge Portsmouth, OH Ohio River, Mile 355.3-356.7 (Ohio). 57. 1 day—Sunday before Labor Day Cincinnati Bell, WEBN, and Proctor and Gamble/Riverfest Cincinnati, OH Ohio River, Mile 464.0-476.0 (Kentucky and Ohio) and Licking River Mile 0.0-3.0 (Kentucky). 58. 2 days—First or second weekend in September State Dock/Cumberland Poker Run Jamestown, KY Lake Cumberland (Kentucky). 59. 1 day—One weekend, last half of September Harbor House of Louisville/Ken“Ducky” Derby Louisville, KY Ohio River, Mile 602.0-604.0 (Kentucky). 60. Second Sunday in September Ohio River Sternwheel Festival Committee Sternwheel race reenactment Marietta, OH Ohio River, Mile 170.5-172.5 (Ohio) 61. Second Saturday in September Parkesburg Paddle Fest Parkersburg, WV Ohio River, Mile 184.3-188 (West Virginia) 62. Three days during the fourth weekend in September New Martinsville Records and Regatta Challenge Committee New Martinsville, WV Ohio River, Mile 128-129 (West Virginia) 63. First weekend in July Eddyville Creek Marina/Thunder Over Eddy Bay Eddyville, KY Cumberland River Mile 46.0-47.0. (Kentucky). 64. First or second weekend of July Prizer Point Marina/4th of July Celebration Cadiz, KY Cumberland River, Mile 54.0-55.09 (Kentucky). 65. 2 days, last weekend in May or first weekend in June Visit Knoxville/Racing on the Tennessee Knoxville, TN Tennessee River, Mile 647.0-648.0 (Tennessee). 66. 1 day—Second weekend in September Start 2 Finish/Nashvegas Triathlon Ashland City, TN Cumberland River, Mile 157.0-159.0 (Tennessee).
    Dated: January 5, 2016. R. V. Timme, Captain, U. S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Ohio Valley.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01375 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 300 [EPA-HQ-SFUND-2014-0050; FRL-9940-20-OLEM] RIN 2050-AG78 National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan Revisions To Align With the National Response Framework AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing revisions to the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan. These proposed revisions align the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan with the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Framework and National Incident Management System. The revisions also update the descriptions of federal agency organizational structures and capabilities and how they operate, and recognize the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-SFUND-2014-0050, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. 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:

    Jean Schumann, Office of Land and Emergency Management, Mail Code 5104A, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460, (202) 564-1977, [email protected]

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

    The revisions primarily would affect the federal departments and agencies that participate in responding to incidents under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), which primarily consist of the departments and agencies on the NCP National Response Team (NRT). The descriptions and capabilities of these agencies have been updated, and some NCP terminology used by these agencies has been changed to be more consistent with the National Response Framework (NRF) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Information has been added in notes to the regulation to explain that federal agencies follow the NRF and NIMS when appropriate.

    Additionally, this rulemaking proposes a clarification to § 300.405(d) that affects persons who notify the National Response Center (NRC) 1 of an incident, including representatives of industry and federal, state, tribal, and local governments. Paragraph (d) of § 300.405 currently states that the NRC will generally need information that will help to characterize the release when people call to report an incident. Paragraph (d) of § 300.405 goes on to say that this information “will include, but is not limited to . . .” and provides a list of examples of the types of information the NRC will need. The current list of examples includes the “possible source of the release.” These revisions would clarify paragraph (d) to state “possible source and cause of the release.” The NRC already collects information regarding the cause of the release, so this is not a new requirement. Adding “cause” to paragraph (d) will better prepare people who notify the NRC that they will be asked for this information. This change is also addressed in section IV of this preamble, under the discussion for § 300.405.

    1 Reference is made in this preamble and in the NCP to both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Response Center. In order to avoid confusion, the preamble and the NCP spell out the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and use the abbreviation “NRC” only with respect to the National Response Center.

    Impacts on potentially affected entities, direct and indirect, are summarized in section V of this preamble. A summary of potentially affected entities is provided in the table below.

    Type of entity Affected entities Industry Industries that report to the NRC. State, Local or Tribal Governments State, local, or tribal governments that report to the NRC. Federal Government Federal departments and agencies that report to the NRC, and federal departments and agencies that are members of the National Response Team.

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather provides a guide for readers regarding entities likely to be regulated by this action. This table lists the types of entities that EPA is now aware could potentially be regulated by this action. Others types of entities not listed in the table could also be regulated. If you have questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed in the preceding FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section.

    B. What is the agency's authority for taking this action?

    The NCP is required by section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. 9605, as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), Public Law 99-499 (hereinafter CERCLA), and by section 311(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1321(d), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), Public Law 101-380. In Executive Order 12777 (56 FR 54757, October 22, 1991), the President delegated to the EPA the responsibility for the amendment of the NCP. Amendments to the NCP are coordinated with members of the NCP NRT prior to publication for notice and comment. The NCP is applicable to response actions taken pursuant to the authorities under CERCLA and section 311 of the CWA, as amended.

    II. Background

    The DHS issued the NRF and NIMS under the authority of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA), the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act (PKEMRA), the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), and Homeland Security Presidential Directive-5, Management of Domestic Incidents (February 28, 2003) (HSPD-5). The purpose of the NRF is to establish a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident management. The purpose of the NIMS is to provide a consistent nationwide approach for federal, state, and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. The NRF is built on the incident management concepts in NIMS. DHS issued the most recent version of the NRF in May 2013, and the most recent version of the NIMS in December, 2008, and may continue to update both documents periodically.

    Federal agencies are to follow the NRF and NIMS pursuant to those authorities. HSPD-5 also directed federal agencies to modify existing interagency plans to align with the National Response Plan, which was the predecessor to the NRF. EPA is proposing this rule to align the NCP with the NRF and NIMS.

    Other changes are being proposed to the NCP to update descriptions of federal department and agency organizations and capabilities and how they operate, and to recognize the establishment of the DHS, which was authorized by the HSA.

    III. Summary of This Action A. What is the scope of this proposed rule?

    This rulemaking proposes changes to the NCP in two general areas: (1) Changes that align the NCP with the NRF and NIMS; and (2) changes that update the descriptions and capabilities of the NRT federal agencies and how they operate, including the establishment of the DHS. EPA is not opening the NCP for comment on other types of changes, and the final rule will not address any comments received outside the scope of the proposed changes. Further, we are not taking comments on the substance of the NRF or the NIMS themselves, only on the changes made to the NCP to align with those documents.

    EPA is not including any proposed changes to the NCP's “Appendix E to Part 300—Oil Spill Response” in this proposed rule. EPA proposed to remove appendix E from the NCP as part of a separate proposed rule on January 22, 2015 (80 FR 3380). If EPA decides not to remove appendix E from the NCP after considering the comments received on that January 22, 2015, rulemaking, EPA will engage in a rulemaking to revise appendix E in accordance with its final decisions on this rulemaking.

    IV. What are the proposed revisions to the NCP?

    This section of the preamble explains the proposed revisions to the NCP by part and section number.

    A. Part 300 Table of Contents and Authority

    The proposed revisions would change the table of contents for part 300, subpart B, by changing the title of § 300.165 from “OSC reports” to “OSC after action reports.” (“OSC” is the abbreviation for On-Scene Coordinator.) This change would make the title of these reports more consistent with the terminology commonly used in incident management systems for such post-incidents reports. The change would support the objectives of the NRF and NIMS for more consistency in national incident management systems. This change in terminology would also be carried forth into the proposed revision to § 300.165, as explained in this preamble under subpart B, § 300.165.

    We are proposing to update the “Authority” citation for 40 CFR part 300 by revising the scope of the CWA citation from “33 U.S.C. 1321(d)” to “33 U.S.C. 1321” to make it parallel with the scope of the existing CERCLA citation. The existing CERCLA citation refers to all of the CERCLA authorities underlying the NCP, not just the specific CERCLA provision that authorizes the issuance of the NCP. The existing CWA citation (33 U.S.C. 1321(d)), however, refers only to the specific CWA provision that authorizes the issuance of the NCP. This change would broaden the CWA citation to refer to all the CWA authorities that underlie the NCP, not just the specific CWA provision that authorizes the issuance of the NCP, by deleting “(d)” and referring only to “33 U.S.C. 1321.”

    B. Authority and Applicability (Section 300.2)

    The existing § 300.2 states that amendments to the NCP are coordinated with members of the NRT prior to public notice and comment, and further explains that this includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission in order to avoid inconsistent or duplicative requirements in the emergency planning responsibilities of these agencies. The specific reference to FEMA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was based on language from Executive Order 12580, January 23, 1987. Executive Order 12580 was amended by Executive Order 12777, October 18, 1991. Executive Order 12777 kept the reference to consultation with the NRT on NCP amendments, but deleted the specific reference to FEMA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The proposed revision to § 300.2 would therefore delete the sentence that refers to FEMA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be consistent with Executive Order 12777. However, both FEMA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are members of the NRT, so EPA would continue to coordinate with both agencies on NCP amendments in their role as NRT members under the revised § 300.2.

    C. Scope (Section 300.3)

    The existing § 300.3(d) states that the NCP is in effect when the Federal Response Plan (FRP) is activated. The FRP is no longer in effect because it has been replaced by the NRF. The proposed changes would delete existing § 300.3(d), therefore, and add a note to § 300.3(a) that refers to the NRF instead of the Federal Response Plan. The note explains that the NRF was issued by DHS and is followed by federal departments and agencies. The NRF is a guide to how the Nation responds to domestic incidents under a variety of authorities at all levels, including response actions taken by federal, state, tribal, and local governments, communities, individuals, private sector organizations, and non-governmental organizations such as American Red Cross. The NRF addresses “all-hazards” incidents, such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks and other deliberate incidents, and accidents. The NCP serves as an operational supplement to the NRF. The NRF is a guide to how the Nation responds to disasters and emergencies. While federal departments and agencies follow the NRF, it is not intended to alter or impede existing federal authorities, such as the CERCLA and CWA section 311 authorities that are the basis for the NCP. The NRF is publicly available on FEMA's Web site. (See this preamble under § 300.5 below for the Web site address.)

    For some NCP responses, additional procedures under the NRF and supporting documents (e.g., annexes) may apply. For example, the NRF explains that the Secretary of DHS may coordinate federal responses pursuant to presidential directive, or may activate specific NRF response mechanisms to support other federal departments and agencies without assuming coordination of the overall federal response. When additional NRF procedures are activated for an NCP response, the NCP response will follow the appropriate procedures of both the NCP and NRF. The NRF and supporting documents also include information on how the federal government responds under the Stafford Act. Additional information on how the NCP applies during responses under the Stafford Act in particular is provided in this preamble under subpart B, § 300.130. In cases where additional NRF procedures apply to NCP responses, those procedures are most likely to apply to NCP emergency removal actions rather than to NCP remedial actions because the NRF focuses on emergency and disaster types of incidents.

    D. Abbreviations (Section 300.4)

    The abbreviations in paragraphs (a) and (b) would be updated to include new department and agency title and operational abbreviations used in this rule and to delete abbreviations that are no longer used in this rule or no longer apply. The following abbreviations would be deleted: RSPA, ESF, FCO, FRERP, FRP, and RRC. The following abbreviations would be added to paragraph (a): DHS and PHMSA. The following abbreviations would be added to paragraph (b): AMS, CBRN CMAT, CMHT, CMRT, FRMAC, JIC, NARAC, NCERT, NIMS, NRF, RAP, REAC/TS, REOC, and SERT. The existing abbreviation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in paragraph (b) would be moved to paragraph (a). Since the USFWS is a distinct and significant component of the Department of the Interior (DOI), it is more appropriately listed in paragraph (a), which already includes some other distinct components of federal departments.

    E. Definitions (Section 300.5)

    EPA is proposing to update the definitions section to include new definitions and delete definitions that no longer apply. New definitions would be added to § 300.5 for the terms “National Incident Management System” and “National Response Framework.” A note would be added to § 300.5 with new definitions for the terms “Emergency Support Function #10—Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Annex” and “Emergency Support Function #15—External Affairs Annex.” All of these definitions are derived from the NRF and NIMS, and readers are referred to the NRF and NIMS for additional information regarding these definitions. The NRF may be found at the DHS/FEMA Web site at www.fema.gov/national-response-framework and NIMS may be found at www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system.

    The following definitions would be deleted: “Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan” and “Federal Response Plan.” These two plans have been replaced by the NRF and supporting documents, including supporting annexes.

    In addition, a minor change is being proposed to the definition of a “Spill of National Significance” (SONS) to clarify that, under the NCP, this type of incident is so classified by the EPA for discharges occurring in the inland zone or by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for discharges occurring in the coastal zone, so readers do not confuse a SONS determination with any type of declaration or determination that may be made by other federal officials or federal departments or agencies under the NRF. This proposed change is discussed in more detail in this preamble under subpart D, § 300.323.

    Finally, the existing definition of “national response system” would be modified to correct a capitalization error.

    F. General Organizational Concepts (Section 300.105)

    A note would be added to § 300.105(d) to reflect that NIMS is issued by DHS, and that federal agencies follow the NIMS and have adopted it for appropriate use in NCP emergency removal actions. The existing § 300.105(d) explains that the NCP response management structure is a system that brings together the functions of the federal government, state government, and responsible party(ies) to achieve an effective and efficient response, where the federal OSC retains his/her authority. The addition of the proposed note would provide further clarification that NIMS is the emergency preparedness and response management system adopted by federal departments and agencies for appropriate use in NCP emergency removal actions.

    The Secretary of DHS required federal departments and agencies to submit their plans for adopting NIMS to DHS in December, 2004. Under HSPD-5, federal departments and agencies also were directed to make adoption of the NIMS a requirement, to the extent permitted by law, for providing federal preparedness assistance through grants, contracts, or other activities. HSPD-5 directed the Secretary of DHS to develop standards and guidelines for determining whether a state or local entity has adopted the NIMS. The DHS is responsible for developing standards and guidelines for determining whether federal, state, local, and tribal entities have adopted the NIMS.

    The NIMS represents a core set of doctrines, concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes that enables effective, efficient, and collaborative incident management. It includes both preparedness and response components. Preparedness elements include establishing emergency operations plans and procedures; identifying response resources and establishing procedures for their use; training and credentialing response personnel; conducting exercises, evaluations, and corrective action programs; establishing and maintaining agreements for assistance; and planning for scientific support.

    For managing the response to an incident, the NIMS uses the Incident Command System (ICS), which provides a flexible core mechanism for coordinated and collaborative incident management. The ICS integrates the facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications involved in a response within a common organizational structure. The ICS follows a number of key principles and concepts, including, but not limited to, the following:

    • Field command and management functions are performed in accordance with a standard set of ICS organizations, doctrines, and procedures. Incident commanders, however, retain the flexibility to modify procedures or structures as needed to ensure a successful response to a specific incident.

    • ICS is modular and scalable. It has a scalable organizational structure that is based on the size and complexity of the incident. Smaller incidents may be handled by relatively few individuals who would perform all the necessary response functions and fulfill all of the ICS roles. Larger incidents may require many individuals, each fulfilling a specific position within the ICS. ICS can be used for incidents occurring within a single jurisdiction or being managed by a single agency, or for incidents occurring across multiple jurisdictions or involving many agencies.

    • ICS establishes common terms, standards, and procedures that enable diverse organizations to work together more effectively. ICS includes a standard set of predesignated organizational elements and functions, common names for resources used to support incident operations, and common identifiers for facilities and operational locations used to support incident operations.

    • ICS uses measurable objectives. Incidents are managed by establishing overarching objectives for the response and more specific measurable objectives for various response activities; directing efforts to obtain those objectives; and documenting the results of those efforts to measure performance and support corrective action. Incident objectives are communicated throughout the on-scene level command structure through the development of incident action plans.

    Under NIMS, an Incident Command Post (ICP) is established at the on-scene tactical level. This is the location from which tactical response operations are directed. The ICP organization has five major functions: Command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance/administration (with a potential sixth function to cover intelligence/investigations, when needed). The ICP is led by the Incident Commander, the individual with the authority to direct the response. (For smaller incidents, the ICP may be as simple as the response vehicle from which the Incident Commander directs the on-scene response.)

    Where multiple Incident Commanders have jurisdiction over the response, the incident is led by a Unified Command. Unified Command enables agencies and organizations with different legal, geographic, and functional responsibilities to coordinate, plan, and interact effectively. Under Unified Command, Incident Commanders work together to establish the common objectives and carry out tactical response activities, with each Incident Commander retaining his/her regulatory authority. The exact composition of the Unified Command structure depends on the location and type of incident. If only one agency has jurisdiction or regulatory authority, Unified Command may not be necessary. In that case, other assisting agencies and organizations can still provide input to incident objectives and raise questions or concerns by providing a Liaison Officer on the Command Staff or a technical specialist(s) in an appropriate ICS section.

    An Area Command also may be established if needed, depending on the complexity of the incident and span-of-control needs. An Area Command may be needed to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are being handled by separate ICS organizations or to oversee the management of a very large incident that involves multiple ICS organizations. Area Command may be used when there are a number of incidents in the same area and of the same type (e.g., two or more hazardous substance releases), which may compete for the same resources. If the incidents being managed by the Area Command are multi-jurisdictional, a Unified Area Command may be established.

    The NIMS also describes multi-agency coordination groups and centers, such as emergency operations centers, that may be established to support the ICP and coordinate incident-related response activities. The NRF is built on the incident management concepts in NIMS and describes additional federal multi-agency coordination groups and centers that may be activated or used during certain types of federal incident responses (e.g., the FEMA National Response Coordination Center may be used to support federal responses under the Stafford Act).

    Readers are referred to the NIMS for additional details on the incident management system. As noted earlier in this preamble, EPA is not taking comments on the substance of the NIMS, only on the NCP changes to align with the NIMS.

    The existing preparedness and response management structure for removal actions under the NCP national response system—which brings together the functions of the federal government, state government, and the responsible party to prepare for and achieve an effective and efficient response, where the OSC maintains his or her authority—is consistent with the NIMS. Appropriate preparedness elements of NIMS are used by the federal departments and agencies on the NRT to prepare for NCP responses.

    Under the NCP national response system for removal actions, the federal Incident Commander—the individual with the authority to direct and coordinate a removal action at the on-scene level—is the federal OSC. Federal OSCs evaluate a potential or actual release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants or discharge of oil to determine whether a federal removal action is needed, in accordance with existing delegations of authority to OSCs. If a federal response is needed, the removal action may range from overseeing a response by another party, to providing technical assistance, to assuming direction of the response. The extent of the federal response may increase or decrease during the course of the response as needed. If a federal OSC works in a Unified Command with state, tribal, or local governments and/or the responsible party, the OSC maintains his/her NCP authorities.

    As explained above, an ICP organization typically has five major functions: Command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance/administration. For NCP removal actions, the management of environmental data is often a crucial element of the response. This key function may be managed through the establishment of an Environmental Unit within the Planning Section of the ICP.

    For federally-led NCP removal actions, the responsible party for a discharge or release (if identified) may be part of a Unified Command, if established, and provide the response assets necessary for an effective and efficient response. The responsible party may, however, be directed or re-positioned by the OSC if determined necessary for an effective and efficient response. Responsible party participation in the Unified Command is determined on an incident-specific basis by the OSC.

    Multi-agency coordination centers and groups may also be used to support NCP removal actions. For example, the EPA and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have emergency operations centers in their headquarters and in EPA regional and USCG district offices that may be activated to support the on-scene response. The Regional Response Teams (RRTs) and the NRT described in the NCP are multi-agency coordination groups that also may be activated if needed to provide support to the on-scene response of the federal OSC and to coordinate interagency activities.

    EPA developed a robust NIMS implementation plan, established training and certification requirements, and has used the ICS system for emergency responses. EPA has found NIMS ICS to be particularly beneficial in organizing large, complex, multi-jurisdictional emergency responses. Some removal actions have longer planning times before on-site removal activity must begin, while others require a quicker response. The detailed NIMS ICS structure and process is used as appropriate for removal actions that are emergencies; these were the types of incidents for which the system was developed. OSCs typically use other on-site project management structures to conduct removal actions with longer planning times. (See preamble discussions in 53 FR 51396 and 51409, December 21, 1988, for a discussion about the types of removal actions, including emergencies and removal actions with longer planning times.) USCG and other NRT agencies have also adopted NIMS ICS for appropriate use in NCP emergency removal actions.

    In developing the NIMS document, DHS drew upon the traditional ICS used by fire-fighting organizations, but revised it to form a system that is more appropriate for all-hazard emergency response and more flexible for integrating the range of government and private sector assets and authorities that might be included in a federal response. While EPA had not previously adopted the traditional type of ICS for removal actions under the NCP, EPA did have the opportunity to provide input into the modification and implementation of the DHS version of ICS to help ensure it can provide an effective structure for federal NCP emergency removal actions. The DHS NIMS document emphasizes that federal agencies maintain their authorities within the incident command structure, and provides for flexibility, which has addressed EPA's previous concerns about the traditional ICS (59 FR 47387, September 15, 1994). EPA has found that the DHS NIMS ICS can be tailored to provide appropriate coordination across multiple agencies and organizations leading and supporting NCP emergency removal actions.

    In § 300.105(e)(1), the term “national response system” would be capitalized.

    Several changes are being proposed to Figure 1a in § 300.105(e)(1). The term “Special Forces” would be changed to “Special Teams” to be consistent with the use of “special teams” elsewhere in the NCP. The list of “Special Forces” in Figure 1a would be revised to include the following additional special teams and assets:

    • USCG Incident Management Assistance Team (CG-IMAT), which now includes the Public Information Assist Team (PIAT) • USCG Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT) • EPA Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Consequence Management Advisory Team (CBRN CMAT) • EPA National Criminal Enforcement Response Team (NCERT) • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Response Team • Department of Energy (DOE) Aerial Measuring System (AMS) • DOE Consequence Management Home Team (CMHT) • DOE Consequence Management Response Team (CMRT) • DOE National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) • DOE Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) • DOE Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS)

    The functions and capabilities of these teams are described in the proposed language in § 300.145. These are only some of the federal teams that may provide support for NCP responses. Additional teams may be described in other guidance and reference documents for use by OSCs and Remedial Project Managers (RPMs). Therefore, Figure 1a would also be revised to add a box that says “Others” in this list to be clearer that these are not the only teams available. The order of the teams in Figure 1a would be changed to match the order in which the teams are described in § 300.145.

    The diamond in Figure 1a that currently asks “Federal Assistance Required?” would be changed to “Federal Response Required?” This change does not reflect any change in existing NCP authorities. The change is being made to more accurately describe existing NCP authorities. A federal OSC's response to a release or discharge may range from providing assistance (e.g., response support and advice to state and local responders), to directing and overseeing response activities by a responsible party or other entity, to directing a federal response. Similarly, an RPM may direct and oversee a remedial action by another party or direct a federal remedial action. It may not be clear that the word “assistance” was intended to capture all of these possible types of response. This NCP Figure is often used by EPA, USCG, and other NRT agencies when explaining to others how the NCP national response system works, so EPA is proposing this change to better describe existing NCP response authorities.

    A new footnote also would be added to Figure 1a. The new footnote would explain that the NRC does not notify RPMs directly of incidents involving their sites. Rather, the NRC notifies the predesignated OSC, who, in turn, notifies the cognizant RPM.

    Original footnotes 1 and 2 in Figure 1a would become footnotes 2 and 3, respectively. The newly numbered footnote 2 which currently reads “This includes local representation as well” would be changed to “This includes local and tribal representation as well” to correct a previous oversight. Tribal governments may also participate in the command structure.

    Figure 1b in § 300.105(e)(1) would be revised to add the following new special teams to the list under “Sources of Input and Guidance to Area Committees,” “Government”:

    • CG-IMAT • USCG SERT • EPA CBRN CMAT • EPA NCERT • OSHA Response Team • DOE AMS • DOE CMHT • DOE CMRT • DOE NARAC • DOE RAP • DOE REAC/TS • Others

    “Others” would be added to the end of the list to indicate that additional teams not listed in this Figure may be described in other documents. While existing NCP § 300.210(c)(1) states that Area Committees prepare Area Contingency Plans in consultation with certain special teams—the District Response Groups (DRGs), the National Strike Force Coordination Center (NSFCC), and Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs)—Area Committees may also request assistance from any special team.

    The order and the way in which the special teams are listed in Figure 1b would also be revised to be consistent with the order and way in which the special teams would now be listed in Figure 1a, which would follow the order in which the teams would be listed in revised § 300.145. The current special teams lists in Figure 1a and Figure 1b are slightly different and this change in Figure 1b is intended to avoid any confusion this difference may have caused.

    The RRT section of Figure 1b would also be revised. The box that currently says “State(s)” would be revised to say “State(s)/Tribe(s)” to correct a previous oversight. As stated in existing NCP §§ 300.115(d) and (h) and § 300.180, tribal governments may also participate on RRTs.

    The footnote to “RRT” on Figure 1b (indicated by an asterisk) would be revised to change “Standard Federal Regions” to “EPA Regions.” The wording of § 300.105(e)(2) also would be revised to change “standard federal regional boundaries” to “EPA regional boundaries.” In addition, the title of Figure 2 in § 300.105(e)(2) would be revised to change “Standard Regional Boundaries for Ten Regions” to “EPA Regional Boundaries for Ten Regions.” These three revisions reflect a change made by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The ten standard federal regions were originally established by OMB Circular A-105, “Standard Federal Regions,” in April, 1974, and were required for all federal agencies. In 1995, OMB determined that a strict regional structure for all federal agencies was inefficient and unnecessary and rescinded the Circular (60 FR 15171, March 22, 1995). While this regional structure is no longer “standard” for all federal agencies, EPA still uses these original boundaries for its current regional structure, and these boundaries are still used to delineate RRT boundaries.

    Figure 2 in § 300.105(e)(2) also would be corrected to change the current Region “V1” designation to “VI.” In addition, a footnote would be added to Figure 2 to describe the geographic boundaries of the RRTs.

    G. Regional Response Teams (Section 300.115)

    The existing sentence in § 300.115(j)(4)(v) that says RRTs may submit pollution reports to the NRC would be deleted because it is an outdated federal practice that is no longer followed or needed. OSC pollution reports are the key situation reports describing the status of NCP removal actions. These OSC reports are sent or made electronically available to RRTs and the NRT as needed when those teams are activated for an incident, rather than to the NRC. The RRTs and NRTs are the appropriate organizations to receive these reports when needed.

    The term “Regional Response Center” in § 300.115(j)(5) would be changed to “Regional Emergency Operations Center” to use terminology for such centers that is more common in incident management systems, again, to aid responders in communicating and working together. This change supports the objectives of the NRF and NIMS for greater consistency in national incident management systems. The last sentence in § 300.115(j)(5) would be further revised by changing the word “provided” to “identified.”

    The term “pollution reports” in § 300.115(j)(8) would be changed to “situation reports” to be consistent with DHS and NRF terminology for the periodic reports that describe incident response status and activities. The term “situation report” is also a more accurate description of the contents of these reports and is therefore a more user-friendly name for the reports.

    H. Notification and Communications (Section 300.125)

    Changes are being proposed to § 300.125(a) and (b) to clarify the language, and to clarify the role and operation of the NRC. Language would be added to paragraph (a) to explain that the NRC also distributes notifications to state and tribal government agencies that have established a written agreement or understanding with the NRC. This is a current practice by the NRC; the language would be modified to better reflect current practice.

    Paragraph (b) would be revised to change “The Commandant, USCG” to “The agencies that provide the NRT Chair and Vice Chair.” This change better reflects that both EPA and USCG provide significant support for NRC operations.

    A sentence would be added to paragraph (b) to explain that the Director of the NRC is responsible for its operation and management. This does not represent a change in who manages the NRC; it simply helps to distinguish the role of the NRT Chair and Vice Chair from that of the Director and may be helpful information for members of NRT agencies who may need to work with the NRC.

    I. Determination To Initiate Response and Special Conditions (Section 300.130)

    The first three sentences in paragraph (f), and all of paragraphs (h) and (i), in § 300.130 would be deleted and replaced with a note that discusses the NRF. Current paragraphs (f), (h), and (i) refer to the Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan (FRERP) and FRP. The FRERP described how federal radiological responses were conducted, and the FRP described how federal assistance was provided under the Stafford Act. The FRERP and FRP are no longer in effect. Both plans have been replaced by the NRF and supporting documents (e.g., annexes, federal interagency operational plans). Therefore, a note would be added to § 300.130 to refer to the NRF and supporting documents. As explained earlier in this preamble, the NRF is a guide issued by DHS under the authority of the HSA, PKEMRA, the Stafford Act, and HSPD-5. It is not intended to alter or impede other existing federal authorities, such as CERCLA and the CWA.

    The NRF and supporting documents describe how the NCP may be used for radiological releases and how the NCP relates to Stafford Act assistance. The NCP serves as an operational supplement to the NRF. As explained in this preamble under Subpart A, § 300.3, for some NCP responses, additional procedures under the NRF and supporting documents may apply. When additional NRF procedures are activated for an NCP response, the NCP response will follow the appropriate procedures of both the NCP and NRF.

    The existing paragraph (f) refers to the FRERP as the applicable plan for coordinating some federal radiological responses. The FRERP has been replaced with the NRF and its supporting documents, with most of its provisions located in an annex called the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex. Most radiological incidents that historically have been carried out under the NCP will continue to be handled under the NCP alone, but when the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex is activated for an NCP response, NCP lead and support agencies will conduct their NCP activities consistent with the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex. When the Annex is activated for a response to which the NCP also applies, the OSC continues to carry out OSC responsibilities under the NCP, but coordinates those activities with NRF activities as described in the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex. For example, under the Annex, the Secretary of DHS may coordinate a federal NCP response to a radiological release under presidential directive. The Annex also describes some additional specific federal response assets that are not listed in the NCP but may be requested by the OSC to assist with a federal NCP response to a radiological release, such as the Advisory Team for Environment, Food, and Health.

    The existing fourth sentence in paragraph (f), which is a paraphrase of a portion of the CERLCA definition of release in 42 U.S.C. 9601(22)(C), would be deleted and replaced with the exact statutory language for additional clarity.

    The federal government may also provide assistance for disasters and emergencies under the Stafford Act. Existing paragraphs (h) and (i) in § 300.130 refer to the Stafford Act and activation of the FRP to provide federal assistance under the Stafford Act. The FRP has been replaced by the NRF and supporting documents, so those paragraphs are being replaced with a note that discusses the NRF.

    If an incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments and/or federally recognized Indian tribal governments, the President may, under the Stafford Act, act upon a request by the governor or Chief Executive of an affected Indian tribal government and declare a major disaster or emergency. In certain circumstances, the President may declare an emergency without a request from a governor or Chief Executive when the primary responsibility for response rests with the United States because the emergency involves a subject area for which the United States has exclusive or preeminent responsibility and authority under the Constitution or laws of the United States.

    In the event of a declaration of a major disaster or emergency by the President under the Stafford Act, FEMA coordinates the overall federal response and the President appoints a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for each affected state or territory to coordinate federal disaster assistance activities. Delivery of federal assistance for Stafford Act responses is facilitated through annexes to the NRF called Emergency Support Functions (ESFs).

    EPA and/or USCG may be requested to provide support to address oil and hazardous materials releases under the ESF #10—Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Annex, which further describes how EPA and USCG OSCs and other EPA and USCG personnel would coordinate their response actions with the FCO and FEMA. In general, EPA and USCG OSCs respond at the on-site level to carry out actions to address oil and hazardous materials releases. EPA and USCG also provide ESF #10 representatives to FEMA and other coordination centers as needed, such as the FEMA Joint Field Office(s), Regional Response Coordination Center(s), and National Response Coordination Center. RRTs and the NRT may also be activated to provide support to the OSC for the ESF #10 response. EPA and USCG OSCs also maintain the authority to respond under the NCP if necessary. In this case, coordination with the FCO and FEMA would still occur as described above.

    It is important to note that the NRF states that nothing in the NRF is intended to alter or impede the ability of any federal government department or agency to carry out its authorities or meet its responsibilities under applicable laws, executive orders, and directives.

    Paragraph (g) in § 300.130 also would be deleted. Paragraph (g) refers to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Defense (DOD), DOE, and FEMA. While the MOU is still in effect, the signatory agencies agreed it is not necessary to reference this MOU in the NCP.

    J. Response Operations (Section 300.135)

    Paragraph (e) would be revised to delete “and NSFCC” because the USCG believes this is an unnecessary burden on OSCs and RPMs during a response.

    The phrase “pollution reports” would be changed to “situation reports” in paragraph (m) to be more consistent with terminology used for such status reports under the NRF. This change would also be consistent with the change from “pollution reports” to “situation reports” proposed in § 300.115(j)(8).

    K. Special Teams and Other Assistance Available to OSCs/RPMs (Section 300.145)

    Some of the descriptions of existing special teams would be updated or clarified. In paragraph (b)(4), the title “Director, Emergency Response Division” would be changed to “Chief, Environmental Response Team” to address a reorganization in EPA headquarters. The description of EPA's Radiological Emergency Response Team (RERT) in paragraph (f) would be divided into two separate subparagraphs and updated. EPA would make minor changes to the activation methods for all of the EPA special teams in this section, including EPA Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs), to make the activation methods consistent across the EPA teams. Each EPA special team would be able to be contacted via: The EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or EPA manager of the team.

    Several additional special teams or resources would be added to the list of assets available to assist OSCs and RPMs. Some of these are new resources, while some were existing resources that were not previously listed in the NCP. Descriptions of the following resources would be added to new paragraphs (i) through (n) of § 300.145:

    • CG-IMAT • USCG SERT • EPA CBRN CMAT • EPA NCERT • OSHA Response Team • DOE AMS • DOE CMHT • DOE CMRT • DOE NARAC • DOE RAP • DOE REAC/TS

    The proposed language in § 300.145 paragraphs (i) through (n) describes the capabilities of these teams. Additional federal teams that can support NCP responses may be described in other guidance and reference documents. Paragraph (e) would also be modified to add the USCG SERT to the list of resources that OSCs/RPMs may contact for assistance with marine salvage operations.

    L. Public Information and Community Relations (Section 300.155)

    The acronym “(JIC)” would be added after “Joint Information Center” in paragraph (a).

    In paragraph (b), the term “on-scene news office” would be changed to “JIC” to make it consistent with the existing reference to the JIC in paragraph (a) and with NIMS. Under NIMS, a JIC coordinates incident-related public information activities, including acting as the central point of contact for the news media near the scene of an incident. Language would also be added noting that the federal OSC/RPM consults with other appropriate response organizations in locating the JIC to reflect actual practice. “On-scene” would be replaced by “near the location of the incident” to allow flexibility to establish the JIC in a safe location with appropriate support capabilities. The word “federal” would be deleted, as well as a sentence about the facility being headed by a representative of the lead agency, to be consistent with the purpose of a JIC established under the NCP, which is to coordinate public information activities at the tactical level across multi-jurisdictional responding agencies. The JIC would be headed by a single Public Information Officer, who may appoint as many assistants (Assistant Public Information Officers or JIC Specialists) as necessary and the assistants may represent assisting agencies, jurisdictions, and/or other response partners.

    A note would be added to § 300.155 that explains that additional NRF public information procedures may be activated and implemented for an NCP response. The NRF contains additional procedures for coordinating federal public information activities in the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #15—External Affairs Annex and supporting documents, which also would be followed as appropriate when ESF #15 is activated for an NCP response. For example, while a JIC may be established by the OSC and other incident commanders near the incident scene under NIMS for an NCP removal action, if the ESF #15 Annex is also activated, the federal government may also establish a national-level JIC. The national-level JIC would coordinate its activities with the local JIC and any other JICs established for the incident. Other ESF #15 communications mechanisms may also be used, such as the State Incident Communications Conference Line (SICCL) and Private Sector Incident Communications Conference Line (PICCL). Again, it is expected that when it does occur, an ESF #15 activation would be for an NCP removal action rather than for a remedial action. Note that EPA is not taking comment on the NRF public affairs procedures, only on the NCP changes to align with those procedures.

    M. OSC After Action Reports (Section 300.165)

    The term “OSC report” would be expanded to “OSC after action report” in the title of § 300.165 and in paragraphs (a) and (b) of the section to be more consistent with terminology commonly used in incident management systems for such post-incident reports. This change supports the objectives of the NRF and NIMS for greater consistency in national incident management systems.

    N. Federal Agency Participation (Section 300.170)

    A sentence would be added to the introductory paragraph of § 300.170 to recognize that some NRT agencies also may have specific land management laws, policies, and regulations that could inform or affect NCP response actions on federal lands managed by those agencies. For example, proposed § 300.175(b)(9)(i) describes the authority of the DOI USFWS to authorize entry to, and activity on, refuge system lands. The new sentence in § 300.170 would not be a new requirement placed on NCP response actions; it is merely a clarification of roles and authorities that NRT agencies already have. In the next sentence in that paragraph, the phrase “of these agencies” would be deleted because it is repetitive and not needed.

    The introductory paragraph in § 300.170 currently uses the word “duties” in each of the three sentences in that paragraph. The proposed rule would delete the word “duties” in these three sentences and replace it with the phrase “certain authorities and responsibilities.” The purpose of this change is to conform the language in the introductory paragraph of § 300.170 with the relevant language in the remainder of § 300.170 and with the title of § 300.175 and the language in § 300.175(a).

    Paragraph (b)(1) would be revised to delete the phrase “the Secretary of” because it is an unnecessary level of detail and does not reflect the real intention of paragraph (b)(1), which is to make information available to NRT members, not just “the Secretary.” This is parallel to the intention in paragraph (b)(1) of making information available to RRTs and Area Committees. (In any case, the NRT does not currently have a “Secretary”; it has an Executive Director. Federal agencies typically provide information to the NRT Executive Director for subsequent distribution to NRT members.)

    O. Federal Agencies; Additional Responsibilities and Assistance (Section 300.175)

    Like the introduction to § 300.170, paragraph (a) in § 300.175 would be modified to recognize that some NRT agencies also may have specific land management laws, policies, and regulations that could inform or affect NCP response actions on federal lands managed by those agencies. Again, this is not a new requirement being placed on NCP response actions; it is merely a clarification of roles and authorities these agencies already had.

    Paragraph (b) of § 300.175 would be revised to update and clarify the current responsibilities, organizations, and capabilities of all of the federal agencies listed in paragraph (b), as described in the proposed language.

    These revisions include updating the descriptions of USCG and FEMA to show that they are part of DHS. The DHS was established in November 2002 by the passage of the HSA. USCG and FEMA were integrated into the DHS at that time. DHS develops and coordinates the implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the United States from terrorist threats or attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies. DHS coordinates collection and analysis of threat information and domestic activities of terrorists or terrorist groups. DHS coordinates federal resources used in the prevention of, preparation for, response to, or recovery from terrorist attacks, major disasters, or other emergencies within the United States in accordance with its authorities. DHS, through FEMA, administers the NRF and NIMS. DHS and FEMA work with federal, state, tribal and local agencies and private entities in performing these functions.

    In addition to USCG and FEMA, the DHS organization includes components responsible for policy, infrastructure protection, intelligence and analysis, domestic nuclear detection, science and technology, customs and border protection, immigration and customs enforcement, and transportation security.

    In paragraph (b)(5), which describes DOE's roles and capabilities, the reference to the “FRERP” would be deleted because the FRERP was replaced by the NRF and supporting documents. However, it is not necessary to reference the NRF in this paragraph because DOE can provide support and assistance for NCP responses directly as a member of the NRT, without going through the NRF.

    Federal agencies described in § 300.175 may have additional roles and responsibilities, as outlined in the NRF and supporting documents, for incidents that are managed under the NRF.

    P. Planning and Coordination Structures (Section 300.205)

    Figure 4, under paragraph (g) in § 300.205, would be revised to change the current reference to the “Federal Response Plan (FRP)” to the “National Response Framework (NRF)” because the NRF has replaced the FRP. A dotted line would be added between the NRF and the Area Contingency Plans to reflect an additional point of coordination between the two. A footnote would be added to “Facility Response Plan” and “Vessel Response Plan” that would refer readers to § 300.211 for examples of facility and vessel response plans.

    Q. OPA Facility and Vessel Response Plans (Section 300.211)

    A technical correction would be made to paragraph (f) of § 300.211. Paragraph (f) currently states that the federal regulations that implement the response plan requirements under CWA section 311(j)(5) for rolling stock are codified in “49 CFR part 106 et al.” These regulations are found in 49 CFR part 130, so paragraph (f) would be changed to refer to 49 CFR part 130.

    A table would be added to the end of § 300.211 that would summarize the information on response plan regulations in paragraphs (a) through (f) of that section for easier readability. The table would also identify the federal department or agency that issues those regulations, and the names of the response plans under those regulations, to provide readers with additional useful information. The last sentence in the introductory paragraph to § 300.211 would be revised to add the phrase “and summarized in Table 1” to introduce the new table.

    R. Spills of National Significance (Section 300.323)

    Section 300.323(a) would be amended to add the word “by” before “the Commandant of the USCG” for clarity. The phrase “spill of national significance” would also be deleted from paragraph (a), and only the acronym “SONS” used, because the acronym would now be spelled out earlier in the NCP in the new text that is proposed to be added to the USCG description in § 300.175(b)(1). Additionally, a note would be added after § 300.323(c) to clarify that the EPA Administrator and USCG Commandant have the authority to declare an oil spill as a SONS under the NCP.

    The note after § 300.323(c) would be added to highlight the distinction between the EPA inland zone and USCG coastal zone authority under the NCP to declare a SONS, and any declaration or determination that may be made by other federal officials or other departments and agencies under the NRF. This would include any determinations that may be made by DHS to implement HSPD-5 authorities. For example, under HSPD-5, the Secretary of DHS has the authority to assume overall coordination responsibilities for a federal response to an incident. The Secretary may or may not assume overall federal coordination responsibilities under HSPD-5 for an incident that EPA or USCG declare as a SONS under the NCP. That decision is made by the Secretary. The EPA Administrator and USCG Commandant maintain the authority to designate an incident as a SONS under the NCP. (The USCG Commandant, subject to the Secretary's oversight, direction, and guidance, may declare a SONS and designate a National Incident Commander. See Commandant Instruction 16465.6, Spill of National Significance (SONS) Response Management, May 23, 2012.) If the Secretary assumes overall coordination responsibilities for the federal response to a SONS under HSPD-5, or activates NRF elements in response to a request for support from the EPA or USCG without assuming overall coordination responsibilities, the response is conducted concurrently under the appropriate NCP and NRF procedures.

    The Secretary may make a determination that it is not necessary to assume responsibility for coordinating the federal response to a SONS under HSPD-5. Further, EPA and USCG may determine that adequate federal resources are being provided under NCP coordination mechanisms for the response and there is no need to request DHS to activate additional elements of the NRF. In that case, the SONS response may be carried out under the NCP without activating additional federal NRF elements (such as Emergency Support Functions). EPA or USCG, however, would keep DHS informed of its response activities as appropriate to support DHS situational awareness.

    It is also possible that the President could make a Stafford Act declaration for a SONS, or that the President could make a Stafford Act declaration for a broader incident that contributes to causing a SONS, such as a catastrophic earthquake that results in widespread impacts, including a SONS. (See the preamble under Subpart B, § 300.130 for a more detailed explanation of the Stafford Act.) In such cases, the SONS response would be carried out under the appropriate NCP and NRF procedures.

    S. Discovery or Notification (Section 300.405)

    This rule proposes a clarification to § 300.405(d). Paragraph (d) currently says that when people contact the NRC to report a release, the NRC will generally need information that will help to characterize the release. Paragraph (d) says this information “will include, but is not limited to. . .” and goes on to provide a list of examples of the types of information the NRC will need. The current list of examples includes the “possible source of the release.” The proposed revisions would clarify paragraph (d) to state “possible source and cause of the release.” The NRC already collects information regarding the cause of the release, even though “cause” is not currently specifically cited as an example in § 300.405(d), so collecting “cause” information would not be a new requirement. The proposed revisions would add “cause” as another specific example in the rule language to better prepare people who notify the NRC that they will be asked for this information. As already stated in § 300.405(d), however, reporting should not be delayed due to not having complete notification information.

    Paragraph (f)(3) currently states that if radiological substances are present in a release, the OSC should notify the EPA Radiological Response Coordinator for evaluation and assistance directly or via the NRC, consistent with §§ 300.130(e) and 300.145(f). Paragraph (f)(3) would be revised to: (1) Replace “EPA Radiological Response Coordinator” with “RERT”; (2) change the methods for notification from “directly or via the NRC” to “the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or on-duty EPA RERT Team Commander in the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air”; and (3) delete the reference to § 300.130(e). “EPA Radiological Response Coordinator” would be replaced with “RERT” because EPA no longer has a position called a “Radiological Response Coordinator.” The notification methods would be changed to be consistent with the changes to notification methods being proposed to the RERT description in § 300.145(f). The reference to § 300.130(e) would be deleted because it is no longer appropriate.

    The reference to § 300.130(e) is no longer appropriate because: (1) The existing NCP reference to § 300.130(e) is incorrect; it was intended to be a reference to § 300.130(f) instead; and (2) the FRERP that is cited in the existing § 300.130(f) has been replaced by the NRF, including the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, and the NRF does not contain specific language about an OSC contacting the RERT for assistance with NCP removal actions involving a radioactive substance. Paragraph 300.130(e) in the existing NCP refers to discharges originating in the Outer Continental Shelf, which was not the original intention for that reference in § 300.405(f)(3). The original intention in § 300.405(f)(3) had been to refer to § 300.130(f), which refers to the old FRERP in the existing NCP. The NCP final rule issued on March 8, 1990, correctly cited § 300.130(f) in § 300.405(f)(3) (55 FR 8842, March 8, 1990). However, when other revisions to the NCP were published on September 15, 1994, the § 300.130(f) citation in § 300.405 was erroneously changed to § 300.130(e) (59 FR 47448, September 15, 1994). So, the existing NCP reference to § 300.130(e) in § 300.405(f)(3) is an inadvertent error; it should have been a reference to § 300.130(f), which references the FRERP in the existing NCP. However, as explained earlier in this preamble under the changes to § 300.130, the FRERP has been replaced by the NRF and supporting documents, including the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex. The NRF and Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex do not contain specific language stating that an OSC should notify the EPA Radiological Response Coordinator (or the RERT) for assistance with NCP removal actions involving a radioactive substance, so it would not be appropriate to cite the NRF here in § 300.405(f)(3).

    T. Removal Action (Section 300.415)

    Paragraph (f) of § 300.415 would be revised to change “FEMA” to “EPA” and “shall” to “may.” FEMA was delegated the authority to conduct temporary relocations for CERCLA responses under Executive Order 12580, Section 2(c), but FEMA re-delegated that authority to EPA in 1990. The proposed revisions, therefore, explain that the NCP lead agency may ask EPA to conduct a temporary relocation or request that state or local officials conduct an evacuation, where necessary to protect public health or welfare. (If another federal agency is the lead agency for a CERCLA removal action and requests EPA to conduct a temporary relocation using CERCLA funds, Section 9(j) of Executive Order 12580 provides that the CERCLA fund must be reimbursed by that agency.) The change from “shall” to “may” would provide the lead agency with more flexibility to determine the appropriate action.

    V. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews

    Additional information about these statutes and Executive Orders can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/laws-regulations/laws-and-executive-orders.

    A. Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Planning and Review and Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

    This action is not a significant regulatory action and was therefore not submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    This action does not impose any new information collection burden under the PRA. OMB has previously approved the information collection activities contained in the existing regulations and has assigned OMB control number 2050-0046. EPA is not revising the existing notification requirements that are contained in 40 CFR part 302; it is merely clarifying in § 300.405(d) that the NRC asks callers about both the source and cause of a release, if known. The NRC already collects information regarding the cause of the release, even though “cause” is not currently cited as an example in § 300.405(d), so collecting “cause” information would not be a new requirement. The proposed revisions would add “cause” as another specific example in the rule language to better prepare people who notify the NRC that they will be asked for this information.

    C. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

    I certify that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the RFA. In making this determination, the impact of concern is any significant adverse economic impact on small entities. An agency may certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities if the rule relieves regulatory burden, has no net burden or otherwise has a positive economic effect on the small entities subject to the rule. This rule adds no new burden on small entities. EPA is not revising the existing NRC notification requirements that are contained in 40 CFR part 302; it is merely clarifying in § 300.405(d) that the NRC asks callers about both the source and cause of the release, if known. The NRC already collects information regarding the cause of the release, even though “cause” is not currently cited as an example in § 300.405(d), so collecting “cause” information would not be a new requirement. The proposed revisions would add “cause” as another specific example in the rule language to better prepare people who notify the NRC that they will be asked for this information. We have therefore concluded that this action will add no new regulatory burden on all directly regulated small entities.

    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)

    This action does not contain any unfunded mandates as described in UMRA, 2 U.S.C. 1531-1538, and does not significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

    This action imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. That is, this action proposes changes that align the NCP with the NRF and NIMS and updates the descriptions and capabilities of the NRT federal agencies and how they operating, including the establishment of DHS.

    E. Executive Order 13132: Federalism

    This action does not have federalism implications. It will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    F. Executive Order 13175: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

    This action does not have tribal implications, as specified in Executive Order 13175. This rule does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of Indian tribal governments, nor would it impose substantial direct compliance costs on them. Thus, Executive Order 13175 does not apply to this action. Although this action does not have impacts on tribes, it does propose to add language that would reflect existing NCP practices regarding coordination with tribes for activities occurring on tribal lands, such as adding language to NCP Figures to show that tribal governments may participate in the incident command structure and on RRTs.

    G. Executive Order 13045: Protection of Children From Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks

    EPA interprets Executive Order 13045 as applying only to those regulatory actions that concern health or safety risks that the EPA has reason to believe may disproportionately affect children, per the definition of “covered regulatory action” in section 2-202 of the Executive Order. This action is not subject to Executive Order 13045 because it does not concern an environmental health risk or safety risk.

    H. Executive Order 13211: Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    This action is not subject to Executive Order 13211 because it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    I. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    This rulemaking does not involve technical standards.

    J. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations

    The EPA believes the human health or environmental risk addressed by this action will not have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income or indigenous populations. This action does not affect the level of protection provided to human health or the environment. EPA is proposing an alignment of the NCP with the DHS's NRF and NIMS and an update of federal department and agency organizations and capabilities. These proposed changes are primarily administrative and procedural in nature. They look to provide a consistent nationwide approach for federal, state, and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for and respond to domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity, and to more accurately describe federal department and agency capabilities.

    List of Subjects in 40 CFR Part 300

    Environmental protection, Air pollution control, Chemicals, Hazardous materials, Hazardous substances, Incorporation by reference, Intergovernmental relations, Natural resources, Occupational safety and health, Oil pollution, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Superfund, Waste treatment and disposal, Water pollution control, Water supply.

    Dated: January 7, 2016. Gina McCarthy, Administrator.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, EPA proposes to amend 40 CFR part 300 as follows:

    PART 300—NATIONAL OIL AND HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES POLLUTION CONTINGENCY PLAN 1. Revise the authority citation for part 300 to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 1321; 42 U.S.C. 9601-9657; E.O. 13626, 77 FR 56749, 3 CFR, 2013 Comp., p. 306; E.O. 12777, 56 FR 54757, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 351; E.O. 12580, 52 FR 2923, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 193.

    2. Revise § 300.2 to read as follows:
    § 300.2 Authority and applicability.

    The NCP is required by section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. 9605, as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), Public Law 99-499, (hereinafter CERCLA), and by section 311(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1321(d), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), Public Law 101-380. In Executive Order (E.O.) 12777 (56 FR 54757, October 22, 1991), the President delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the responsibility for the amendment of the NCP. Amendments to the NCP are coordinated with members of the National Response Team (NRT) prior to publication for notice and comment. The NCP is applicable to response actions taken pursuant to the authorities under CERCLA and section 311 of the CWA, as amended.

    3. Amend § 300.3 by: a. Adding a note to paragraph (a); and b. Removing paragraph (d).

    The addition reads as follows:

    § 300.3 Scope.

    Note to paragraph (a): The National Response Framework (NRF) is issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and followed by federal departments and agencies. When NRF procedures are activated for an NCP response, the response is conducted concurrently under the appropriate NCP and NRF procedures.

    4. Amend § 300.4 by: a. In paragraph (a) by: i. Revising the term “CDC”; ii. Adding in alphabetical order the terms “DHS” and “PHMSA”; iii. Removing the term “RSPA”; and iv. Adding the term “USFWS”; and b. In paragraph (b) by: i. Adding in alphabetical order the terms “AMS”, “CBRN CMAT”, “CG-IMAT”, “CMHT”, “CMRT”; ii. Removing the terms “ESF”, “FCO”, “FRERP”; iii. Adding in alphabetical order the term “FRMAC”; iv. Removing the term “FRP”; v. Adding in alphabetical order the terms “JIC”, “NARAC”, “NCERT”, “NIMS”, “NRF”, “RAP”, “REAC/TS”, “REOC”; vi. Removing the term “RRC”; vii. Adding in alphabetical order the term “SERT”; and viii. Removing the term “USFWS”.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 300.4 Abbreviations.

    (a) * * *

    CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention DHS Department of Homeland Security PHMSA Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration USFWS United States Fish and Wildlife Service

    (b) * * *

    AMS Aerial Measuring System CBRN CMAT Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Consequence Management Advisory Team CG-IMAT Coast Guard Incident Management Assistance Team CMHT Consequence Management Home Team CMRT Consequence Management Response Team FRMAC Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center JIC Joint Information Center NARAC National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center NCERT National Criminal Enforcement Response Team NIMS National Incident Management System NRF National Response Framework RAP Radiological Assistance Program REAC/TS Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site REOC Regional Emergency Operations Center SERT Salvage Engineering Response Team
    5. Amend § 300.5 by: a. Removing the definitions “Federal Radiological Emergency Response Plan” and “Federal Response Plan”; b. Adding in alphabetical order definitions for “National Incident Management System” and “National Response Framework”; c. Revising the definitions “National response system” and “Spill of National Significance”; and d. Adding a note to the end of § 300.5.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 300.5 Definitions.

    National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a consistent nationwide template for the management of domestic incidents, issued by the DHS under the authority of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (HSA), Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act (PKEMRA), Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act), and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5). NIMS provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide government departments and agencies at all levels, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life or property and harm to the environment. To provide for interoperability and compatibility among responding organizations, the NIMS includes a core set of concepts, principles, procedures, organizational processes, and terminology. These include the incident command system; multi-agency coordination systems; training; identification and management of resources; qualification and certification; and the collection, tracking, and reporting of incident information and incident resources.

    National Response Framework (NRF) is a guide to how the Nation conducts all-hazards response, issued by the DHS under the authority of the HSA, PKEMRA, Stafford Act, and HSPD-5. The NRF documents the key response principles, roles and responsibilities, and coordinating structures that organize national response. It describes how communities, all levels of government, and private-sector and nongovernmental partners apply these principles for a coordinated, effective national response.

    National Response System (NRS) is the mechanism for coordinating response actions by all levels of government in support of the OSC/RPM. The NRS is composed of the NRT, RRTs, OSC/RPM, Area Committees, and Special Teams and related support entities. The NRS is capable of expanding or contracting to accommodate the response effort required by the size or complexity of the discharge or release.

    Spill of National Significance (SONS) means a spill of oil that due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, as determined by the EPA Administrator or by the Commandant of the USCG, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local, and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge.

    Note to § 300.5:

    1. Emergency Support Function #10—Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Annex is an annex to the NRF. It describes how federal support for environmental response to an actual or potential discharge and/or release of oil or hazardous materials is provided under the NRF when the annex is activated.

    2. Emergency Support Function #15—External Affairs Annex is an annex to the NRF. It describes how federal support for external affairs is provided under the NRF when the annex is activated. It includes components for public affairs, congressional affairs, intergovernmental affairs, and communications with the private sector.

    6. Amend § 300.105 by: a. Adding a note to paragraph (d); b. Revising paragraph (e)(1) and Figures 1a and 1b; and c. Revising paragraph (e)(2) and Figure 2.

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 300.105 General organization concepts.

    (d) * * *

    Note to paragraph (d): The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is issued by DHS. Federal departments and agencies follow NIMS and have adopted it for appropriate use in NCP emergency removal actions.

    (e)(1) The organizational concepts of the National Response System (NRS) are depicted in the following Figures 1a and 1b:

    BILLING CODE 6560-50-P EP25JA16.059 EP25JA16.060

    (2) The EPA regional boundaries (which are also the geographic areas of responsibility for the RRTs) are shown in Figure 2:

    EP25JA16.061
    7. Amend § 300.115 by revising paragraphs (j)(4)(iii) and (iv), removing paragraph (j)(4)(v), and revising paragraphs (j)(5), and (j)(8) to read as follows:
    § 300.115 Regional Response Teams.

    (j) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (iii) Help the OSC/RPM prepare information releases for the public and for communication with the NRT; and

    (iv) If the circumstances warrant, make recommendations to the regional or district head of the agency providing the OSC/RPM that a different OSC/RPM should be designated.

    (5) At the regional level, a Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) may provide facilities and personnel for communications, information storage, and other requirements for coordinating response. The location of each REOC should be identified in the RCP.

    (8) Notification of the RRT may be appropriate when full activation is not necessary, with systematic communication of situation reports or other means to keep RRT members informed as to actions of potential concern to a particular agency, or to assist in later RRT evaluation of regionwide response effectiveness.

    8. Amend § 300.125 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:
    § 300.125 Notification and communications.

    (a) The National Response Center (NRC) is a component of and serves the National Response System, and is located at USCG Headquarters. It serves as a national communications center, continuously manned, for handling activities related to response actions. The NRC provides communications support for the NRT. The NRC acts as the single point of contact under the NCP for receiving and disseminating reports of pollution incidents. Notice of discharges and releases must be made telephonically through a toll free number or a special local number. (Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and collect calls are accepted). (Notification details appear in §§ 300.300 and 300.405.) The NRC receives and immediately relays telephone notices of discharges or releases to the appropriate predesignated federal OSC. The telephone report is also distributed to any interested NRT member agency, federal entity, or state or tribal government agency that has established a written agreement or understanding with the NRC. The NRC evaluates incoming information and immediately advises FEMA of a potential major disaster situation.

    (b) The agencies that provide the NRT Chair and Vice Chair, in conjunction with other NRT agencies, shall provide the necessary personnel, communications, plotting facilities, and equipment for the NRC. The operation and management of the NRC is the responsibility of the Director of the NRC.

    9. Amend § 300.130 as follows: a. Revise paragraph (f); b. Remove paragraphs (g), (h), and (i); and c. Add a note to the end of § 300.130.
    § 300.130 Determinations to initiate response and special conditions.

    (f) Release of source, byproduct, or special nuclear material from a nuclear incident, as those terms are defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, if such release is subject to requirements with respect to financial protection established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under section 170 of such Act, is excluded from the definition of release in 42 U.S.C. 9601(22)(C).

    Note to § 300.130: The NRF and supporting documents describe how the NCP, and other federal authorities, may be used to respond to radiological releases. The NRF and supporting documents also describe how the NCP may be used in the event of a declaration of a major disaster or emergency by the President under the Stafford Act. The FEMA coordinates the federal response under the Stafford Act. The NRF and supporting documents, including the Emergency Support Function #10—Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Annex, describe how NCP response structures and activities integrate with FEMA structures and activities during these responses. The NRF does not alter NCP authorities.

    10. Amend § 300.135 by revising paragraphs (e) and (m) to read as follows:
    § 300.135 Response operations.

    (e) The OSC/RPM should consult regularly with the RRT, as appropriate, in carrying out the NCP and keep the RRT, as appropriate, informed of activities under the NCP.

    (m) The OSC shall submit situation reports to the RRT and other appropriate agencies as significant developments occur during response actions, through communications networks or procedures agreed to by the RRT and covered in the RCP.

    11. Amend § 300.145 by: a. Revising paragraph (a) introductory text; b. Removing paragraph (a)(3); c. Revising paragraphs (b)(4), (c)(1), (e), and (f); and d. Adding paragraphs (i) through (n).

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 300.145 Special teams and other assistance available to OSCs/RPMs.

    (a) The NSF is a special team established by the USCG, including the three USCG Strike Teams and the NSFCC. The NSF is available to assist OSCs/RPMs in their preparedness and response duties.

    (b) * * *

    (4) OSC/RPM or RRT requests for ERT support should be made through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or EPA Headquarters, Chief, Environmental Response Team.

    (c) * * *

    (1) Generally, SSCs are provided by NOAA in the coastal zone, and by EPA in the inland zone. OSC/RPM requests for SSC support can be made directly to the SSC assigned to the area or to the agency member of the RRT. EPA SSCs can also be requested through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center or the team-specific EPA point of contact designated in this section for the EPA special team whose type of expertise is needed. NOAA SSCs can also be requested through NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration. NOAA SSCs are assigned to USCG Districts and are supported by a scientific support team that includes expertise in environmental chemistry, oil slick tracking, pollutant transport modeling, natural resources at risk, environmental tradeoffs of countermeasures and cleanup, and information management.

    (e) For marine salvage operations, OSCs/RPMs with responsibility for monitoring, evaluating, or supervising these activities should request assistance from the USCG Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT), DOD, the Strike Teams, or commercial salvors as necessary.

    (f)(1) The Radiological Emergency Response Team (RERT) is established by EPA in accordance with its radiological disaster and emergency responsibilities. The RERT can provide response and technical assistance to the OSC/RPM for incidents or sites containing radiological hazards. The RERT can provide technical advice and assistance to prevent or minimize threats to public health and the environment; provide advice on protective measures to reduce or minimize radiation exposure; provide assessments of dose; perform site assessment, contamination surveys, monitoring, sampling, laboratory analyses and data assessments to assess and characterize environmental impacts; and provide technical advice and assistance for containment, cleanup, waste management, restoration, and recovery following a radiological incident. The RERT directly supports EPA's participation in the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC), when the FRMAC is activated.

    (2) The OSC/RPM may request RERT support through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or on-duty EPA RERT Team Commander in the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air.

    (i) The U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Assistance Team (CG-IMAT) is a scalable resource designed to assist federal OSCs by providing highly trained personnel who can assist in: Major incident management activities; ongoing training and qualification of Coast Guardsmen throughout the United States; carrying out exercises which validate plans and procedures and build confidence in capabilities; and, for the Coast Guard in general, the ongoing development of competent and effective management capabilities at Coast Guard field units. By maintaining this comprehensive functionality, the CG-IMAT has significant in-garrison responsibilities that actively support all-hazard training, exercises, and readiness assessments. The CG-IMAT has four distinct capabilities:

    (1) Incident Management Capability—The CG-IMAT is a Type-1 IMAT that can assist operational commanders to successfully manage incidents and events through the deployment of highly trained individuals, four-person Away Teams, 15-person Deployable Elements, or the entire CG-IMAT. The structure provides adaptive force packages to best support the needs of the operational commanders.

    (2) Training Support Capability—The CG-IMAT can assist USCG Areas, Districts, Sectors, and Force Readiness Command in the conduct of NIMS training and support ongoing efforts to certify individuals in position-specific qualifications.

    (3) Exercise Support Capability—The CG-IMAT can employ specific personnel to assist in the development, training, conduct, and evaluation of exercises.

    (4) The Public Information Assist Team (PIAT) is an element of the CG-IMAT that is available to assist federal OSCs to meet the needs for public information during a response or exercise.

    (5) For non-USCG federal OSCs, requests for CG-IMAT support can be made through the USCG Headquarters National Command Center. Requests for PIAT assistance can be made through the CG-IMAT or NRC.

    (j)(1) The USCG SERT can provide immediate salvage engineering support in response to vessel casualties and emergencies. This includes independent technical evaluation of the situation and assistance in formulating practical and effective solutions.

    (2) The SERT can provide expertise in evaluating vessel casualties, reviewing and developing salvage plans, and providing salvage technical assistance directly to the OSC/RPM. The SERT has access to vessel plans and salvage engineering analysis software, and knowledge of commercial vessel construction and stability. The SERT is able to deploy and provide on-site assistance.

    (3) The OSC/RPM may request support through the NRC, directly from the SERT, or through the USCG Headquarters National Command Center or USCG Marine Safety Center.

    (k)(1) The EPA Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Consequence Management Advisory Team (CBRN CMAT) can provide response and technical assistance for incidents or sites involving chemical, biological, radiological and/or nuclear hazards. Scientific and technical expertise can be provided to the OSC/RPM for all phases of CBRN environmental response, including characterization, decontamination and cleanup, clearance, and waste management. The CBRN CMAT directly supports EPA's participation in the FRMAC, when a FRMAC is activated.

    (2) The CBRN CMAT can provide specialized scientific support and technical expertise specifically for characterization, decontamination and cleanup, clearance, and waste management of buildings and building contents, public infrastructure, transportation systems, and outdoor spaces. The CBRN CMAT engages in evaluating, advising, leading, or collaborating on various applied research projects that can support CBRN field response.

    (3) The CBRN CMAT maintains technologically advanced response assets and capabilities, including but not limited to, an airborne stand-off chemical and radiological detection, infrared and photographic imagery platform that provides results within minutes, and a mobile laboratory designed to detect chemical warfare agents and toxic industrial chemicals.

    (4) The OSC/RPM may request CBRN CMAT assistance through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or EPA Headquarters, Director, CBRN Consequence Management Advisory Division.

    (l)(1) The EPA National Criminal Enforcement Response Team (NCERT) in the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training supports environmental crime investigations involving chemical, biological, or radiological releases to the environment. The team can also provide specialized law enforcement services in support of the EPA's overall mission to protect human health and the environment.

    (2) The NCERT provides specially trained Law Enforcement Officers with all-hazards response capability to collect forensic evidence within contaminated zones and serve as law enforcement liaisons with other law enforcement agencies. The NCERT maintains several strategically placed response platforms that contain safety and forensic equipment to properly process a contaminated crime scene.

    (3) The OSC/RPM may request NCERT support through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or EPA Headquarters, Director, Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics and Training.

    (m)(1) The OSHA Response Team can support the OSC/RPM in the area of response worker safety and health. The team can provide safety and health expertise and support for incidents involving toxic industrial chemicals, chemical warfare agents, biological agents, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, collapsed structures, demolition and other construction-type activities. The team is comprised of certified industrial hygienists, certified health physicists, professional engineers, toxicologists, occupational physicians, and specialized safety experts.

    (2) The OSHA Response Team is available to assist OSCs/RPMs in their preparedness and response duties. Requests for support should be made through the NRC, or directly to OSHA's Health Response Team Director, located at OSHA's Salt Lake Technical Center in Sandy, Utah or OSHA's Director, Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management located in OSHA's national office.

    (n)(1) DOE has the following special teams:

    (i) Aerial Measuring System (AMS) can provide a rapid survey of radiation contamination during a radiological emergency by using aircraft equipped to detect radioactive contamination on the ground.

    (ii) Consequence Management Home Team (CMHT) can assist field assets in the support of federal, state, tribal, and local response organizations with modeling, radiological operations planning, field monitoring techniques, and the analysis, interpretation and distribution of radiological data. These reach-back capabilities can be activated quickly to support public safety and minimize the health and environmental impact of a nuclear or radiological incident.

    (iii) Consequence Management Response Team (CMRT) can provide data collection, assessment, and interpretation for decision makers in the event of a radiological incident.

    (iv) National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) can provide near real-time assessment of atmospheric releases for rapid decision-making during an emergency involving a nuclear or radiological release.

    (v) Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) can provide reach-back radiation medical assistance or deploy personnel and equipment for direct medical care in support of a radiological emergency. The REAC/TS also conducts robust radiation medicine training for healthcare providers.

    (vi) Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) can provide first response radiological assistance in the detection and identification of radiological and nuclear threats, and responds to events involving the release of radiological materials in the environment.

    (2) All DOE teams may be requested through the DOE Watch Office, DOE Headquarters (National Nuclear Security Administration, Office of Emergency Operations). All teams may be requested independently of any other response construct they support. For example, the CMHT, CMRT, or AMS may be requested independent of a request for a Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC), which those teams normally support as the DOE component of the FRMAC when a FRMAC is activated. Deployed CMRT and RAP teams are typically supported by the CMHT. An OSC/RPM request for a CMRT or RAP team would include the support of the CMHT when DOE determines such CMHT support is needed.

    12. Amend § 300.155 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) and adding a note to the end of § 300.155 to read as follows:
    § 300.155 Public information and community relations.

    (a) When an incident occurs, it is imperative to give the public prompt, accurate information on the nature of the incident and the actions underway to mitigate the damage. OSCs/RPMs and community relations personnel should ensure that all appropriate public and private interests are kept informed and that their concerns are considered throughout a response. They should coordinate with available public affairs/community relations resources to carry out this responsibility by establishing, as appropriate, a Joint Information Center (JIC) bringing together resources from federal and state agencies and the responsible party.

    (b) A JIC may be established near the location of the incident to coordinate media relations and to issue official information on an incident. The OSC/RPM, in consultation with other response organizations as appropriate, determines the location of the JIC, but every effort should be made to locate it near the scene of the incident. If a participating agency believes public interest warrants the issuance of statements and a JIC has not been established, the affected agency should recommend its establishment. All federal news releases or statements by participating agencies should be cleared through the OSC/RPM. Information dissemination relating to natural resource damage assessment activities shall be coordinated through the lead administrative trustee. The designated lead administrative trustee may assist the OSC/RPM by disseminating information on issues relating to damage assessment activities. Following termination of removal activity, information dissemination on damage assessment activities shall be through the lead administrative trustee.

    Note to § 300.155: NRF procedures for public affairs and external communications, including those in the Emergency Support Function #15—External Affairs Annex, may be activated and implemented in addition to NCP procedures.

    13. Revise § 300.165 to read as follows:
    § 300.165 OSC after action reports.

    (a) As requested by the NRT or RRT, the OSC/RPM shall submit to the NRT or RRT a complete report on the removal operation and the actions taken. The RRT shall review the OSC after action report and send to the NRT a copy of the OSC report with its comments or recommendations within 30 days after the RRT has received the OSC report.

    (b) The OSC after action report shall record the situation as it developed, the actions taken, the resources committed, and the problems encountered.

    14. Amend § 300.170 by revising the introductory paragraph and paragraph (b)(1) to read as follows:
    § 300.170 Federal agency participation.

    Federal agencies listed in § 300.175 have certain authorities and responsibilities established by statute, executive order, or Presidential directive which may apply to federal response actions following, or in prevention of, the discharge of oil or release of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Some of these agencies also have specific land management laws, policies, and regulations that may inform or affect response actions on federal lands under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of the agency. Some also have certain authorities and responsibilities relating to the restoration, rehabilitation, replacement, or acquisition of equivalent natural resources injured or lost as a result of such discharge or release as described in subpart G of this part. The NRT, RRT, and Area Committee organizational structure, and the NCP, RCPs and ACPs, described in § 300.210, provide for agencies to coordinate with each other in carrying out these authorities and responsibilities.

    (b) * * *

    (1) Make necessary information available to the NRT, RRTs, Area Committees, and OSCs/RPMs.

    15. Revise § 300.175 to read as follows:
    § 300.175 Federal agencies: additional responsibilities and assistance.

    (a) During preparedness planning or in an actual response, various federal agencies may be called upon to provide assistance in their respective areas of expertise, as indicated in paragraph (b) of this section, consistent with agency capabilities and legal authorities, including any federal land management laws, policies, and/or regulations that may inform or affect response actions taken on federally controlled land.

    (b) The federal agencies include:

    (1) USCG, as provided in 14 U.S.C. 1-3, is an agency in DHS, except when operating as an agency in the United States Navy in time of war. USCG provides the NRT vice chair, co-chairs for the standing RRTs, and predesignated OSCs for the coastal zone, as described in § 300.120(a)(1). USCG maintains continuously manned facilities which can be used for command, control, and surveillance of oil discharges and hazardous substance releases occurring in the coastal zone. USCG also offers expertise in domestic and international fields of port safety and security, maritime law enforcement, ship navigation and construction, vessel salvage, the manning, operation, and safety of vessels and marine facilities, and vessel environmental pollution control. USCG may enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the appropriate state in order to implement a response action. USCG manages the Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) and a Spill of National Significance (SONS) exercise program to test spill response plans at all levels of industry and government. The USCG's NPFC manages the OSLTF.

    (2) EPA chairs the NRT and co-chairs, with the USCG, the standing RRTs; provides predesignated OSCs for all inland areas for which an ACP is required under CWA section 311(j) and for discharges and releases occurring in the inland zone and RPMs for remedial actions except as otherwise provided; and generally provides the SSC for responses in the inland zone. EPA provides expertise on human health and ecological effects of oil discharges or releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants; methods for determining the type and extent of environmental contamination; ecological and human health risk assessment methods; environmental pollution control techniques (e.g., containment, decontamination, removal); and waste management and disposal. Access to EPA's scientific expertise can be facilitated through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center; the EPA representative to the Science and Technology Committee of the NRT; the EPA Office of Research and Development's Superfund Technical Liaison or Regional Scientists located in EPA Regional offices; the EPA representative to the RRT; or, for EPA special teams, as described in § 300.145. In addition, EPA can provide radiological monitoring and assessment assistance as part of the FRMAC, an interagency entity established under the NRF that may be activated by the lead agency to coordinate all federal environmental radiological monitoring and assessment activities for radiological or nuclear accidents or incidents. EPA augments the DOE-led FRMAC during the initial response (through RERT, CBRN CMAT, and other personnel) and assumes leadership of the FRMAC from DOE at a mutually agreed upon time. EPA also provides legal expertise on the interpretation of CERCLA and other environmental statutes. EPA may enter into a contract or cooperative agreement with the appropriate state in order to implement a response action.

    (3) FEMA is an agency in DHS whose mission includes providing guidance, policy and program advice, and technical assistance in hazardous materials, chemical, and radiological emergency preparedness activities (including planning, training, and exercising). The FEMA Protection and National Preparedness Office administers financial and technical assistance to state and local governments to support their efforts to develop and maintain an effective emergency management and response capability.

    (4) DOD has responsibility to take all action necessary with respect to releases where either the release is on, or the sole source of the release is from, any facility or vessel under the jurisdiction, custody, or control of DOD. In the event of releases that are unrelated to DOD, DOD may, consistent with its operational requirements and upon request of the OSC, provide appropriate support to other federal agencies. In such event, the following components of DOD may have particular relevance or expertise:

    (i) United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can provide design services, construction services, channel maintenance, removal of navigation obstructions, contract formation and administrative services, technical support for responses involving chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials, and assistance in conducting temporary relocations. USACE has discretionary authority in an emergency situation to remove sunken vessels that are located in a federally-maintained navigable channel under 33 U.S.C. 403 and 409. USACE also has limited authority to remove debris from federally-maintained navigable channels and waterways under section 202 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-587). The USACE Regulatory Program administers Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, which requires Department of Army (DA) authorization for work or structures in, over, or under navigable waters of the U.S. or affecting the course, location, or condition of those waters; section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which requires DA authorization for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S., including wetlands; and section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, which requires DA authorization for the transportation of dredged material for ocean disposal.

    (ii) The Pentagon office of Joint Director of Military Support allocates DOD resources in response to requests from civil authorities. Such requests for assistance are typically processed and acted upon after a written request via the DOD Executive Secretary.

    (iii) U.S. Northern Command is the domestic combatant command which also has responsibility, when directed by the President or Secretary of Defense, to provide support and assistance to civil authorities, including consequence management operations.

    (iv) U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage (SUPSALV) is the DOD component most knowledgeable and experienced in ship salvage, harbor clearance, towing, oil and hazardous spill response, underwater ship repair, and diving. The U.S. Navy has an extensive array of specialized equipment and personnel available for use in these areas as well as specialized containment, collection, and removal equipment specifically designed for salvage-related and open-sea pollution incidents. In addition to the capabilities provided by SUPSALV, DOD may also, consistent with operational commitments, provide locally deployed Navy oil spill response equipment and operating personnel.

    (5) DOE generally provides designated OSCs/RPMs that are responsible for taking all response actions with respect to releases where either the release is on, or the sole source of the release is from, any facility or vessel under its jurisdiction, custody, or control, including vessels bareboat-chartered and operated. In addition, DOE provides advice and assistance to other OSCs/RPMs for emergency actions essential for the control of immediate radiological hazards. Incidents that qualify for DOE radiological advice and assistance are those believed to involve source, by-product, or special nuclear material or other ionizing radiation sources, including radium, and other naturally occurring radionuclides, as well as particle accelerators. Radiological assistance is available as described in § 300.145(n). In addition, DOE can provide radiological monitoring and assessment assistance to the OSC/RPM as part of the FRMAC, when the FRMAC is activated. DOE leads the FRMAC for the initial response, then transitions FRMAC leadership to EPA at a mutually agreed upon time.

    (6) Department of Agriculture (USDA) has scientific and technical capability to measure, evaluate, and monitor, either on the ground or by use of aircraft, situations where natural resources including soil, water, wildlife, and vegetation have been impacted by fire, insects and diseases, floods, hazardous substances, and other natural or man-caused emergencies. USDA may be contacted through Forest Service emergency staff officers who are the designated members of the RRT. Agencies within USDA have relevant capabilities and expertise as follows:

    (i) Forest Service has responsibility for protection and management of national forests and national grasslands. Forest Service has personnel, laboratory, and field capability to measure, evaluate, monitor, and control as needed, releases of pesticides and other hazardous substances on lands under its jurisdiction. Forest Service can also provide Incident Management Teams and support logistics such as communications and personnel.

    (ii) Agriculture Research Service (ARS) administers an applied and developmental research program in animal and plant protection and production; the use and improvement of soil, water, and air; the processing, storage, and distribution of farm products; and human nutrition. ARS has the capabilities to provide regulation of, and evaluation and training for, employees exposed to biological, chemical, radiological, and industrial hazards. In emergency situations, ARS can identify, control, and abate pollution in the areas of air, soil, wastes, pesticides, radiation, and toxic substances for ARS facilities. ARS has a network of laboratories that can analyze samples of biologic select agents.

    (iii) Natural Resources Conservation Service has personnel in nearly every county in the nation who are knowledgeable in soil, agronomy, engineering, and biology. These personnel can help to predict the effects of pollutants on soil and their movements over and through soils. Technical specialists can assist in identifying potential hazardous waste disposal sites and provide review and advice on plans for remedial measures.

    (iv) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) can respond in an emergency to regulate movement of diseased or infected organisms to prevent the spread and contamination of non-affected areas and assist in animal carcass disposal. APHIS/Wildlife Services can also provide assistance in the assessment of wildlife impacts, hazing and wildlife capture and deterrence, and other wildlife-related services.

    (v) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has responsibility to prevent meat and poultry products contaminated with harmful substances from entering human food channels. In emergencies, FSIS works with other federal and state agencies to establish acceptability for slaughter of exposed or potentially exposed animals and their products.

    (7) DOC, through NOAA, provides trust resource representation to the NRT and RRTs, consultations on protected and endangered species, and scientific and operational support for responding to emergency events and contingency planning in coastal and marine areas and the Great Lakes. NOAA resources are available through the regional NOAA SSC, RRT representative, or through the NOAA Desk at the DHS National Operations Center. Specific NOAA responsibilities and capabilities are:

    (i) Scientific support for oil and other hazardous materials spill operations, including weapons of mass destruction events: on-scene SSCs; assessments of the hazards that may be involved; predictions of movement and dispersion of the pollutant through trajectory modeling; information on the sensitivity of coastal environments to oil; field assessments of oil distributions on water or shorelines; sampling and/or monitoring and analytical analysis; recommendations on best practices for protection of resources; coordination on the development of cleanup endpoints; recommendations on cleanup or mitigation techniques; and information management for environmental data;

    (ii) Scientific Support Coordinators as a special team, described in § 300.145(c); established in a nationwide network, providing direct assistance to federal OSCs, coordinating scientific information from federal, state, local agencies, academia, tribes and private industry, supporting all aspects of response operations;

    (iii) Expertise and consultation on living marine resources and their habitats and other trustee resources, including endangered species, marine mammals, essential fish habitat, and National Marine Sanctuary ecosystems; ecological, historical, and cultural resources at risk; recommendations on best practices for protection of Endangered Species Act species, essential fish habitat, and marine mammals; on-scene or remote support for oiled wildlife recovery and rehabilitation practices for NOAA trust resources; access to user communities, local and state resource management agency partners and injury assessment staff; and natural resource damage assessment;

    (iv) Meteorological and oceanographic data and forecasts: information on actual and predicted meteorological, hydrological, ice, and oceanographic conditions for marine, coastal, and inland waters, and tide and circulation data for coastal and territorial waters and for the Great Lakes; and on-scene or remote National Weather Service support to include Incident Meteorologists or Warning Coordination Meteorologists;

    (v) Dissemination of informational messages associated with specific hazardous events through the use of NOAA All Hazards Radio and other NOAA alert broadcast methods;

    (vi) Rapid hydrographic surveys to locate underwater obstructions and update navigational charts; and

    (vii) Satellite and aircraft remote sensing and photogrammetric data.

    (8) HHS assists with the assessment, preservation, and protection of human health and helps ensure the availability of essential human services. HHS provides technical and nontechnical assistance in the form of advice, guidance, and resources to other federal agencies as well as territorial, tribal, state and local governments.

    (i) The principal HHS response is coordinated from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). Within HHS, the primary response to a hazardous materials emergency comes from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both ATSDR and CDC have a 24-hour emergency response capability wherein scientific and technical personnel are available to provide technical assistance to the lead federal agency and state and local response agencies on human health threat assessment and analysis, and exposure prevention, recovery, and mitigation. Such assistance is used for situations requiring evacuation of affected areas, human exposure to hazardous materials, and technical advice on mitigation and prevention. CDC takes the lead during petroleum releases regulated under the CWA and OPA, while ATSDR takes the lead during chemical releases under CERCLA. Both agencies are mutually supportive and have a centralized point of contact for supporting NCP responses.

    (ii) Other HHS agencies involved in support during hazardous materials incidents either directly or through the ASPR and/or ATSDR/CDC include the Food and Drug Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, Administration for Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    (iii) Statutory authority for HHS/NIH/National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) involvement in hazardous materials accident prevention is non-regulatory in nature and focused on two primary areas for preventing community and worker exposure to hazardous materials releases: worker safety training and basic research activities. Under section 126 of SARA, NIEHS is given statutory authority for supporting development of curricula and model training programs for waste workers and chemical emergency responders. Under Title IX, section 901(h) of the Clean Air Act Amendments, NIEHS also is authorized to conduct basic research on air pollutants, as well as train physicians in environmental health. Federal research and training in hazardous materials release prevention represents an important non-regulatory activity and supplements ongoing private sector programs.

    (9) Department of the Interior (DOI) protects, manages, and provides access to U.S. natural and cultural resources and historic properties and to mineral resources in offshore waters of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). DOI protects and manages the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage; provides scientific and other information about those resources; and honors the Nation's trust responsibilities and special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities. DOI manages the National Park System, national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, the public lands, and certain water projects in western states. DOI is responsible for migratory bird and wildlife conservation; historic preservation; endangered species conservation; surface-mined lands protection and restoration; mapping, geological, hydrological, and biological science for the Nation; and financial and technical assistance for the insular areas. DOI also regulates exploration, development, and production of mineral resources in the OCS and regulates offshore alternative energy activities. DOI should be contacted through the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC) Regional Environmental Officers (REOs), who are the designated members of RRTs. OEPC is the official DOI point-of-contact for oil and hazardous substances pollution emergency preparedness and response (www.doi.gov/oepc). OEPC represents DOI on the RRTs and NRT, providing coordinated DOI input to RRT and NRT preparedness and response documents and activities. OEPC REOs receive initial notification of actual (or potential) oil discharges and hazardous substances releases from OSCs and RPMs. OEPC subsequently contacts the appropriate DOI Bureau(s) and coordinates DOI participation in NRS activities. When necessary, OEPC serves as the DOI representative for incident-specific RRT and NRT activations and provides DOI input to decision-making on response actions to protect natural and cultural resources, which may address the use of chemical countermeasures and identification of places of refuge for vessels needing assistance. DOI bureaus and offices have relevant expertise as follows:

    (i) United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): Provides expertise to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats, migratory birds, anadromous fish, certain marine mammals, sea turtles on-shore, and historic properties, including input on appropriate cleanup techniques, actions and end points. Serves as the focal point within DOI for providing consultations to OSCs/RPMs regarding threatened or endangered species and their habitats. Coordinates all federal permitting for and oversight of bird hazing, collection, and treatment activities and coordination of all federal permitting activities for hazing, collecting, rescuing, and holding migratory birds, certain marine mammals, and threatened and endangered species. Authorizes entry to, and oversees activities on, national wildlife refuge system lands.

    (ii) National Park Service (NPS): Responsible for protection and management of units of the National Park System including, but not limited to, National Parks, National Recreation Areas, National Seashores, National Historic Sites, National Battlefield Parks, National Monuments, and Wild and Scenic Rivers. Provides advice on and participates in activities affecting historic properties and cultural resources. For incidents involving NPS lands and/or resources, NPS can participate in preparedness activities and response decision-making to address access, sensitive natural and cultural resources and historic properties, protection priorities, public health and safety, law enforcement, and other issues related to removal and remediation actions taken or planned on NPS-managed lands. NPS also has independent authority under the Park System Resource Protection Act 16 U.S.C. 19jj for recovery of costs on response actions taken to minimize the destruction, loss, or injury to park system resources.

    (iii) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): Performs research in support of biological resource management; inventories, monitors, and reports on the status of and trends in the nation's biotic resources; and transfers the information gained in research and monitoring to resource managers and others concerned with the care, use, and conservation of the nation's natural resources. USGS biologic research laboratories can advise and support NCP responses. USGS can also provide support services related to geology, hydrology (ground water and surface water), geospatial information, and natural hazards.

    (iv) Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Responsible for authorization of entry to, and resource protection of, the land and minerals managed by BLM. BLM provides expertise in emergency response, particularly for fire and hazardous materials incidents. Many BLM offices are equipped to provide assistance with sampling, investigation, surveillance, and security. BLM also has expertise in on-shore energy production, cadastral survey, cultural and historic properties, natural resources, and federal property acquisition and disposal.

    (v) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM): Promotes energy independence, environmental protection, and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy and marine mineral resources. BOEM's Office of Environmental Programs conducts environmental reviews, including National Environmental Policy Act analyses and compliance documents for each major stage of energy development planning. These analyses inform the bureau's decisions on its five year OCS oil and gas leasing program, and conventional and renewable energy leasing and development activities. Additionally, BOEM's scientists conduct and oversee environmental studies to inform policy decisions relating to the management of energy and marine mineral resources on the OCS.

    (vi) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE): Regulates and oversees the exploration, development, and production operations for oil and natural gas on the OCS to ensure that it is done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. BSEE's functions include oil and gas permitting, facility inspections, regulations and standards development, safety research, environmental compliance and enforcement, and oil spill prevention and readiness for facilities located in both federal (OCS) and state waters seaward of the coastline that handle, store, or transport oil. BSEE reviews and approves producers' oil spill response plans, and conducts readiness capability assessments through unannounced oil spill exercises and inspection of oil spill response equipment. During oil spills from offshore facilities seaward of the coastline, BSEE provides expertise on source control activities under the direction of the federal OSC. BSEE also funds applied oil spill response research and manages Ohmsett—the National Oil Spill Response and Renewable Energy Test Facility—through its Oil Spill Response Research Program.

    (vii) Bureau of Reclamation (BOR): Provides advice and information on operation, control, and maintenance of water systems and related resources, including dams, reservoirs, and channels. BOR has expertise in engineering and hydrology and can provide design services, construction, contracting, oversight and administration activity.

    (viii) Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement: Provides advice on surface coal mining, including abandoned coal mined lands, coal outcrop fires, coal mine wastes, waste bank stability, and toxic drainage.

    (ix) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): Assists in coordinating and communicating with, and obtaining access to, Indian lands and tribal officials. BIA has many programs to assist tribal governments and uphold Indian trust responsibilities.

    (x) Office of Insular Affairs: Provides assistance to American Samoa, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. May provide intergovernmental expertise to foster communications to implement the NCP in these areas.

    (xi) Office of Aviation Services: Provides access to DOI-approved aircraft, including on-scene inspection and certification teams, and arranges for air traffic control via the Federal Aviation Administration.

    (10) Department of Justice (DOJ) can provide expert advice on complicated legal questions arising from discharges or releases, and federal agency responses. In addition, DOJ represents the federal government, including its agencies, in litigation relating to such discharges or releases. Other legal issues or questions shall be directed to the federal agency counsel for the agency providing the OSC/RPM for the response. DOJ components, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Drug Enforcement Administration, can coordinate with OSCs on investigative and enforcement activities.

    (11) Department of Labor (DOL), through OSHA and the states operating plans approved under section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, has authority to conduct safety and health inspections of hazardous waste sites to assure that employees are being protected and to determine if the site is in compliance with:

    (i) Safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA (or the states) in accordance with section 126 of SARA and all other applicable standards; and

    (ii) Regulations promulgated under the Occupational and Safety Health Act and its general duty clause. OSHA inspections may be self-generated, consistent with its program operations and objectives, or may be conducted in response to requests from EPA or another lead agency, or in response to accidents or employee complaints. OSHA may also conduct inspections at hazardous waste sites in those states with approved plans that choose not to exercise their jurisdiction to inspect such sites. On request, OSHA will provide advice and consultation to EPA and other NRT/RRT agencies as well as to the OSC/RPM regarding hazards to persons engaged in response activities. OSHA may also take any other action necessary to assure that employees are properly protected at such response activities.

    (12) DOT provides response expertise pertaining to transportation of oil or hazardous substances by all modes of transportation. Through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT offers expertise in the requirements for packaging, handling, and transporting regulated hazardous materials. DOT, through PHMSA, establishes oil discharge contingency planning requirements for pipelines, transport by rail and containers or bulk transport of oil.

    (13) Department of State (DOS) plays a key role in supporting the development of international joint contingency plans. It will also help to coordinate an international response when discharges or releases cross international boundaries or involve foreign flag vessels. Additionally, DOS will coordinate requests for assistance from foreign governments and U.S. proposals for conducting research at incidents that occur in waters of other countries.

    (14) Nuclear Regulatory Commission will respond, as appropriate, to releases of radioactive materials by its licensees, in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission incident response procedures to monitor the actions of those licensees and assure that the public health and environment are protected and adequate recovery operations are instituted. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will keep EPA informed of any significant actual or potential releases in accordance with procedural agreements. In addition, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will provide advice to the OSC/RPM when assistance is required in identifying the source and character of other hazardous substance releases where the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has licensing authority for activities utilizing radioactive materials.

    (15) General Services Administration (GSA) provides logistical support for a variety of goods and services via its acquisitions capability to federal, state, tribal, local and non-governmental organization entities. GSA also provides leasing support for needed facilities; transportation services for air, land, or sea; and telecommunications support. GSA can provide advisory assistance to other government agencies to facilitate lodging, charter air, and vehicle rentals, among other items, off of its Federal Supply Schedules.

    16. Amend § 300.205 by revising Figure 4 in paragraph (g) to read as follows:
    § 300.205 Planning and coordination structure.

    (g) * * *

    EP25JA16.062
    17. Amend § 300.211 by: a. Revising the introductory text; b. Revising paragraph (f); and c. Adding table 1 to § 300.211

    The additions and revisions read as follows:

    § 300.211 OPA facility and vessel response plans.

    This section describes and cross-references the regulations that implement section 311(j)(5) of the CWA. A tank vessel, as defined under section 2101 of title 46, U.S. Code, an offshore facility, and an onshore facility that, because of its location, could reasonably expect to cause substantial harm to the environment by discharging into or on the navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, or exclusive economic zone must prepare and submit a plan for responding, to the maximum extent practicable, to a worst case discharge, and to a substantial threat of such a discharge, of oil or a hazardous substance. These response plans are required to be consistent with applicable Area Contingency Plans. These regulations are codified as follows and summarized in table 1 to § 300.211:

    (f) For rolling stock, these regulations are codified in 49 CFR part 130.

    EP25JA16.063
    18. Amend § 300.323 by revising paragraph (a) and adding a note to the end of § 300.323 to read as follows:
    § 300.323 Spills of national significance.

    (a) A discharge may be classified as a SONS by the Administrator of EPA for discharges occurring in the inland zone and by the Commandant of the USCG for discharges occurring in the coastal zone.

    Note to § 300.323: The EPA Administrator and USCG Commandant maintain the authority to designate an incident as a SONS under the NCP. This authority is separate from other federal authorities that may be exercised by other federal officials and other federal departments and agencies under the NRF.

    19. Amend § 300.405 by revising paragraphs (d) and (f)(3) to read as follows:
    § 300.405 Discovery or notification.

    (d) The NRC will generally need information that will help to characterize the release. This will include, but not be limited to: Location of the release; type(s) of material(s) released; an estimate of the quantity of material released; possible source and cause of the release; and date and time of the release. Reporting under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section shall not be delayed due to incomplete notification information.

    (f) * * *

    (3) If radioactive substances are present in a release, the RERT should be notified for evaluation and assistance through the EPA Headquarters Emergency Operations Center, EPA representative on the RRT, or on-duty EPA RERT Team Commander in the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, consistent with § 300.145(f).

    20. Amend § 300.415 by revising paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 300.415 Removal action.

    (f) Where necessary to protect public health or welfare, the lead agency may request that EPA conduct a temporary relocation or that state/local officials conduct an evacuation.

    [FR Doc. 2016-00663 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 20 [WT Docket No. 15-285; DA 16-26] Fourteen-Day Extension of Time To File Comments and Reply Comments AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) finds that a limited extension in this proceeding would be beneficial to the development of a complete record on the issues, and it grants a fourteen-day extension of time for comments filed in response to the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in, regarding Hearing Aid Compatibility Benchmarks.

    DATES:

    Interested parties may file comments on the NPRM on or before January 28, 2016, and reply comments on or before February 12, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by WT Docket No. 15-285; FCC 15-155, by any of the following methods:

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

    Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail (although the Commission continues to experience delays in receiving U.S. Postal Service mail). All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    People with Disabilities: Contact the Commission to request reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: [email protected] or phone: 202-418-0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

    For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    In addition to filing comments with the Secretary, a copy of any comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection modifications proposed in the NPRM should be submitted to the Commission via email to [email protected] and to Nicholas A. Fraser, Office of Management and Budget, via email to [email protected] or via fax at 202-395-5167.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information, contact Michael Rowan, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1883, email [email protected], or Eli Johnson, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (202) 418-1395, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's document in WT Docket No. 15-285, DA 16-26, released on January 11, 2016. The full text of the document is available for public inspection and copying during business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. It also may be purchased from the Commission's duplicating contractor at Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. Additionally, the complete item is available on the Commission's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

    Synopsis

    1. On November 20, 2015, the Commission released the NPRM in WT Docket No. 15-285, FCC 15-155, regarding Hearing Aid Compatibility Benchmarks. The NPRM provided that comments are due on January 14, 2016, and that reply comments are due on January 29, 2016. On January 8, 2016, the Law Firm of Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP and the Rural Wireless Association, Inc. filed a Joint Request for Extension of Time to File Comments seeking to extend the comment deadline based on the proximity of the January 15, 2016 deadline for submitting annual hearing aid compatibility reports for the 2015 reporting period.

    2. The Commissions notes that extensions of time are not routinely granted, and states that such extensions may be warranted when, among other things, the additional time will serve the public interest. The Commission finds that providing a limited extension in this proceeding would be beneficial to the development of a complete record on the issues and that an extension of time therefore serves the public interest. The Commission extends the deadline for filing comments to January 28, 2016 and the deadline for filing reply comments to February 12, 2016.

    3. The Commission takes this action pursuant to authority found in section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), and sections 0.131, 0.331, and 1.46 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 0.131, 0.331, and 1.46.

    Procedural Matters Ex Parte Rules—Permit-But-Disclose

    4. The proceeding that the NPRM in WT Docket No. 15-285, FCC 15-155, initiates shall be treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. Persons making ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

    Comment Filing Procedures

    5. Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments and reply comments on the NPRM on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. All filings related to the NPRM should refer to WT Docket No. 15-285. Comments may be filed using: (1) The Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), (2) the Federal Government's eRulemaking Portal, or (3) by filing paper copies. See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (May 1, 1998).

    Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

    Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.

    6. Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

    • All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St. SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be disposed of before entering the building.

    • Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

    • U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th Street SW., Washington DC 20554.

    7. 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).

    Federal Communications Commission. Peter Trachtenberg, Deputy Chief, Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01316 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 577 [Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0001] RIN 2127-AL66 Update Means of Providing Notification; Improving Efficacy of Recalls AGENCY:

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

    ACTION:

    Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to amend, by regulation, the means of notification required under the Safety Act, to be in a manner other than, or in addition to, first-class mail. Furthermore, Section 24104 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) expounds on the need to update the means of notification by requiring the Agency to include notification by electronic means in addition to first class mail notification, within 270 days of its enactment. MAP-21 also authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to improve the efficacy of recalls by requiring manufacturers to send additional notifications of defects or noncompliance if a second notification by the manufacturer does not result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or replacement equipment being returned for remedy.

    NHTSA seeks public comment on the means, in addition to first class mail, of providing notification to owners, purchasers, and dealers, by a manufacturer of a motor vehicle or replacement equipment, that the vehicle or equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety or does not comply with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard. As a result of this ANPRM, the Agency anticipates receiving information that will aid the Agency in developing a rule implementing the notification requirements under MAP-21 and the FAST Act. The Agency anticipates that comments and information received will aid in updating the Agency's regulations.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 10, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods:

    Internet: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

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

    Hand Delivery or Courier: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Facsimile: (202) 493-2251.

    Regardless of how you submit your comments, please mention the docket number of this document.

    You may also call the Docket at (202) 366-9322.

    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public Participation heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading under the Public Participation heading in the Supplementary Information section below for more information.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For substantive issues: Jennifer Timian, Office of Defects Investigation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at (202) 366-4000. For legal issues: Justine Casselle, Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at (202) 366-2992.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Executive Summary II. Notification Requirements Before and After MAP-21 A. Means of Notification B. Additional Notifications III. Public Participation A. Means and Methods of Notification B. General Owner Knowledge and Behavior/Availability of Information to Owners C. Privacy Act IV. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices V. Submission of Comments I. Executive Summary

    The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) authorizes the Agency to amend, through rulemaking, the means of providing notification to owners, purchasers, and dealers, by a manufacturer of a motor vehicle or replacement equipment, that the vehicle or equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety or does not comply with an applicable federal motor vehicle safety standard. MAP-21 also authorizes NHTSA to improve recall effectiveness by requiring manufacturers to send additional notifications of defects or noncompliance if a second notification by the manufacturer does not result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or replacement equipment being returned for remedy. Finally, MAP-21 authorizes NHTSA to permit “public notice” in addition to individualized notification. More recently, Section 24104 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) requires the Agency to amend the means of notification to owners by including electronic notification in addition to first class mail notification.

    Much has changed in the ways and means by which manufacturers communicate with their customers and influence behavior since the 1970's when U.S. law first required manufacturers to notify owners in the event of a safety recall. Hard copy mail has become far less prominent in the wake of virtually instantaneous electronic message such as email and text messaging, in addition to heavy use of social media. First class mail does not inform as to whether an owner actually received the mail, let alone whether they read it and understood it, whereas electronic messaging technologies are capable of confirming whether the message at least was delivered to the address given. This ANPRM seeks comments and supporting information on the specific means and methods of notification that manufacturers use, and those that manufacturers consider are most effective, to reach their owners and purchasers as well as motivate them to have safety recalls completed. We seek to learn and obtain opinion on what methods should be required of manufacturers, as well as what methods are viable as alternatives in the event a recall campaign does not meet expectations and/or the Agency believes a public notification as contemplated by the statute is appropriate. This is all in an effort to leverage the new authorities NHTSA has been given to most efficiently and effectively improve safety recall completion rates. NHTSA will use the comments and supporting information submitted in response to this ANPRM to inform its development of a regulatory proposal that would allow notification of safety related recalls to be issued by means other than, or in addition to, first-class mail.

    II. Notification Requirements Before and After MAP-21 A. Means of Notification

    49 U.S.C. 30118(c) requires motor vehicle manufacturers or manufacturers of replacement equipment to “notify . . . the owners, purchasers, and dealers of vehicle or equipment as provided in section 30119(d) of this section, if the manufacturer:

    1. Learns the vehicle or equipment contains a defect and decides in good faith that the defect is related to motor vehicle safety; or

    2. Decides in good faith that the vehicle or equipment does not comply with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under this chapter.

    The manner by which this required notice would be given to owners or purchasers of vehicles or equipment is governed by 49 U.S.C. 30119(d). Prior to MAP-21, and for vehicle recalls, section 30119(d) required notice is to be sent via first-class mail to the registered owner, or if the registered owner could not be identified, to the most recent purchaser known to the manufacturer. 49 U.S.C. 30119(d)(1)(A)-(B). For recalls of replacement equipment, the statute required notification to the most recent purchaser. Id.

    Section 31310 of MAP-21 amended the notice provisions in 49 U.S.C. 30119(d) to allow the Secretary of Transportation, and by delegation NHTSA's Administrator, the flexibility to determine the manner by which notifications about safety recalls under 49 U.S.C. 30118 must be sent. The statute requires notification to be sent to each registered owner whose name and address is reasonably ascertainable through State records or other available sources, or the most recent purchaser known to the manufacturer. 49 U.S.C. 30119(d)(1)(A)-(B). Manufacturers are also required to notify dealers under the statute. 49 U.S.C. 30119(d)(4). The amended statutory language authorizes the Agency to engage in a rulemaking to permit notification of vehicle defects and noncompliance by means other than first-class mail, such as electronic notification. Recently, the FAST Act expounds on this authority by expressly requiring the Agency to amend, by rulemaking, the means of notification to include electronic notification.

    B. Additional Notifications

    Not only did Section 31310 address the means of providing notification, both on an individualized basis and on a more broad-based level, but it also addressed improving the efficacy of recalls through additional notifications. Previously, 49 U.S.C. 30119(e) authorized the Secretary to order a second notification if the Secretary determined that the first notification failed to result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or items of replacement equipment being returned for remedy. The statute was silent, however, as to whether additional notifications beyond a second notification could be required. Section 31310 resolves this question by amending 49 U.S.C. 30119(e), which now, under 49 U.S.C. 30119(e)(2)(A)(i), authorizes the Secretary to order additional notifications if the Secretary determines that a second notification also failed to result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or items of replacement equipment being returned for remedy.

    Like the notifications addressed above, the means of additional notifications is to be in a “manner prescribed by the Secretary, by regulation.” 49 U.S.C. 30119(e)(2)(A)(i). This language anticipates the Agency will engage in rulemaking to contemplate and permit, if not order where warranted, notification of motor vehicle and equipment defects and failures to comply by means other than first-class mail.

    III. Public Participation

    NHTSA invites comments and information on how the agency can best leverage the new flexibilities it has been given under MAP-21 and the FAST Act to update the required means manufacturers use, whether as a first notification or as a follow-up notification, to successfully notify their owners and purchasers and urge them toward seeking the free remedies they are offered. As a general matter, the Agency requests that commenters provide as much research, evidence, or data as possible to support their comments, including cost-benefit information, as that information will be of great assistance to the Agency as it moves forward in the development of a proposed rule. The questions below are intended to focus, but not limit, the information and opinions commenters offer. Commenters are encouraged to offer any suggestions or tactics that may not have been expressly mentioned in this notice.

    A. Means and Methods of Notification

    (1) How effective has traditional first class mail been at reaching owners? What is the estimated delivery rate for vehicle recalls where registered owner information from state agencies and the U.S. territories are available? What is the estimated delivery rate for equipment recalls where these information sources are not available? How many owners are equipment manufacturers able to notify using traditional first class mail?

    (2) Other than by first class mail, in what ways can and do manufacturers notify owners about safety recalls? How do, or should, those means and methods change dependent upon the product being sold or how it was sold (e.g., vehicles as opposed to replacement equipment, or online sales as opposed to brick and mortar retail shops)? What are the respective rates of delivery success for these methods? What information or technology is available and used to calculate these rates of delivery?

    (3) What are the corresponding rates of remedy completion for these methods discussed in your response to paragraph (2) above?

    (4) What sales and marketing methods and techniques could be employed for safety recall communications? Which have shown the most success in terms of owners understanding and owner recall completion, which have shown the least, and why? What information or technology is available and used to calculate these findings and how do manufacturers determine if these methods motivated the recall completion as opposed to the recall completion being motivated by other tools such as first class mailings?

    (5) If manufacturers communicate with owners through email, text messaging, smart phone applications, or other electronic means, which method of communication do manufacturers find most effective at reaching owners? Which method of communication do owners prefer? Are there best practices as to when and how these communications are applied and when they are not? Are there certain demographics that seem to respond less or more to certain types of electronic communications?

    (6) Are manufacturers using social media to inform owners of safety recalls and influence owners' behavior to have recalls work completed? What media is being used and which have been the most or least effective in terms of “click-throughs” or other methods for tracking owner attention? Are there certain demographics that seem to respond less or more to social media generally and/or specific types of social media? Are there best practices as to when and how these communications are applied and when they are not?

    (7) Are there any legal or other limitations of which the Agency should be aware in contemplating any of the alternatives noted above or mentioned in your comments?

    (8) Do manufacturers currently have access to owners' email addresses? Excluding collecting emails at point of sale, from where do manufacturers collect this information and how do they determine its “freshness” or accuracy? Should owners be required to provide an email address as part of a purchase or service transaction? Should the answer depend on how and where the product was purchased, the purchase price of the product, or some other factor? Why or why not?

    (9) What contingencies do manufacturers have in place to avoid spam filters or to indicate that an email relates to a safety recall explicitly? What assurances are, or could be, put in place to confirm that an email was (a) received and (b) opened?

    (10) The purpose of 49 CFR part 577 is “to ensure that notifications of defects or noncompliances adequately inform and effectively motivate owners of potentially defective or noncomplying motor vehicles or items of replacement equipment to have such vehicles or equipment inspected and, where necessary, remedied as quickly as possible.” Does notification by means other than first-class mail and email carry out this purpose? What about text alerts, social media campaigns, and other less traditional methods?

    B. General Owner Knowledge and Behavior/Availability of Information to Owners

    (1) Do owners read and understand the information they are currently receiving from required safety recall notices delivered via first class mail? What data or research supports your response?

    (2) Is there data identifying why owners do not react to safety recall notices they receive from their manufacturers? What does that data suggest would increase owner behavior toward recall completion? Is there data indicating whether an increase in owners recall completion is more likely to occur in the presence of cash incentives, service offers, or other means? Is there data indicating otherwise?

    (3) What recall information do owners want and how do they want it expressed? Are there particular words or phrases? Are their particular formats or graphics that align more with recall completion? If any focus group studies have been conducted by manufacturers or other organizations regarding owners' needs in this area, should the Agency use them to aid in assessing how to meet those needs?

    (4) Should the Agency engage in its own behavior study including, but not limited to, surveys, polls, and focus groups? If so, what questions should be asked? What strategies used? How large of a survey or poll should be conducted?

    C. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

    IV. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This rulemaking document was not reviewed under Executive Order 12866 or Executive Order 13563. NHTSA has considered the impact of this ANPRM under the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This ANPRM seeks comments and supporting information on how the Agency can best update the means of notifying owners, purchasers, and dealers of recalls in an effort to improve vehicle safety recall completion rates. Because this rulemaking only seeks comments and information to aid in the Agency's development of a proposed rule, the impact of this ANPRM is limited. Therefore, this rulemaking has been determined to be not “significant” under the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures and the policies of the Office of Management and Budget.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    As this Notice is an ANPRM, we are not proposing to adopt any new information collection or record keeping requirements. If, after considering the public comments received in response to this notice NHTSA decides to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking that includes information collection or record keeping requirements, that notice will discuss any new paperwork burden associated with those proposed requirements.

    Regulatory Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

    V. Submission of Comments How can I influence NHTSA's thinking on this rulemaking?

    Your comments will help us improve this proposed rulemaking. We invite you to provide different views on options we discuss, new approaches we have not considered, new data, descriptions of how this ANPRM may affect you, or other relevant information. We welcome your views on all aspects of this ANPRM, but request comments on specific issues throughout this document. Your comments will be most effective if you follow the suggestions below:

    • Explain your views and reasoning as clearly as possible.

    • Provide solid evidence and data to support your views.

    • If you estimate potential costs, explain how you arrived at that estimate.

    • Tell us which parts of the ANPRM you support, as well as those with which you disagree.

    • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns.

    • Offer specific alternatives.

    • Refer your comments to the specific sections of the ANPRM.

    Your comments must be written in English. To ensure that your comments are correctly filed in the docket, please include the docket number of this document in your comments.

    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long. 49 CFR 553.21. We established this limit to encourage you to write your primary comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary additional documents to your comments. There is no limit on the length of the attachments.

    Please submit your comments to the docket electronically by logging onto http://www.regulations.gov or by the means given in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this document. Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and DOT Data Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we encourage you to consult the guidelines in preparing your comments. OMB's guidelines may be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/reproducible.html.

    How do I submit confidential business information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. In addition, you should submit a copy from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information to the docket. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulations. 49 CFR part 512.

    Will the agency consider late comments?

    We will consider all comments that the docket receives before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated in the DATES section. To the extent possible, we will also consider comments that the docket receives after that date. If the docket receives a comment too late for us to consider it in developing the next step in this rulemaking, we will consider that comment as an informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.

    How can I read the comments submitted by other people?

    You may read the comments received by the docket at the address given in the ADDRESSES section. You may also see the comments on the Internet (http://regulations.gov). Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check the docket for new material. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19476 at 19477-78).

    Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 30102, 30103, 30116-30121, 30166; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 14, 2016 under authority delegated pursuant to 49 CFR 1.95. Frank S. Borris II, Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01291 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 130919819-5999-01] RIN 0648-BD68 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Red Snapper Management Measures; Amendment 28 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes to implement management measures described in Amendment 28 to the Fishery Management Plan for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) (Amendment 28). If approved and implemented by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), Amendment 28 would revise the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) red snapper commercial and recreational sector allocations of the stock annual catch limits (ACLs). As a result of the revised sector allocations proposed in Amendment 28, this proposed rule would revise the red snapper commercial and recreational quotas (which are equivalent to the ACLs) and the recreational annual catch targets (ACTs). This proposed rule would also set the Federal charter vessel/headboat and private angling component quotas and ACTs based on the revised recreational sector's ACL and ACT. The purpose of this proposed rule and Amendment 28 is to reallocate the Gulf red snapper harvest consistent with the 2014 red snapper assessment update while ensuring the allowable catch and recovery benefits from the rebuilding red snapper stock are fairly and equitably allocated between the commercial and recreational sectors.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before March 10, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the amendment identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2013-0146” by either 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-2013-0146, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

    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).

    Electronic copies of Amendment 28, which includes an environmental impact statement, a fishery impact statement, a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis, and a regulatory impact review, may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/reef_fish/2013/am28/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Peter Hood, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, telephone: 727-824-5305; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS and the Council manage the Gulf reef fish fishery under the FMP. The Council prepared the FMP and NMFS implements the FMP through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    Background

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires NMFS and regional fishery management councils to prevent overfishing and achieve, on a continuing basis, optimum yield from federally managed fish stocks. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that in allocating fishing privileges among fishermen, such allocation shall be fair and equitable to all such fishermen, reasonably calculated to promote conservation, and carried out in such a manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privileges. For stocks like red snapper, which are subject to a rebuilding plan, the Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that harvest restrictions and recovery benefits be allocated fairly and equitably among the fishing sectors. These mandates are intended to ensure fishery resources are managed for the greatest overall benefit to the nation, particularly with respect to providing food production and recreational opportunities, and protecting marine ecosystems. The purpose of Amendment 28 is to reallocate red snapper harvest from the commercial sector to the recreational sector, consistent with the 2014 red snapper update assessment, to ensure that the allowable catch and recovery benefits from a rebuilding stock are fairly and equitably allocated between the sectors. The current commercial allocation would be reduced from 51 percent to 48.5 percent of the stock ACL and the recreational allocation would be increased from 49 percent to 51.5 percent of the stock ACL. This shift in allocation is based on the increase in the total allowable harvest attributable to the calibration of Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) catch estimates that were used in a 2014 update assessment. This proposed rule would implement the shift in allocation by modifying the commercial and recreational quotas as well as recreational component quotas consistent with the revised red snapper allocation. This proposed rule would also revise the applicable ACTs. All weights described in this proposed rule are in round (whole) weight.

    Red Snapper Management

    The Gulf red snapper stock is currently overfished and is under a rebuilding plan projected to end in 2032. Consistent with the rebuilding plan, both the commercial and recreational quotas have been allowed to increase as the red snapper stock has recovered. The red snapper commercial and recreational ACLs are equal to the applicable quotas.

    The recreational sector, which has experienced red snapper quota overages and more recently, shorter red snapper seasons, is managed through a variety of measures including separate Federal charter vessel/headboat and private angling component quotas and ACTs, recreational bag and size limits, and closed seasons. Since 2014, the recreational season length is projected each year based on the applicable ACTs, which are set 20 percent less than the applicable quotas. In addition, an overage adjustment is required if the total recreational quota is exceeded and red snapper are overfished. The red snapper commercial sector has been managed under an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program since 2007 (71 FR 67447, November 22, 2006). Although the commercial sector has also experienced quota overages in the past, since the beginning of the IFQ program, the commercial sector has not exceeded its quota.

    In recent years, the Council has expressed its intent to evaluate and possibly adjust the allocation of reef fish resources between the commercial and recreational sectors. The Council has discussed NOAA's Catch Share Policy as well as its own allocation policy, and consistent with those policies, has considered changes to sector allocations for red snapper and several grouper species. Amendment 28 and this proposed rule specifically address red snapper allocation between the commercial and recreational sectors.

    Red Snapper Assessments

    In 2013, the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review 31 Gulf red snapper benchmark assessment was conducted and was then reviewed by the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). Based on their review, the SSC made recommendations for a revised red snapper acceptable biological catch (ABC) and overfishing limit (OFL). In 2014, a red snapper update assessment (2014 update assessment) was conducted. This assessment included more recent data and incorporated two changes to the recreational landings information: (1) Calibrated historical landings; and (2) new age (size) selectivity information for fishing years 2011-2013 for all recreational fleets. The calibrated historical landings resulted from important changes that were made to the design of the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) Access Point Angler Intercept Survey in 2013 to cover the fishing day more effectively than the original Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistics Survey (MRFSS). As a result, MRIP tended to produce higher estimates of red snapper landings and discards than MRFSS. Therefore, the original time series of MRFSS estimates were calibrated to the new time series of MRIP, which resulted in higher historical landings estimates for the recreational sector. Also, the update assessment included new age (size) selectivity information for fishing years 2011-2013 for all recreational fleets. This was done because recreational red snapper fishermen appeared to be selecting for larger and older fish in recent years.

    The results of the update assessment were first presented to the SSC and Council at their respective January 2015 meetings via a PowerPoint presentation. The results of the update assessment were subsequently used by the SSC to make new ABC recommendations. Specifically, the SSC recommended revised red snapper ABCs of 14.30 million lb (6.49 million kg), 13.96 million lb (6.33 million kg), and 13.74 million lb (6.23 million kg), for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 fishing years, respectively. The Council held a webinar meeting and approved a framework action to set the 2015-2017 red snapper quotas consistent with the SSC's recommendations and a final rule implementing the framework action published in May 2015 (80 FR 24832, May 1, 2015).

    Allocation

    The initial allocation for the commercial and recreational sectors was set in Amendment 1 to the FMP and was based on the percentage of total landings during the base period of 1979-1987 (55 FR 2078, January 22, 1990). The Council evaluated several different alternatives that would increase the recreational sector's red snapper allocation during the development of Amendment 28. These alternatives included straightforward percentage changes, changes based on the red snapper stock ACL, and changes based on the new recreational catch information used in the 2014 update assessment. The Council initially considered alternatives that would increase the commercial sector's red snapper allocation. At that time, analyses from the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) suggested that shifting red snapper allocation from the commercial to the recreational sector would increase net economic benefits. Thus, the Council determined that reallocating red snapper to the commercial sector would not achieve the purpose of the amendment at that time, which was to increase the net benefits from red snapper fishing and increase the stability of the red snapper component of the reef fish fishery, particularly for the recreational sector. Therefore, the Council removed those alternatives from the amendment. After the 2014 update assessment, the purpose and need statement of the amendment was revised to reallocating the red snapper harvest consistent with the assessment update to ensure the allowable catch and recovery benefits are fairly and equitably allocated between the commercial and recreational sectors. When the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) was published for comment, it included this revised purpose and need statement and two new alternatives added by the Council to address the new information and the revised purpose and need. The draft EIS did not include alternatives that would increase the commercial sector's allocation because the new scientific information did not change any previous understanding of commercial landings. More information about the Council's decision not to include these alternatives and an analysis of the environmental consequences of increasing the commercial allocation are provided in the response to comments section (Appendix D) of Amendment 28 and integrated final EIS. Accordingly, NMFS has made a preliminary determination that Amendment 28 includes a reasonable range of alternatives consistent with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.

    NMFS has also made a preliminary determination that Amendment 28 is consistent with section 302(i)(6) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which requires that interested parties “have a reasonable opportunity to respond to new data or information before the Council takes final action on conservation and management measures.” The preferred allocation alternative selected by the Council is based on the increase in the total allowable harvest that was attributable to the calibration of MRFSS catch estimates to the new MRIP time series used in the 2014 update assessment. The written report of the update assessment was not available until September 2015, which is after the Council took final action on Amendment 28. However, that report merely memorializes the information that was previously presented to the Council and the public, and was used by the Council to increase the quotas in the spring of 2015. The public had an opportunity to comment on the assessment results both during the Council webinar and during the comment period on the proposed rule to implement the quota increase that was published in April 2015. The amount of increase in the total allowable harvest attributable to the MRIP recalibration was derived from projections provided by the SEFSC in March 2015 and that analysis is included in Appendix H to Amendment 28.

    The preferred allocation alternative was determined by first allocating the red snapper quota that would result if MRIP catch estimates were not calibrated according to the status quo allocation percentages (51 percent commercial and 49 percent recreational) and then adding the amount of red snapper quota estimated to result from the recalibration to the recreational sector derived from the SEFSC projections. Percentages of the 2015-2017 red snapper annual quotas allocated to each sector fluctuated based on the quota and on the amounts attributed to the recalibration. Thus, the Council decided to base the proposed commercial and recreational allocation on the average red snapper allocations for the projected years. Consequently, Amendment 28 would revise the Gulf red snapper allocation to 48.5 percent of the stock ACL to the commercial sector and 51.5 percent of the stock ACL to the recreational sector.

    NMFS has made a preliminary determination that this allocation is consistent with National Standard 4 and the requirements of section 303(a)(14) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. National Standard 4 requires, in relevant part, that any allocation be fair and equitable, and reasonably calculated to promote conservation. Section 303(a)(14) requires that any rebuilding plan that reduces harvest in a fishery allocate harvest restrictions and recovery benefits fairly and equitably among the commercial, recreational, and charter fishing sectors. The allocation is fair and equitable because it addresses changes in the methodology in collecting recreational landings information that indicate that recreational harvests have been underestimated and that the stock is more productive than previously thought. Allocating the quantifiable increase in the total allowable harvest attributable to the calibration to the recreational sector is a straightforward way to help address the impacts of the changes to the survey methodology on recreational catch estimates. This shift in allocation is intended to help maintain a fair and equitable distribution of recovery benefits by recognizing that future recreational harvest will be monitored based on an improved methodology that results in higher landings estimates. This allocation is also reasonably calculated to promote conservation because the resulting commercial and recreational quotas keep the harvest under the overfishing limit, new accountability measures that have been implemented for the recreational sector are constraining harvest to the recreational quota, and analyses indicate that the shift in allocation is not expected to affect the speed of recovery to the Gulf-wide management rebuilding target.

    Quotas

    Given the red snapper stock ACLs of 13.96 million lb (6.33 million kg) for the 2016 fishing year and 13.74 million lb (6.23 million kg) for the 2017 fishing year, under the proposed allocation the commercial quota would be 6.768 million lb (3.070 million kg) and 6.664 million lb (3.023 million kg) for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years and the recreational quota would be 7.192 million lb (3.262 million kg) and 7.076 million lb (3.210 million kg) for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years. For the recreational sector, the ACT would be set 20 percent less than the recreational quota and result in ACTs of 5.754 million lb (2.610 million kg) for 2016 and 5.661 million lb (2.568 million kg) for 2017. As described in Amendment 40 to the FMP, the recreational quota and ACT would be further divided into Federal charter vessel/headboat and private angling component quotas and ACTs based on an allocation of 42.3 percent to the Federal charter vessel/headboat component and 57.7 percent to the private angling component (80 FR 22422, April 22, 2015). As a result, this proposed rule would set the 2016 and 2017 Federal charter vessel/headboat component quotas at 3.042 million lb (1.380 million kg) and 2.993 million lb (1.358 million kg), and the component ACTs at 2.434 million lb (1.104 million kg) and 2.395 million lb (1.086 million kg), respectively. The rule would also set the 2016 and 2017 private angling component quotas at 4.150 million lb (1.882 million kg) and 4.083 million lb (1.852 million kg), and the component ACTs at 3.320 million lb (1.506 million kg) and 3.266 million lb (1.481 million kg), respectively. If Amendment 28 is approved by the Secretary and implemented, the commercial sector's amount of red snapper available in the IFQ program would be revised for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years and the season lengths for the recreational sector, and associated components, would be determined using the revised component ACTs.

    NMFS has made a preliminary determination the proposed commercial and recreational quotas are consistent with the requirements of section 407(d)(2). Section 407(d)(2) must be read in context with the rest of section 407(d) as well as the Magnuson-Stevens Act as a whole. Section 407(d) was enacted in 1996 as part of the Sustainable Fisheries Act and provides that any fishery plan amendment submitted by the Council for the red snapper fishery after the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act must contain conservation and management measures that (1) establish separate quotas for recreational fishing and commercial fishing, and (2) “ensure that such quotas reflect allocations among such sectors and do not reflect any harvests in excess of such allocations.” The Council complied with the mandate of section 407(d) in early 1997 by submitting a framework action to establish a recreational quota with a closure provision that reflected the allocation established in Amendment 1 to the FMP. A final rule implementing the recreational quota was published in September 1997 (62 Federal Register 46677, September 4, 1997).

    There are three general provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that are particularly relevant to the allocation decision addressed by Amendment 28. These are National Standard 4 and section 303(a)(14), which address, in relevant part, the fairness and equity of allocations, and National Standard 2, which requires that conversation and management measures shall be based on best scientific information available. The adjustment to the allocation chosen by the Council is based on new scientific information which indicates that historical recreational landings were greater than previously estimated. Revised historical recreational landings were then used in the update assessment and had a quantifiable impact on the results of that assessment. As explained above, allocating this quantifiable increase in the total allowable harvest to the recreational sector is a straightforward way to help address the impacts of the changes to the data collection methodology on recreational catch estimates. To give effect to all of the provisions of the statute, NMFS has made a preliminary determination that: (1) The Council complied with the mandates of section 407(d)(2) by establishing a recreational quota in 1997 that reflected the previously established allocation; and (2) that this provision does not prohibit future action to adjust the allocations as necessary to ensure consistency with the other general requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, such as National Standard 2, National Standard 4, and section 303(a)(14). Furthermore, there is nothing that indicates any intent to exclude the allocations in the red snapper component of the reef fish fishery from these general requirements.

    Because the Amendment 28 rulemaking to reallocate the red snapper stock ACL will be implemented after January 1, 2016, a framework action has been developed by the Council and submitted to NMFS that would hold back 4.9 percent of the 2016 commercial quota. The final rule for that framework action published on November 27, 2015 (80 FR 73999). The purpose of the framework action is to allow IFQ allocation to be distributed to IFQ shareholders based on the 2016 commercial quota proposed in Amendment 28. If Amendment 28 is not implemented, the held back portion of the red snapper commercial quota would be distributed back to the commercial sector.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 28, the FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment.

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

    NMFS prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), as required by section 603 of the RFA, for this proposed rule. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, the objectives of, and legal basis for this action are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A copy of the full analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.

    The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for this proposed rule. No duplicative, overlapping, or conflicting Federal rules have been identified. Moreover, the proposed rule is not expected to change current reporting, record-keeping, and other compliance requirements on directly affected small entities.

    This proposed rule is expected to directly affect federally permitted commercial fishermen that harvest red snapper in the Gulf. Commercial harvest of red snapper in the Gulf is currently managed under an IFQ program. From 2010 through 2014, an annual average of 375 vessels landed at least 1 lb (0.45 kg) of red snapper. Each vessel generated annual average dockside revenues of approximately $102,000 (2014 dollars), of which $36,000 were from red snapper, $38,000 from other species jointly landed with red snapper, and $28,000 from other species on trips without red snapper. Vessels that caught and landed red snapper may also operate in other fisheries, the revenues of which are not known and are not reflected in these totals. It is noted that the 2014 commercial red snapper landings data are preliminary.

    With respect to the proposed changes in the red snapper recreational allocation, only recreational anglers are allowed to keep red snapper harvested under the recreational quota and would be directly affected by changes in the allowable harvest. However, recreational anglers are not small entities under the RFA. Although for-hire businesses (charter vessels and headboats) operate in the recreational sector, these businesses only sell fishing services to recreational anglers and do not have harvest privileges to the red snapper recreational quota/ACT. For-hire vessels provide a platform for the opportunity to fish and not a guarantee to catch or harvest any species, though expectations of successful fishing, however defined, likely factor into the decision by anglers to purchase these services. Changing the red snapper recreational quota only defines how much red snapper can be harvested and the quota is a factor in the determination of the length of the red snapper season. Changing the quota does not explicitly prevent the continued offer or sale of for-hire fishing services. In the event of a shortened recreational season precipitated by a recreational quota reduction, fishing for other species can continue when the season is closed. In the event of a recreational quota increase and associated lengthening in the recreational open season, the basic service offered remains the same, though the list of species that may be retained is expanded. Because the proposed change in the red snapper recreational quota would not directly alter the basic service sold by for-hire vessels, in general, this proposed action would not directly apply to or regulate their operations. Any change in vessel business would be a result of changes in angler demand for these fishing services that occurs as a result of the behavioral decision by anglers, i.e., to fish or not. This behavioral decision would be a consequence of how anglers determine the change in allowable harvest will affect them. Therefore, any effects on the associated for-hire vessels would be one step removed from the anglers' decision and an indirect effect of the proposed action. Because the effects on for-hire vessels would be indirect, they fall outside the scope of the RFA.

    NMFS has not identified any other small entities that would be expected to be directly affected by this proposed action.

    The Small Business Administration has established size criteria for all major industry sectors in the U.S., including fish harvesters. A business involved in fish harvesting is classified as a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts not in excess of $20.5 million (North American Industry Classification System, NAICS code 114111, finfish fishing) for all its affiliated operations worldwide.

    Based on revenue information, all 375 commercial vessels directly affected by the rule can be considered small entities. Thus, the proposed rule would affect a substantial number of small entities. Because all entities expected to be directly affected by the proposed rule are determined for the purpose of this analysis to be small business entities, the issue of disproportional effects on large and small entities does not arise in the present case.

    The proposed action would change the commercial and recreational sector allocation of the red snapper quota from 51 percent for the commercial sector and 49 percent for the recreational sector to 48.5 percent and 51.5 percent for the commercial and recreational sectors, respectively. Relative to the current red snapper ACLs for the 2016 and 2017 fishing years, the proposed reallocation would reduce the commercial sector allocation by 0.352 million lb (0.160 million kg) in 2016 and 0.343 million lb (0.156 million kg) in 2017, or a total of 0.695 million lb (0.315 million kg) over 2 years. Based on 2013 median ex-vessel price per pound for red snapper of $4.83 when adjusted to 2014 prices ($4.75 at 2013 dollars), these commercial quota reductions would be expected to reduce total gross revenue (ex-vessel revenue, minus the IFQ program's 3 percent cost recovery fee) of vessels that commercially harvest red snapper by approximately $1.48 million (2014 dollars) in 2016 and $1.45 million in 2017 for all vessels. Over 2 years, total revenue reductions would be $2.93 million, or an average of $1.46 million per year for all vessels. This average revenue reduction may be considered to approximate the annual revenue reduction of affected commercial vessels over a number of years for which the commercial quota is held at about the same levels as in 2016 and 2017. Based on the 2010-2014 average of 375 vessels that commercially harvested red snapper, the revenue reduction per vessel would be approximately $3,893 annually. This amount is approximately 4 percent of total per vessel revenues from all species.

    The following discussion describes the eight alternatives that were not selected as preferred in Amendment 28 by the Council.

    The first alternative, the no action alternative, would maintain the current commercial and recreational allocation of the red snapper ACL. This alternative would maintain relatively the same economic benefits to commercial vessels but at levels higher than those afforded by the preferred alternative. The second alternative would increase the recreational sector's allocation by 3 percent, resulting in a 48 percent commercial and 52 percent recreational sector allocation. The third alternative would increase the recreational sector's allocation by 5 percent, resulting in a 46 percent commercial and 54 percent recreational sector allocation. The fourth alternative would increase the recreational sector's allocation by 10 percent, resulting in a 41 percent commercial and 59 percent recreational sector allocation. The fifth alternative would allocate to the recreational sector 75 percent of the red snapper ACL increases beyond 9.12 million lb (4.14 million kg), resulting in a 42 percent commercial and 58 percent recreational sector allocation in 2016 and 42.3 percent commercial and 57.7 percent recreational sector allocation in 2017. The sixth alternative would allocate to the recreational sector all red snapper ACL increases beyond a stock ACL of 9.12 million lb (4.14 million kg), resulting in a 33.3 percent commercial and 66.7 percent recreational sector allocation in 2016 and 33.9 percent commercial and 66.1 percent recreational sector allocation in 2017. The seventh alternative would allocate to the recreational sector 75 percent of any red snapper ACL increases beyond a stock ACL 10.0 million lb (4.54 million kg), resulting in a 43.6 percent commercial and 56.4 percent recreational sector allocation in 2016 and 43.9 percent commercial and 56.1 percent recreational sector allocation in 2017. The eighth alternative (Alternative 9 in Action 1) would allocate increases in the red snapper ACL due to the recalibration of MRIP catch estimates and to the change in size selectivity to the recreational sector, resulting in a 42.5 percent commercial and 57.5 percent recreational sector allocation in 2016 and 2017. All these other alternatives, except the no action alternative, would result in larger quota and revenue reductions for the commercial vessels that harvest red snapper. Therefore, the Council determined that the preferred alternative in Amendment 28 best meets the goal of ensuring the allowable catch and recovery benefits from the rebuilding red snapper stock are fairly and equitably allocated between the commercial and recreational sectors.

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Allocation, Commercial, Fisheries, Fishing, Gulf, Recreational, Red snapper.

    Dated: January 14, 2016. Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC 1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In § 622.39, revise paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i) to read as follows:
    § 622.39 Quotas.

    (a) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (i) Commercial quota for red snapper. (A) For fishing year 2015—7.293 million lb (3.308 million kg), round weight.

    (B) For fishing year 2016—6.768 million lb (3.070 million kg), round weight.

    (C) For fishing year 2017 and subsequent fishing years—6.664 million lb (3.023 million kg), round weight.

    (2) * * *

    (i) Recreational quota for red snapper. (A) Total recreational quota (Federal charter vessel/headboat and private angling component quotas combined).

    (1) For fishing year 2015—7.007 million lb (3.178 million kg), round weight.

    (2) For fishing year 2016—7.192 million lb (3.262 million kg), round weight.

    (3) For fishing year 2017 and subsequent fishing years—7.076 million lb (3.210 million kg), round weight.

    (B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota applies to vessels that have been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. This component quota is effective for only the 2015, 2016, and 2017 fishing years. For the 2018 and subsequent fishing years, the applicable total recreational quota specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(A) will apply to the recreational sector.

    (1) For fishing year 2015—2.964 million lb (1.344 million kg), round weight.

    (2) For fishing year 2016—3.042 million lb (1.380 million kg), round weight.

    (3) For fishing year 2017—2.993 million lb (1.358 million kg), round weight.

    (C) Private angling component quota. The private angling component quota applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. This component quota is effective for only the 2015, 2016, and 2017 fishing years. For the 2018 and subsequent fishing years, the applicable total recreational quota specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(A) will apply to the recreational sector.

    (1) For fishing year 2015—4.043 million lb (1.834 million kg), round weight.

    (2) For fishing year 2016—4.150 million lb (1.882 million kg), round weight.

    (3) For fishing year 2017—4.083 million lb (1.852 million kg), round weight.

    3. In § 622.41, revise (q)(2)(iii) to read as follows:
    § 622.41 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs).

    (q) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iii) Recreational ACT for red snapper. (A) Total recreational ACT (Federal charter vessel/headboat and private angling component ACTs combined).

    (1) For fishing year 2015—5.606 million lb (2.543 million kg), round weight.

    (2) For fishing year 2016—5.754 million lb (2.610 million kg), round weight.

    (3) For fishing year 2017 and subsequent fishing years—5.661 million lb (2.568 million kg), round weight.

    (B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT applies to vessels that have been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. This component ACT is effective for only the 2015, 2016, and 2017 fishing years. For the 2018 and subsequent fishing years, the applicable total recreational quota specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(A) will apply to the recreational sector.

    (1) For fishing year 2015—2.371 million lb (1.075 million kg), round weight.

    (2) For fishing year 2016—2.434 million lb (1.104 million kg), round weight.

    (3) For fishing year 2017—2.395 million lb (1.086 million kg), round weight.

    (C) Private angling component ACT. The private angling component ACT applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. This component ACT is effective for only the 2015, 2016, and 2017 fishing years. For the 2018 and subsequent fishing years, the applicable total recreational quota specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(A) will apply to the recreational sector.

    (1) For fishing year 2015—3.234 million lb (1.467 million kg), round weight.

    (2) For fishing year 2016—3.320 million lb (1.506 million kg), round weight.

    (3) For fishing year 2017—3.266 million lb (1.481 million kg), round weight.

    [FR Doc. 2016-01279 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 15 Monday, January 25, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Bureau of Industry and Security Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; National Security and Critical Technology Assessments of the U.S. Industrial Base AGENCY:

    Bureau of Industry and Security, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before March 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at [email protected]).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Mark Crace, BIS ICB Liaison, (202) 482-8093, [email protected]

    The link below clarifies the policies and procedures of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) for conducting surveys to obtain information in order to perform industry studies assessing the U.S. industrial base to support the national defense pursuant to the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/07/15/2015-17388/us-industrial-base-surveys-pursuant-to-the-defense-production-act-of-1950

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Abstract

    The Department of Commerce, in coordination with the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies, conducts survey assessments of U.S. industrial base sectors deemed critical to U.S. national security. The information gathered is necessary to determine the health and competitiveness as well as the needs of these critical market segments in order to maintain a strong U.S. industrial base.

    II. Method of Collection

    Submitted electronically.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0694-0119.

    Form Number(s): N/A.

    Type of Review: Regular submission extension.

    Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 28,000.

    Estimated Time per Response: 8 to 14 hours per response.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 308,000 hours.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Sheleen Dumas, Departmental PRA Lead, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01338 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology [Docket No.: 151217999-5999-01] RIN 0693-XC058 National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps Use Case for the Health Care Sector AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites organizations to provide products and technical expertise to support and demonstrate security platforms for the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case for the health care sector. This notice is the initial step for the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) in collaborating with technology companies to address cybersecurity challenges identified under the Health Care Sector program. Participation in the use case is open to all interested organizations.

    DATES:

    Interested parties must contact NIST to request a letter of interest template to be completed and submitted to NIST. Letters of interest will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. Collaborative activities will commence as soon as enough completed and signed letters of interest have been returned to address all the necessary components and capabilities, but no earlier than February 24, 2016. When the use case has been completed, NIST will post a notice on the NCCoE Health Care Sector program Web site at https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use_cases/health_it announcing the completion of the use case and informing the public that it will no longer accept letters of interest for this use case.

    ADDRESSES:

    The NCCoE is located at 9700 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville, MD 20850. Letters of interest must be submitted to [email protected]; or via hardcopy to National Institute of Standards and Technology, NCCoE; 100 Bureau Drive, MS 2002, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899. Organizations whose letters of interest are accepted in accordance with the process set forth in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice will be asked to sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST. A CRADA template can be found at: https://nccoe.nist.gov/library/nccoe-consortium-crada-example.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gavin O'Brien via email at [email protected]; by telephone 240-314-6815; or by mail to National Institute of Standards and Technology, NCCoE; 100 Bureau Drive, MS 2002, Gaithersburg, MD, 20899. Additional details about the NCCoE Health Care Sector program are available at https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use_cases/health_it.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The NCCoE, part of NIST, is a public-private collaboration for accelerating the widespread adoption of integrated cybersecurity tools and technologies. The NCCoE brings together experts from industry, government, and academia under one roof to develop practical, interoperable cybersecurity approaches that address the real-world needs of complex Information Technology (IT) systems. By accelerating dissemination and use of these integrated tools and technologies for protecting IT assets, the NCCoE will enhance trust in U.S. IT communications, data, and storage systems; reduce risk for companies and individuals using IT systems; and encourage development of innovative, job-creating cybersecurity products and services.

    Process: NIST is soliciting responses from all sources of relevant security capabilities (see below) to enter into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to provide products and technical expertise to support and demonstrate security platforms for the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case for the health care sector. The full use case can be viewed at: https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use_cases/health_it.

    Interested parties should contact NIST using the information provided in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this notice. NIST will then provide each interested party with a letter of interest template, which the party must complete, certify that it is accurate, and submit to NIST. NIST will contact interested parties if there are questions regarding the responsiveness of the letters of interest to the use case objective or requirements identified below. NIST will select participants who have submitted complete letters of interest on a first come, first served basis within each category of product components or capabilities listed below up to the number of participants in each category necessary to carry out this use case. However, there may be continuing opportunity to participate even after initial activity commences. Selected participants will be required to enter into a consortium CRADA with NIST (for reference, see ADDRESSES section above). NIST published a notice in the Federal Register on October 19, 2012 (77 FR 64314) inviting U.S. companies to enter into National Cybersecurity Excellence Partnerships (NCEPs) in furtherance of the NCCoE. For this demonstration project, NCEP partners will not be given priority for participation.

    Use Case Objective: In the past, medical devices were standalone instruments that interacted only with the patient. Today, medical devices have operating systems and communication hardware that allow them to connect to networks and other devices. While this technology has created more powerful tools and improved health care, it has led to additional risks in safety and security.

    The goal of this use case is to help health care providers secure their medical devices on an enterprise network, with a specific focus on wireless infusion pumps.1 This use case begins the process to identify the actors interacting with infusion pumps, define the interactions between the actors and the system, perform a risk assessment, identify applicable mitigating security technologies, and provide an example implementation.

    1 For purposes of this notice, NIST is adopting the definition of external infusion pumps provided on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Protecting and Promoting Your Health Web site as: “Medical devices that deliver fluids, including nutrients and medications such as antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, and pain relievers, into a patient's body in controlled amounts. Many types of pumps, including large volume, patient-controlled analgesia, elastomeric, syringe, enteral, and insulin pumps, are used worldwide in health care facilities such as hospitals, and in the home.” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/GeneralHospitalDevicesandSupplies/InfusionPumps/.

    Clinicians and patients rely on infusion pumps for safe and accurate administration of fluids and medications. However, the FDA has identified problems that can compromise the safe use of external infusion pumps. These issues can lead to over or under-infusion, missed treatments, or delayed therapy.

    The publication of the use case is merely the beginning of a process that will identify research participants and components of a laboratory environment to identify, evaluate and test relevant security tools and controls. The approach may include: risk assessment and analysis, logical design, build development, test & evaluation and security control mapping. The output of the process will be the publication of a multi-part Practice Guide to assist the community in evaluating the security environment surrounding their infusion pumps deployed in a clinical setting.

    A detailed description of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case is available at https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use_cases/health_it

    Requirements: Each responding organization's letter of interest should identify which security platform component(s) or capability(ies) it is offering. Letters of interest should not include company proprietary information, and all components and capabilities must be commercially available. Components are listed in section two of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case (for reference, please see the link in the PROCESS section above) and include, but are not limited to:

    1. Wireless infusion pump 2. Pump server 3. Network 4. Alarm manager 5. Electronic medication administration record (eMAR) 6. Point of care medication system 7. In hospital pharmacy system 8. Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) 9. IT security system 10. Network security system 11. Credentialing/credentialing server 12. Asset management and monitoring systems Each responding organization's letter of interest should identify how their products address one or more of the following desired solution characteristics in the Security Control Map section of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case (for reference, please see the link in the PROCESS section above): 1. Automatic logoff 2. Audit controls 3. Authorization 4. Configuration of security features 5. Cybersecurity product upgrades 6. Data backup and disaster recovery 7. Emergency access 8. Health data de-identification 9. Health data integrity and authenticity 10. Malware detection/protection 11. Node authentication 12. Person authentication 13. Physical locks and devices 14. Security guides 15. System and application hardening 16. Third-party components in product lifecycle roadmaps 17. Health data storage confidentiality 18. Transmission confidentiality 19. Transmission integrity Responding organizations need to understand and, in their letters of interest, commit to provide:

    1. Access for all participants' project teams to component interfaces and the organization's experts necessary to make functional connections among security platform components.

    2. Support for development and demonstration of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pump capability in NCCoE facilities which will be conducted in a manner consistent with Federal requirements (e.g., FIPS 200, FIPS 201, SP 800-53, and SP 800-63).

    Additional details about the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case for the Health care sector are available at https://nccoe.nist.gov/projects/use_cases/health_it. NIST cannot guarantee that all of the products proposed by respondents will be used in the demonstration. Each prospective participant will be expected to work collaboratively with NIST staff and other project participants under the terms of the consortium CRADA in the development of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pump capability. Prospective participants' contribution to the collaborative effort will include assistance in establishing the necessary interface functionality, connection and set-up capabilities and procedures, demonstration harnesses, environmental and safety conditions for use, integrated platform user instructions, and demonstration plans and scripts necessary to demonstrate the desired capabilities. Each participant will train NIST personnel, as necessary, to operate its product in capability demonstrations to the health care community. Following successful demonstrations, NIST will publish a description of the security platform and its performance characteristics sufficient to permit other organizations to develop and deploy security platforms that meet the security objectives of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pumps use case. These descriptions will be public information.

    Under the terms of the consortium CRADA, NIST will support development of interfaces among participants' products by providing IT infrastructure, laboratory facilities, office facilities, collaboration facilities, and staff support to component composition, security platform documentation, and demonstration activities.

    The dates of the demonstration of the Wireless Medical Infusion Pump capability will be announced on the NCCoE Web site at least two weeks in advance at https://nccoe.nist.gov/. The expected outcome of the demonstration is to improve wireless medical infusion pumps across an entire health care sector enterprise. Participating organizations will gain from the knowledge that their products are interoperable with other participants' offerings.

    For additional information on the NCCoE governance, business processes, and NCCoE operational structure, visit the NCCoE Web site https://nccoe.nist.gov/.

    Richard Cavanagh, Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01344 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE370 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Application for an Exempted Fishing Permit AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of application for exempted fishing permit.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces receipt of an exempted fishing permit (EFP) application from the Alaska Seafood Cooperative (AKSC) and co-applicants. If granted, this EFP would allow the applicants to remove halibut from a trawl codend on the deck, and release those fish back to the water in a timely manner to increase survivability. These halibut would be sampled by NMFS-trained observers for length and physical condition using standard International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) halibut mortality assessment methods. The objectives of the EFP application are to (1) test methods for sorting halibut on deck for suitability as an allowable fish handling mode for the non-pollock catcher/processor trawl fisheries (Amendment 80, community development quota (CDQ), and trawl limited access) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands under an eventual regulated program; (2) simplify and improve on elements that worked under a 2015 deck sorting EFP project; and (3) address challenges and issues that arose in the 2015 EFP. This experiment has the potential to promote the objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act.

    DATES:

    Comments on this EFP application must be submitted to NMFS on or before February 9, 2016. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will consider the application at its meeting from February 1, 2016, through February 9, 2016, in Portland, OR.

    ADDRESSES:

    The Council meeting will be held at the Benson Hotel, 309 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205. The agenda for the Council meeting is available at http://www.npfmc.org. You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0162, 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-2015-0162, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668.

    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. 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) 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).

    Electronic copies of the EFP application and the basis for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act are available from the Alaska Region, NMFS Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/.

    The June 2014 IPHC Report is available from the Council Web site at http://www.npfmc.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julie Scheurer, 907-586-7111.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the domestic groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI) under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP), which the Council prepared under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing the BSAI groundfish fisheries appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679. The FMP and the implementing regulations at § 600.745(b) and § 679.6 allow the NMFS Regional Administrator to authorize, for limited experimental purposes, fishing that would otherwise be prohibited. Procedures for issuing EFPs are contained in the implementing regulations.

    The IPHC and NMFS manage fishing for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) through regulations established under the authority of the Convention between the United States and Canada for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention) and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982. The IPHC promulgates regulations pursuant to the Convention. The IPHC's regulations are subject to approval by the Secretary of State with concurrence from the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary).

    Background

    Regulations implemented by the IPHC allow Pacific halibut to be commercially harvested by the directed North Pacific longline fishery. Halibut is a prohibited species in the groundfish fishery, requiring immediate return to the sea with a minimum of injury. Halibut caught incidentally by catcher/processors in the nonpelagic trawl groundfish fisheries must be weighed on a NMFS-approved scale, sampled by observers, and returned to the ocean as soon as possible. The Council establishes annual maximum halibut bycatch allowances and seasonal apportionments adjusted by an estimated halibut discard mortality rate (DMR) for groundfish fisheries. The DMRs are based on the best information available, including information contained in the annual Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report, available at http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/. NMFS approves the halibut DMRs developed and recommended by the IPHC and the Council for the BSAI groundfish fisheries for use in monitoring the halibut bycatch allowances and seasonal apportionments. The IPHC developed these DMRs for the BSAI groundfish fisheries using the 10-year mean DMRs for those fisheries.

    Directed fishing in a groundfish fishery closes when the halibut mortality apportionment for the fishery is reached, even if the target species catch is less than the seasonal or annual quota for the directed fishery. In the case of the Bering Sea flatfish fishery, seasons have been closed before fishery quotas have been reached to prevent the fishery from exceeding the halibut mortality apportionment.

    With the implementation of Amendment 80 to the FMP on September 14, 2007 (72 FR 52668), halibut mortality apportionments were established for the Amendment 80 sector and for Amendment 80 cooperatives. Amendment 80 is a catch share program that allocates several BSAI non-pollock trawl groundfish fisheries (including the flatfish fishery) among fishing sectors, and facilitates the formation of harvesting cooperatives in the non-American Fisheries Act trawl catcher/processor sector. Though halibut mortality apportionments provide Amendment 80 cooperatives more flexibility to use available mortality, halibut mortality continues to constrain fishing in some Amendment 80 fisheries. Therefore, this sector is actively exploring ways to continue to reduce halibut mortality.

    Before incidentally caught halibut are returned to the sea, at-sea observers must estimate halibut and groundfish catch amounts. Regulations in 50 CFR part 679 assure that observer estimates of halibut and groundfish catch are credible and accurate, and that potential bias is minimized. For example, NMFS requires that all catch be made available for sampling by an observer; prohibits tampering with observer samples; prohibits removal of halibut from a codend, bin, or conveyance system prior to being observed and counted by an at-sea observer; and prohibits fish (including halibut) from remaining on deck unless an observer is present.

    In 2009 and 2012, halibut mortality experiments were conducted by members of the Amendment 80 sector under EFP 09-02 (74 FR 12113, March 23, 2009) and EFP 12-01 (76 FR 70972, November 16, 2011). By regulation, all catch including halibut is moved across a flow scale below deck before the halibut is returned to the sea. Halibut mortality increases with increased handling and time out of water. Under the 2009 and 2012 EFPs, experimental methods for sorting catch on a vessel's deck allowed halibut to be returned to the sea in less time, with less handling relative to halibut routed below deck and over the flow scale. The halibut mortality during flatfish fishing under the 2009 and 2012 EFPs was estimated to be approximately 17 metric tons (mt) and 10.8 mt, respectively, less than the amounts estimated from the DMR for this fishery. The reduced halibut mortality under the 2009 and 2012 EFPs is attributed to the improved condition of halibut through reduced handling and time out of water.

    In 2015, test fishing under EFP 2015-02 (80 FR 3222, January 22, 2015) expanded on results of the 2009 and 2012 EFPs to explore the feasibility of deck sorting halibut in additional fisheries, on more vessels, and during a longer interval of time during the fishing season. The primary objective was to reduce halibut mortality in the Amendment 80 groundfish fisheries in 2015. Fishing under the EFP began in May and continued through November. The most prominent result from the 2015 EFP was that substantial halibut mortality savings were achieved from deck sorting on catcher/processors operating in non-pollock Bering Sea fisheries. The preliminary estimate of halibut savings under the 2015 EFP is 131 mt. For the nine vessels that participated in the 2015 EFP, all but one achieved mortality rates in the range of 41 percent to 53 percent, compared to the standard mortality rate of 80 percent in the Bering Sea flatfish fisheries without deck sorting (average across target fisheries of interest for the 2015 EFP).

    Reducing halibut mortality is a high priority for the IPHC, the Council, and NMFS. In June 2014, the Council received a report from the IPHC about the impact of halibut bycatch in the groundfish fisheries on the short- and long-term yields in the directed halibut fishery. The IPHC report (see ADDRESSES) presented scenarios under which increases in halibut bycatch or decreases in the exploitable halibut biomass would result in no directed fishery yield in IPHC Management Area 4CDE per the IPHC's harvest policy. At its June 2014 meeting, the Council passed a motion requesting all groundfish industry sectors to undertake voluntary efforts to reduce halibut mortalities in the BSAI resulting from halibut bycatch, as well as discards in the directed fishery, by 10 percent from the current 5-year average levels, through the 2014-15 fishing seasons. The Council also encouraged NMFS to work closely with the Amendment 80 sector to develop deck sorting procedures and technologies that could reduce halibut mortalities with the eventual goal of implementing a full-scale program. In 2015, in part due to these voluntary efforts and deck sorting procedures, 43 percent (1,888 mt) of halibut prohibited species catch (PSC) was unused and “left in the water.” In 2014, by comparison, 22 percent (985 mt) of halibut PSC was unused. The total halibut mortality in the BSAI in 2015 was 2,537 mt.

    In June 2015, the Council took final action to reduce halibut PSC mortality limits in the BSAI groundfish fisheries overall from 4,426 mt to 3,515 mt, a 21 percent reduction. The Council took final action to reduce the halibut PSC mortality limit for the Amendment 80 sector by 25 percent, from 2,325 mt to 1,745 mt per year. NMFS published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 111 and these PSC reductions to the FMP for groundfish of the BSAI on November 16, 2015 (80 FR 71650).

    Proposed Action

    On December 16, 2015, the AKSC, an Amendment 80 cooperative, submitted an application for an EFP for 2016 to build on the information collected in prior deck sorting EFPs and further reduce halibut mortality in the Amendment 80, CDQ, and trawl limited access sectors. The objectives of the proposed 2016 EFP are to test modifications to the procedures and approaches in the 2015 EFP that (1) move substantively towards implementation of deck sorting as an allowable fish handling mode for the non-pollock catcher-processor trawl fisheries in the BSAI; (2) simplify and improve on elements that worked from the 2015 EFP; and (3) address challenges and issues that arose in the 2015 EFP. Consistent with 2015 methods, the EFP would allow crew on board catcher/processors to sort halibut removed from a codend on the deck of the vessel. Those sorted halibut could be released back to the water after the halibut are measured for length and tested for physical condition using standard IPHC viability assessment methods.

    The applicants propose to test several new aspects that would inform a future, operationalized deck sorting process in Federal regulations:

    (1) Observers instead of sea samplers would be used to track and monitor halibut sorted on deck;

    (2) A single set of procedures would be used to account for halibut on EFP trips, i.e., vessels would not be able to switch between EFP and normal hauls on a single trip; and

    (3) Concepts for halibut holding tanks on deck would be tested.

    The applicant proposes to begin EFP fishing in May 2016 and end on December 31, 2016. The EFP would allow halibut to be sorted, sampled, and released prior to being weighed on a flow scale, to achieve the experimental objectives and reduce halibut mortality. This EFP application requests an amount of halibut PSC mortality for vessels engaged in experimental fishing not to exceed the 2016 halibut PSC mortality apportionments set out in Table 14 of the Final 2015 and 2016 Harvest Specifications (available at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/15_16bsaitable14.pdf). Participants request no additional groundfish or halibut quota as part of this EFP application, and all groundfish catch will accrue against the appropriate Amendment 80, CDQ, or trawl limited access sector catch and PSC allowances.

    Participating vessels would procure and use three NMFS-trained at-sea observers during EFP trips. Observers would perform all of their duties on deck and in the factory during 8-hour shifts, leaving up to four hours per observer per day for error checking and the additional work to enter data for halibut sorted on deck. Work shifts would not exceed 12 hours per observer. Three observers would therefore work overlapping 12-hour shifts for continuous coverage to track the amount of halibut mortality for fish sorted on deck to determine halibut mortality amounts from EFP-permitted vessels.

    Using observers instead of sea samplers as in the 2015 EFP would resolve some of the issues that emerged in 2015 regarding equipment usage, long shifts with few breaks, training, lines of authority, and timely access to the data. Observers would be able to enter and extrapolate data via the NMFS Catch Accounting System so PSC usage by EFP participants would be reported and tracked in near real-time along with non-EFP participants' usage and would accrue against the sectors' halibut PSC mortality apportionments. If the halibut mortality apportionment is reached, the EFP permit holder would notify NMFS and end EFP fishing. As required by existing regulations, Amendment 80 fishing will also cease when the annual halibut mortality apportionment is reached.

    The applicants propose a modified factory sampling procedure relative to the one used in 2015. Under the 2015 EFP, halibut that were not sorted on deck were collected by the crew in the factory under the supervision of a sea sampler. The sea sampler measured all halibut collected in the factory, and a mortality rate of 90 percent was used to determine total halibut mortality in the factory. The observers did not account for halibut mortality on EFP hauls in 2015, rather the EFP participants and sea samplers determined and tracked halibut mortality for EFP hauls.

    In 2016, halibut that are not sorted on deck would flow to the factory and would be available to the observer for sampling. The on-duty observer would collect species composition samples per standard protocols to estimate the proportion of halibut in the haul relative to other species. The proportion of halibut estimated to be in the haul would be extrapolated to the total haul catch weight to estimate the total amount of halibut not sorted on deck. A mortality rate of 90 percent would be applied to the amount of halibut in the factory to estimate the halibut mortality from the factory. The resulting factory halibut mortality amount would be combined with the amount of halibut mortality estimated in the deck-sorted portion of the haul to estimate the total halibut mortality for each EFP haul.

    The following example is provided as an illustration for how total halibut mortality would be calculated for a haul under the 2016 EFP. Assume a vessel catches 400 kilograms (kg) of halibut in one haul. Assume 92 percent of the halibut is removed on deck and the vessel achieves a halibut discard mortality of 50 percent by releasing these fish from deck. In this example, the amount of halibut mortality on deck is 184 kg. A halibut mortality of 90 percent is applied to the 32 kg of halibut that are sampled in the factory, resulting in a halibut mortality of 28.8 kg in the factory. In this example, the total halibut mortality for the haul is 212.8 kg.

    The halibut mortality data collected by observers would be available to NMFS in near-real time for inseason management in 2016. In addition to the observer samples, under the 2016 EFP, vessel crew would conduct a census of halibut in the factory, after they have been available to the observer for sampling, to compare observer estimates of total halibut and census results.

    Under the 2015 EFP, vessels could switch between EFP fishing and regular commercial fishing during a single fishing trip. In 2016, EFP participants would operate under a single catch handling and accounting method for all hauls on a fishing trip designated as an EFP trip. This modification is expected to reduce potential confusion aboard the vessel and improve efficiency for catch accounting and scientific personnel. Operators of participating vessels would still have a way to opt out of sorting on deck when it is potentially unsafe or when the vessel has located a fishing area where halibut bycatch is very low.

    The applicants propose to test the concept of holding deck-sorted halibut in tanks with recirculating sea water on the deck of the vessel to minimize post-release depredation by orcas and to improve halibut viability if observer sampling cannot keep pace with the deck-sorting by crew. During EFP fishing in 2015, some participants noted that depredation by orcas on post-release, deck-sorted halibut was at times high, especially in the arrowtooth flounder target fishery. The option of holding halibut in sea water tanks would allow the vessel to wait or change location and release halibut when or where they are less likely to be depredated. Another potential benefit of holding deck-sorted halibut in tanks would be to maintain or improve the halibut's viability by placing them in oxygenated water if sampling by the observer fell behind the pace of sorting.

    This proposed action would exempt participating catcher/processors from selected 50 CFR part 679 prohibitions, and monitoring and observer requirements. Should the Regional Administrator issue a permit based on this EFP application, the conditions of the permit will be designed to minimize halibut mortality and any potential for biasing estimates of groundfish and halibut mortality. Vessels participating in EFP fishing may be exempt from, at minimum, the following regulations:

    1. the prohibition against interfering with or biasing the sampling procedure employed by an observer including physical, mechanical, or other sorting or discarding of catch before sampling, at § 679.7(g)(2);

    2. the requirements to weigh all catch by an Amendment 80 vessel on a NMFS-approved scale at § 679.93(c)(1) and by all vessels at § 679.28(b); and

    3. the requirement to return all prohibited species, or parts thereof, to the sea immediately, with a minimum of injury, regardless of its condition at § 679.21(b)(2)(ii).

    In 2017, the AKSC would be required to submit to NMFS a report of the EFP results after EFP experimental fishing has ended in 2016. The report would include a comparison of halibut mortality from halibut sampled during the EFP and an estimate of halibut mortality under standard IPHC halibut mortality rates for those target fisheries. Additionally, the report should compare the estimated amount of halibut sampled by observers in the factory with the census of halibut collected in the factory by vessel crew to evaluate the precision and associated variance of sampled-based extrapolations and to inform a decision of the best way to account for factory halibut in a regulated program. Finally, the report should evaluate the effectiveness of using sea water holding tanks on deck to improve the viability and minimize depredation by orcas on deck-sorted halibut.

    Under the EFP, participants would be limited to their groundfish allocations under the 2016 harvest specifications. The amount of halibut mortality applied to the EFP activities would be subject to review and approval by NMFS.

    This EFP would be valid upon issuance in 2016 until either the end of 2016 or when the annual halibut mortality apportionment is reached in areas of the BSAI open to directed fishing by the various sectors. EFP-authorized fishing activities would not be expected to change the nature or duration of the groundfish fishery, gear used, or the amount or species of fish caught by the participants.

    The fieldwork that would be conducted under this EFP is not expected to have a significant impact on the human environment as detailed in the categorical exclusion prepared for this action (see ADDRESSES).

    In accordance with § 679.6, NMFS has determined that the application warrants further consideration and has forwarded the application to the Council to initiate consultation. The Council is scheduled to consider the EFP application during its February 2016 meeting, which will be held at the Benson Hotel in Portland, OR. The EFP application will also be provided to the Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee for review at the February Council meeting. The applicant has been invited to appear in support of the application.

    Public Comments

    Interested persons may comment on the application at the February 2016 Council meeting during public testimony or until February 9, 2016. Information regarding the meeting is available at the Council's Web site at http://www.npfmc.org. Copies of the application and categorical exclusion are available for review from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). Comments also may be submitted directly to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) by the end of the comment period (see DATES).

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: January 20, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01342 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XD961 Pacific Island Fisheries; Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit for Offshore Aquaculture AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability of draft environmental assessment; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes to issue a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit that would authorize Kampachi Farms, LLC, to stock, culture, and harvest fish that are part of the coral reef ecosystem management unit in a submerged net pen moored in Federal waters about 5.5 nm (10.2 km) off the west coast of the Island of Hawaii. This notice informs the public that NMFS prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) of the potential impacts of the proposed activity.

    DATES:

    NMFS must receive comments on the draft EA by February 16, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the draft EA, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0137, by either 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-2015-0137, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Send written comments to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.

    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. 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:

    Melanie Brown, Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS PIR, 808-725-5171.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS proposes to issue a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit to Kampachi Farms, LLC (applicant), consistent with Federal regulations for Hawaii coral reef ecosystem fisheries management at Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 665.224, and the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Hawaiian Archipelago (FEP). NMFS would authorize the applicant to stock, culture, and harvest kampachi, a native coral reef ecosystem management unit fish (Seriola rivoliana, Almaco jack, marketed as Kona Kampachi®). NMFS would authorize the activity for 2 years.

    The applicant would use a floating, submerged, cylindrical net pen with an area of 1,083 m 3 (38,246 ft 3) net pen, suspended from a 30-m (98-ft) diameter float ring. The applicant would tether the net pen, made of brass and synthetic meshes, to a 60-ft (18-m) feed vessel. The net pen, float ring, and feed vessel are collectively called the Velella Delta Array. The applicant would secure the array to a single-point mooring in Federal waters approximately 6,000 ft (1,830 m) deep, 5.5 nm (10.2 km) west of Keauhou Bay, Hawaii. The exact position of the Velella Delta Array would depend on wind and currents and would approach no closer than 3 nm (5.6 km) from shore.

    The proposed activity requires a special permit because the FEP and Federal regulations do not identify the Velella Delta Array as an approved gear type to fish for coral reef ecosystem management unit species. If NMFS authorizes the activity, the applicant would use the Velella Delta Array to grow and harvest 30,000 kampachi from fingerlings in two 15,000-fish cohorts. The applicant would stock the net pen with first-generation offspring from wild fish.

    NMFS anticipates that the low density of cultured fish, the procedures proposed to minimize feed waste, and the flushing by ocean currents, would minimally affect water quality. The net materials resist both biofouling and leaching. The net pen design includes a single mesh entry panel on the top that Kampachi Farms staff would use only after raising the pen to the surface. The project design and operating procedures would prevent fish escapes.

    The applicant would equip the array's float ring and feed vessel with GPS navigation units to provide constant location information on the array, simplifying retrieval operations if the array were to break free from the mooring. In the unlikely case of the array separating from the mooring, the applicant would notify the U.S. Coast Guard and immediately recover any lost gear. In addition to requiring the applicant to monitor the array, NMFS would require the applicant to avoid interactions with protected species (i.e., marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, and reef corals), prevent fish escapes, dispose of dead fish on land, maintain harvest and transshipment reports, and, if needed, accommodate a scientific observer.

    NMFS expects that the array would aggregate pelagic fish, and fishermen would be able to continue fishing near the array. The small size of the array would not adversely affect fish catches in the ocean west of the Island of Hawaii.

    The applicant must also obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to use the mooring, and NMFS prepared the draft EA in collaboration with the USACE. When finalized, NMFS will use the EA to determine whether or not the activity would be a major Federal action with the potential for significant environmental impacts. If NMFS determines that the proposed activity would have significant impacts, we would need to prepare an environmental impact statement. The EA will also inform our decision whether or not to issue the permit. Additionally, the EA will inform the USACE preparation of their own environmental evaluations in accordance with USACE procedures for the mooring permit.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: January 20, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01343 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Defense Health Board; Notice of Federal Advisory Committee Meeting AGENCY:

    Department of Defense (DoD).

    ACTION:

    Notice of Federal Advisory Committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Defense is publishing this notice to announce that the following Federal Advisory Committee meeting of the Defense Health Board will take place.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016 8:45 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (Open Session) 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (Administrative Working Meeting) 12:45 p.m.-4:15 p.m. (Open Session) ADDRESSES:

    Inn by the Sea Hotel, Wind and Sea Room, 7830 Fay Avenue, La Jolla, California 92037 (Pre-meeting registration required; see guidance in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION, “Public's Accessibility to the Meeting”).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The Executive Director of the Defense Health Board is Ms. Christine Bader, 7700 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 5101, Falls Church, Virginia 22042, (703) 681-6653, Fax: (703) 681-9539, [email protected]. For meeting information, please contact Ms. Kendal Brown, 7700 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 5101, Falls Church, Virginia 22042, [email protected], (703) 681-6670, Fax: (703) 681-9539.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (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, and in accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

    Additional information, including the agenda and electronic registration, is available at the DHB Web site, http://www.health.mil/About-MHS/Other-MHS-Organizations/Defense-VHealth-Board/Meetings.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The purpose of the meeting is to provide progress updates on specific taskings before the DHB. In addition, the DHB will receive information briefings on current issues or lessons learned related to military medicine, health policy, health research, disease/injury prevention, health promotion, and healthcare delivery.

    Agenda: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165 and subject to availability of space, the DHB meeting is open to the public from 8:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. on February 10, 2016. The DHB anticipates receiving a progress update from the Healthcare Delivery Subcommittee on the pediatric clinical preventive services review and an update from the Public Health Subcommittee on their review of improving Defense Health Program medical research processes. In addition, information briefings will be presented on, Naval Health Research Center and Naval Medical Center San Diego research activities, challenges, and opportunities, Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control, and Perspectives of a Deployed Combat Hospital Commander.

    Public's 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 availability of space, this meeting is open to the public. Seating is limited and is on a first-come basis. All members of the public who wish to attend the public meeting must contact Ms. Kendal Brown at the number listed in the section FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT no later than 12:00 p.m. on Monday, February 1, 2016 to register. Additional details will be provided to all registrants.

    Special Accommodations: Individuals requiring special accommodations to access the public meeting should contact Ms. Kendal Brown at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

    Written Statements: Any member of the public wishing to provide comments to the DHB may do so in accordance with 41 CFR 102-3.105(j) and 102-3.140 and section 10(a)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and the procedures described in this notice.

    Individuals desiring to provide comments to the DHB may do so by submitting a written statement to the DHB Designated Federal Officer (DFO) (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Written statements should not be longer than two type-written pages and address the following details: the issue, discussion, and a recommended course of action. Supporting documentation may also be included, as needed, to establish the appropriate historical context and to provide any necessary background information.

    If the written statement is not received at least five (5) business days prior to the meeting, the DFO may choose to postpone consideration of the statement until the next open meeting.

    The DFO will review all timely submissions with the DHB President and ensure they are provided to members of the DHB before the meeting that is subject to this notice. After reviewing the written comments, the President and the DFO may choose to invite the submitter to orally present their issue during an open portion of this meeting or at a future meeting. The DFO, in consultation with the DHB President, may allot time for members of the public to present their issues for review and discussion by the Defense Health Board.

    Dated: January 20, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01330 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Spent Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium From the Federal Republic of Germany AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability of its draft environmental assessment (EA) (DOE/EA-1977) evaluating the potential environmental impacts from a proposed action to receive, store, process and disposition spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from the Federal Republic of Germany at DOE's Savannah River Site (SRS) (Draft German Spent Nuclear Fuel EA).1 This SNF is composed of kernels containing thorium and U.S.-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) embedded in small graphite spheres that were irradiated in research reactors used for experimental and/or demonstration purposes. DOE invites public comments on the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA and is announcing a public meeting.

    1 This environmental assessment was announced as the Environmental Assessment for the Acceptance and Disposition of Used Nuclear Fuel Containing U.S.-Origin Highly Enriched Uranium from the Federal Republic of Germany in DOE's Notice of Intent (NOI) on June 4, 2014 (79 FR 32256). The title has been changed.

    DATES:

    The 45-day public comment period extends from the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register through March 11, 2016. DOE will consider all comments received via email by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time or postmarked by that date. Comments submitted after that date and time will be considered to the extent practicable.

    DOE will hold a public meeting to receive comments on the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA. The meeting will be held on:

    • February 4, 2016, (7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) at the North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Drive, North Augusta, South Carolina 29841.

    ADDRESSES:

    This Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA is available at the following sites:

    http://energy.gov/nepa/office-nepa-policy-and-compliance http://www.srs.gov/sro/germanheuproj.html http://www.srs.gov/general/pubs/envbul/nepa1.htm

    To request a print copy of the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA please submit your request to Tracy Williams, NEPA Compliance Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box B, Aiken, South Carolina 29802; or by telephone at (803) 952-8278.

    DOE invites Federal agencies, state and local governments, Native American tribes, industry, other organizations, and members of the general public to submit comments on DOE's Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA. Please direct written comments on the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA to Tracy Williams, NEPA Compliance Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, P.O. Box B, Aiken, South Carolina 29802.

    Comments on the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA may also be submitted by email to [email protected]. DOE will give equal weight to written comments and oral comments received at the public meeting. Requests to be placed on the German Spent Nuclear Fuel EA mailing list should be directed to Tracy Williams at the postal or email addresses above.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To request further information on SRS spent nuclear fuel disposition activities or background information on the proposed project, please contact Tracy Williams at the address as listed above.

    For general information concerning DOE's NEPA process, contact: Ms. Carol Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance (GG-54), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585: (202) 586-4600, or leave a message toll-free, at (800) 472-2756; fax (202) 586-7031; or send an email to [email protected]

    This Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA is available on the DOE NEPA Web site at http://nepa.energy.gov, and also at the SRS Web site at http://www.srs.gov/general/pubs/envbul/nepa1.htm.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    DOE has prepared the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA in accordance with Council on Environmental Quality and DOE National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing regulations at 40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508 and 10 CFR part 1021, respectively. The Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA analyzes the potential environmental impacts of receipt, storage, processing, and disposition of SNF from Germany containing, prior to irradiation, approximately 900 kilograms (kg) of U.S.-origin HEU. The SNF is composed of kernels containing thorium and U.S.-origin HEU embedded in small graphite spheres.

    The United States provided the HEU to Germany between 1965 and 1988. The spent fuel was irradiated at the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Versuchsreaktor (AVR) reactor, which operated from 1967 to 1988, and the Thorium High Temperature Reactor (THTR)-300, which operated from 1983 to 1989. These reactors operated as part of Germany's research and development program for pebble bed, high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor technology.

    In a February 2012 letter, the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of the Federal Republic of Germany requested DOE's Under Secretary for Nuclear Security to consider accepting the SNF, and collaboration on the request was initiated in May 2012. In April 2014, DOE, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia on behalf of the North Rhine-Westphalian State Government, Germany, signed a Statement of Intent 2 to cooperate in conducting the preparatory work necessary to support DOE's consideration of the request that it accept the spent fuel from Germany and to use SRS facilities for processing and disposition of the spent fuel. The preparatory work includes conducting studies, technical and engineering work, as well as preparation of this Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA. The Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA and the engineering work will allow DOE to reach an informed decision on the proposed receipt, acceptance, processing and disposition of the spent nuclear fuel from Germany. The Statement of Intent specifies that Forschungszentrum Julich, an interdisciplinary research center funded primarily by the German government, is bearing the cost of the preparatory phase—feasibility studies and NEPA analysis—and if there is a decision to proceed with the project, would also bear the costs associated with acceptance, processing, and disposition of the spent nuclear fuel.

    2 The referenced Statement of Intent is provided in the Draft EA as Appendix A.

    Purpose and Need for Action

    DOE's purpose and need for the receipt, storage, processing, and disposition of the SNF from Germany is to support the U.S. policy objective to reduce, and eventually to eliminate, HEU from civil commerce. This action would further the U.S. HEU minimization objective by returning U.S.-origin HEU from Germany to the United States for safe storage and disposition in a form no longer usable for an improvised nuclear device, a radiological dispersal device, or other radiological exposure device.

    Proposed Action and Alternatives

    In the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA, DOE considers a No Action Alternative as required under NEPA, and two action alternatives for acceptance and disposition of the graphite-based SNF currently stored in Germany. Under the No Action Alternative, the SNF would not be transported to the United States for management and disposition.

    The two action alternatives differ in processing technology and location at SRS where the processing would occur. Under both of the proposed action alternatives, the SNF would be transported from Germany and processed at SRS for final disposition as a proliferation-resistant waste form. The proposed action alternatives are identified by the respective SRS processing location. The H-Area Alternative (so named because most activities would involve H-Area facilities) includes three processing options (Vitrification Option, Low-Enriched Uranium Waste Option, and Low-Enriched Uranium/Thorium Waste Option) that use H-Canyon to differing extents; the L-Area Alternative (so named because the alternative would involve mostly L-Area facilities) would implement melt and dilute processing in L-Area. Existing and planned SRS infrastructure and facilities would be used to process the spent nuclear fuel from Germany.

    The shipping campaign from Germany would involve about 30 shipments over approximately a 3.5-year period to transport 455 CASTOR 3 casks containing the SNF from Germany aboard chartered ships across the Atlantic Ocean to Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station near Charleston, South Carolina. From Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station, the CASTOR casks would be transported to SRS on dedicated trains.

    3 CASTOR is the name given to a dry-storage cask for storage and transport of radioactive material.

    Processing steps would involve separating the HEU kernels from their graphite matrix, then processing the kernels through either H-Canyon and the SRS Liquid Nuclear Waste Facilities, or through a new melt and dilute process that would be installed in L-Area. The HEU kernels are embedded in a graphite (carbon) matrix which must be removed for the HEU kernels to be processed. Two methods for removing the graphite surrounding the fuel kernels (referred to as carbon digestion), a molten salt digestion process and a vapor digestion process, are evaluated in this EA.

    H-Area Alternative

    Under the H-Area alternative, three options for dissolving the kernels after carbon digestion are evaluated:

    • The vitrification option provides for dissolution of the kernels in H-Canyon with direct transfer of the entire dissolver solution to the existing Liquid Nuclear Waste Facilities. Under this option, the high-activity fraction of the dissolver solution would be dispositioned as vitrified high-level radioactive waste and the low-activity fraction as low-level radioactive waste saltstone.

    • The low-enriched uranium waste option provides for dissolution of the kernels in H-Canyon followed by solvent extraction in H-Canyon to separate the uranium. The resulting uranium solution would be down blended and grouted (i.e., solidified by mixing with cement) to meet acceptance criteria for disposal as low-level radioactive waste. The remainder of the dissolver solution would be processed through the Liquid Nuclear Waste Facilities into high- and low-level radioactive waste as indicated for the vitrification option.

    • The low-enriched uranium/thorium waste option provides for dissolution of the kernels in H-Canyon followed by solvent extraction in H-Canyon for separation of the uranium and thorium. The resulting uranium/thorium solution would be down blended and grouted to meet acceptance criteria for disposal as low-level radioactive waste. The remainder of the dissolver solution would be processed through the Liquid Nuclear Waste Facilities into high- and low-level radioactive waste as indicated for the vitrification option.

    L-Area Alternative

    Under the L-Area Alternative, the kernels would be down-blended and converted to a uranium-aluminum alloy in a melt and dilute process in L-Area. The resulting ingots would be stored in concrete overpacks on a pad in L-Area. Unlike the H-Area processing methods, the kernels would not be dissolved prior to final processing.

    NEPA Process

    All comments on the Draft Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA received during the public comment period will be considered and addressed in the Final Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA. DOE will address comments submitted after the close of the public comment period on the Draft EA to the extent practicable. Following the public comment period, and based on the EA and consideration of all comments received, DOE will either issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or announce its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS). If DOE determines that a FONSI is appropriate, both the Final EA and FONSI will be made available to the public.

    If DOE determines that an EIS is needed, either during preparation of the Final Spent Nuclear Fuel from Germany EA or after completing the EA, DOE would issue in the Federal Register a Notice to prepare an EIS. In that case, the June 2014 public comment process would serve as the scoping process that normally would follow a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS.

    Issued in Washington, DC on January 15, 2016. Edgardo DeLeon, Director, Office of Nuclear Materials Disposition.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01371 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Quadrennial Energy Review; Notice of Public Meeting AGENCY:

    Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, Secretariat, Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    At the direction of the President, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or Department), as the Secretariat for the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force (QER Task Force), will convene a public meeting to introduce the topic of the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review, an integrated study of the U.S. electricity system from generation through end use. A mixture of panel discussions and a public comment period will frame multi-stakeholder discourse around deliberative analytical questions relating to the intersection of electricity and its role in promoting economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility.

    DATES:

    The public meeting will be held on February 4, 2016, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Written comments are welcome, especially following the public meeting, and should be submitted within 60 days of the meeting.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the United States Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium, in Washington, DC.

    Starting on February 4, 2016, you may submit written comments online at http://energy.gov/qer or by U.S. mail to the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, EPSA-60, QER Meeting Comments, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Richards, EPSA-60, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585-0121. Telephone: 202-586-0507 Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On January 9, 2014, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum—Establishing a Quadrennial Energy Review. To accomplish this review, the Presidential Memorandum establishes a Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force to be co-chaired by the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Under the Presidential Memorandum, the Secretary of Energy shall provide support to the Task Force, including support for coordination activities related to the preparation of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) Report, policy analysis and modeling, and stakeholder engagement.

    The Quadrennial Energy Review process itself involves robust engagement of federal agencies and outside stakeholders, and further enables the federal government to translate policy goals into a set of analytically based, integrated actions for proposed investments over a four year planning horizon. Unlike traditional federal Quadrennial Review processes, the QER is conducted in a multi-year installment series to allow for more focused analysis on particular sub-sectors of the energy system. The initial focus for the Quadrennial Energy Review was our Nation's transmission, storage and distribution infrastructures that link energy supplies to intermediate and end users, because these capital-intensive infrastructures tend to set supply and end use patterns, investments and practices in place for decades. On April 21, 2015, the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force released its first Quadrennial Energy Review installment report entitled, “Energy Transmission, Storage, and Distribution Infrastructure”. Among the issues highlighted by the analysis in the first installment of the QER were the growing dependencies of all critical infrastructures and economic sectors on electricity, as well as, the increasing interdependence of the various energy subsectors. In response to these findings, and to provide an appropriate consideration of an energy sector undergoing significant technological and regulatory change, the second installment of the QER will conduct a comprehensive review of the nation's electricity system, from generation to end use, including a more comprehensive look at electricity transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure covered in installment one. The electricity system encompasses not just physical structures, but also a range of actors and institutions. Under this broad framing, the second installment intends to consider the roles and activities of all relevant actors, industries, and institutions integral to continuing to supply reliable and affordable electricity at a time of dramatic change in technology development. Issues to be considered in QER analyses include fuel choices, distributed and centralized generation, physical and cyber vulnerabilities, federal, state, and local policy direction, expectations of residential and commercial consumers, and a review of existing and evolving business models for a range of entities throughout the system.

    Significant changes will be required to meet the transformational opportunities and challenges posed by our evolving electricity system. The Administration is seeking public input on key questions relating to possible federal actions that would address the challenges and take full advantage of the opportunities of this changing system to meet the Nation's objectives of reliable, affordable and clean electricity. Over the course of 2016, the Secretariat for the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a series of public meetings to discuss and receive comments on the issues outlined above, and well as, others, as they relate to the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review.

    The Department of Energy has a broad role in energy policy development and the largest role in implementing the Federal Government's energy research and development portfolio. Many other executive departments and agencies also play key roles in developing and implementing policies governing energy resources and consumption, as well as, associated environmental impacts. In addition, non-Federal actors are crucial contributors to energy policies. Because most energy and related infrastructure is owned by private entities, investment by and engagement of, input from the private sector is necessary to develop and implement effective policies. State and local policies, the views of non-governmental, environmental, faith-based, labor, and other social organizations, and contributions from the academic and non-profit sectors are also critical to the development and implementation of effective Federal energy policies.

    The interagency Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force, which includes members from all relevant executive departments and agencies, will develop an integrated review of energy policy that integrates all of these perspectives. It will build on the foundation provided in the Administration's Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future of March 30, 2011, and Climate Action Plan released on June 25, 2013. The Task Force will offer recommendations on what additional actions it believes would be appropriate. These may include recommendations on additional executive or legislative actions to address the energy challenges and opportunities facing the Nation.

    February 4, 2016: Quadrennial Energy Review Public Meeting

    On February 4, 2016, the DOE will hold a public meeting in Washington, DC on electricity from generation through end use. The meeting will feature facilitated panel discussions, followed by an open microphone session. People who would like to speak during the open microphone session at the public meeting should come prepared to speak for no more than five minutes and will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the order in which they register to speak on a sign-in sheet available at the meeting location, on the morning of the meeting.

    In advance of the meeting, DOE anticipates making publicly available a briefing memorandum providing useful background information regarding the topics under discussion at the meeting. DOE will post this memorandum on its Web site: http://energy.gov/qer.

    Submitting comments online. DOE will accept public comments on the QER from February 4, 2016, to July 1, 2016, at http://energy.gov/qer. Submitting comments online to the DOE Web site will require you to provide your name and contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE staff only. Your first and last names, organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any), will be publicly viewable. Your contact information will be publicly viewable if you include it in the comment itself or in any documents attached to your comment. Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your comment. Otherwise, persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any documents submitted with the comments.

    Do not submit information for which disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information (hereinafter referred to as Confidential Business Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through the DOE Web site cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the Web site will waive any CBI claims for the information submitted. For information on submitting CBI, see the Confidential Business Information section, below.

    If you do not want your personal contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact information in a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any comments.

    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail or hand delivery/courier, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible, in which case it is not necessary to submit printed copies. No tele-facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.

    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that are not secured, written in English, and are free of any defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature of the author.

    Confidential Business Information. Pursuant to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information that he or she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public disclosure should submit via email, postal mail, or hand delivery/courier two well-marked copies: one copy of the document marked “confidential” including all the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the document marked “non-confidential” with the information believed to be confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, if feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential status of the information and treat it according to its determination. Confidential information should be submitted to the Confidential QER email address: [email protected]

    Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted information as confidential include: (1) a description of the items; (2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential within the industry; (3) whether the information is generally known by or available from other sources; (4) whether the information has previously been made available to others without obligation concerning its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to the submitting person which would result from public disclosure; (6) when such information might lose its confidential character due to the passage of time; and (7) why disclosure of the information would be contrary to the public interest. It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public docket, without change and as received, including any personal information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be exempt from public disclosure).

    Other Public QER Meetings

    Specific dates and locations will be announced in future Federal Register notices and on the DOE Web site at http://energy.gov/qer.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2016. April Salas, QER Secretariat Director, Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force, U.S. Department of Energy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01372 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Northern New Mexico AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a combined meeting of the Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Committee and Waste Management Committee of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Northern New Mexico (known locally as the Northern New Mexico Citizens' Advisory Board [NNMCAB]). The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    NNMCAB Office, 94 Cities of Gold Road, Santa Fe, NM 87506.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Menice Santistevan, Northern New Mexico Citizens' Advisory Board, 94 Cities of Gold Road, Santa Fe, NM 87506. Phone (505) 995-0393; Fax (505) 989-1752 or Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE-EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

    Purpose of the Environmental Monitoring and Remediation Committee (EM&R): The EM&R Committee provides a citizens' perspective to NNMCAB on current and future environmental remediation activities resulting from historical Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) operations and, in particular, issues pertaining to groundwater, surface water and work required under the New Mexico Environment Department Order on Consent. The EM&R Committee will keep abreast of DOE-EM and site programs and plans. The committee will work with the NNMCAB to provide assistance in determining priorities and the best use of limited funds and time. Formal recommendations will be proposed when needed and, after consideration and approval by the full NNMCAB, may be sent to DOE-EM for action.

    Purpose of the Waste Management (WM) Committee: The WM Committee reviews policies, practices and procedures, existing and proposed, so as to provide recommendations, advice, suggestions and opinions to the NNMCAB regarding waste management operations at the Los Alamos site.

    Tentative Agenda • Call to Order and Introductions • Approval of Agenda • Approval of Minutes from January 13, 2016 • Old Business • New Business • Update from DOE • Presentation by DOE: National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Environmental Management Memorandum of Understanding/Memorandum of Agreement Briefing • Public Comment Period • Sub-Committee Breakout Session • Adjourn

    Public Participation: The NNMCAB's Committees welcome the attendance of the public at their combined committee meeting and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Menice Santistevan at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the telephone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Committees either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to agenda items should contact Menice Santistevan at the address or telephone number listed above. Requests must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments.

    Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Menice Santistevan at the address or phone number listed above. Minutes and other Board documents are on the Internet at: http://energy.gov/em/nnmcab/northern-new-mexico-citizens-advisory-board.

    Issued at Washington, DC, on January 20, 2016. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01370 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6405-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board, Oak Ridge Reservation AGENCY:

    Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of open meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Oak Ridge Reservation. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register.

    DATES:

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016, 6:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    Department of Energy Information Center, Office of Science and Technical Information, 1 Science.gov Way, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Melyssa P. Noe, Federal Coordinator, Department of Energy Oak Ridge Operations Office, P.O. Box 2001, EM-90, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Phone (865) 241-3315; Fax (865) 576-0956 or email: [email protected] or check the Web site at http://energy.gov/orem/services/community-engagement/oak-ridge-site-specific-advisory-board.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE-EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities.

    Tentative Agenda • Welcome and Announcements • Comments from the Deputy Designated Federal Officer • Comments from the DOE, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and Environmental Protection Agency Liaisons • Public Comment Period • DOE Presentation • Additions/Approval of Agenda • Motions/Approval of January 13, 2016 Meeting Minutes • Status of Recommendations with DOE • Committee Reports • Federal Coordinator Report • Adjourn

    Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Oak Ridge, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Melyssa P. Noe at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the phone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to the agenda item should contact Melyssa P. Noe at the address or telephone number listed above. Requests must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments.

    Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Melyssa P. Noe at the address and phone number listed above. Minutes will also be available at the following Web site: http://energy.gov/orem/services/community-engagement/oak-ridge-site-specific-advisory-board.

    Issued at Washington, DC, on January 19, 2016. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01369 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [FRL-9941-57-OA] Request for Nominations of Candidates for EPA's Science Advisory Board 2016-2018 Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards Committee AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office invites nominations of scientific experts from a diverse range of disciplines to be considered for appointment to the SAB's 2016-2018 Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards (STAA) Committee described in this notice.

    DATES:

    Nominations should be submitted in time to arrive no later than February 16, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information about the SAB's STAA Committee membership appointment process and schedule, please contact Mr. Edward Hanlon, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), SAB Staff Office, by telephone/voice mail at (202) 564-2134; by fax at (202) 565-2098 or via email at [email protected]

    General information concerning the EPA SAB can be found at the EPA SAB Web site at http://www.epa.gov/sab.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background: The SAB (42 U.S.C. 4365) is a chartered Federal Advisory Committee that provides independent scientific and technical peer review, advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator on the technical basis for EPA actions. As a Federal Advisory Committee, the SAB conducts business in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. App. 2) and related regulations. The STAA Committee is an ad hoc subcommittee of the SAB that provides advice through the chartered SAB on recommendations for awards under EPA's STAA program. The SAB and the 2016-2018 STAA Committee will comply with the provisions of FACA and all appropriate SAB Staff Office procedural policies.

    The EPA established the STAA in 1980 to recognize Agency scientists and engineers who published their work in the peer-reviewed literature. The STAA Program is an agency-wide competition to promote and recognize scientific and technological achievements by EPA employees. The STAA program is administered and managed by the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD). Each year the SAB has been asked to review the EPA's STAA nominations and make recommendations to the Administrator for monetary awards. The SAB Staff Office is seeking nominations of experts to serve on the SAB 2016-2018 STAA Committee, which operates under the auspices of the SAB.

    Request for Nominations: The SAB Staff Office is seeking nominations of experts to form the SAB 2016-2018 STAA Committee in the following disciplines as they relate to human health and the environment: Air pollution exposure; chemistry and geochemistry; chemical engineering; civil and environmental engineering; ecology; environmental economics; groundwater and surface water contaminant fate and transport; human health effects and risk assessment; hydrology and hydrogeology; monitoring and measurement methods for air and water; risk management; transport and fate of contaminants; water quality; and water and wastewater treatment processes. The SAB Staff Office is especially interested in scientists and engineers with expertise described above who have knowledge and experience in air quality; aquatic and ecological toxicology; chemical safety; climate change; community environmental health; dosimetry and inhalation toxicology; drinking water; ecological modeling; ecological risk assessment; ecosystem services; energy and the environment; epidemiology; green chemistry; homeland security; human health dosimetry; mechanisms of toxicity and carcinogenicity; metabolism; statistics; sustainability; toxicokinetics; toxicology; waste and waste management; and water re-use.

    Process and Deadline for Submitting Nominations: Any interested person or organization may nominate qualified individuals in the areas of expertise described above for possible service on the 2016-2018 STAA Committee identified in this notice. Nominations should be submitted in electronic format (preferred over hard copy) using the “Nomination of Experts” link at the bottom of the SAB homepage at http://www.epa.gov/sab). To receive full consideration, nominations should include the information requested below.

    EPA's SAB Staff Office requests contact information about the person making the nomination; contact information about the nominee; the disciplinary and specific areas of expertise of the nominee; the nominee's resume or curriculum vitae; sources of recent grant and/or contract support; and a biographical sketch of the nominee indicating current position, educational background, research activities, and recent service on other national advisory committees or national professional organizations.

    Persons having questions about the nomination procedures, or who are unable to submit nominations through the SAB Web site, should contact Mr. Edward Hanlon as indicated above in this notice. Nominations should be submitted in time to arrive no later than February 16, 2016. EPA values and welcomes diversity. In an effort to obtain nominations of diverse candidates, EPA encourages nominations of women and men of all racial and ethnic groups.

    The EPA SAB Staff Office will acknowledge receipt of nominations. The names and biosketches of qualified nominees identified by respondents to this Federal Register notice, and additional experts identified by the SAB Staff, will be posted in a List of Candidates on the SAB Web site at http://www.epa.gov/sab. Public comments on the List of Candidates will be accepted for 21 days. The public will be requested to provide relevant information or other documentation on nominees that the SAB Staff Office should consider in evaluating candidates.

    For the EPA SAB Staff Office a balanced review committee includes candidates who possess the necessary domains of knowledge, the relevant scientific perspectives (which, among other factors, can be influenced by work history and affiliation), and the collective breadth of experience to adequately address the charge. The SAB Staff Office will consider public comments on the List of Candidates, information provided by the candidates themselves, and background information independently gathered by the SAB Staff Office. Selection criteria to be used for committee membership include: (a) Scientific and/or technical expertise, knowledge, and experience (primary factors); (b) availability and willingness to serve; (c) absence of financial conflicts of interest; (d) absence of an appearance of a loss of impartiality; (e) skills working in committees, subcommittees and advisory committees; and, (f) for the committee as a whole, diversity of expertise and scientific points of view.

    The SAB Staff Office's evaluation of an absence of financial conflicts of interest will include a review of the “Confidential Financial Disclosure Form for Special Government Employees Serving on Federal Advisory Committees at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” (EPA Form 3110-48). This confidential form allows government officials to determine whether there is a statutory conflict between a person's public responsibilities (which include membership on an EPA federal advisory committee) and private interests and activities, or the appearance of a loss of impartiality, as defined by federal regulation. The form may be viewed and downloaded from the following URL address http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/Web/ethics?OpenDocument.

    The approved policy under which the EPA SAB Office selects members for subcommittees and review panels is described in the following document, Overview of the Panel Formation Process at the Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board (EPA-SAB-EC-02-010), which is posted on the SAB Web site at http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabproduct.nsf/WebFiles/OverviewPanelForm/$File/ec02010.pdf.

    Dated: January 13, 2016. Thomas Brennan, Deputy Director, EPA Science Advisory Board Staff Office.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01349 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0818; FRL-9941-09] Ortho-Phthalaldehyde; Receipt of Application for Emergency Exemption, Solicitation of Public Comment AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    EPA has received a specific exemption request from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to use the pesticide ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) (CAS No. 643-79-8) to treat the internal active thermal control system (IATCS) coolant of the International Space Station, comprised of the United States (U.S.) Laboratory Module, the Japanese Experiment Module, the Columbus, and Node 3, to control aerobic/microaerophilic water bacteria. The applicant proposes the use of a chemical which is not currently registered by EPA. EPA is soliciting public comment before making the decision whether or not to grant the exemption.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0818, by one of the following methods:

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

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

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

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

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

    • Crop production (NAICS code 111).

    • Animal production (NAICS code 112).

    • Food manufacturing (NAICS code 311).

    • Pesticide manufacturing (NAICS code 32532).

    B. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

    1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to EPA through www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD-ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD-ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD-ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.

    2. Tips for preparing your comments. When preparing and submitting your comments, see the commenting tips at http://www.epa.gov/dockets/comments.html.

    3. Environmental justice. EPA seeks to achieve environmental justice, the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of any group, including minority and/or low income populations, in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. To help address potential environmental justice issues, the Agency seeks information on any groups or segments of the population who, as a result of their location, cultural practices, or other factors, may have atypical or disproportionately high and adverse human health impacts or environmental effects from exposure to the pesticide discussed in this document, compared to the general population.

    II. What action is the agency taking?

    Under section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (7 U.S.C. 136p), at the discretion of the EPA Administrator, a Federal or state agency may be exempted from any provision of FIFRA if the EPA Administrator determines that emergency conditions exist which require the exemption. NASA has requested the EPA Administrator to issue a specific exemption for the use of OPA in the International Space Station IATCS coolant to control aerobic/microaerophilic water bacteria. Information in accordance with 40 CFR part 166 was submitted as part of this request.

    As part of this request, the applicant asserts that it has considered the registered biocides and has concluded that OPA is the most effective biocide which meets the requisite criteria including: The need for safe, non-intrusive implementation and operation in a functioning system; the ability to control existing planktonic and biofilm residing micro-organisms; a negligible impact on system-wetted materials of construction; and a negligible reactivity with existing coolant additives. The International Space Station would not have an adequate long-term solution for controlling the micro-organisms in the coolant systems without the use of OPA.

    The OPA is immobilized onto a porous resin material. Delivery into the coolant system is through connecting a stainless steel canister which contains the OPA-impregnated resin into the coolant system loop, using flexible hose and quick disconnects. As the coolant fluid flows through the canister, the OPA effectively elutes from the resin material into the coolant fluid.

    The applicant proposes to make one application to obtain a concentration of up to 500 mg/L OPA, to the loops of the IATCS coolant system of the International Space Station comprised of the U.S. Laboratory Module (coolant system volume of 272 L), the Japanese Experiment Module (coolant system volume of 213 L), the Columbus (coolant system volume of 150 L), and Node 3 (coolant system volume of 194 L) for a total volume of 829 L. The maximum amount potentially used under the emergency exemption totals 1,964 cm3 OPA resin, and would provide control of aerobic/microaerophilic water bacteria for approximately one year, at which point the system would require replenishment. NASA has obtained approval for this use through EPA authorization of emergency exemptions annually over the past four years.

    This notice does not constitute a decision by EPA on the application itself. The regulations governing FIFRA section 18 require publication of a notice of receipt of an application for a specific exemption proposing use of an active ingredient which has not been registered by EPA. The notice provides an opportunity for public comment on the application.

    The Agency, will review and consider all comments received during the comment period in determining whether to issue the specific exemption requested by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.

    Dated: January 15, 2016. Daniel J. Rosenblatt, Acting Director, Registration Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01350 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION [3060-xxxx] Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and Budget AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or 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 February 24, 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 Nicole Ongele, 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 Nicole Ongele at (202) 418-2991.

    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 Approval Number: 3060-xxxx.

    Title: Ensuring Continuity of 911 Communications Report and Order.

    Form No.: N/A.

    Type of Review: New information collection.

    Respondents: Business or for profit.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 570 respondents; 570 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 0-70 hours.

    Frequency of Response: Initial point of sale disclosure and third party disclosure requirement which occurs on an annual basis.

    Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Statutory authority for this information collection is contained in sections 1, 4(i), and 251(e)(3) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 154(i), 251(e)(3); section 101 of the NET 911 Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-283, 47 U.S.C. 615a-1; and section 106 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 111-260, 47 U.S.C. 615c.

    Total Annual Burden: 1,888 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No Cost.

    Privacy Impact Assessment: No impact.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: The Commission is not requesting respondents to submit confidential information to the Commission.

    Needs and Uses: We create new section 12.5 of our rules to place limited backup power obligations on providers of facilities-based fixed, residential voice services that are not line-powered to ensure that such service providers meet their obligation to provide access to 911 service during a power outage, and to provide clarity for the role of consumers and their communities should they elect not to purchase backup power.

    Specifically, we require providers to disclose to subscribers the following information: (1) Availability of backup power sources; (2) service limitations with and without backup power during a power outage; (3) purchase and replacement options; (4) expected backup power duration; (5) proper usage and storage conditions for the backup power source; (6) subscriber backup power self-testing and monitoring instructions; and (7) backup power warranty details, if any. Each element of this information must be given to subscribers both at the point of sale and annually thereafter, as described in the rule.

    The disclosure requirements are intended to equip subscribers with necessary information to purchase and maintain a source of backup power to enhance their ability to maintain access to reliable 911 service from their homes.

    We permit providers to convey both the initial and annual disclosures and information described above by any means reasonably calculated to reach the individual subscriber. For example, a provider may meet this obligation through a combination of disclosures via email, an online billing statement, or other digital or electronic means for subscribers that communicate with the provider through these means. For a subscriber that does not communicate with the provider through email and/or online billing statements—such as someone who ordered service on the phone or in a physical store and receives a paper bill by regular mail—email would not be a means reasonably calculated to reach that subscriber.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01320 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Sunshine Act Meeting

    Pursuant to the provisions of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b), notice is hereby given that at 10:32 a.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2016, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation met in closed session to consider matters related to the Corporation's supervision, corporate, and resolution activities.

    In calling the meeting, the Board determined, on motion of Vice Chairman Thomas M. Hoenig, seconded by Director Thomas J. Curry (Comptroller of the Currency), concurred in by Director Richard Cordray (Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg, that Corporation business required its consideration of the matters which were to be the subject of this meeting on less than seven days' notice to the public; that no earlier notice of the meeting was practicable; that the public interest did not require consideration of the matters in a meeting open to public observation; and that the matters could be considered in a closed meeting by authority of subsections (c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9)(A)(ii), (c)(9)(B), and (c)(10) of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(4), (c)(6), (c)(8), (c)(9)(A)(ii), (c)(9)(B), and (c)(10).

    Dated: January 21, 2016. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01446 Filed 1-21-16; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families [CFDA Numbers: 93.592, 93.224] Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to Futures Without Violence in San Francisco, CA AGENCY:

    Family and Youth Services Bureau, ACYF, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source program expansion supplement grant under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Technical Assistance Project to Futures Without Violence to support training and technical assistance activities.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Division of Family Violence Prevention and Services (DFVPS), announces the award of $370,000 as a single-source program expansion supplement to Futures Without Violence in San Francisco, CA. The award is a collaboration between ACF/ACYF/FYSB/FVPSA, contributing $120,000, and HHS/Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), contributing $250,000.

    DATES:

    The period of support is September 29, 2015, through September 30, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Shawndell Dawson, Senior Program Specialist, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, 1250 Maryland Avenue SW., Suite 8215, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: 202-205-1476; email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The grantee is funded under FYSB's FVPSA Program as a technical assistance provider serving as the FVPSA-funded National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

    In accordance with an intra-agency agreement, HRSA/BPHC will provide obligation authority for $250,000 to the ACF/ACYF/FYSB/DFVPS to provide national-level health care and domestic violence training and technical assistance. In accordance with this intra-agency agreement, ACF/ACYF/FYSB/DFVPS has supplemented an existing training and technical assistance cooperative agreement with Futures Without Violence through September 30, 2016. The HRSA/BPHC and ACF/ACYF/FYSB/DFVPS staffs will meet regularly and facilitate ongoing communication to coordinate the delivery of national training and technical assistance to primary health clinics.

    Supplemental award funds will support the grantee in providing training and technical assistance to domestic violence service and health care providers.

    This award will expand the scope of Futures Without Violence's technical assistance activities to include additional activities concerned with assessing and responding to domestic violence in health clinics and supporting children/youth and abused parents experiencing domestic violence. This additional technical assistance and training may involve such activities as: (1) Providing technical assistance for nine health centers to create health system changes that support providers and create sustainable responses to victims of intimate partner violence; (2) providing training on comprehensive, culturally competent responses to domestic violence within a Patient Centered Medical Home model; (3) creating new technical assistance resources that promote protective factors and resilience when working with children, youth, and teens impacted by domestic violence, which includes fostering stronger relationships with their non-abusive parents or caregivers; (4) providing training to domestic violence programs that improves consistent implementation of evidence-informed, trauma-informed, and culturally relevant programming for children, youth, and abused parents; (4) maintaining an online resource for domestic violence programs: www.PromisingFuturesWithoutViolence.org.

    The solicited application from Futures Without Violence underwent objective review by a federal panel using criteria that assessed the application's project approach, its organizational capacity, and budgeting of projected project costs.

    Statutory Authority:

    The statutory authority for this award is Section 310 of FVPSA, as amended by Section 201 of the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-320. The HRSA authority for its funding is through Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254b).

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Division of Grants Policy, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01328 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-32-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to PathWays PA in Philadelphia, PA AGENCY:

    Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), ACYF, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source expansion supplement grant Transitional Living Program (TLP) to PathWays PA in Philadelphia, PA, to serve additional runaway and homeless youth.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau's (FYSB), Runaway and Homeless Youth Program, announces the award of $200,000 as a single-source expansion supplement grant to PathWays PA to support activities and services for homeless youth under the TLP grant in Philadelphia, PA.

    DATES:

    The period of support is September 30, 2015, through September 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Resa F. Matthew, Director, Division of Adolescent Development and Support, Family and Youth Services Bureau, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201; telephone: (202) 401-5124; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    PathWays PA will serve homeless parenting and non-parenting young women age 16-21. Over the next 12 months, they will serve 10 residential homeless young women in the city of Philadelphia, PA.

    The goal of PathWays PA's TLP program is to support homeless youth with positive adult supervision while supporting them in building the assets, strengths, and resources necessary for successful independence. Youth will be housed in five one-bedroom apartments. While in the program, the youth will build life skills and carry out developmental tasks to gain the capacity for independent living and address their assessed/identified needs. They will build assets and strengthen protective factors that reduce the impact of prior trauma (e.g., domestic violence) and reduce the harm of high-risk behaviors through gaining skills in money management, budgeting, consumer education, and use of credit; building life skills and interpersonal skills (and parenting, as appropriate); acquiring their high school diploma or equivalent (e.g., GED); strengthening job attainment skills, and improving their mental and physical health.

    PathWays PA TLP staff will work with each youth in the context of their experience (e.g., domestic violence) to minimize the impact of trauma and to develop coping skills through a Personalized Empowerment Plan (PEP). The PEP will identify their pathway for transitioning from supervised participation in the program to independent living or another appropriate living arrangement. As part of this plan, staff will facilitate connections with agencies, organizations, and resources in Philadelphia that will assist in the youth's transition to independence and create a strong plan for aftercare support.

    Statutory Authority: Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, 42 U.S.C. 5701-5752, as most recently amended by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act, of 2008, Pub. L. 110-378 on October 8, 2008. Under Sec. 321 Authority for Program, the Secretary is authorized to make grants and to provide technical assistance to public and nonprofit private entities to establish and operate transitional living youth projects for homeless youth (42 U.S.C. 5714-1).

    CFDA Number: 93.550.

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Division of Grants Policy, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01340 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families [CFDA Number: 93.592] Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to Casa de Esperanza in St. Paul, MN AGENCY:

    Family and Youth Services Bureau, ACYF, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source program expansion supplement grant under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Technical Assistance (TA) Project to Casa de Esperanza to support training and technical assistance activities.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Division of Family Violence and Prevention Services (DFVPS) announces the award of $125,000 as a single-source program expansion supplement to the Casa de Esperanza in St. Paul, MN. The grantee, funded under the Family Violence Protection and Services Act (FVPSA) program, is a national technical assistance (TA) provider that assists FVPSA service providers to build the capacity of domestic violence programs to respond to the complex and diverse needs of survivors of domestic violence and dating violence from Latino communities.

    DATES:

    The period of support for the single-source program expansion supplement is September 30, 2015 through September 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Seema Zeya, Program Specialist, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, 1250 Maryland Avenue SW., Suite 8220, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: 202-205-7889; Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supplemental award funds will support the grantee in providing training and technical assistance to domestic violence service providers.

    This award will expand the scope of Casa de Esperanza's technical assistance activities to include supplemental activities around the issue of trafficking for domestic violence programs which may involve activities, such as:

    • Training on the intersections of domestic violence, sexual violence, and trafficking including, but not limited to, webinars;

    • Listening sessions with FVPSA grantees and culturally-specific community-based organizations regarding needs, challenges, and barriers related to offering trafficking services (i.e., online, via phone, or in person);

    • Documentation of current promising practices for serving survivors of trafficking within domestic violence programs and within culturally-specific community-based organizations (i.e., program profiles, a case study, online page);

    • Development of a technical assistance plan for fostering and sustaining collaborative partnerships on domestic violence and human trafficking which could include a pilot with 1-2 communities;

    • Resource development: Factsheets or concept brief paper on the intersection of domestic violence and human trafficking with recommendations to enhance the provision of direct services for victims; facilitating stronger multidisciplinary partnerships; or culturally/trauma-informed programming.

    In addition, the grantee will support and provide training around the issue of language access planning for domestic violence programs for activities, including:

    • State-specific training and technical assistance for the 20 State Domestic Violence Coalitions that completed the 2015 Training of Trainers which will include travel to deliver state-specific training;

    • Listening sessions with FVPSA state administrators, coalitions, and culturally-specific community based organizations;

    • Documentation of the technical assistance needs, implementation successes, and implementation challenges of 20 states beginning language access planning and working to improve language accessibility within their states; and

    • Recommendations for state-specific capacity building for the 20 states to enhance statewide language access, including the development of language access plans.

    Federal staff conducted an objective review of the solicited application using criteria related to the project's approach, its organizational capacity, and the projected budget for proposed costs in assessing the application.

    Statutory Authority:

    Section 310 of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, as amended by Section 201 of the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-320.

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Division of Grants Policy, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01326 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-32-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families [CFDA Number: 93.550] Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL AGENCY:

    Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), ACYF, ACF, HHS

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source expansion supplement grant to the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL. The award will expand the original scope of approved activities under 3/40 Blueprint: Creating the Blueprint to Reduce LGBTQ Youth Homelessness and will support the (1) review the findings of the systematic review of the literature conducted as part of the 3/40 Blueprint to identify (a) factors that facilitate positive outcomes for transgender youth in stable housing, education and employment, permanent connections, and well-being, and (2) interventions that may facilitate positive outcomes for transgender Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY).

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Division of Runaway and Homeless Youth, announces the award of $150,000 as a single-source expansion supplement grant to the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, to support activities under the 3/40 Blueprint: Creating the Blueprint to Reduce LGBTQ Youth Homelessness. 3/40 Blueprint: Creating the Blueprint to Reduce LGBTQ Youth Homelessness has been reviewing research, gathering qualitative information, and collecting data to assist in building the capacity of Transitional Living Programs (TLPs) to meet the needs of runaway and homeless youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or questioning (LGBTQ).

    DATES:

    The period of support is September 30, 2015 through September 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Resa F. Matthew, Director, Division of Adolescent Development and Support, Family and Youth Services Bureau, 1250 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20024; Telephone: (202) 401-5124; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of this grant is to assist in building the capacity of TLPs to serve youth who identify as lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender, and/or questioning (LGBTQ) and are experiencing homelessness. Through this demonstration grant, FYSB is solidifying its commitment to improving access to services that meet the unique needs of transgender homeless youth. The intent of the targeted supplement is to support knowledge development to strengthen efforts for better understanding and to address the needs of transgender youth experiencing homelessness. Efforts may include identifying innovative, transgender-specific intervention strategies, determining culturally appropriate screening and assessment tools, gathering information on services and systems of support that respond to the needs of the transgender youth, pinpointing the gaps in services, and better understanding the needs of transgender youth served by Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) agencies.

    Specifically, this supplemental award will support the review of findings on the systematic review of the literature conducted as part of the 3/40 BLUEPRINT to identify factors that facilitate positive outcomes for transgender youth in stable housing, education and employment, permanent connections, and well-being interventions that may facilitate positive outcomes for transgender RHY.

    Statutory Authority:

    Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, 42 U.S.C. 5701-5752, as most recently amended by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act, of 2008, Pub. L. 110-378 on October 8, 2008. Under Section 343, the Secretary may make grants to carry out research, evaluation, demonstration, and service projects regarding activities under this title designed to increase knowledge concerning, and to improve services for, runaway youth and homeless youth with a concentration on Transitional Living Programs.

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Division of Grants Policy, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01332 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4182-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Announcement of the Award of a Single-Source Expansion Supplement Grant to the National Runaway Switchboard AGENCY:

    Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), ACYF, ACF, DHHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source expansion supplement grant to the National Runaway Switchboard to support the translation of “Let's Talk Curriculum” into Spanish and disseminate it to culturally appropriate prevention resources to expand outreach to Latino youth and their families.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Division of Adolescent Development and Support (DADS), announces the award of a single-source expansion supplement grant of $34,000 to the National Runaway Switchboard to support research and the translation of “Let's Talk Curriculum” into Spanish and disseminate it to culturally appropriate prevention resources to expand outreach to Latino youth and their families.

    DATES:

    The award will support activities from September 29, 2015 through September 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Christopher Holloway, Central Office Program Manager, Runaway and Homeless Youth Program, Division of Adolescent Development and Support, Family and Youth Services Bureau, 330 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20201; Telephone: 202-205-9560; Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Runaway Safeline, operated by the National Runaway Switchboard, serves as the federally-designated national communication system for homeless and runaway youth. Through hotline and online services, the National Runaway Switchboard provides crisis intervention, referrals to local resources, and education and prevention services to runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth, their families, and communities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, in a neutral and confidential manner. Beyond its mission, the National Runaway Switchboard is committed to elevate the dialogue about runaway and homeless youth issues to ensure everyone understands the importance of supporting vulnerable youth, the programs that serve them, and the value of disseminating prevention materials to increase skills and competencies among at-risk youth.

    The expansion supplement award will allow the National Runaway Switchboard to:

    • Conduct research to increase public education on issues impacting at-risk, runaway, and homeless youth and to disseminate data about the need to support youth-serving programs in communities nationwide.

    • Translate the “Let's Talk Curriculum” into a Spanish version and disseminate it to culturally appropriate prevention resources to expand outreach to Latino youth and their families.

    The National Runaway Switchboard will conduct the research to analyze their data and utilize the research findings to enhance prevention programs, improve technical support, and reach out to diverse media outlets to increase public knowledge on these issues. More important, the research information will assist youth-serving organizations in explaining the need for their services. Often, local stakeholders do not understand the importance of providing services and programs to runaway and homeless youth because they are not aware of the impact of these issues. When a youth runs away, the impact is felt throughout an entire community. By learning about the causes, short-term, and long-term effects of runaway and homeless behaviors, communities can move away from stereotypes and provide the resources and connections needed for vulnerable youth.

    The research and Spanish translation services are crucial projects that support the Switchboard's efforts, and FYSB's commitment, to provide resources to runaway and homeless youth, underserved communities, and those who support these vulnerable populations.

    Statutory Authority: Section 331 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, as amended by the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008, Public Law 110-378, authorizes the award of grants for the National Communication System for Runaway and Homeless Youth (42 U.S.C. 5714-11).

    CFDA Number: 93.550.

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Office of Administration, Division of Grants Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01339 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-33-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families Announcement of the Award a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to BCFS Health and Human Services in San Antonio, TX AGENCY:

    Office of Refugee Resettlement, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), announces the award of a single-source program expansion supplement grant to BCFS Health and Human Services (BCFS) in San Antonio, TX, under the Unaccompanied Children's (UC) Program to support home study services.

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), announces the award of a single-source program expansion supplement grant for $500,000. The expansion supplement grant will support the need to increase home study capacity to expedite completion of home studies for approximately 400 UCs.

    BCFS provides nationwide coverage of home study services to children in the care and custody of ORR, as well as services to include counseling, case management, and additional support services to the family or to the UC and their sponsor when a UC is released from ORR's care and custody.

    DATES:

    Supplemental award funds will support activities from September 29, 2015 through September 30, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jallyn Sualog, Director, Division of Children's Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, 901 D Street SW., Washington, DC 20447. Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    While this number of referrals to the Unaccompanied Children Program in FY 2015 is well below the total referrals from FY 2014, ORR has seen a change to recent referral trends, including a steady August referral rate and an increasing occupancy rate of UC in care. This increase in referrals has also generated a correlating increase in the need for home study services. The supplemental awards will support and expand home study services for UC to facilitate their release from ORR custody.

    ORR has specific requirements for the provision of services. Award recipients must have the infrastructure, licensing, experience, and appropriate level of trained staff to meet the service requirements and the urgent need for expansion of services. The program's ability to avoid a buildup of children waiting, in Border Patrol stations, for placement in shelters, can only be accommodated through the expansion of the existing program and its services through the supplemental award.

    Statutory Authority:

    This program is authorized by—

    (A) Section 462 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which in March 2003, transferred responsibility for the care and custody of Unaccompanied Alien Children from the Commissioner of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to the Director of ORR of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    (B) The Flores Settlement Agreement, Case No. CV85-4544RJK (C. D. Cal. 1996), as well as the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Pub. L. 110-457), which authorizes post release services under certain conditions to eligible children. All programs must comply with the Flores Settlement Agreement, Case No. CV85-4544-RJK (C.D. Cal. 1996), pertinent regulations and ORR policies and procedures.

    CFDA Number: 93.676

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Division of Grants Policy, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01336 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-45-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Administration for Children and Families [CFDA Number: 93.592] Announcing the Award of a Single-Source Program Expansion Supplement Grant to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum in Oakland, CA AGENCY:

    Family and Youth Services Bureau, ACYF, ACF, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of the award of a single-source program expansion supplement grant under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) Technical Assistance (TA) Project to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum in Oakland, CA, to support training and technical assistance activities by the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (APIIDV).

    SUMMARY:

    The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB), Division of Family Violence and Prevention Services (DFVPS), announces the award of $175,000 as a single-source program expansion supplement grant to the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. The grantee, funded under the Family Violence Protection and Services Act (FVPSA) program, is a technical assistance (TA) provider that assists FVPSA service providers to build the capacity of domestic violence programs.

    DATES:

    The period of support for the single-source program expansion supplement is September 30, 2015 through September 29, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Seema Zeya, Program Specialist, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, 1250 Maryland Avenue SW., Suite 8220, Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: 202-205-7889; Email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Supplemental award funds will support the grantee, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, in providing training and technical assistance (T/TA) to domestic violence service providers by the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence (APIIDV) in San Francisco, CA.

    This award will expand the scope of T/TA activities to include supplemental activities concerning the issue of trafficking for domestic violence programs, which may involve activities including:

    • Training on the intersection of issues related to domestic violence, sexual violence, and victims of trafficking including:

    • Listening sessions with FVPSA grantees and culturally specific, community-based organizations regarding needs, challenges, and barriers related to offering services on trafficking;

    • Documentation of current promising practices for serving survivors of trafficking within domestic violence programs and culturally specific, community-based organizations;

    • Development of a TA plan for fostering and sustaining collaborative partnerships on domestic violence and human trafficking, which may include a community pilot program;

    • Resource development that will include the development and dissemination of factsheets and/or concept papers on the intersection of issues related to domestic violence and human trafficking that will provide recommendations that will enhance the provision of direct services for victims, facilitate strengthening multidisciplinary partnerships, or the development of culturally-informed trauma-related programming; and

    • Convening a working group that examines typologies related to human trafficking that are specific to Asian communities that will develop intervention and prevention recommendations for service providers and TA providers.

    In addition, APIIDV will support and provide training on the issue of language access planning for domestic violence programs that will include activities such as:

    • Training and technical assistance for the 20 State Domestic Violence Coalitions that have already completed the 2015 Training of Trainers;

    • Listening sessions with FVPSA state administrators, coalitions, and culturally-specific community-based organizations;

    • Documentation of the technical assistance needs, implementation successes, and implementation challenges of the 20 states that are beginning language access planning and are working to improve language accessibility within their states; and

    • Recommendations for state-specific capacity building for the 20 states intended to enhance statewide language access, which will include the development of language access plans.

    An objective review of was conducted that assessed the grantee's application using criteria related to the project's approach, the organization's capacity, and the development of costs for the project's budget.

    Statutory Authority:

    Section 310 of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, as amended by Section 201 of the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-320.

    Christopher Beach, Senior Grants Policy Specialist, Division of Grants Policy, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01329 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4184-32-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines AGENCY:

    Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice provides an update of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines to account for last calendar year's increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 25, 2016, unless an office administering a program using the guidelines specifies a different effective date for that particular program.

    ADDRESSES:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Room 404E, Humphrey Building, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For information about how the guidelines are used or how income is defined in a particular program, contact the Federal, state, or local office that is responsible for that program. For information about poverty figures for immigration forms, the Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services Program, and the number of people in poverty, use the specific telephone numbers and addresses given below.

    For general questions about the poverty guidelines themselves, contact Kendall Swenson, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Room 422F.5, Humphrey Building, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201—telephone: (202) 690-7507—or visit http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/.

    For information about the percentage multiple of the poverty guidelines to be used on immigration forms such as USCIS Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 1-800-375-5283.

    For information about the Hill-Burton Uncompensated Services Program (free or reduced-fee health care services at certain hospitals and other facilities for persons meeting eligibility criteria involving the poverty guidelines), contact the Health Resources and Services Administration Information Center at 1-800-275-4772. You also may visit http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/.

    For information about the number of people in poverty, visit the Poverty section of the Census Bureau's Web site at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/poverty.html or contact the Census Bureau's Customer Service Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll-free) and https://ask.census.gov for further information.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Section 673(2) of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)) requires the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to update the poverty guidelines at least annually, adjusting them on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The poverty guidelines are used as an eligibility criterion by the Community Services Block Grant program and a number of other Federal programs. The poverty guidelines issued here are a simplified version of the poverty thresholds that the Census Bureau uses to prepare its estimates of the number of individuals and families in poverty.

    As required by law, this update is accomplished by increasing the latest published Census Bureau poverty thresholds by the relevant percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The guidelines in this 2016 notice reflect the 0.1 percent price increase between calendar years 2014 and 2015. After this inflation adjustment, the guidelines are rounded and adjusted to standardize the differences between family sizes. In rare circumstances, the rounding and standardizing adjustments in the formula result in small decreases in the poverty guidelines for some household sizes even when the inflation factor is not negative. In order to prevent a reduction in the guidelines in these rare circumstances, a minor adjustment was implemented to the formula beginning this year. In cases where the year-to-year change in inflation is not negative and the rounding and standardizing adjustments in the formula result in reductions to the guidelines from the previous year for some household sizes, the guidelines for the affected household sizes are fixed at the prior year's guidelines. As in prior years, these 2016 guidelines are roughly equal to the poverty thresholds for calendar year 2015 which the Census Bureau expects to publish in final form in September 2016.

    The poverty guidelines continue to be derived from the Census Bureau's current official poverty thresholds; they are not derived from the Census Bureau's new Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).

    The following guideline figures represent annual income.

    2016 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia Persons in family/household Poverty
  • guideline
  • 1 $11,880 2 16,020 3 20,160 4 24,300 5 28,440 6 32,580 7 36,730 8 40,890 For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each additional person.
    2016 Poverty Guidelines for Alaska Persons in family/household Poverty
  • guideline
  • 1 $14,840 2 20,020 3 25,200 4 30,380 5 35,560 6 40,740 7 45,920 8 51,120 For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,200 for each additional person.
    2016 Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii Persons in family/household Poverty
  • guideline
  • 1 $13,670 2 18,430 3 23,190 4 27,950 5 32,710 6 37,470 7 42,230 8 47,010 For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,780 for each additional person.

    Separate poverty guideline figures for Alaska and Hawaii reflect Office of Economic Opportunity administrative practice beginning in the 1966-1970 period. (Note that the Census Bureau poverty thresholds—the version of the poverty measure used for statistical purposes—have never had separate figures for Alaska and Hawaii.) The poverty guidelines are not defined for Puerto Rico or other outlying jurisdictions. In cases in which a Federal program using the poverty guidelines serves any of those jurisdictions, the Federal office that administers the program is generally responsible for deciding whether to use the contiguous-states-and-DC guidelines for those jurisdictions or to follow some other procedure.

    Due to confusing legislative language dating back to 1972, the poverty guidelines sometimes have been mistakenly referred to as the “OMB” (Office of Management and Budget) poverty guidelines or poverty line. In fact, OMB has never issued the guidelines; the guidelines are issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services. The poverty guidelines may be formally referenced as “the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2).”

    Some federal programs use a percentage multiple of the guidelines (for example, 125 percent or 185 percent of the guidelines), as noted in relevant authorizing legislation or program regulations. Non-Federal organizations that use the poverty guidelines under their own authority in non-Federally-funded activities also may choose to use a percentage multiple of the guidelines.

    The poverty guidelines do not make a distinction between farm and non-farm families, or between aged and non-aged units. (Only the Census Bureau poverty thresholds have separate figures for aged and non-aged one-person and two-person units.)

    Note that this notice does not provide definitions of such terms as “income” or “family,” because there is considerable variation in defining these terms among the different programs that use the guidelines. These variations are traceable to the different laws and regulations that govern the various programs. This means that questions such as “Is income counted before or after taxes?”, “Should a particular type of income be counted?”, and “Should a particular person be counted as a member of the family/household?” are actually questions about how a specific program applies the poverty guidelines. All such questions about how a specific program applies the guidelines should be directed to the entity that administers or funds the program, since that entity has the responsibility for defining such terms as “income” or “family,” to the extent that these terms are not already defined for the program in legislation or regulations.

    Dated: January 21, 2016. Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01450 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-05-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and AIDS Initial Review Group; Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research Committee.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Plaza II, 1150 22nd Street NW., Washington, DC 20037.

    Contact Person: Frank S. De Silva, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room #3E72A, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9834, Bethesda, MD 20892934, (240) 669-5023, [email protected].

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; “Comprehensive Resources for HIV Microbicides and Biomedical Prevention (N01)”.

    Date: February 18, 2016.

    Time: 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health Room 3F100, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Jay R. Radke, Ph.D., AIDS Review Branch, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room #3G11B, National Institutes of Health, NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC-9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, (240) 669-5046, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: January 19, 2016. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01313 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Submission for OMB Review; 30-Day Comment Request; Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program SUMMARY:

    Under the provisions of section 3507(a)(1)(D) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (NIH) has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a request for review and approval of the information collection listed below. This proposed information collection was previously published in the Federal Register on October 16, 2015, pages 62541-62542, and allowed 60 days for public comment. One public comment was received. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comment. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, may not conduct or sponsor, and the respondent is not required to respond to, an information collection that has been extended, revised, or implemented on or after October 1, 1995, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Direct Comments to OMB: Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, should be directed to the: Office of Management and Budget, Office of Regulatory Affairs, [email protected] or by fax to 202-395-6974, Attention: NIH Desk Officer.

    DATES:

    Comment Due Date: Comments regarding this information collection are best assured of having their full effect if received within 30-days of the date of this publication.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    To obtain a copy of the data collection plans and instrument or to request more information on the proposed project contact: Dr. Sarah Glavin, Acting Director, Office of Science Policy, Analysis, and Communications, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, 31 Center Dr., Bldg. 31, Rm. 2A28, Bethesda, MD 20892, or call non-toll-free number (301) 496-7898, or email your request, including your address to: [email protected] Formal requests for additional plans and instruments must be requested in writing.

    Proposed Collection: Application for Consideration for the Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program: 0925-New, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Need and Use of Information Collection: Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! is an interactive program designed to teach youth ages 11-13 about how media can affect their health. Developed by the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the program includes 10 lessons on media analysis, nutrition, and physical activity, plus a final capstone project. The Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program is designed for teens and adults, ages 15 years and up, who are interested in bringing the Media-Smart Youth program to their community. In return for recruiting youth participants, teaching the 10 lessons, and leading the final project, Media-Smart Youth Leaders will receive leadership experience, community service hours, and recognition from the NICHD. To help Leaders succeed, the NICHD will provide training, ongoing assistance, and a small funding amount for program expenses.

    The purpose of this information collection is to solicit information from applicants about their qualifications that would make them effective Leaders, their reason for wanting to pursue this opportunity, and the details of their proposed program (including, but not limited to, location, community partner(s), and proposed budget). This information will help NICHD staff select the candidates for the program who are most likely to succeed in implementing the full curriculum and teaching youth effective lessons about nutrition, physical activity, and media.

    OMB approval is requested for 3 years. There are no costs to respondents other than their time. The total estimated annualized burden hours are 800.

    Estimated Annualized Burden Hours Form name Type of
  • respondent
  • Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses
  • per
  • respondent
  • Average
  • burden
  • per response
  • (in hours)
  • Total annual
  • burden hour
  • Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program Application Form Applicants 300 1 2.5 750 Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program Application Form Advisors 300 1 5/60 25 Media-Smart Youth Leaders Program Application Form Community partners 300 1 5/60 25
    Dated: January 11, 2016. Sarah Glavin, Project Clearance Liaison, NICHD, NIH.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01379 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The contract proposals and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the contract proposals, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; NIAID Peer Review Meeting.

    Date: February 17, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892.

    Contact Person: B. Duane Price, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, RM 3G50, National Institutes of Health, NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, 240-669-5074, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Special Emphasis Panel; NIAID Peer Review Meeting.

    Date: February 18, 2016.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate contract proposals.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 5601 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20892 (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Paul A. Amstad, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room 3G41, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9823, Bethesda, MD 20892-9823, 240-669-5067, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.855, Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Research; 93.856, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: January 19, 2016. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01314 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), Title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: Biological Chemistry and Macromolecular Biophysics Integrated Review Group; Synthetic and Biological Chemistry B Study Section.

    Date: February 17-18, 2016.

    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Serrano Hotel, 405 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

    Contact Person: Kathryn M. Koeller, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4166, MSC 7806, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-2681, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Digestive, Kidney and Urological Systems Integrated Review Group, Systemic Injury by Environmental Exposure.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Patricia Greenwel, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 2178, MSC 7818., Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1169, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Immunology Integrated Review Group, Innate Immunity and Inflammation Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, 1250 S Hayes St, Arlington, VA 22202.

    Contact Person: Tina McIntyre, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4202, MSC 7812, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-594-6375, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience Integrated Review Group, Auditory System Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Sheraton La Jolla Hotel, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla, CA 92037.

    Contact Person: Lynn E. Luethke, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5166, MSC 7844, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 806-3323,[email protected]

    Name of Committee: Healthcare Delivery and Methodologies Integrated Review Group, Biostatistical Methods and Research Design Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Grand Hyatt Seattle, 721 Pine Street, Seattle, WA 98101.

    Contact Person: Peter J. Kozel, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3139, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1116, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Digestive, Kidney and Urological Systems Integrated Review Group, Gastrointestinal Mucosal Pathobiology Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, 4300 Military Road NW., Washington, DC 20015.

    Contact Person: Aiping Zhao, MD, Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 2188 MSC7818, Bethesda, MD 20892-7818, (301) 435-0682, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience Integrated Review Group, Cellular and Molecular Biology of Glia Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Lorien Hotel & Spa, 1600 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

    Contact Person: Linda MacArthur, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4187, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-537-9986, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Musculoskeletal, Oral and Skin Sciences Integrated Review Group, Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Sciences Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Terrance Marriott Redondo Beach, 3635 Fashion Way, Torrance, CA 90503.

    Contact Person: Yi-Hsin Liu, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4214, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1781, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, PAR Panel: Academic Industrial Partnership.

    Date: February 18, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Contact Person: Donald Scott Wright, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5108, MSC 7854, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-8363, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Cell Biology Integrated Review Group, Cellular Mechanisms in Aging and Development Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Hotel Kabuki, 1625 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.

    Contact Person: John Burch, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institute of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3213, MSC 7808, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-408-9519, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel, SBIB Clinical Pediatric and Fetal Applications.

    Date: February 18, 2016.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892.

    Contact Person: John Firrell, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5118, MSC 7854, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-2598, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Genes, Genomes, and Genetics Integrated Review Group, Prokaryotic Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section.

    Date: February 18-19, 2016.

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892 (Virtual Meeting).

    Contact Person: Dominique Lorang-Leins, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institutes of Health, Center for Scientific Review, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5108, MSC 7766, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301.326.9721 [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section.

    Date: February 19, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Pier 2620 Hotel, 2620 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA.

    Contact Person: Nicholas Gaiano, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5178, MSC 7844, Bethesda, MD 20892-7844, 301-435-1033, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR 13-293: Gut Microbiota-Derived Factors in the Integrated Physiology and Pathophysiology of Diseases within NIDDK's mission.

    Date: February 19, 2016.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, 4300 Military Road NW., Washington, DC 20015.

    Contact Person: Jonathan K. Ivins, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4040A, MSC 7806, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 594-1245, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; Immune System Plasticity in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Complex, Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Diseases.

    Date: February 19, 2016.

    Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Torrance Marriott, Redondo Beach, CA, 3635 Fashion Way, Torrance, CA 90503.

    Contact Person: Rajiv Kumar, Ph.D., Chief, MOSS IRG, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4216, MSC 7802, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1212, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.306, Comparative Medicine; 93.333, Clinical Research, 93.306, 93.333, 93.337, 93.393-93.396, 93.837-93.844, 93.846-93.878, 93.892, 93.893, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: January 15, 2016. Carolyn Baum, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01315 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Office of the Secretary [Docket No. DHS-2016-0006] Privacy Act of 1974; Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection-007 Border Crossing Information System of Records AGENCY:

    Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Privacy Act System of Records.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the Department of Homeland Security proposes to update and reissue a current Department of Homeland Security system of records titled, “Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI) System of Records.” This system of records allows DHS/CBP to collect and maintain records on border crossing information for all individuals who enter, are admitted or paroled into, and (when available) exit from the United States, regardless of method or conveyance. The BCI includes certain biographic and biometric information; photographs; certain mandatory or voluntary itinerary information provided by air, sea, bus, and rail carriers or any other forms of passenger transportation; and the time and location of the border crossing.

    This system of records notice was previously published in the Federal Register on May 11, 2015 (80 FR 26937). A Final Rule exempting portions of this system from certain provisions of the Privacy Act was published on Feb. 3, 2010, and remains in effect (75 FR 5491); however, the Department of Homeland Security recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to clarify the exemptions for this system (80 FR 79487, Dec. 22, 2015) and a new Final Rule is forthcoming.

    DHS/CBP is updating this system of records notice to provide notice of that BCI may be stored on both DHS unclassified and classified networks to allow for analysis and vetting consistent with existing DHS/CBP authorities and purposes and this published notice. Furthermore, this notice includes non-substantive changes to simplify the formatting and text of the previously published notice.

    The exemptions for the existing system of records notice published May 11, 2015 (80 FR 26937) continue to apply for this updated system of records for those categories of records listed in the previous BCI system of records notice. DHS will include this system in its inventory of record systems.

    DATES:

    This updated system will be effective upon the public display of this notice. Although this system is effective upon publication, DHS will accept and consider comments from the public and evaluate the need for any revisions to this notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by docket number DHS-2016-0006 by one of the following methods:

    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Fax: 202-343-4010.

    Mail: Karen L. Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, please visit http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For general questions, please contact: John Connors (202) 344-1610, Privacy Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Privacy and Diversity Office, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20229. For privacy questions, please contact: Karen L. Neuman, (202) 343-1717, Chief Privacy Officer, Privacy Office, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) proposes to update and reissue a current DHS system of records titled, “DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI) System of Records.” DHS/CBP is updating the system location for this system of records notice (SORN) to reflect that records within the DHS/CBP BCI system are also stored on both DHS unclassified and classified networks to allow for analysis and vetting consistent with existing DHS/CBP authorities and purposes and this published notice.

    DHS/CBP's priority mission is to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country while facilitating legitimate travel and trade. To facilitate this mission, DHS/CBP maintains BCI about all individuals who enter, are admitted or paroled into, and (when available) exit from the United States regardless of method or conveyance. The BCI includes certain biographic and biometric information; photographs; certain mandatory or voluntary itinerary information provided by air, sea, bus, and rail carriers or any other forms of passenger transportation; and the time and location of the border crossing. BCI resides on the TECS (not an acronym) information technology (IT) platform. DHS/CBP is updating this system of records notice to provide notice that BCI records may be stored on both DHS unclassified and classified networks to allow for analysis and vetting consistent with existing DHS/CBP authorities and purposes and this published notice.

    DHS/CBP is responsible for collecting and reviewing BCI from travelers entering and departing the United States as part of DHS/CBP's overall border security and enforcement missions. All individuals crossing the border are subject to DHS/CBP processing upon arrival in the United States. Each traveler entering the United States is required to establish his or her identity, nationality, and admissibility, as applicable, to the satisfaction of a CBP Officer during the clearance process. To manage this process, DHS/CBP creates a record of an individual's admission or parole into the United States at a particular time and port of entry. DHS/CBP also collects information about U.S. citizens and certain aliens (in-scope travelers pursuant to 8 CFR 215.8, “requirements for biometric identifiers from aliens on departure from the United States”) upon departure from the United States for law enforcement purposes and to document their border crossing.

    DHS is statutorily mandated to create and integrate an automated entry and exit system that records the arrival and departure of aliens, verifies alien identities, and authenticates alien travel documents through the comparison of biometric identifiers (8 U.S.C. 1365(b)). Certain aliens may be required to provide biometrics (including digital fingerprint scans, palm prints, photographs, facial and iris images, or other biometric identifiers) upon arrival in or departure from the United States. The biometric data is stored in the Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) IT system. IDENT stores and processes biometric data (e.g., digital fingerprints, palm prints, photographs, and iris scans) and links biometrics with biographic information to establish and verify identities. The IDENT IT system serves as the biometric repository for DHS and also stores related biographic information.

    Collection of additional biometric information from individuals crossing the border (such as information regarding scars, marks, tattoos, and palm prints) aids biometric sharing between the Department of Justice (DOJ) Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)/Next Generation Identification (NGI) and the IDENT system. The end result is enhanced access to (and in some cases acquisition of) IAFIS/NGI information by the IDENT system and its users. DHS, DOJ/FBI, and the Department of State (DOS)/Bureau of Consular Services entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Improved Information Sharing Services in 2008. The MOUs established the framework for sharing information in accordance with an agreed-upon technical solution for expanded IDENT/IAFIS/NGI interoperability, which provides access to additional data for a greater number of authorized users.

    CBP collects border crossing information stored in this system of records through a number of sources, for example: (1) Travel documents (e.g., a foreign passport) presented by an individual at a CBP port of entry when he or she provided no advance notice of the border crossing to CBP; (2) carriers that submit information in advance of travel through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS); (3) information stored in the Global Enrollment System (GES) (see DHS/CBP-002 Global Enrollment System (GES) SORN, 78 FR 3441, (January 16, 2013)) as part of a trusted or registered traveler program; (4) non-federal governmental authorities that issued valid travel documents approved by the Secretary of DHS (e.g., an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL)); (5) another federal agency that issued a valid travel document (e.g., data from a DOS visa, passport including passport card, or Border Crossing Card); and (6) the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) pursuant to the Beyond the Border Entry/Exit Program. When a traveler enters, is admitted to, paroled into, or departs from the United States, his or her biographical information, photograph (when available), and crossing details (time and location) are maintained in accordance with the DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information SORN.

    DHS/CBP is updating the system location to inform the public that certain BCI information may be replicated from the operational system and maintained on DHS unclassified and classified networks to allow for analysis and vetting consistent with existing DHS/CBP authorities and purposes and this published notice. Furthermore, this notice includes non-substantive changes to simplify the formatting and text of the previously published notice.

    Consistent with DHS's information sharing mission, information stored in the DHS/CBP-007 BCI SORN may be shared with other DHS Components that have a need to know the information to carry out their national security, law enforcement, immigration, intelligence, or other homeland security functions.

    The exemptions for the existing system of records notice published May 11, 2015 (80 FR 26937) continue to apply for this updated system of records for those categories of records listed in the previous System of Records Notice. A Final Rule exempting portions of this system from certain provisions of the Privacy Act was published on Feb. 3, 2010, and remains in effect (75 FR 5491); however, the Department of Homeland Security recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to clarify the exemptions for this system (80 FR 79487, Dec. 22, 2015) and a new Final Rule is forthcoming. Furthermore, to the extent certain categories of records are ingested from other systems, the exemptions applicable to the source systems will remain in effect.

    II. Privacy Act

    The Privacy Act embodies fair information practice principles in a statutory framework governing the means by which the Federal Government collects, maintains, uses, and disseminates individuals' records. The Privacy Act applies to information that is maintained in a “system of records.” A “system of records” is a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of an individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual. In the Privacy Act, an individual is defined to encompass U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. As a matter of policy, DHS extends administrative Privacy Act protections to all individuals when systems of records maintain information on U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and visitors.

    Below is the description of the DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI) System of Records.

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(r), DHS has provided a report of this system of records to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress.

    System of Records:

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)-007.

    System name:

    DHS/CBP-007 Border Crossing Information (BCI).

    Security classification:

    Unclassified, Sensitive, For Official Use Only (FOUO), and Law Enforcement-Sensitive (LES). The data may be retained on classified networks, but this does not change the nature and character of the data until it is combined with classified information.

    System location:

    DHS/CBP currently maintains records in the operational information technology (IT) system at DHS/CBP Headquarters in Washington, DC and at field offices. This computer database is located at DHS/CBP National Data Center (NDC) in Washington, DC Computer terminals are located at customhouses, border ports of entry, airport inspection facilities under the jurisdiction of DHS/CBP, and other locations at which DHS/CBP authorized personnel may be posted to facilitate DHS's mission. Terminals may also be located at appropriate facilities for other participating government agencies. Records are replicated from the operational IT system and maintained on DHS unclassified and classified networks.

    Categories of individuals covered by the system:

    Individuals with records stored in BCI include U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPR), and immigrant and non-immigrant aliens who lawfully cross the U.S. border by air, land, or sea, regardless of method of transportation or conveyance.

    Categories of records in the system:

    DHS/CBP collects and stores the following records in the BCI system as border crossing information:

    • Full name (last, first, and, if available, middle);

    • Date of birth;

    • Gender;

    • Travel document type and number (e.g., passport information, permanent resident card, Trusted Traveler Program card);

    • Issuing country or entity and expiration date;

    • Photograph (when available);

    • Country of citizenship;

    • Tattoos;

    • Scars;

    • Marks;

    • Palm prints;

    • Digital fingerprints;

    • Photographs;

    • Digital iris scans;

    • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag number(s) (if land or sea border crossing);

    • Date and time of crossing;

    • Lane for clearance processing;

    • Location of crossing;

    • Secondary Examination Status; and

    • For land border crossings only, license plate number or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) (if no plate exists).

    CBP maintains in BCI information derived from an associated APIS transmission (when applicable), including:

    • Full name (last, first, and, if available, middle);

    • Date of birth;

    • Gender;

    • Country of citizenship;

    • Passport/alien registration number and country of issuance;

    • Passport expiration date;

    • Country of residence;

    • Status on board the aircraft;

    • Travel document type;

    • United States destination address (for all private aircraft passengers and crew, and commercial air, rail, bus, and vessel passengers except for U.S. Citizens, LPRs, crew, and those in transit);

    • Place of birth and address of permanent residence (commercial flight crew only);

    • Pilot certificate number and country of issuance (flight crew only, if applicable);

    • Passenger Name Record (PNR) locator number;

    • Primary inspection lane;

    • ID inspector;

    • Records containing the results of comparisons of individuals to information maintained in CBP's law enforcement databases as well as information from the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB);

    • Information on individuals with outstanding wants or warrants; and

    • Information from other government agencies regarding high risk parties.

    CBP collects records under the Entry/Exit Program with Canada, such as border crossing data from the CBSA, including:

    • Full name (last, first, and if available, middle);

    • Date of Birth;

    • Nationality (citizenship);

    • Gender;

    • Document Type;

    • Document Number;

    • Document Country of Issuance;

    • Port of entry location (Port code);

    • Date of entry; and

    • Time of entry.

    In addition, air and sea carriers or operators covered by the APIS rules and rail and bus carriers (to the extent voluntarily applicable) also transmit or provide the following information to CBP for retention in BCI:

    • Airline carrier code;

    • Flight number;

    • Vessel name;

    • Vessel country of registry/flag;

    • International Maritime Organization number or other official number of the vessel;

    • Voyage number;

    • Date of arrival/departure;

    • Foreign airport/port where the passengers and crew members began their air/sea transportation to the United States;

    • For passengers and crew members destined for the United States:

    ○ The location where the passengers and crew members will undergo customs and immigration clearance by CBP.

    • For passengers and crew members who are transiting through (and crew on flights over flying) the United States and not clearing CBP:

    ○ The foreign airport/port of ultimate destination; and

    ○ Status on board (whether an individual is crew or non-crew).

    • For passengers and crew departing the United States:

    ○ Final foreign airport/port of arrival.

    Other information also stored in this system of records includes:

    • Aircraft registration number provided by pilots of private aircraft;

    • Type of aircraft;

    • Call sign (if available);

    • CBP issued decal number (if available);

    • Place of last departure (e.g., ICAO airport code, when available);

    • Date and time of aircraft arrival;

    • Estimated time and location of crossing U.S. border or coastline;

    • Name of intended airport of first landing, if applicable;

    • Owner or lessee name (first, last, and middle, if available, or business entity name);

    • Owner or lessee contact information (address, city, state, zip code, country, telephone number, fax number, and email address, pilot, or private aircraft pilot name);

    • Pilot information (license number, street address (number and street, city state, zip code, country, telephone number, fax number, and email address));

    • Pilot license country of issuance;

    • Operator name (for individuals: last, first, and middle, if available; or name of business entity, if available);

    • Operator street address (number and street, city, state, zip code, country, telephone number, fax number, and email address);

    • Aircraft color(s);

    • Complete itinerary (foreign airport landings within 24 hours prior to landing in the United States);

    • 24-hour emergency point of contact information (e.g., broker, dispatcher, repair shop, or other third party who is knowledgeable about this particular flight)

    ○ Full name (last, first, and middle (if available)) and telephone number; and

    • Incident to the transmission of required information via eAPIS (for general aviation itineraries, pilot, and passenger manifests), records will also incorporate the pilot's email address.

    To the extent private aircraft operators and carriers operating in the land border environment may transmit APIS, similar information may also be recorded in BCI by CBP with regard to such travel. CBP also collects the license plate number of the conveyance (or VIN number when no plate exists) in the land border environment for both arrival and departure (when departure information is available).

    Authority for maintenance of the system:

    Authority for BCI is provided by the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-173, 116 Stat. 543 (2002)); the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 (Pub. L. 107-71, 115 Stat. 597); the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638 (2004)); the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1185 and 1354); and the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1322-1683g, including 19 U.S.C. 66, 1433, 1454, 1485, 1624 and 2071).

    Purpose(s):

    DHS/CBP collects and maintains this information to vet and inspect persons arriving in or departing from the United States; to determine identity, citizenship, and admissibility; and to identify persons who: (1) May be (or are suspected of being) a terrorist or having affiliations to terrorist organizations; (2) have active warrants for criminal activity; (3) are currently inadmissible or have been previously removed from the United States; or (4) have been otherwise identified as potential security risks or raise a law enforcement concern. For immigrant and non-immigrant aliens, the information is also collected and maintained to ensure information related to a particular border crossing is available for providing any applicable benefits related to immigration or other enforcement purposes. Lastly, DHS/CBP maintains information in BCI to retain a historical record of persons crossing the border to facilitate law enforcement, counterterrorism, and benefits processing.

    DHS/CBP maintains a replica of some or all of the data in the operating system on DHS unclassified and classified networks to allow for analysis and vetting consistent with the above stated purposes and this published notice.

    Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses:

    In addition to those disclosures generally permitted under 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) of the Privacy Act, all or a portion of the records or information contained in this system may be disclosed outside DHS as a routine use pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(3) as follows:

    A. To the Department of Justice (DOJ), including Offices of the United States Attorneys, or other federal agency conducting litigation or in proceedings before any court, adjudicative, or administrative body, when it is relevant or necessary to the litigation and one of the following is a party to the litigation or has an interest in such litigation:

    1. DHS or any Component thereof;

    2. Any employee or former employee of DHS in his/her official capacity;

    3. Any employee or former employee of DHS in his/her individual capacity when DOJ or DHS has agreed to represent the employee; or

    4. The United States or any agency thereof.

    B. To a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from that congressional office made at the request of the individual to whom the record pertains.

    C. To the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or General Services Administration pursuant to records management inspections being conducted under the authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906.

    D. To an agency or organization for the purpose of performing audit or oversight operations as authorized by law, but only such information as is necessary and relevant to such audit or oversight function.

    E. To appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when:

    1. DHS suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised;

    2. DHS has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise, there is a risk of identity theft or fraud, harm to economic or property interests, harm to an individual, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by DHS or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and

    3. The disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with DHS's efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.

    F. To contractors and their agents, grantees, experts, consultants, and others performing or working on a contract, service, grant, cooperative agreement, or other assignment for DHS, when necessary to accomplish an agency function related to this system of records. Individuals provided information under this routine use are subject to the same Privacy Act requirements and limitations on disclosure as are applicable to DHS officers and employees.

    G. To an appropriate federal, state, tribal, local, international, or foreign law enforcement agency or other appropriate authority charged with investigating or prosecuting a violation or enforcing or implementing a law, rule, regulation, or order, when a record, either on its face or in conjunction with other information, indicates a violation or potential violation of law, which includes criminal, civil, or regulatory violations and such disclosure is proper and consistent with the official duties of the person making the disclosure.

    H. To appropriate federal, state, tribal, local, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations responsible for investigating or prosecuting the violations of, or for enforcing or implementing, a statute, rule, regulation, order, or license, when DHS believes the information would assist enforcement of applicable civil or criminal laws.

    I. To the CBSA for law enforcement and immigration purposes, as well as to facilitate cross-border travel when an individual enters the United States from Canada.

    J. To appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations when DHS reasonably believes there to be a threat (or potential threat) to national or international security for which the information may be relevant in countering the threat (or potential threat).

    K. To a federal, state, tribal, or local agency, other appropriate entity or individual, or foreign governments, in order to provide relevant information related to intelligence, counterintelligence, or antiterrorism activities authorized by U.S. law, E.O., or other applicable national security directive.

    L. To an organization or individual in either the public or private sector (foreign or domestic) when there is a reason to believe that the recipient is (or could become) the target of a particular terrorist activity or conspiracy, or when the information is relevant and necessary to the protection of life or property.

    M. To appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations for the purposes of protecting the vital interests of the data subject or other persons, including to assist such agencies or organizations in preventing exposure to or transmission of a communicable or quarantinable disease, to combat other significant public health threats, or to provide appropriate notice of any identified health threat or risk.

    N. To a court, magistrate, or administrative tribunal in the course of presenting evidence, including disclosures to opposing counsel or witnesses in the course of civil discovery, litigation, or settlement negotiations, or in response to a subpoena, or in connection with criminal law proceedings.

    O. To third parties during the course of a law enforcement investigation to the extent necessary to obtain information pertinent to the investigation.

    P. To appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations when DHS is aware of a need to use relevant data for purposes of testing new technology.

    Q. To the news media and the public, with the approval of the Chief Privacy Officer in consultation with counsel, when there exists a legitimate public interest in the disclosure of the information or when disclosure is necessary to preserve confidence in the integrity of DHS or is necessary to demonstrate the accountability of DHS's officers, employees, or individuals covered by the system, except to the extent it is determined that release of the specific information in the context of a particular case would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies:

    None.

    Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system: Storage:

    DHS/CBP stores records in this system electronically in the operational IT system, including on DHS unclassified and classified networks, or on paper in secure facilities in a locked drawer behind a locked door. The records may be stored on magnetic disc, tape, digital media, and CD-ROM.

    Retrievability:

    DHS/CBP retrieves records by name or other personal identifiers listed in the categories of records, above.

    Safeguards:

    DHS/CBP safeguards records in this system in accordance with applicable rules and policies, including all applicable DHS automated systems security and access policies. Strict controls are imposed to minimize the risk of compromising the information that is being stored. DHS/CBP limits access to BCI to those individuals who have a need to know the information for the performance of their official duties and who also have appropriate clearances or permissions.

    Retention and disposal:

    DHS/CBP is working with NARA to develop the appropriate retention schedule based on the information below. For persons DHS/CBP determines to be U.S. citizens and LPRs, information in BCI that is related to a particular border crossing is maintained for 15 years from the date when the traveler entered, was admitted to or paroled into, or departed the United States, at which time it is deleted from BCI. For non-immigrant aliens, the information will be maintained for 75 years from the date of admission or parole into or departure from the United States in order to ensure that the information related to a particular border crossing is available for providing any applicable benefits related to immigration or for other law enforcement purposes.

    Information related to border crossings prior to a change in status will follow the 75 year retention period for non-immigrant aliens who become U.S. citizens or LPRs following a border crossing that leads to the creation of a record in BCI. All information regarding border crossing by such persons following their change in status will follow the 15 year retention period applicable to U.S. citizens and LPRs. For all travelers, however, BCI records linked to active law enforcement lookout records, DHS/CBP matches to enforcement activities, or investigations or cases remain accessible for the life of the primary records of the law enforcement activities to which the BCI records may relate, to the extent retention for such purposes exceeds the normal retention period for such data in BCI.

    Records replicated on the unclassified and classified networks for analysis and vetting will follow the same retention schedule.

    System Manager and address:

    Director, Office of Automated Systems, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Headquarters, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20229.

    Notification procedure:

    DHS/CBP allows persons (including foreign nationals) to seek administrative access under the Privacy Act to information maintained in BCI. However, the Secretary of DHS exempted portions of this system from the notification, access, and amendment procedures of the Privacy Act because it is a law enforcement system. Nonetheless, DHS/CBP will consider individual requests to determine whether or not information may be released. Thus, individuals seeking notification of and access to any record contained in this system of records, or seeking to contest its content, may submit a request in writing to the DHS Chief Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer or CBP FOIA Officer, whose contact information can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/foia under “Contacts.” If an individual believes more than one Component maintains Privacy Act records that concern him or her, the individual may submit the request to the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief FOIA Officer, Department of Homeland Security, 245 Murray Lane SW., Building 410, STOP-0655, Washington, DC 20528.

    When seeking records about yourself from this system of records or any other Departmental system of records, your request must conform with the Privacy Act regulations set forth in 6 CFR part 5. You must first verify your identity, meaning that you must provide your full name, current address, and date and place of birth. You must sign your request and your signature must either be notarized or submitted under 28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made under penalty of perjury as a substitute for notarization. Although no specific form is required, you may obtain forms for this purpose from the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Freedom of Information Act Officer, http://www.dhs.gov/foia or 1-866-431-0486. In addition, you should:

    • Explain why you believe the Department would have information on you;

    • Identify which Component(s) of the Department you believe may have the information about you;

    • Specify when you believe the records would have been created; and

    • Provide any other information that will help the FOIA staff determine which DHS Component agency may have responsive records.

    If your request is seeking records pertaining to another living individual, you must include a statement from that individual certifying his/her agreement for you to access his/her records.

    Without the above information, CBP may not be able to conduct an effective search, and your request may be denied due to lack of specificity or lack of compliance with applicable regulations.

    In processing requests for access to information in this system, CBP will review the records in the operational system and coordinate with DHS to address access to records on the DHS unclassified and classified networks.

    Record access procedures:

    See “Notification procedure” above.

    Contesting record procedures:

    See “Notification procedure” above.

    Record source categories:

    DHS/CBP collects information from individuals who arrive in, depart from, or transit through the United States. This system also collects information from carriers that operate vessels, vehicles, aircraft, or trains that enter or exit the United States, including private aircraft operators. Lastly, BCI receives border crossing information received from CBSA.

    Exemptions claimed for the system:

    No exemption shall be asserted with respect to information maintained in the system that is collected from a person at the time of crossing and submitted by that person's air, sea, bus, or rail carriers if that person, or his or her agent, seeks access or amendment of such information.

    The Privacy Act, however, requires DHS to maintain an accounting of the disclosures made pursuant to all routines uses. Disclosing the fact that a law enforcement or intelligence agency has sought particular records may affect ongoing law enforcement activities. The Secretary of Homeland Security, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), exempted this system from the following provisions of the Privacy Act: Sections (c)(3), (e)(8), and (g) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, as is necessary and appropriate to protect this information. Further, DHS has exempted section (c)(3) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) as is necessary and appropriate to protect this information.

    Additionally, this system contains records or information recompiled from or created from information contained in other systems of records that are exempt from certain provision of the Privacy Act. This system also contains accountings of disclosures made with respect to information maintained in the system. For these records or information only, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) and (k)(2), DHS will also claim the original exemptions for these records or information from subsections (c)(3) and (4); (d)(1), (2), (3), and (4); (e)(1), (2), (3), (4)(G) through (I), (5), and (8); (f); and (g) of the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, as necessary and appropriate to protect such information.

    Dated: January 14, 2016. Karen L. Neuman, Chief Privacy Officer, Department of Homeland Security.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01331 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-14-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [CIS No. 2576-15; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2014-0003] RIN 1615-ZB45 Extension of the Designation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status AGENCY:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Through this Notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is extending the designation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017.

    The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through November 2, 2017, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. The Secretary has determined that an extension is warranted because the conditions in Sudan that prompted the 2013 TPS redesignation continue to be met. Sudan continues to experience ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions within the country that prevent its nationals from returning to Sudan in safety.

    Through this Notice, DHS also sets forth procedures necessary for eligible nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) to re-register for TPS and to apply for renewal of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Re-registration is limited to persons who have previously registered for TPS under the designation of Sudan and whose applications have been granted. Certain nationals of Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) who have not previously applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions if they meet (1) at least one of the late initial filing criteria, and (2) all TPS eligibility criteria (including continuous residence in the United States since January 9, 2013, and continuous physical presence in the United States since May 3, 2013).

    For individuals who have already been granted TPS under Sudan's designation, the 60-day re-registration period runs from January 25, 2016 through March 25, 2016. USCIS will issue new EADs with a November 2, 2017 expiration date to eligible Sudan TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on May 2, 2016. Accordingly, through this Notice, DHS automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Sudan for 6 months, through November 2, 2016, and explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended and their impact on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and the E-Verify processes.

    DATES:

    The 18-month extension of the TPS designation of Sudan is effective May 3, 2016, and will remain in effect through November 2, 2017. The 60-day re-registration period runs from January 25, 2016 through March 25, 2016. (Note: It is important for re-registrants to timely re-register during this 60-day period and not to wait until their EADs expire.)

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    • For further information on TPS, including guidance on the application process and additional information on eligibility, please visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

    You can find specific information about Sudan's TPS extension by selecting “Sudan” from the menu on the left side of the TPS Web page.

    • For questions concerning this FRN, you can also contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2060; or by phone at (202) 272-1533 (this is not a toll-free number). Note: The phone number provided here is solely for questions regarding this TPS Notice. It is not for individual case status inquires.

    • Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

    • Further information will also be available at local USCIS offices upon publication of this Notice.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Abbreviations BIA Board of Immigration Appeals DHS Department of Homeland Security DOS Department of State EAD Employment Authorization Document FNC Final Nonconfirmation Government U.S. Government GOS Government of Sudan IDP Internally Displaced Person IJ Immigration Judge INA Immigration and Nationality Act NGO Non-Governmental Organizations OCHA UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OSC U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices SAF Sudanese Armed Forces SAVE USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program Secretary Secretary of Homeland Security SPLM-N Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North TNC Tentative Nonconfirmation TPS Temporary Protected Status TTY Text Telephone UN United Nations USCIS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services UNICEF UN International Children's Emergency Fund What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

    • TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), or to eligible persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country.

    • During the TPS designation period, TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the United States, may not be removed, and are authorized to work and obtain EADs so long as they continue to meet the requirements of TPS.

    • TPS beneficiaries may also apply for and be granted travel authorization as a matter of discretion.

    • The granting of TPS does not result in or lead to permanent resident status.

    • To qualify for TPS, beneficiaries must meet the eligibility standards at INA section 244(c)(2), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2).

    • When the Secretary terminates a country's TPS designation, beneficiaries return to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS, if any (unless that status has since expired or been terminated), or to any other lawfully obtained immigration status they received while registered for TPS.

    When was Sudan designated for TPS?

    On November 4, 1997, the Attorney General designated Sudan for TPS due to ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions within Sudan. See Designation of Sudan Under Temporary Protected Status, 62 FR 59737 (Nov. 4, 1997). Following the initial designation, the Attorney General and, later, the Secretary have extended TPS and/or redesignated Sudan for TPS a total of 14 times. In 2013, the Secretary both extended Sudan's designation and redesignated Sudan for TPS for 18 months through November 2, 2014. See Extension and Redesignation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 78 FR 1872 (Jan. 9, 2013). This announcement is the second extension of the TPS designation for Sudan since the 2013 extension and redesignation.

    What authority does the Secretary have to extend the designation of Sudan for TPS?

    Section 244(b)(1) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), authorizes the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the U.S. Government (Government), to designate a foreign state (or part thereof) for TPS if the Secretary determines that certain country conditions exist.1 The Secretary may then grant TPS to eligible nationals of that foreign state (or eligible aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country). See INA section 244(a)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1)(A).

    1 As of March 1, 2003, in accordance with section 1517 of title XV of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, any reference to the Attorney General in a provision of the INA describing functions transferred from the Department of Justice to DHS “shall be deemed to refer to the Secretary” of Homeland Security. See 6 U.S.C. 557 (codifying the Homeland Security Act of 2002, tit. XV, section 1517).

    At least 60 days before the expiration of a country's TPS designation or extension, the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, must review the conditions in a foreign state designated for TPS to determine whether the conditions for the TPS designation continue to be met. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). If the Secretary determines that a foreign state continues to meet the conditions for TPS designation, the designation may be extended for an additional period of 6, 12, or 18 months. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C). If the Secretary determines that the foreign state no longer meets the conditions for TPS designation, the Secretary must terminate the designation. See INA section 244(b)(3)(B), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B).

    Why is the Secretary extending the TPS designation for Sudan through November 2, 2017?

    DHS and the Department of State (DOS) have reviewed conditions in Sudan. Based on the reviews and after consulting with DOS, the Secretary has determined that an 18-month extension is warranted because the conditions supporting Sudan's designation for TPS continue to exist.

    The political and humanitarian situation in Sudan continues to be volatile and dangerous with internal armed conflicts in Darfur and in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states). Reports of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law persist, with those reports indicating that such violations and abuses have been largely perpetrated by the Sudanese government forces and pro-government militias against civilians.

    Since 2003, the Government of Sudan (GOS) and armed opposition groups have fought in Darfur. In 2014, the GOS deployed a new paramilitary force in Darfur known as the Rapid Support Forces, after which displacement in the region increased. This upsurge correlated with the GOS' declared “Decisive Summer Campaign” that began in April 2014, through which the GOS sought to eradicate all armed rebellion within the country. The campaign was renewed in December 2014 and has continued into 2015, with the GOS proclaiming expected widespread civilian displacement, especially within the Two Areas.

    In its 12th year, the Darfur conflict is widespread and unpredictable. Darfur has witnessed an increase in criminal activity and intertribal conflict. Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and armed opposition groups, as well as intertribal fighting, displaced approximately 430,000 people in 2014. The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that an estimated 143,000 persons were displaced between January and May 2015, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Darfur region to approximately 2.5 million.

    In the Two Areas, the SAF continued to fight the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) for control over towns, military strongholds, and supply routes. According to Amnesty International, Sudanese forces have employed indiscriminate aerial bombardment and shelling of villages in the region. The SAF reportedly has carried out sustained aerial bombardments in and around Kauda, a major town in Heiban County, as well as aerial bombardments and shelling in Um Dorein and Delami counties, destroying schools, clinics, hospitals, and other buildings, and forcing people to flee their homes. Reports indicated an estimated 1.7 million IDPs in both government and SPLM-N controlled territories, roughly half of the total population in both areas. In March 2015, OCHA reported that, due to the ongoing armed conflict, at least 250,000 Sudanese had fled from the Two Areas to South Sudan and Ethiopia.

    A determination of the status of the disputed Abyei area remains elusive. The governments of Sudan and South Sudan withdrew their forces from Abyei in 2012. The UN Interim Security Force for Abyei maintains an uneasy peace, but the potential for a return to violence remains.

    Reports of human rights violations and abuses in Sudan are widespread, including those involving extrajudicial and other unlawful killings. The GOS continued to abuse members of certain populations, including journalists, political opposition, civil society, and ethnic and religious minority groups.

    Sudan's operating environment for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) remains challenging primarily because of restrictions or bans on NGO operations and the movements of their workers, particularly in the conflict-affected areas of Darfur and the Two Areas. The GOS' “Decisive Summer Campaign” has also eroded the existing but limited health services in the Two Areas.

    UN figures indicate that approximately 6.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Sudan. According to the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Sudan continues to be one of the worst crises for children in the world today. There are 3.24 million children targeted for humanitarian assistance by the UN's Humanitarian Response Plan in 2015. UNICEF reported that approximately 2 million children are suffering from malnutrition, of which approximately 550,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

    Based upon this review and after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, the Secretary has determined that:

    • The conditions that prompted the 2013 redesignation of Sudan for TPS continue to be met. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A) and (C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A) and (C).

    • There continues to be ongoing armed conflict in Sudan and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of Sudanese nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) to Sudan would pose a serious threat to their personal safety. See INA section 244(b)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A).

    • There continue to be extraordinary and temporary conditions in Sudan that prevent Sudanese nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) from returning to Sudan in safety. See INA section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).

    • It is not contrary to the national interest of the United States to permit Sudanese nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan) who meet the eligibility requirements of TPS to remain in the United States temporarily. See INA section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).

    • The designation of Sudan for TPS should be extended for an 18-month period from May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

    • There are approximately 450 current Sudan TPS beneficiaries who are expected to file for re-registration under the extension.

    Notice of Extension of the TPS Designation of Sudan

    By the authority vested in me as Secretary under INA section 244, 8 U.S.C. 1254a, I have determined, after consultation with the appropriate Government agencies, that the conditions that prompted the redesignation of TPS for Sudan in 2013 continue to be met. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). On the basis of this determination, I am extending the existing designation of TPS for Sudan for 18 months, from May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017. See INA section 244(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C) and (b)(2), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2).

    Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary. Required Application Forms and Application Fees To Register or Re-Register for TPS

    To register or re-register for TPS based on the designation of Sudan, you must submit each of the following applications:

    1. Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821).

    • If you are filing an application for late initial registration, you must pay the fee for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). See 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2) and 244.6 and information on late initial filing on the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

    • If you are filing an application for re-registration, you do not need to pay the fee for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). See 8 CFR 244.17.

    2. Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).

    • If you are applying for late initial registration and want an EAD, you must pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) only if you are age 14 through 65. You do not need to pay the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) fee if you are under the age of 14 or are 66 and older, applying for late initial registration and you want an EAD.

    • If you are applying for re-registration, you must pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), regardless of your age, if you want an EAD.

    • You do not pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) if you are not requesting an EAD, regardless of whether you are applying for late initial registration or re-registration.

    You must submit both completed application forms together. If you are unable to pay the application forms fee and/or biometrics fee, you may complete a Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912) or submit a personal letter requesting a fee waiver with satisfactory supporting documentation. For more information on the application forms and fees for TPS, please visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps. Fees for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821), the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), and biometric services are also described in 8 CFR 103.7(b).

    Biometric Services Fee

    Biometrics (such as fingerprints) are required for all applicants 14 years and older. Those applicants must submit a biometric services fee. As previously stated, if you are unable to pay for the biometric services fee, you may complete a Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912) or submit a personal letter requesting a fee waiver with satisfactory supporting documentation. For more information on the biometric services fee, please visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov. If necessary, you may be required to visit an Application Support Center to have your biometrics captured.

    Re-Filing a Re-Registration TPS Application After Receiving a Denial of a Fee Waiver Request

    You should file as soon as possible within the 60-day re-registration period so USCIS can process your application and issue any EAD promptly. Filing early will also allow you to have time to re-file your application before the deadline, should USCIS deny your fee waiver request. If, however, you receive a denial of your fee waiver request and are unable to re-file by the re-registration deadline, you may still re-file your application. This situation will be reviewed to determine whether you established good cause for late re-registration. However, you are urged to re-file within 45 days of the date on any USCIS fee waiver denial notice, if possible. See INA section 244(c)(3)(C); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(3)(C); 8 CFR 244.17(c). For more information on good cause for late re-registration, visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

    Note:

    Although a re-registering TPS beneficiary age 14 and older must pay the biometric services fee (but not the initial TPS application fee) when filing a TPS re-registration application, you may decide to wait to request an EAD, and therefore not pay the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) fee until after USCIS has approved your TPS re-registration, if you are eligible. If you choose to do this, you would file the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) with the fee and the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) without the fee and without requesting an EAD.

    Mailing Information

    Mail your application for TPS to the proper address in Table 1.

    Table 1—Mailing Addresses If . . . Mail to . . . You are applying through the U.S. Postal Service USCIS, Attn: TPS Sudan, P.O. Box 6943, Chicago, IL 60680-6943. You are using a non-U.S. Postal Service delivery service USCIS, Attn: TPS Sudan, 131 S. Dearborn Street, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60603-5517.

    If you were granted TPS by an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and you wish to request an EAD or are re-registering for the first time following a grant of TPS by an IJ or the BIA, please mail your application to the appropriate mailing address in Table 1. When submitting a re-registration and/or requesting an EAD based on an IJ/BIA grant of TPS, please include a copy of the IJ or BIA order granting you TPS with your application. This will aid in the verification of your grant of TPS and processing of your application, as USCIS may not have received records of your grant of TPS by either the IJ or the BIA. To get additional information, including the email address of the appropriate Service Center, you may go to the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

    E-Filing

    You cannot electronically file your application when re-registering or submitting an initial registration for Sudan TPS. Please mail your application to the mailing address listed in Table 1.

    Supporting Documents

    The filing instructions on the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) list all the documents needed to establish basic eligibility for TPS. You must also submit two color passport-style photographs of yourself. You may also find information on the acceptable documentation and other requirements for applying or registering for TPS on the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov/tps under “Sudan.”

    Do I need to submit additional supporting documentation?

    If one or more of the questions listed in Part 4, Question 2 of the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) applies to you, then you must submit an explanation on a separate sheet(s) of paper and/or additional documentation.

    Employment Authorization Document (EAD) How can I obtain information on the status of my EAD request?

    To get case status information about your TPS application, including the status of a request for an EAD, you can check Case Status Online at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). If your Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) has been pending for more than 90 days, and you still need assistance, you may request an EAD inquiry appointment with USCIS by using the InfoPass system at https://infopass.uscis.gov. However, we strongly encourage you first to check Case Status Online or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center for assistance before making an InfoPass appointment.

    Am I eligible to receive an automatic 6-month extension of my current EAD through November 2, 2016?

    Provided that you currently have TPS under the designation of Sudan, this Notice automatically extends your EAD by 6 months if you:

    • Are a national of Sudan (or an alien having no nationality who last habitually resided in Sudan);

    • Received an EAD under the last extension of TPS for Sudan; and

    • Have an EAD with a marked expiration date of May 2, 2016, bearing the notation “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under “Category.”

    Although this Notice automatically extends your EAD through November 2, 2016, you must re-register timely for TPS in accordance with the procedures described in this Notice if you would like to maintain your TPS.

    When hired, what documentation may I show to my employer as proof of employment authorization and identity when completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)?

    You can find a list of acceptable document choices on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). You can find additional detailed information on the USCIS I-9 Central Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. Employers are required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new employees by using Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Within 3 days of being hired, you must present proof of identity and employment authorization to your employer.

    You may present any document from List A (reflecting both your identity and employment authorization) or one document from List B (reflecting identity) together with one document from List C (reflecting employment authorization). An EAD is an acceptable document under “List A.” You may present an acceptable receipt for a List A, List B, or List C document as described in the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) Instructions. An acceptable receipt is one that shows an employee has applied to replace a document that was lost, stolen or damaged. If you present an acceptable receipt, you must present your employer with the actual document within 90 days. Employers may not reject a document based on a future expiration date.

    If your EAD has an expiration date of May 2, 2016, and states “A-12” or “C-19” under “Category,” it has been extended automatically for 6 months by virtue of this Federal Register Notice, and you may choose to present your EAD to your employer as proof of identity and employment authorization for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) through November 2, 2016 (see the subsection titled “How do my employer and I complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using an automatically extended EAD for a new job?” for further information). To minimize confusion over this extension at the time of hire, you should explain to your employer that USCIS has automatically extended your EAD through November 2, 2016, based on your Temporary Protected Status. You are also strongly encouraged, although not required, to show your employer a copy of this Federal Register Notice confirming the automatic extension of employment authorization through November 2, 2016. As an alternative to presenting your automatically extended EAD, you may choose to present any other acceptable document from List A, or a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

    What documentation may I show my employer if I am already employed but my current TPS-related EAD is set to expire?

    Even though EADs with an expiration date of May 2, 2016, that state “A-12” or “C-19” under “Category” have been automatically extended for 6 months by this Federal Register Notice, your employer will need to ask you about your continued employment authorization once May 2, 2016 is reached to meet its responsibilities for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Your employer does not need to complete a new Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to reverify your employment authorization until November 2, 2016, the expiration date of the automatic extension, but may need to reinspect your automatically extended EAD to check the expiration date and code to record the updated expiration date on your Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if your employer did not keep a copy of this EAD at the time you initially presented it. You and your employer must make corrections to the employment authorization expiration dates in Section 1 and Section 2 of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) (see the subsection titled “What corrections should my current employer and I make to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if my EAD has been automatically extended?” for further information). You are also strongly encouraged, although not required, to show this Federal Register Notice to your employer to explain what to do for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

    By November 2, 2016, the expiration date of the automatic extension, your employer must reverify your employment authorization. At that time, you must present any unexpired document from List A or any unexpired document from List C on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to reverify employment authorization, or an acceptable List A or List C receipt described in the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) instructions. Your employer is required to reverify on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) the employment authorization of current employees upon the automatically extended expiration date of a TPS-related EAD, which is November 2, 2016, in this case. Your employer should use either Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) originally completed for the employee or, if this section has already been completed or if the version of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) is no longer valid, complete Section 3 of a new Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using the most current version. Note that your employer may not specify which List A or List C document employees must present, and cannot reject an acceptable receipt. An acceptable receipt is one that shows an employee has applied to replace a document that was lost, stolen or damaged.

    Can my employer require that I produce any other documentation to prove my current TPS status, such as proof of my Sudanese citizenship or proof that I have re-registered for TPS?

    No. When completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), including reverifying employment authorization, employers must accept any documentation that appears on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) that reasonably appears to be genuine and that relates to you or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt. Employers may not request documentation that does not appear on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents.” Therefore, employers may not request proof of Sudanese citizenship or proof of re-registration for TPS when completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for new hires or reverifying the employment authorization of current employees. Refer to the “Note to Employees” section of this Notice for important information about your rights if your employer rejects lawful documentation, requires additional documentation, or otherwise discriminates against you based on your citizenship or immigration status, or your national origin. Note that although you are not required to provide your employer with a copy of this Federal Register Notice, you are strongly encouraged to do so to help avoid confusion.

    What happens after November 2, 2016 for purposes of employment authorization?

    After November 2, 2016, employers may no longer accept the EADs that this Federal Register Notice automatically extended. Before that time, however, USCIS will work to issue new EADs to eligible TPS re-registrants who request them. These new EADs should have an expiration date of November 2, 2017 and can be presented to your employer for completion of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Alternatively, you may choose to present any other legally acceptable document or combination of documents listed on the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

    How do my employer and I complete Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using an automatically extended EAD for a new job?

    When using an automatically extended EAD to complete Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for a new job before November 2, 2016, you and your employer should do the following:

    1. For Section 1, you should:

    a. Check “An alien authorized to work;”

    b. Write the automatically extended EAD expiration date (November 2, 2016) in the first space; and

    c. Write your alien number (USCIS number or A-number) in the second space (your EAD or other document from DHS will have your USCIS number or A-number printed on it; the USCIS number is the same as your A-number without the A prefix).

    2. For Section 2, employers should record the:

    a. Document title;

    b. Issuing authority;

    c. Document number; and

    d. Automatically extended EAD expiration date (November 2, 2016).

    By November 2, 2016, employers must reverify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

    What corrections should my current employer and I make to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if my EAD has been automatically extended?

    If you are an existing employee who presented a TPS-related EAD that was valid when you first started your job but that EAD has now been automatically extended, your employer may reinspect your automatically extended EAD if the employer does not have a photocopy of the EAD on file, and you and your employer should correct your previously completed Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) as follows:

    1. For Section 1, you should:

    a. Draw a line through the expiration date in the first space;

    b. Write “November 2, 2016” above the previous date;

    c. Write “TPS Ext.” in the margin of Section 1; and

    d. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 1.

    2. For Section 2, employers should:

    a. Draw a line through the expiration date written in Section 2;

    b. Write “November 2, 2016” above the previous date;

    c. Write “EAD Ext.” in the margin of Section 2; and

    d. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 2.

    By November 2, 2016, when the automatic extension of EADs expires, employers must reverify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3.

    If I am an employer enrolled in E-Verify, what do I do when I receive a “Work Authorization Documents Expiration” alert for an automatically extended EAD?

    If you are an employer who participates in E-Verify and you have an employee who is a TPS beneficiary who provided a TPS-related EAD when he or she first started working for you, you will receive a “Work Authorization Documents Expiring” case alert when this EAD is about to expire. Usually, this message is an alert to complete Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to reverify an employee's employment authorization. For existing employees with TPS-related EADs that have been automatically extended, employers should dismiss this alert by clicking the red “X” in the “dismiss alert” column and follow the instructions above explaining how to correct the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). By November 2, 2016, employment authorization must be reverified in Section 3. Employers should never use E-Verify for reverification.

    Note to All Employers

    Employers are reminded that the laws requiring proper employment eligibility verification and prohibiting unfair immigration-related employment practices remain in full force. This Notice does not supersede or in any way limit applicable employment verification rules and policy guidance, including those rules setting forth reverification requirements. For general questions about the employment eligibility verification process, employers may call USCIS at 888-464-4218 (TTY 877-875-6028) or email [email protected] Calls and emails are accepted in English and many other languages. For questions about avoiding discrimination during the employment eligibility verification process, employers may also call the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) Employer Hotline, at 800-255-8155 (TTY 800-237-2515), which offers language interpretation in numerous languages, or email OSC at [email protected]

    Note to Employees

    For general questions about the employment eligibility verification process, you may call USCIS at 888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028) or email [email protected] Calls are accepted in English and many other languages. You may also call the OSC Worker Information Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515) for information regarding employment discrimination based upon citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin, or for information regarding discrimination related to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify. The OSC Worker Information Hotline provides language interpretation in numerous languages.

    To comply with the law, employers must accept any document or combination of documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents if the documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the employee, or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt described in the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) Instructions. Employers may not require extra or additional documentation beyond what is required for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) completion. Further, employers participating in E-Verify who receive an E-Verify case result of “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC) must promptly inform employees of the TNC and give such employees an opportunity to contest the TNC. A TNC case result means that the information entered into E-Verify from Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) differs from Federal or state government records.

    Employers may not terminate, suspend, delay training, withhold pay, lower pay, or take any adverse action against you based on your decision to contest a TNC or because the case is still pending with E-Verify. A Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) case result is received when E-Verify cannot verify your employment eligibility. An employer may terminate employment based on a case result of FNC. Work-authorized employees who receive an FNC may call USCIS for assistance at 888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028). If you believe you were discriminated against by an employer in the E-Verify process based on citizenship or immigration status or based on national origin, you may contact OSC's Worker Information Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515). Additional information about proper nondiscriminatory Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify procedures is available on the OSC Web site at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/ and the USCIS Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/E-verify.

    Note Regarding Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies (Such as Departments of Motor Vehicles)

    While Federal Government agencies must follow the guidelines laid out by the Federal Government, State and local government agencies establish their own rules and guidelines when granting certain benefits. Each State may have different laws, requirements, and determinations about what documents you need to provide to prove eligibility for certain benefits. Whether you are applying for a Federal, State, or local government benefit, you may need to provide the government agency with documents that show you are a TPS beneficiary and/or show you are authorized to work based on TPS. Examples are:

    (1) Your unexpired EAD;

    (2) A copy of this Federal Register Notice if your EAD is automatically extended under this Notice;

    (3) A copy of your Application for Temporary Protected Status Notice of Action (Form I-797) for this re-registration;

    (4) A copy of your past or current Application for Temporary Protected Status Approval Notice (Form I-797), if you received one from USCIS; and/or

    (5) If there is an automatic extension of work authorization, a copy of the fact sheet from the USCIS TPS Web site that provides information on the automatic extension.

    Check with the government agency regarding which document(s) the agency will accept. You may also provide the agency with a copy of this Federal Register Notice.

    Some benefit-granting agencies use the USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) to verify the current immigration status of applicants for public benefits. If such an agency has denied your application based solely or in part on a SAVE response, the agency must offer you the opportunity to appeal the decision in accordance with the agency's procedures. If the agency has received and acted upon or will act upon a SAVE verification and you do not believe the response is correct, you may make an InfoPass appointment for an in-person interview at a local USCIS office. Detailed information on how to make corrections, make an appointment, or submit a written request to correct records under the Freedom of Information Act can be found at the SAVE Web site at http://www.uscis.gov/save, then by choosing “How to Correct Your Records” from the menu on the right.

    [FR Doc. 2016-01387 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-97-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [CIS No. 2575-15; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2014-0004] RIN 1615-ZB46 Extension and Redesignation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status AGENCY:

    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Through this Notice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announces that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is extending the designation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017, and redesignating South Sudan for TPS for 18 months, effective May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017.

    The extension allows currently eligible TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through November 2, 2017, so long as they otherwise continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS. The redesignation of South Sudan allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since January 25, 2016 to obtain TPS, if otherwise eligible. The Secretary determined that an extension of the current designation and a redesignation of South Sudan for TPS are warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the 2014 TPS redesignation have persisted, and in some cases deteriorated, and would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of South Sudanese nationals if they were required to return to their country. Although the parties to the conflict signed a peace agreement in August 2015, violence persists in many parts of the country, and the implementation of the peace agreement is halting to date.

    Through this Notice, DHS also sets forth procedures necessary for eligible nationals of South Sudan (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) either to: (1) Re-register under the extension if they already have TPS and to apply for renewal of their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); or (2) submit an initial registration application under the redesignation and apply for an EAD.

    For individuals who have already been granted TPS, the 60-day re-registration period runs from January 25, 2016 through March 25, 2016. USCIS will issue new EADs with a November 2, 2017, expiration date to eligible South Sudan TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, DHS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on May 2, 2016. Accordingly, through this Notice, DHS automatically extends the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of South Sudan for 6 months, through November 2, 2016, and explains how TPS beneficiaries and their employers may determine which EADs are automatically extended and their impact on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and the E-Verify processes.

    Under the redesignation, individuals who currently do not have TPS (or an initial TPS application pending) may submit an initial application during the 180-day initial registration period that runs from January 25, 2016 through July 25, 2016. In addition to demonstrating continuous residence in the United States since January 25, 2016 and meeting other eligibility criteria, initial applicants for TPS under this redesignation must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States since May 3, 2016, the effective date of this redesignation of South Sudan, before USCIS may grant them TPS.

    TPS initial applications that were filed under South Sudan's 2011 designation or the 2013 or 2014 redesignations and remain pending on January 25, 2016 will be treated as initial applications under this redesignation. Individuals who have a pending initial South Sudan TPS application will not need to file a new Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). DHS provides additional instructions in this Notice for individuals whose TPS applications remain pending and who would like to obtain an EAD valid through November 2, 2017.

    DATES:

    Extension of Designation of South Sudan for TPS: The 18-month extension of the TPS designation of South Sudan is effective May 3, 2016, and will remain in effect through November 2, 2017. The 60-day re-registration period runs from January 25, 2016 through March 25, 2016. (Note: It is important for re-registrants to timely re-register during this 60-day period and not to wait until their EADs expire.)

    Redesignation of South Sudan for TPS: The redesignation of South Sudan for TPS is effective May 3, 2016, and will remain in effect through November 2, 2017, a period of 18 months. The 180-day initial registration period for new applicants under the South Sudan TPS redesignation runs from January 25, 2016 through July 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    • For further information on TPS, including guidance on the application process and additional information on eligibility, please visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps.

    You can find specific information about this extension and redesignation of South Sudan for TPS by selecting “South Sudan” from the menu on the left side of the TPS Web page.

    • For questions concerning this FRN, you can also contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529-2060; or by phone at (202) 272-1533 (this is not a toll-free number). Note: The phone number provided here is solely for questions regarding this TPS Notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries.

    • Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833).

    • Further information will also be available at local USCIS offices upon publication of this Notice.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Abbreviations BIA Board of Immigration Appeals DHS Department of Homeland Security DOS Department of State EAD Employment Authorization Document FNC Final Nonconfirmation Government U.S. Government IJ Immigration Judge INA Immigration and Nationality Act OSC U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices SAVE USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program Secretary Secretary of Homeland Security TNC Tentative Nonconfirmation TPS Temporary Protected Status TTY Text Telephone UN United Nations USCIS U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

    • TPS is a temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of a country designated for TPS under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), or to eligible persons without nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country.

    • During the TPS designation period, TPS beneficiaries are eligible to remain in the United States, may not be removed, and are authorized to work and obtain EADs so long as they continue to meet the requirements of TPS.

    • TPS beneficiaries may also be granted travel authorization as a matter of discretion.

    • The granting of TPS does not result in or lead to permanent resident status.

    • To qualify for TPS, beneficiaries must meet the eligibility standards at INA section 244(c)(2), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2).

    • When the Secretary terminates a country's TPS designation, beneficiaries return to the same immigration status they maintained before TPS, if any (unless that status has since expired or been terminated), or to any other lawfully obtained immigration status they received while registered for TPS.

    When was South Sudan designated for TPS?

    On October 13, 2011, the Secretary designated South Sudan for TPS, effective November 3, 2011, based on an ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions within South Sudan. See Designation of Republic of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 76 FR 63629 (Oct. 13, 2011). Following the initial designation, the Secretary has extended and redesignated South Sudan for TPS two times. Most recently, in 2014, the Secretary both extended South Sudan's designation and redesignated South Sudan for TPS for 18 months through May 2, 2016. See Extension and Redesignation of South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 79 FR 52019 (Sept. 2, 2014).

    What authority does the Secretary have to extend the designation of South Sudan for TPS?

    Section 244(b)(1) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), authorizes the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the U.S. Government (Government), to designate a foreign state (or part thereof) for TPS if the Secretary determines that certain country conditions exist.1 The Secretary may then grant TPS to eligible nationals of that foreign state (or eligible aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in the designated country). See INA section 244(a)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(a)(1)(A).

    1 As of March 1, 2003, in accordance with section 1517 of title XV of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, any reference to the Attorney General in a provision of the INA describing functions transferred from the Department of Justice to DHS “shall be deemed to refer to the Secretary” of Homeland Security. See 6 U.S.C. 557 (codifying the Homeland Security Act of 2002, tit. XV, section 1517).

    At least 60 days before the expiration of a country's TPS designation or extension, the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, must review the conditions in a foreign state designated for TPS to determine whether the conditions for the TPS designation continue to be met. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). If the Secretary determines that a foreign state continues to meet the conditions for TPS designation, the designation may be extended for an additional period of 6, 12, or 18 months. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C). If the Secretary determines that the foreign state no longer meets the conditions for TPS designation, the Secretary must terminate the designation. See INA section 244(b)(3)(B), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(B).

    What is the Secretary's authority to redesignate South Sudan for TPS?

    In addition to extending an existing TPS designation, the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, may redesignate a country (or part thereof) for TPS. See INA section 244(b)(1), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1); see also INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(i), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(i) (requiring that “the alien has been continuously physically present since the effective date of the most recent designation of the state”) (emphasis added). This is one of numerous instances in which the Secretary, and prior to the establishment of DHS, the Attorney General, has simultaneously extended a country's TPS designation and redesignated the country for TPS. See, e.g., Extension and Redesignation of Syria for Temporary Protected Status, 80 FR 245 (Jan. 5, 2015); Extension and Redesignation of Sudan for Temporary Protected Status, 78 FR 1872 (Jan. 9, 2013); Extension and Redesignation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status, 76 FR 29000 (May 19, 2011); Extension of Designation and Redesignation of Liberia Under Temporary Protected Status Program, 62 FR 16608 (Apr. 7, 1997) (discussing legal authority for redesignation of a country for TPS).

    When the Secretary designates or redesignates a country for TPS, he also has the discretion to establish the date from which TPS applicants must demonstrate that they have been “continuously resid[ing]” in the United States. See INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(ii). This discretion permits the Secretary to tailor the “continuous residence”' date to offer TPS to the group of eligible individuals that the Secretary deems appropriate.

    The Secretary has determined that the “continuous residence” date for applicants for TPS under the redesignation of South Sudan shall be January 25, 2016. Initial applicants for TPS under this redesignation must also show they have been “continuously physically present” in the United States since May 3, 2016, which is the effective date of the Secretary's redesignation of South Sudan. See INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(i), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(i). For each initial TPS application filed under the redesignation, the final determination of whether the applicant has met the “continuous physical presence” requirement cannot be made until May 3, 2016. USCIS, however, will issue EADs, as appropriate, during the registration period in accordance with 8 CFR 244.5(b).

    Why is the Secretary extending the TPS designation for South Sudan and simultaneously redesignating South Sudan for TPS through November 2, 2017?

    DHS and the Department of State (DOS) have reviewed conditions in South Sudan. Based on the reviews and after consulting with DOS, the Secretary has determined that an 18-month extension and redesignation is warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the September 2, 2014 redesignation have persisted, and in some cases deteriorated. In spite of a peace deal signed in August 2015, violence persists in many parts of South Sudan, and the peace agreement itself remains fragile. The current conditions support the expansion of TPS protection to eligible South Sudanese nationals who began residing in the United States between September 2, 2014 and January 25, 2016.

    South Sudan is in the midst of a crisis involving a cycle of ethnic violence, allegations of atrocities and a humanitarian disaster of devastating scale. The armed conflict between the Government of South Sudan and opposition groups, which has affected a significant portion of the country, has been defined by ethnic lines and has been marked by brutal violence against civilians. Despite a peace agreement signed in August 2015, the security situation remains uncertain and violence persists in many areas. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, resulting in widespread displacement due to the violence; high rates of death, disease, and injuries; severe food insecurity with a major malnutrition crisis; and disrupted livelihoods.

    Longstanding political tensions between President Salva Kiir Mayardit, an ethnic Dinka, and former vice president, Riek Machar Teny, an ethnic Nuer, sparked an outbreak of violence in Juba in December 2013. This outbreak of violence in Juba led to fighting between Nuer and Dinka elements within the regular Sudan People's Liberation Army. Since December 2013, thousands of people have been killed, as fighting broadened and continued along ethnic lines. The violence has flared up again toward the end of April and into May 2015, and in September following the signing of the peace agreement.

    South Sudan also remains embroiled in conflict along its border with Sudan. In 2015, Misseriya militias continued to attack Abyei, a disputed border area, sometimes with the backing of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

    Both government and opposition forces are alleged to have committed atrocities, including against civilians. The United Nations (UN) and humanitarian actors report that during the 2015 offensive, there have been atrocities including those involving rape, the systematic murder of boys over the age of 10 and the elderly, the forced recruitment and kidnapping of children, and the wholesale destruction and burning of villages. The resulting insecurity in northern and central Unity state has forced relief organizations to withdraw staff, and as of mid-June 2015, has left more than 650,000 civilians in need of emergency support without access to humanitarian assistance.

    The overall situation in South Sudan has continued to deteriorate since the civil conflict began in December 2013, with the security, rule of law and human rights situations remaining deeply compromised. South Sudan has not held elections since becoming independent in July 2011. The peace agreement calls for a transitional government to take office and elections in 2018, although the transitional government is not yet in place. The economic situation in South Sudan further contributes to its inability to protect its citizens from the ongoing conflict. Since fighting began in December 2013, economic activity outside the capital city, which was weak at best before the crisis, has all but stopped.

    Humanitarian access has been constrained by security incidents against aid staff. Humanitarian workers, both foreign and national, have been targeted and killed, with no reported prosecutions. For the month of March 2015, the UN reported 64 security incidents against humanitarian actors in South Sudan, and both international and South Sudanese non-governmental organizations continue to be targets of crime and violence. Due to ongoing hostilities in Unity state, all non-governmental organizations and UN agencies evacuated staff in May 2015, bringing relief efforts in the area to a halt. Consequently, over 300,000 civilians in need of emergency relief, including food aid and medical services were cut off from life-saving assistance. Violence in Unity state persists in spite of the peace agreement.

    According to the UN, over half of the country's 12 million people are in need of aid. The ongoing conflict has caused a continuous flow of internally displaced persons and refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that as of November 2015, approximately 644,000 people have fled South Sudan as a direct result of the ongoing conflict and related food insecurity, in addition to more than 1.6 million South Sudanese who have been internally displaced. These figures are expected to grow even after the signing of the peace agreement. Estimates of the number of people in need of shelter for 2015 include an anticipated 1.95 million internally displaced persons and a projected 293,000 refugees.

    Based upon this review and after consultation with appropriate Government agencies, the Secretary has determined that:

    • The conditions that prompted the 2014 redesignation of South Sudan for TPS continue to be met. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A) and (C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A) and (C).

    • There continues to be an ongoing armed conflict in South Sudan and, due to such conflict, requiring the return of South Sudanese nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) to South Sudan would pose a serious threat to their personal safety. See INA section 244(b)(1)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A).

    • There continue to be extraordinary and temporary conditions in South Sudan that prevent South Sudanese nationals (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) from returning to South Sudan in safety. See INA section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).

    • It is not contrary to the national interest of the United States to permit South Sudanese (or aliens having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) who meet the eligibility requirements of TPS to remain in the United States temporarily. See INA section 244(b)(1)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(C).

    • The designation of South Sudan for TPS should be extended for an 18-month period from May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017. See INA section 244(b)(3)(C), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(C).

    • Based on current country conditions, South Sudan should be simultaneously redesignated for TPS effective May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017. See INA sections 244(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2).

    • TPS applicants must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States since January 25, 2016.

    • The date by which TPS applicants must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States is May 3, 2016, the effective date of the redesignation of South Sudan for TPS.

    • There are approximately 50 current South Sudan TPS beneficiaries who are expected to file for re-registration under the extension.

    • It is estimated that an additional 25-150 nationals of South Sudan (and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan) may be eligible for TPS under the redesignation of South Sudan. This estimate is based on the total number of South Sudanese nationals believed to be in the United States in a nonimmigrant status or without lawful immigration status.

    Notice of Extension of the TPS Designation of South Sudan

    By the authority vested in me as Secretary under INA section 244, 8 U.S.C. 1254a, I have determined, after consultation with the appropriate Government agencies, that the conditions that prompted the redesignation of TPS for South Sudan in 2014 not only continue to be met, but have significantly deteriorated. See INA section 244(b)(3)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(3)(A). On the basis of this determination, I am simultaneously extending the existing designation of TPS for South Sudan for 18 months, from May 3, 2016 through November 2, 2017, and redesignating South Sudan for TPS for the same 18-month period. See INA section 244(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1)(A), (b)(1)(C), and (b)(2). I have also determined that eligible individuals must demonstrate that they have continuously resided in the United States since January 25, 2016. See INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(ii).

    Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary. I am currently a South Sudan TPS beneficiary. What should I do?

    If you have been granted TPS under South Sudan's designation, then you must re-register under the extension if you wish to maintain TPS benefits through November 2, 2017. You must use the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) to re-register for TPS. The 60-day open re-registration period will run from January 25, 2016 through March 25, 2016.

    I have a pending initial TPS application filed during the South Sudan TPS registration period that ran from September 2, 2014 through March 2, 2015. What should I do?

    If your TPS application is still pending on January 25, 2016, then you do not need to file a new Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). Pending TPS applications will be treated as initial applications under this re-designation. Therefore, if your TPS application is approved, you will be granted TPS through November 2, 2017. If you have a pending TPS application and you wish to have an EAD valid through November 2, 2017, please refer to Table 1 to determine whether you should file a new Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).

    Table 1—Form and EAD Information for Pending TPS Applications If. . . And. . . Then. . . You requested an EAD during the previous initial registration period for South Sudan TPS You received an EAD with Category C-19 or A-12 You must file a new Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) with fee (or fee waiver request) if you wish to have a new EAD valid through November 2, 2017. You did not receive an EAD with Category C-19 or A-12 You do not need to file a new Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765). If your TPS application is approved, your Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) will be approved through November 2, 2017. You did not request an EAD during the previous initial registration period for South Sudan TPS You wish to have an EAD valid through November 2, 2017 You must file a new Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) with fee (or fee waiver request). You do not wish to have an EAD valid through November 2, 2017 You do not need to file a new Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765). I am not a TPS beneficiary, and I do not have a TPS application pending. What are the procedures for initial registration for TPS under the South Sudan redesignation?

    If you are not a South Sudan TPS beneficiary or do not have a pending TPS application with USCIS, you may submit your TPS application during the 180-day initial registration period that will run from January 25, 2016 through July 25, 2016.

    Required Application Forms and Application Fees To Register or Re-register for TPS

    To register or re-register for TPS based on the designation of South Sudan, you must submit each of the following applications:

    1. Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821).

    • If you are filing an initial application, you must pay the fee for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). See 8 CFR 244.2(f)(2) and 244.6.

    • If you are filing an application for re-registration, you do not need to pay the fee for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821). See 8 CFR 244.17.

    2. Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765).

    • If you are applying for initial registration and want an EAD, you must pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) only if you are age 14 through 65. You do not need to pay the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) fee if you are under the age of 14 or are 66 and older, applying for late initial registration and you want an EAD.

    • If you are applying for re-registration, you must pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), regardless of your age, if you want an EAD.

    • You do not pay the fee for the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) if you are not requesting an EAD, regardless of whether you are applying for initial registration or re-registration.

    You must submit both completed application forms together. If you are unable to pay for the application fee and/or biometrics fee, you may complete a Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912) or submit a personal letter requesting a fee waiver with satisfactory supporting documentation. For more information on the application forms and fees for TPS, please visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps. Fees for the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821), the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), and biometric services are also described in 8 CFR 103.7(b).

    Biometric Services Fee

    Biometrics (such as fingerprints) are required for all applicants 14 years and older. Those applicants must submit a biometric services fee. As previously stated, if you are unable to pay for the biometric services fee, you may complete a Request for Fee Waiver (Form I-912) or submit a personal letter requesting a fee waiver with satisfactory supporting documentation. For more information on the biometric services fee, please visit the USCIS Web site at http://www.uscis.gov. If necessary, you may be required to visit an Application Support Center to have your biometrics captured.

    Refiling an Initial TPS Application After Receiving a Denial of a Fee Waiver Request

    If you request a fee waiver when filing your initial TPS application package and your request is denied, you may re-file your application packet before the initial filing deadline of July 25, 2016. If you attempt to submit your application with a fee waiver request before that deadline, and receive your application back with the USCIS fee waiver denial, and there are fewer than 45 days before the filing deadline (or the deadline has passed), you may still re-file your application within the 45-day period after the date on the USCIS fee waiver denial notice. You must include the correct fees or file a new fee waiver request. Your application will not be rejected even if the filing deadline has passed, provided it is mailed within those 45 days and all other required information for the application is included. Please be aware that if you re-file your TPS application packet with a new fee waiver request after the deadline and that your new fee waiver request is denied, you cannot refile again. Note: Alternatively, you may pay the TPS application fee and biometrics fee (if you are age 14 or older) but wait to request an EAD and pay the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) application fee after USCIS grants your TPS application, if you are eligible.

    Re-Filing a Re-Registration TPS Application After Receiving a Denial of a Fee Waiver Request

    You should re-register as soon as possible within the 60-day period so that USCIS can process your application and issue any EAD promptly. Filing early will also allow you time to re-file your application before the deadline, should USCIS deny your fee waiver request. If, however, you receive a denial of your fee waiver request and you are unable to re-file by the re-registration deadline, you may still re-file your application. This situation will be reviewed to determine whether you have established good cause for late re-registration. However, you are urged to re-file within 45 days of the date on any USCIS fee waiver denial notice, if at all possible. See INA section 244(c)(3)(C); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(3)(C); 8 CFR 244.17(c). For more information on good cause for late re-registration, visit the USCIS TPS Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/tps. Note: Although a re-registering TPS beneficiary age 14 and older must pay the biometric services fee (but not the initial TPS application fee) when filing a TPS re-registration application, you may decide to wait to request an EAD, and therefore not pay the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) fee until after USCIS has approved your TPS re-registration, if you are eligible. If you choose to do this, you would file the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) with the fee and the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) without the fee and without requesting an EAD.

    Mailing Information

    Mail your application for TPS to the proper address in Table 1.

    Table 1—Mailing Addresses If. . . Mail to. . .
  • You are applying through the U.S. Postal Service USCIS, Attn: TPS South Sudan, P.O. Box 6943, Chicago, IL 60680-6943. You are using a non-U.S. Postal Service delivery service USCIS, Attn: TPS South Sudan, 131 S. Dearborn Street, 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60603-5517.

    If you were granted TPS by an Immigration Judge (IJ) or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and wish to request an EAD or are re-registering for the first time following a grant of TPS by an IJ or the BIA, please mail your application to the appropriate mailing address in Table 1. When submitting a re-registration and/or requesting an EAD based on an IJ/BIA grant of TPS, Please include a copy of the IJ or BIA order granting you TPS with your application. This will aid in the verification of your grant of TPS and processing of your application, as USCIS may not have received records of your grant of TPS by either the IJ or the BIA.

    E-Filing

    You cannot electronically file your application when re-registering or submitting an initial registration for South Sudan TPS. Please mail your application to the mailing address listed in Table 1.

    Supporting Documents What type of basic supporting documentation must I submit with my initial TPS application?

    To meet the basic eligibility requirements for TPS, you must submit evidence that you:

    • Are a national of South Sudan or an alien having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan. Documents may include a copy of your passport if available, other documentation issued by the Government of South Sudan showing your nationality (such as a national identity card or official travel documentation issued by the Government of South Sudan), and/or your birth certificate with English translation accompanied by photo identification. USCIS will also consider certain forms of secondary evidence supporting your South Sudan nationality. If the evidence presented is insufficient for USCIS to make a determination as to your nationality, USCIS may request additional evidence. If you cannot provide a passport, birth certificate with photo identification, or a national identity document with your photo or fingerprint, you must submit an affidavit showing proof of your unsuccessful efforts to obtain such documents and affirming that you are a national of South Sudan. However, please be aware that an interview with an immigration officer will be required if you do not present any documentary proof of identity or nationality or if USCIS otherwise requests a personal appearance. See 8 CFR 103.2(b)(9), 244.9(a)(1);

    • Have continuously resided in the United States since January 25, 2016. See INA section 244(c)(1)(A)(ii); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(1)(A)(ii); 8 CFR 244.9(a)(2); and

    • Have been continuously physically present in the United States since May 3, 2016, the effective date of the redesignation of South Sudan for TPS. See INA sections 244(b)(2)(A), (c)(1)(A)(i); 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(2)(A), (c)(1)(A)(i).

    You must also submit two color passport-style photographs of yourself. The filing instructions on the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) list all the documents needed to establish basic eligibility for TPS. You may also find information on the acceptable documentation and other requirements for applying for TPS on the USCIS Web site at www.uscis.gov/tps under “South Sudan.”

    Do I need to submit additional supporting documentation when filing an initial TPS registration or reregistering for TPS?

    If one or more of the questions listed in Part 4, Question 2 of the Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) applies to you, then you must submit an explanation on a separate sheet(s) of paper and/or additional documentation.

    Employment Authorization Document (EAD) How can I get information on the status of my EAD request?

    To get case status information about your TPS application, including the status of a request for an EAD, you can check Case Status Online, available at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). If your Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) has been pending for more than 90 days, and you still need assistance, you may request an EAD inquiry appointment with USCIS by using the InfoPass system at https://infopass.uscis.gov. However, we strongly encourage you first to check Case Status Online or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center for assistance before making an InfoPass appointment.

    Am I eligible to receive an automatic 6-month extension of my current EAD through November 2, 2016?

    Provided that you currently have TPS under the designation of South Sudan, this Notice automatically extends your EAD by 6 months if you:

    • Are a national of South Sudan (or an alien having no nationality who last habitually resided in South Sudan);

    • Received an EAD under the last extension of TPS for South Sudan; and

    • Have an EAD with a marked expiration date of May 2, 2016, bearing the notation “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under “Category.”

    Although this Notice automatically extends your EAD through November 2, 2016, you must re-register timely for TPS in accordance with the procedures described in this Notice if you would like to maintain your TPS.

    When hired, what documentation may I show to my employer as proof of employment authorization and identity when completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9)?

    You can find a list of acceptable document choices on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). You can find additional detailed information on the USCIS I-9 Central Web page at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central. Employers are required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new employees by using Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Within 3 days of being hired, you must present proof of identity and employment authorization to your employer.

    You may present any document from List A (reflecting both your identity and employment authorization) or one document from List B (reflecting identity) together with one document from List C (reflecting employment authorization). An EAD is an acceptable document under “List A.” You may present an acceptable receipt for List A, List B, or List C documents as described in the Form I-9 Instructions. An acceptable receipt is one that shows an employee has applied to replace a document that was lost, stolen or damaged. If you present this receipt, you must present your employer with the actual document within 90 days. Employers may not reject a document based on a future expiration date.

    If your EAD has an expiration date of May 2, 2016, and states “A-12” or “C-19” under “Category,” it has been extended automatically for 6 months by virtue of this Federal Register Notice, and you may choose to present your EAD to your employer as proof of identity and employment authorization for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) through November 2, 2016 (see the subsection titled “How do my employer and I complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using an automatically extended EAD for a new job?” for further information). To minimize confusion over this extension at the time of hire, you should explain to your employer that USCIS has automatically extended your EAD through November 2, 2016, based on your Temporary Protected Status. You are also strongly encouraged, although not required, to show your employer a copy of this Federal Register Notice confirming the automatic extension of employment authorization through November 2, 2016. As an alternative to presenting your automatically extended EAD, you may choose to present any other acceptable document from List A, or a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

    What documentation may I show my employer if I am already employed but my current TPS-related EAD is set to expire?

    Even though EADs with an expiration date of May 2, 2016, that state “A-12” or “C-19” under “Category” have been automatically extended for 6 months by this Federal Register Notice, your employer will need to ask you about your continued employment authorization once May 2, 2016, is reached to meet its responsibilities for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Your employer does not need to complete a new Form I-9 to reverify your employment authorization until November 2, 2016, the expiration date of the automatic extension, but may need to reinspect your automatically extended EAD to check the expiration date and code in order to record the updated expiration date on your Form I-9 if your employer did not keep a copy of this EAD at the time you initially presented it. You and your employer must make corrections to the employment authorization expiration dates in Section 1 and Section 2 of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) (see the subsection titled “What corrections should my current employer and I make to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if my EAD has been automatically extended?” for further information). You are also strongly encouraged, although not required, to show this Federal Register Notice to your employer to explain what to do for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

    By November 2, 2016, the expiration date of the automatic extension, your employer must reverify your employment authorization. At that time, you must present any unexpired document from List A or any unexpired document from List C on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to reverify employment authorization, or an acceptable List A or List C receipt described in the Form I-9 instructions. Your employer is required to reverify on Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) the employment authorization of current employees upon the automatically extended expiration date of a TPS-related EAD, which is November 2, 2016, in this case. Your employer should use either Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) originally completed for the employee or, if this section has already been completed or if the version of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) is no longer valid, complete Section 3 of a new Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using the most current version. Note that your employer may not specify which List A or List C document employees must present, and cannot reject an acceptable receipt. An acceptable receipt is one that shows an employee has applied to replace a document that was lost, stolen or damaged.

    Can my employer require that I produce any other documentation to prove my current TPS status, such as proof of my South Sudanese citizenship or proof that I have re-registered for TPS?

    No. When completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), including reverifying employment authorization, employers must accept any documentation that appears on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) that reasonably appears to be genuine and that relates to you or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt. Employers may not request documentation that does not appear on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents.” Therefore, employers may not request proof of South Sudanese citizenship or proof of re-registration for TPS when completing Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for new hires or reverifying the employment authorization of current employees. Refer to the “Note to Employees” section of this Notice for important information about your rights if your employer rejects lawful documentation, requires additional documentation, or otherwise discriminates against you based on your citizenship or immigration status, or your national origin. Note that although you are not required to provide your employer with a copy of this Federal Register Notice, you are strongly encouraged to do so to help avoid confusion.

    What happens after November 2, 2016, for purposes of employment authorization?

    After November 2, 2016, employers may no longer accept the EADs that this Federal Register Notice automatically extended. Before that time, however, USCIS will work to issue new EADs to eligible TPS re-registrants who request them. These new EADs should have an expiration date of November 2, 2017, and can be presented to your employer for completion of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Alternatively, you may choose to present any other legally acceptable document or combination of documents listed on the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

    How do my employer and I complete Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) using an automatically extended EAD for a new job?

    When using an automatically extended EAD to complete Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for a new job before November 2, 2016, you and your employer should do the following:

    1. For Section 1, you should:

    a. Check “An alien authorized to work;”

    b. Write the automatically extended EAD expiration date (November 2, 2016) in the first space; and

    c. Write your alien number (USCIS number or A-number) in the second space (your EAD or other document from DHS will have your USCIS number or A-number printed on it; the USCIS number is the same as your A-number without the A prefix).

    2. For Section 2, employers should record the:

    a. Document title;

    b. Issuing authority;

    c. Document number; and

    d. Automatically extended EAD expiration date (November 2, 2016).

    By November 2, 2016, employers must reverify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).

    What corrections should my current employer and I make to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) if my EAD has been automatically extended?

    If you are an existing employee who presented a TPS-related EAD that was valid when you first started your job but that EAD has now been automatically extended, your employer may reinspect your automatically extended EAD if the employer does not have a photocopy of the EAD on file, and you and your employer should correct your previously completed Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) as follows:

    1. For Section 1, you should:

    a. Draw a line through the expiration date in the first space;

    b. Write “November 2, 2016” above the previous date;

    c. Write “TPS Ext.” in the margin of Section 1; and

    d. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 1.

    2. For Section 2, employers should:

    a. Draw a line through the expiration date written in Section 2;

    b. Write “November 2, 2016” above the previous date;

    c. Write “EAD Ext.” in the margin of Section 2; and

    d. Initial and date the correction in the margin of Section 2.

    By November 2, 2016, when the automatic extension of EADs expires, employers must reverify the employee's employment authorization in Section 3.

    If I am an employer enrolled in E-Verify, what do I do when I receive a “Work Authorization Documents Expiration” alert for an automatically extended EAD?

    If you are an employer who participates in E-Verify and you have an employee who is a TPS beneficiary who provided a TPS-related EAD when he or she first started working for you, you will receive a “Work Authorization Documents Expiring” case alert when this EAD is about to expire. Usually, this message is an alert to complete Section 3 of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) to reverify an employee's employment authorization. For existing employees with TPS-related EADs that have been automatically extended, employers should dismiss this alert by clicking the red “X” in the “dismiss alert” column and follow the instructions above explaining how to correct the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). By November 2, 2016, employment authorization must be reverified in Section 3. Employers should never use E-Verify for reverification.

    Note to All Employers

    Employers are reminded that the laws requiring proper employment eligibility verification and prohibiting unfair immigration-related employment practices remain in full force. This Notice does not supersede or in any way limit applicable employment verification rules and policy guidance, including those rules setting forth reverification requirements. For general questions about the employment eligibility verification process, employers may call USCIS at 888-464-4218 (TTY 877-875-6028) or at [email protected] Calls and emails are accepted in English and many other languages. For questions about avoiding discrimination during the employment eligibility verification process, employers may also call the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) Employer Hotline, at 800-255-8155 (TTY 800-237-2515), which offers language interpretation in numerous languages, or email OSC at [email protected]

    Note to Employees

    For general questions about the employment eligibility verification process, you may call USCIS at 888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028) or email at [email protected] Calls are accepted in English and many other languages. You may also call the OSC Worker Information Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515) for information regarding employment discrimination based upon citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin, or for information regarding discrimination related to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify. The OSC Worker Information Hotline provides language interpretation in numerous languages.

    To comply with the law, employers must accept any document or combination of documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents if the documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the employee, or an acceptable List A, List B, or List C receipt described in the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) Instructions. Employers may not require extra or additional documentation beyond what is required for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) completion. Further, employers participating in E-Verify who receive an E-Verify case result of “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC) must promptly inform employees of the TNC and give such employees an opportunity to contest the TNC. A TNC case result means that the information entered into E-Verify from Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) differs from Federal or state government records.

    Employers may not terminate, suspend, delay training, withhold pay, lower pay, or take any adverse action against you based on your decision to contest a TNC or because your case is still pending with E-Verify. A Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) case result is received when E-Verify cannot verify your employment eligibility. An employer may terminate employment based on a case result of FNC. Work-authorized employees who receive an FNC may call USCIS for assistance at 888-897-7781 (TTY 877-875-6028). If you believe you were discriminated against by an employer in the E-Verify process based on citizenship or immigration status or based on national origin, you may contact OSC's Worker Information Hotline at 800-255-7688 (TTY 800-237-2515). Additional information about proper nondiscriminatory Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and E-Verify procedures is available on the OSC Web site at http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc/ and the USCIS Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/E-verify.

    Note Regarding Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies (Such as Departments of Motor Vehicles)

    While Federal Government agencies must follow the guidelines laid out by the Federal Government, State and local government agencies establish their own rules and guidelines when granting certain benefits. Each State may have different laws, requirements, and determinations about what documents you need to provide to prove eligibility for certain benefits. Whether you are applying for a Federal, State, or local government benefit, you may need to provide the government agency with documents that show you are a TPS beneficiary and/or show you are authorized to work based on TPS. Examples are:

    (1) Your unexpired EAD;

    (2) A copy of this Federal Register Notice if your EAD is automatically extended under this Notice;

    (3) A copy of your Application for Temporary Protected Status Notice of Action (Form I-797) for this re-registration;

    (4) A copy of your past or current Application for Temporary Protected Status Approval Notice (Form I-797), if you received one from USCIS; and/or

    (5) If there is an automatic extension of work authorization, a copy of the fact sheet from the USCIS TPS Web site that provides information on the automatic extension.

    Check with the government agency regarding which document(s) the agency will accept. You may also provide the agency with a copy of this Federal Register Notice.

    Some benefit-granting agencies use the USCIS Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) to verify the current immigration status of applicants for public benefits. If such an agency has denied your application based solely or in part on a SAVE response, the agency must offer you the opportunity to appeal the decision in accordance with the agency's procedures. If the agency has received and acted upon or will act upon a SAVE verification and you do not believe the response is correct, you may make an InfoPass appointment for an in-person interview at a local USCIS office. Detailed information on how to make corrections, make an appointment, or submit a written request to correct records under the Freedom of Information Act can be found at the SAVE Web site at http://www.uscis.gov/save, then by choosing “How to Correct Your Records” from the menu on the right.

    [FR Doc. 2016-01388 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-97-P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5922-N-01] Alternative Requirements for the Family Unification Program (FUP) AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, authorizes the Secretary to carry out a demonstration testing the effectiveness of combining vouchers for homeless youth under Family Unification Program authorized under section 8(x) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (“the Act”) with assistance under the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program authorized under section 23 of the Act. The Secretary was authorized to establish alternative requirements to those contained in section 8(x) of the Act to facilitate the demonstration. This notice provides an alternative requirement to facilitate the operation of this demonstration. Specifically, this notice extends the 18-month time limit to match the length of the FSS contract, typically five years. Implementation of this demonstration will be through a notice issued by the Office of Public and Indian Housing.

    DATES:

    Effective date: January 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ryan Jones, Office of Public Housing and Voucher Programs, Office of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410-7000; telephone number 202-402-2677 (this is not a toll-free number). Hearing and speech-impaired persons may access these numbers through TTY by call the Federal Relay Service as 800-877-8339 (this is a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The comprehensive document titled “Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness” sets the goal of ending homelessness for youth (along with families and children) by the year 2020. FUP is a vital tool in achieving this goal.

    In a HUD study of the FUP program, a major barrier to greater youth participation was the time limit on the rental subsidy.1 PHAs and public child welfare agencies (PCWAs) suggested the 18-month time limit is too short, noting that landlords generally prefer annual leases with full 12-month renewals. The limited time causes high turnover rates demanding greater staff resources and creating greater administrative costs. The 18-month restriction does not align with a standard academic term for youth enrolled in an education program. Finally, youth simply need more time to become self-sufficient and transition to independent living.

    1 The Family Unification Program: A Housing Resources for Youth Aging Our of Foster Care, published May 2014. This study is available at http://www.huduser.gov/portal/youth_foster_care.html.

    Implementation of this demonstration requires will be through a notice issued by the Office of Public and Indian Housing. Participation in the demonstration requires adherence to the requirements outlined in a Public and Indian Housing notice issued in supplement to this Federal Register notice and available at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=16-01pihn.pdf.

    Applicable Alternative Requirements

    To facilitate the operation of a FUP demonstration, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, authorizes the Secretary by Federal Register notice to establish alternative requirements to those contained in Section 8(x) of the 1937 Act. Under this authority, the Secretary hereby authorizes the following alternative requirement, which has the effect of modifying the FUP statute.

    Waiver allowing the extension of the 18-month time limit for FUP assistance to match the length of the FSS contract for youth participating in the demonstration.

    Participation in the demonstration requires adherence to the requirements outlined in a Public and Indian Housing notice issued in supplement to this Federal Register notice.

    Dated: January 15, 2016. Lourdes Castro Ramírez, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Public and Indian Housing.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01374 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5913-N-01] 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Client Session Evaluation AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing—Federal Housing Commissioner, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    HUD is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the information collection described below. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, HUD is requesting comment from all interested parties on the proposed collection of information. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment.

    DATES:

    Comments Due Date: March 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: Colette Pollard, Reports Management Officer, QDAM, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 4176, Washington, DC 20410-5000; telephone 202-402-3400 (this is not a toll-free number) or email at [email protected] for a copy of the proposed forms or other available information. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Brian Siebentist, Office of Policy and Grant Management, Office of Housing Counseling, at Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410. This is not a toll-free number. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

    Copies of available documents submitted to OMB may be obtained from Ms. Pollard.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This notice informs the public that HUD is seeking approval from OMB for the information collection described in section A.

    A. Overview of Information Collection

    Title of Information Collection: Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Counseling Client Session Evaluation.

    OMB Approval Number: 2505-0585.

    Type of Request: Extension.

    Form Number: HUD 92911.

    Description of the need for the information and proposed use: Tool to determine quality of client counseling sessions as part of periodic agency performance reviews.

    Respondents: Individuals or Household.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 300.

    Estimated Number of Responses: 250.

    Frequency of Response: 1.

    Average Hours per Response: .06.

    Total Estimated Burdens: 50.

    B. Solicitation of Public Comment

    This notice is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected parties concerning the collection of information described in section A on the following: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (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 collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    HUD encourages interested parties to submit comment in response to these questions.

    Authority:

    Section 3507 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35.

    Dated: January 15, 2016. Janet M. Golrick, Associate General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing Associate Deputy Federal Housing Commissioner.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01376 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R4-R-2015-N236]; [FXRS12610400000S3-167-FF04R02000] Theodore Roosevelt and Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuges, Mississippi Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Environmental Assessment AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the final Comprehensive Conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact for the environmental assessment for Theodore Roosevelt and Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs), Washington and Sharkey Counties, Mississippi. In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage the two refuges for the next 15 years.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may obtain a copy of the CCP by downloading the document from our Internet Site at http://southeast.fws.gov/planning under “Final Documents.”

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mike Rich, Project Leader, at (662) 836-3004 (phone) or [email protected] (email).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Introduction

    With this notice, we complete the CCP process for Theodore Roosevelt and Holt Collier NWRs. We started the process through a notice in the Federal Register (78 FR 45953) on July 30, 2013. For more about the process, see that notice.

    The Theodore Roosevelt NWR Complex (Complex) is comprised of seven refuges: Hillside (est. 1975), Holt Collier (est. 2004), Mathews Brake (est. 1980), Morgan Brake (est. 1977), Panther Swamp (est. 1978), Theodore Roosevelt (est. 2004), and Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge (est. 1936).

    The Complex was originally known as the Yazoo National Wildlife Refuge Complex and then briefly named the Central Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge Complex. On January 23, 2004, section 145 of Public Law 108-199, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, was signed into law by then President George W. Bush. The Act renamed the Complex as the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. It designated the geographically separate Bogue Phalia Unit of Yazoo NWR as Holt Collier NWR. The refuge consists of 2,233 acres with an approved acquisition boundary of 18,000 acres. The Service lists its purpose as being designated under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. 664): It “shall be administered . . . for the conservation, maintenance, and management of wildlife, resources thereof, and its habitat thereon.”

    The Act also directed the Secretary of the Interior to establish the 6,600-acre Theodore Roosevelt NWR. No additional land was purchased for the two new refuges, but rather they were assembled from disjunct Farm Service Agency (FSA, formerly known as Farmers Home Administration) lands already in Service possession. To date 1,674 acres have been acquired in the Theodore Roosevelt NWR. The Service lists both new refuges as being established “for conservation purposes.”

    The habitat consists mainly of converted agricultural lands now reforested to trees more indicative of the native bottomland hardwood forest. Farmlands and open water also occur. The refuge is not open to the public. There are no public facilities located on either refuge.

    Background The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) System Improvement Act of 1997 (Improvement Act) requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. CCPs are developed to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving refuges' purposes and contributing toward the mission of the NWR System, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. CCPs describe a broad management direction for conserving wildlife and their habitats. They propose wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities to be made available to the public. These include opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review the CCP annually and revise it as needed in accordance with the Improvement Act.

    Comments

    We made the Draft CCP and Environmental Assessment available online for a 30-day public review and comment period via a Federal Register notice (80 FR 13420) on March 13, 2015. A total of seven comments were received by mail, email or verbally at the April 2, 2015, public meeting in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Comments supporting the plan and preferred alternative were received from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, Safari Club International, and Mississippi Wildlife.

    CCP Alternatives, Including Our Preferred Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge (Alternatives A, B, and C), with Alternative B, Minimally Developed Refuges, selected for implementation. As these are newer refuges authorized by Congress in 2004, the focus of this plan is to develop them. Therefore, our efforts over the next 15 years will be focused on land acquisition to build-out the refuges to their approved acquisition boundaries. Passive habitat protection and the addition of new resource lands beneficial to wildlife will help preserve habitat in perpetuity and to lessen fragmentation. This plan has the objective of providing sanctuary to migratory species as a group, not just priority waterfowl species. White-tailed deer management would continue through the Holt Collier NWR hunt program and eventually at Theodore Roosevelt NWR. Integrated damage control of invasive and nuisance species would lessen the negative effects on the refuges' habitats.

    Another primary focus of the plan is to create a visitor services program to enhance environmental education and outreach efforts substantially and to reach larger numbers of residents, students, educators, and visitors. It places priority on wildlife-dependent uses, such as hunting, fishing and wildlife observation. Priority public uses, such as hunting, are allowed at Holt Collier NWR. At a time when sufficient land is amassed and resources are available to allow for ample public use opportunities, Theodore Roosevelt NWR would be opened to hunting. Public use would be phased into both refuges. Compatibility determinations are updated for the priority public uses and for research and monitoring. For both refuges, some commercial uses would be allowed under a Commercial Special Use Permit, including commercial photography, firewood gathering, timber harvest for forest management, and trapping.

    The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 authorized construction of a Visitor Center to provide visitor services and to promote the Delta area's natural resources and cultural heritage. Funding was appropriated in 2009, in the amount of $2.6 million for the building of the Theodore Roosevelt NWR Visitor Center. On February 11, 2015, a total of 6.58 acres (originally proposed as approximately 5 acres) located off of Highway 61 in Sharkey County, Mississippi) was donated to the Service to construct a Visitor Center. A major focus of this plan and Service efforts will be to build and staff the Visitor Center. Since the location is secured for the Visitor Center, regular Service procedures will be followed for building design and construction. Staffing is proposed to run the Visitor Center, to provide environmental and interpretive programs, and to coordinate volunteers. Positions include a Park Ranger, Wildlife Refuge Manager and a Maintenance Worker.

    This CCP assumes a modest growth of refuge resources over its 15-year implementation period, with three new positions as new funding is available. Current partnerships would be maintained and new ones would be sought. Daily operation of the refuges will be guided by this CCP and through the implementation of nine projects and six step-down management plans as detailed in the CCP.

    Authority

    This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.).

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Brett E. Hunter, Deputy Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System, Southeast Region.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01414 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R4-R-2015-N235]; [FXRS12650400000S3-123-FF04R02000] Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, LA; Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant Impact for Environmental Assessment AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the final comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and finding of no significant impact for the environmental assessment for Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. In the final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge for the next 15 years.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may obtain a copy of the CCP by writing to: Lower Mississippi River NWR Complex, P.O. Box 217, Sibley, MS 39165. Alternatively, you may download the document from our Internet Site at http://southeast.fws.gov/planning under “Final Documents.”

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jimmy Laurent, Project Leader, Lower Mississippi River NWR Complex, by telephone at (601) 442-6696 or by email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Introduction

    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for Cat Island NWR. We started the process through a notice in the Federal Register on November 25, 2013 (78 FR 70318). For more about the process, see that notice.

    Cat Island NWR was established in October 2000, as the 526th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, near the town of St. Francisville, 25 miles north of Baton Rouge. Acquisition has occurred in stages, beginning in 2000 when The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Louisiana made the first purchase of about 9,500 acres of forested wetlands. That and subsequent acquisitions by TNC were purchased by the Service using both the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Today, the refuge encompasses 10,473 acres. The congressionally approved acquisition boundary encloses 36,500 acres.

    Cat Island NWR was created by Congress through Public Law 106-369, which states: “The purposes for which the Refuge is established and shall be managed are: (1) To conserve, restore, and manage habitats as necessary to contribute to the migratory bird population goals and habitat objective [sic] as established through the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture; (2) to conserve, restore, and manage the significant aquatic resource values associated with the area's forested wetlands and to achieve the habitat objectives of the Mississippi River Aquatic Resources Management Plan; (3) to conserve, enhance, and restore the historic native bottomland community characteristics of the lower Mississippi alluvial valley and its associated fish, wildlife, and plant species; (4) to conserve, enhance, and restore habitat to maintain and assist in the recovery of endangered and threatened plants and animals; and (5) to encourage the use of volunteers and facilitate partnerships among the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, local communities, conservation organizations, and other non-Federal entities to promote public awareness of the resources of the Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System and public participation in the conservation of those resources” (Cat Island NWR Establishment Act, 114 Stat. 1418, October 27, 2000).

    Background The CCP Process

    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose for developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers with a 15-year plan for achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction on conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with the Administration Act.

    Comments

    We made copies of the Draft CCP/EA available for a 30-day public review and comment period via a Federal Register notice on May 1, 2015 (80 FR 24958). Copies of the Draft CCP/EA were posted at refuge headquarters and also were available for download at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/planning/CCP/cat-island.html. Over 100 letters with links to the draft comprehensive conservation plan and environmental assessment were distributed to local landowners, the public, and local, State, and Federal agencies. Three respondents, consisting of the Humane Society of the United States, the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, and local citizens, submitted comments on the Draft CCP/EA by mail or email.

    CCP Alternatives, Including Our Preferred Alternative

    We developed three alternatives for managing the refuge (Alternatives A, B, and C), with Alternative B selected for implementation. This alternative will focus on managing the refuge's natural resources to enhance habitats for priority species including waterfowl and other migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, species of concern, and resident fish and wildlife. Additionally, wildlife surveys would be conducted using established protocols to establish baseline habitat conditions, estimate wildlife population indices, determine responses to management actions, and contribute to larger scale biological assessments. Invasive exotic and nuisance species would be actively managed to minimize their impacts on refuge resources. Refuge forests would be actively managed to enhance wildlife habitat. Aquatic habitats on the refuge would be inventoried and assessed, and where feasible, access to them would be improved for recreational anglers.

    Refuge cultural resources would continue to be protected as they have been in the past. In addition, the refuge would seek funding to survey and catalog cultural resources on the refuge. Protection of cultural resources would be integrated into refuge planning at all levels, and management actions would be reviewed in order to avoid or mitigate impacts to cultural resources.

    Under the preferred alternative, public use would be more actively managed by refuge staff. Hunting and fishing would continue to be managed and made available with the active partnership of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. More law enforcement personnel hours would be allocated by the Service for Cat Island NWR. New partnerships with organizations interested in promoting nonconsumptive refuge use would be sought, and existing ones strengthened. In particular, environmental education opportunities would be enhanced by active participation of Service personnel with local schools and nonprofit organizations.

    Refuge infrastructure would be maintained as in the past. The refuge would seek to improve access via the main refuge road and various trails. Efforts would be made to provide access to the northeast section of the refuge, and access via Cat Island Road would be pursued. The refuge would hire or assign staff to the refuge. Staff may include one or more of the following: Refuge manager, volunteer coordinator, equipment operator, law enforcement officer, forester, and biologist. Any or all of these may be shared positions among refuges in the Lower Mississippi River Refuge Complex. Full staffing under this alternative is anticipated to be 1.5 to 2 full-time employees.

    Authority

    This notice is published under the authority of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.).

    Dated: November 10, 2015. Brett E. Hunter, Deputy Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System Southeast Region.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01417 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX16EE000101000] Agency Information Collection Activities: Request for Comment on Proposed Revisions to the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard AGENCY:

    U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comments

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) is conducting a public review of proposed revisions to the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard (Address Data Standard).

    The primary purposes of the Address Data Standard are to develop content specifications for address information, provide classifications for different types of addresses, establish appropriate standards and measures for evaluation of address data quality, and support exchange of address data. The FGDC endorsed the Address Data Standard in 2011, and numerous federal, state and local government agencies have since used it to manage their address data. Over the last five years, users and the authors identified a number of desirable minor corrections to the Address Data Standard. Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau, as the maintenance authority for the Standard, has proposed adding a new Map Position element.

    Reviewers are requested to review and comment on the proposed revisions and/or submit additional comments on the Address Data Standard.

    The draft revision of the standard may be downloaded from: https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/street-address/AddressDataStandardRevised.

    The change log lists proposed changes identified since publication of the Address Data Standard in 2011. These changes are reflected in the version of the standard posted for the 2015 maintenance review and are subject to the official public review and adjudication process. The change log may be downloaded from https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/street-address/ChangeLog2011-2015.

    The proposal for the Map Position element may be downloaded from https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/street-address/MapPositionProposal.

    DATES:

    Reviewers shall submit comments on the proposed revision of the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Address Data Standard to [email protected] (subject line: Address Data Standard Revision) by April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Reviewers shall submit comments on the United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Data Standard using the content template format at http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/process/standards-directives/template.doc. Instructions for completing the comment template are found in FGDC Standards Directive #2d, Standards Working Group Review Guidelines: Review Comment Template, http://www.fgdc.gov/standards/process/standards-directives/directive-2d-standards-working-group-review-guidelines-review-comment-template.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Julie Binder Maitra, FGDC Standards Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey, Federal Geographic Data Committee, [email protected], 703-648-4627.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposed revisions to the FGDC-endorsed United States Thoroughfare, Landmark and Postal Data Standard may be categorized as follows:

    1. Corrections to typographic and minor grammatical errors, which include misspellings, missing words, etc., in all sections and minor corrections to the .XSD definitional document (for XML data exchange) and SQL code examples found in Part 4: Address Data Quality, Part 5: Data Exchange, and the appendices.

    2. Updating of all links and references (URLs, etc.) throughout the Standard to reflect newer versions of other standards, reference documents, etc.

    3. A proposal from the U.S. Census Bureau to add a MapPosition element to Part 2: Data Content, to describe the position of an address point. MapPosition allows multiple coordinate positions to be associated with an address. It is a repeatable element consisting of the coordinates of the map representation of an address with a description of the position. Such descriptions could be “Front Door”, “Parcel Centroid”, “Building Centroid”, and “Driveway,” amongst others. The MapPosition proposal may be downloaded from https://www.fgdc.gov/standards/projects/FGDC-standards-projects/street-address/MapPositionProposal.

    Comments that concern specific issues/changes/additions may result in changes to the Address Data Standard. After FGDC endorsement of the revisions to the Address Data Standard, the updated Address Data Standard and a change log will be made available to the public on the FGDC Web site, www.fgdc.gov. This log identifies the location of the change, the existing language, the change that is made, and an explanation of the change itself. Reviewers may obtain information about how comments were addressed upon request.

    The FGDC coordinates the Federal government's development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), which encompasses the policies, standards, and procedures for organizations to cooperatively produce and share geospatial data. Federal agencies that make up the FGDC develop the NSDI in cooperation with organizations from State, local and tribal governments, the academic community, and the private sector. The authority for the FGDC is OMB Circular No. A-16 Revised on Coordination of Geographic Information and Related Spatial Data Activities (Revised August 19, 2002). More information on the FGDC and the NSDI is available at http://www.fgdc.gov.

    Kenneth M. Shaffer, Deputy Executive Director, Federal Geographic Data Committee, Core Science Systems, U.S. Geological Survey.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01337 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4338-11-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Office of the Secretary [16XD4523WS\DS10100000\DWSN00000.000000\DP10020] Statement of Findings: Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement Act AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Secretary of the Interior is publishing this notice in accordance with section 10808(d) of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation Water Rights Settlement Act of 2009 (Pub. L. 111-11) (Settlement Act). Congress enacted the Settlement Act as Title X, Subtitle C of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. The publication of this notice causes the waivers and release of certain claims to become effective as required by the Settlement Act.

    DATES:

    This notice is effective January 25, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Address all comments and requests for additional information to Catherine Wilson, Chair, Duck Valley Water Rights Settlement Implementation Team, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Region, 2600 N. Central Avenue, 4th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85004. (602) 379-6789.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Settlement Act was enacted to resolve the water right claims of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes (Tribes) of the Duck Valley Reservation relative to the upstream water users in the East Fork of the Owyhee River in the State of Nevada (State). The non-federal settling parties submitted a signed Settlement Agreement (Agreement) to Congress prior to enactment of the Settlement Act. As described in section 10802, the purposes of the Settlement Act are:

    (1) To resolve outstanding issues with respect to the East Fork of the Owyhee River in the State in such a manner as to provide important benefits to—(A) The United States; (B) the State; (C) the Tribes; and (D) the upstream water users;

    (2) to achieve a fair, equitable, and final settlement of all claims of the Tribes, members of the Tribes, and the United States on behalf of the Tribes and members of Tribes to the waters of the East Fork of the Owyhee River in the State;

    (3) to ratify and provide for the enforcement of the Agreement among the parties to the litigation;

    (4) to resolve the Tribes' water-related claims for damages against the United States;

    (5) to require the Secretary to perform all obligations of the Secretary under the Agreement and the Settlement Act; and

    (6) to authorize the actions and appropriations necessary to meet the obligations of the United States under the Agreement and the Settlement Act.

    Statement of Findings

    In accordance with section 10808(d) of the Settlement Act, I find as follows:

    (1) The Agreement and the waivers and releases authorized and set forth in sections 10808(a) and (b) of the Settlement Act have been executed by the parties and the Secretary;

    (2) the Fourth Judicial District Court, Elko County, Nevada, has issued a judgment and decree consistent with the Agreement from which no further appeal can be taken; and

    (3) the amounts authorized under sections 10807(b)(3) and (c)(3) of the Settlement Act have been appropriated.

    Dated: January 19, 2016. Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01401 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4334-63-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [16X.LLAK941000.L1440000.ET0000;F-92350] Notice of Application for Extension of Public Land Order No. 5645, and Opportunity for Public Meeting; Alaska AGENCY:

    Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The General Services Administration (GSA) has filed an application with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requesting that the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management extend the duration of the withdrawal created by Public Land Order (PLO) No. 5645 for an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7336 extended PLO No. 5645, which withdrew approximately 10 acres of public land from surface entry and mining for the protection of the Poker Creek Border Station for an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7336 also transferred administrative jurisdiction from the U.S. Customs Service to the GSA. The withdrawal extended by PLO No. 7336 will expire on July 18, 2018, unless further extended. This notice provides an opportunity for the public to comment on the withdrawal extension application and to request a public meeting.

    DATES:

    Comments and requests for a public meeting must be received by April 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments and meeting requests should be sent to the Alaska State Director, BLM Alaska State Office, 222 West Seventh Avenue, No. 13, Anchorage, Alaska 99513-7504.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Renee Fencl, BLM Alaska State Office, 907-271-5067, email [email protected]

    Persons who use a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will receive a reply during normal business hours.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The GSA has filed an application requesting that the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals Management extend the withdrawal created by PLO No. 5645 (43 FR 31006 (1978)), for an additional 20-year term. PLO No. 7336 (63 FR 30511, (1998)), extended PLO No. 5645, which withdrew public lands for the protection of the Poker Creek Border Station, from settlement, sale, location, or entry, under all of the general land laws, including the mining laws for a 20-year term.

    PLO No. 5645 is incorporated herein by reference. A complete description, along with all other records pertaining to the extension, can be examined in the BLM Alaska State Office at the address shown above.

    Notice is hereby given that an opportunity for a public meeting is afforded in connection with the withdrawal extension application. All interested parties who desire a public meeting for the purpose of being heard on the withdrawal extension application must submit a written request to the BLM Alaska State Director. Upon determination by the authorized officer that a public meeting will be held, the BLM will publish a notice of the time and place in the Federal Register and a local newspaper at least 30 days before the scheduled date of the meeting.

    The withdrawal extension application will be processed in accordance with the regulations set forth in 43 CFR 2310.4 and subject to Section 810 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, (16 U.S.C. 3120).

    For a period until April 25, 2016, all persons who wish to submit comments, suggestions, or objections in connection with the proposed withdrawal extension may present their views in writing to the BLM Alaska State Director at the address indicated above. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Erika Reed, Acting Deputy State Director, Division of Lands and Cadastral Survey.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01390 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-JA-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR National Park Service [NPS-AKRO-ANIA-CAKR-DENA-GAAR-KOVA-LACL-WRST-20043: PPAKAKROR4] [PPMPRLE1Y.LS0000] Notice of Open Public Meetings and Teleconferences for the National Park Service Alaska Region Subsistence Resource Commission Program AGENCY:

    National Park Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Meeting notices.

    SUMMARY:

    As required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (16 U.S.C. Appendix 1-16), the National Park Service (NPS) is hereby giving notice that the Aniakchak National Monument Subsistence Resource Commission (SRC), the Cape Krusenstern National Monument SRC, the Denali National Park SRC, the Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC, the Kobuk Valley National Park SRC, the Lake Clark National Park SRC, and the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park SRC will hold public meetings to develop and continue work on NPS subsistence program recommendations, and other related regulatory proposals and resource management issues. The NPS SRC program is authorized under section 808 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, (16 U.S.C. 3118), title VIII.

    Aniakchak National Monument SRC Meeting/Teleconference Date and Location: The Aniakchak National Monument SRC will meet from 2:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or until business is completed on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at Ray's Place in Port Heiden, AK. Should this meeting be postponed due to inclement weather, or lack of a quorum, the alternate meeting date is Thursday, February 11, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. or until business is completed. Teleconference participants must call the National Park Service office in King Salmon, AK at (907) 246-2154 or (907) 246-3305, by Thursday, February 4, 2016, prior to the meeting to receive teleconference passcode information. For more detailed information regarding this meeting or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership contact, Designated Federal Official Diane Chung, Superintendent, at (907) 442-2120 or via email at [email protected], or Linda Chisholm, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 246-2154 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603 or via email at [email protected]

    Cape Krusenstern National Monument SRC Meeting/Teleconfference Dates and Locations: The Cape Krusenstern National Monument SRC will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or until business is completed on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or until business is completed on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue, AK. Teleconference participants must contact Hannah Atkinson, Cultural Resource Specialist at the Cape Krusenstern National Monument office at (907) 442-4342 or via email at [email protected] by Monday, February 8, 2016, prior to the meeting to receive teleconference passcode information. For more detailed information regarding this meeting or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership contact Ken Adkisson, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 443-6104 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603 or via email at [email protected]

    Wrangell-St. Elias National Park SRC Meeting/Teleconference Dates and Locations: The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park SRC will meet from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, by teleconference and in person at the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve headquarters building in Copper Center Visitor Center (Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway). For teleconference information and/or to provide written comments, contact Barbara Cellarius, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 822-7236 or via email at [email protected] by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, 2016.

    The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park SRC will meet on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, and Thursday, February 25, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or until business is completed at the Gulkana Village Hall in Gulkana Community Hall in Gulkana, AK. For teleconference information and/or to provide written comments, contact Barbara Cellarius, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 822-7236 or via email at [email protected] by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5, 2016.

    For more detailed information regarding these meetings, or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership, contact Designated Federal Official Eric Veach, Acting Superintendent, at (907) 822-5234 or via email at [email protected], or Barbara Cellarius, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 822-7236 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603 or via email at [email protected]

    Lake Clark National Park SRC Meeting/Teleconfernce Date and Location: The Lake Clark National Park SRC will meet from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or until business is completed on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at the Community Hall in Iliamna, AK. Teleconference participants must call the National Park Service office at (907) 644-3648, by Monday, February 8, 2016, prior to the meeting to receive teleconference passcode information. For more detailed information regarding this meeting, or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership, contact Designated Federal Official Margaret L. Goodro, Superintendent, at (907) 644-3627 or via email at [email protected], or Liza Rupp, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3648 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603 or via email at [email protected]

    Kobuk Valley National Park SRC Meeting/Teleconfernce Dates and Location: The Kobuk Valley National Park SRC will meet from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. or until business is completed on Thursday, February 11, 2016, and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. or until business is completed on Friday, February 12, 2016, at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center in Kotzebue, AK. Teleconference participants must contact Hannah Atkinson, Cultural Resource Specialist at the National Park Service office at (907) 442-4342 or via email at hannah_atkinson by Monday, February 8, 2016, prior to the meeting to receive teleconference passcode information. For more detailed information regarding this meeting or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership contact Ken Adkisson, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 443-6104 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603 or via email at [email protected]

    Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC Meeting/Teleconference Dates and Locations: The Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC will meet from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2016, by teleconference. Teleconference participants must contact Marcy Okada, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 455-0639 or via email at [email protected] by Monday, February 8, 2016, prior to the meeting to receive teleconference passcode information.

    The Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC will meet from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or until business is completed on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, and Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at the Anaktuvuk Pass Community Center in Anaktuvuk Pass, AK. For more detailed information regarding the Gates of the Arctic National Park SRC meetings, or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership, contact Designated Federal Official Greg Dudgeon, Superintendent, at (907) 457-5752 or via email at [email protected], or Marcy Okada, Subsistence Coordinator, at (907) 455-0639 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603, or via email at [email protected]

    Denali National Park SRC Meeting Date and Location: The Denali National Park SRC will meet from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or until business is completed on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, at the Murie Science and Learning Center, Denali National Park, AK. For more detailed information regarding this meeting, or if you are interested in applying for SRC membership, contact Amy Craver, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 683-9544 or via email at [email protected] or Clarence Summers, Subsistence Manager, at (907) 644-3603 or via email at [email protected]

    Proposed Meeting Agenda: The agenda may change to accommodate SRC business. The proposed meeting agenda for each meeting includes the following:

    1. Call to Order—Confirm Quorum 2. Welcome and Introduction 3. Review and Adoption of Agenda 4. Approval of Minutes 5. Superintendent's Welcome and Review of the SRC Purpose 6. SRC Membership Status 7. SRC Chair and Members' Reports 8. Superintendent's Report 9. Old Business 10. New Business 11. Federal Subsistence Board Update 12. Alaska Boards of Fish and Game Update 13. National Park Service Reports a. Ranger Update b. Resource Manager's Report c. Subsistence Manager's Report 14. Public and Other Agency Comments 15. Work Session 16. Set Tentative Date and Location for Next SRC Meeting 17. Adjourn Meeting

    SRC meeting locations and dates may change based on inclement weather or exceptional circumstances. If the meeting date and location are changed, the Superintendent will issue a press release and use local newspapers and radio stations to announce the rescheduled meeting.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    SRC meetings are open to the public and will have time allocated for public testimony. The public is welcome to present written or oral comments to the SRC. SRC meetings will be recorded and meeting minutes will be available upon request from the Superintendent for public inspection approximately six weeks after the meeting. Before including your address, telephone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Dated: January 19, 2016. Alma Ripps Chief, Office of Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01386 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-EE-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS U.S. Copyright Office [Docket No. 2016-1] Notice of Intent To Audit AGENCY:

    Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Public Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Copyright Office is announcing receipt of twelve notices of intent to audit certain 2012 and 2013 statements of account filed by cable operators and satellite carriers pursuant to the section 111 and 119 statutory licenses.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Regan A. Smith, Associate General Counsel, by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 202-707-8350; or Jason E. Sloan, Attorney-Advisor, by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 202-707-8350.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    Sections 111 and 119 of the Copyright Act (“Act”), Title 17 of the United States Code, establish compulsory licenses under which cable operators and satellite carriers may, by complying with the license terms, retransmit copyrighted over-the-air broadcast programming. Among other requirements, cable and satellite licensees must file statements of account and deposit royalty fees with the U.S. Copyright Office (“Office”) on a semi-annual basis.

    The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-175 (2010), amended the Act by directing the Register of Copyrights (“Register”) to issue regulations to allow copyright owners to audit the statements of account and royalty fees that cable operators and satellite carriers file with the Office. See 17 U.S.C. 119(b)(2) (directing the Register to “issue regulations to permit interested parties to verify and audit the statements of account and royalty fees submitted by satellite carriers under this subsection”); 17 U.S.C. 111(d)(6) (directing the Register to “issue regulations to provide for the confidential verification by copyright owners whose works were embodied in the secondary transmissions of primary transmissions pursuant to [section 111] of the information reported on the semiannual statements of account filed under this subsection for accounting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2010, in order that the auditor designated under subparagraph [111(d)(6)(A)] is able to confirm the correctness of the calculations and royalty payments reported therein”). Following a lengthy rulemaking proceeding, the Office issued such regulations, adopting the audit process now set forth in 37 CFR 201.16. See 79 FR 68623 (Nov. 18, 2014). Section 201.16(c)(1) requires any copyright owner who intends to audit a statement of account to provide written notice to the Register no later than three years after the last day of the year in which the statement of account was filed with the Office. 37 CFR 201.16(c)(1). Such notice may be submitted by an individual copyright owner or a designated agent that represents a group or multiple groups of copyright owners. Id. The notice must be received in the Office on or after December 1st and no later than December 31st. Id. The Office is required to publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the receipt of the notice of intent to audit between January 1st and January 31st of the next calendar year. Id.

    II. Notices

    On December 31, 2015, the Office received the below notices of intent to audit statements of account. The notices were submitted jointly by the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, Women's National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and National Collegiate Athletics Association pursuant to 37 CFR 201.16(c):

    1. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Verizon New York Inc. for the cable system serving Bethlehem, New York and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 63302) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2012.

    2. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Time Warner Cable Northeast, LLC for the cable system serving Dewitt, New York and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 7857) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2013.

    3. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Cequel Communications LLC d/b/a Suddenlink Communications for the cable system serving St. Joseph, Missouri and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 7850) for the accounting period January 1-June 30, 2013.

    4. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by MCC Missouri, LLC (Columbia, MO) for the cable system serving Columbia, Missouri and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 6388) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2012.

    5. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by DISH Network, LLC (Licensing Division No. USU600) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2012.

    6. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Cox Communications Kansas LLC for the cable system serving Dodge City, Kansas and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 6293) for the accounting period January 1-June 30, 2013.

    7. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Comcast of Boston Inc. for the cable system serving Boston, Massachusetts and the surrounding communities (Licensing Division No. 1240) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2013.

    8. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by CC Michigan LLC for the cable system serving Traverse City, Michigan and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 7566) for the accounting period January 1-June 30, 2013.

    9. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Cablevision of Monmouth, LLC for the cable system serving Avon Borough, New Jersey and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 7823) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2012.

    10. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Bright House Communications LLC for the cable system serving Orlando, Florida and the surrounding area (Licensing Division No. 10444) for the accounting period January 1-June 30, 2013.

    11. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by Pacific Bell Telephone Company dba AT&T for the cable system serving San Francisco and the surrounding communities (Licensing Division No. 62796) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2013.

    12. Notice of intent to audit the statement of account filed by DirecTV (Licensing Division No. USU500) for the accounting period July 1-December 31, 2013.

    The notices of intent to audit and relevant statements of account are available for onsite viewing at the Copyright Office. Those who wish to inspect these documents can make arrangements to do so using the contact information above.

    Dated: January 20, 2016. Jacqueline C. Charlesworth, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, U.S. Copyright Office.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01396 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-30-P
    MARINE MAMMAL COMMISSION Correction Notice: Notice of Public Meetings in Alaska Pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act AGENCY:

    Marine Mammal Commission.

    ACTION:

    Correction of notice.

    SUMMARY:

    On January 15, 2016, the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission) announced in the Federal Register (81 FR 2243) plans to hold a series of public meetings in various locations in Alaska in February 2016. This notice corrects the location for the public meeting in Anchorage, AK. The public meeting in Anchorage, AK, will be held February 11, 2016, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the William A. Egan Civic and Convention Center, Space 2, Summit Hall, Lower Level, 555 W. 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501. The Anchorage meeting will also be accessible via webinar.

    Information for accessing the webinar, instructions for informing the Commission of your intent to participate in the webinar, and updates to the agenda, will be posted at www.mmc.gov at least one week before the Anchorage meeting. Because the number of participants to the webinar will be limited, it is important to notify the Commission of your intention to participate so that we can do our best to accommodate all interested members of the public.

    Dated: January 20, 2016. Rebecca J. Lent, Executive Director.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01397 Filed 1-21-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6820-31-P
    NATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION AND PRIVACY COMPACT COUNCIL Fingerprint Submission Requirements AGENCY:

    National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council.

    ACTION:

    Notice of approval of a U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs proposal requesting access to the Interstate Identification Index with delayed fingerprint submission.

    Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 14616.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council (Compact Council) approves a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) proposal requesting access to the Interstate Identification Index (III) System on a delayed fingerprint submission basis.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary S. Barron, FBI CJIS Division, 1000 Custer Hollow Road, Module D3, Clarksburg, WV 26306; Telephone (304) 625-2803; email [email protected]; Fax number (304) 625-2868.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 901, specifically § 901.3, gives authority to the Compact Council, established by the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Act of 1998 (Compact), to approve proposals for delayed submission of fingerprints supporting requests for III records. The proposals must fully describe the emergency nature of the situation, the risk to the health and safety of those involved, and the reasons why contemporaneous fingerprint submission with the search request is not feasible. The BIA proposal makes such an request when conducting criminal history record checks on behalf of federally-recognized tribes, in connection with the placement of children with temporary custodians on an emergency basis. (See BIA's proposal, attached.) Federally-recognized tribes that receive funds under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25, United States Code [U.S.C.], 450, et. seq) or the Tribally Controlled Schools Act (25 U.S.C. 2501, et. seq) are authorized access to criminal history record information pursuant to Public Law 101-630 (25 U.S.C. 3205 and 3207).

    The BIA's proposal was submitted by letter dated February 11, 2015, and approved by the Compact Council on May 13, 2015, pursuant to 28 CFR 901.2 and 901.3. Access to the III System to conduct name-based criminal history record checks, followed by fingerprint submissions, provides a responsive and timely avenue to determine whether an applicant presents a risk to children during exigent circumstances when time is of the essence. Such name-based checks will be followed by submission of the applicant's fingerprints to the FBI within 15 calendar days.

    Dated: December 10, 2015. Dawn A. Peck, Compact Council Chairman. BILLING CODE 4410-02-P EN25JA16.066 EN25JA16.067
    [FR Doc. 2015-32460 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410-02-C
    NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD Restructuring of National Labor Relations Board's Headquarters' Offices AGENCY:

    National Labor Relations Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Reorganization; Restructuring of National Labor Relations Board's Headquarters' Offices.

    Authority:

    Sections 3, 4, 6, and 10 of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 3, 4, 6, and 10.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice advises the public that the National Labor Relations Board is restructuring and realigning the location and lines of authority of certain of its Headquarters' offices in the Division of Legal Counsel reporting to the Office of the General Counsel.

    These administrative changes are being adopted in order to improve the delivery of services, and streamline, integrate and enhance management functions.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    National Labor Relations Board, 1015 Half Street SE., Room 5117, Washington, DC 20570.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    William B. Cowen, Solicitor, National Labor Relations Board, 1015 Half Street SE., Room 5117, Washington, DC 20570. Telephone: (202) 273-2910 (this is not a toll-free number), 1-866-315-6572 (TTY/TDD).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In 2013, the National Labor Relations Board centralized the services of several Headquarters' offices and restructured them into one independent Division of Legal Counsel with three branches—(1) Contempt, Compliance and Special Litigation, (2) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Branch, and (3) Ethics, Employment and Administrative Law. In addition, it housed a Lead Technology Counsel, who directly reports to the Division Head. When dealing with matters on behalf of the five-member Board or the various Board-side offices, the Division of Legal Counsel coordinates through the Office of the Solicitor. For further information regarding this restructuring please see the related Federal Register Notice published at 78 FR 44981-44982.

    Experience operating under this new structure has demonstrated that a further restructuring is appropriate. Specifically, Labor Relations and Special Counsel do not fit as well as anticipated in a Division that is typically engaged in casehandling of Board matters and in ancillary litigation that may affect our statutory mission as the staff handles Agency collective bargaining and defense of Agency employee claims. Treating the Labor Relations and Special Counsel staff in a similar manner to the Agency's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity is deemed more appropriate. Further, while government and legal ethics staff performs some functions that assist with casehandling, it predominantly provides guidance that inures to the benefit of Agency employees, e.g., outside employment, outside practice of law, Hatch Act violations, and conflicts of interest. Further, upon reflection, it is deemed more appropriate for the Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) to report directly to the Agency heads, rather than through an intermediary. Finally, in assessing the Agency's substantial litigation needs, it is deemed appropriate to create an E-Litigation Branch and hire sufficient staff to support the overwhelming e-litigation workload.

    Accordingly, as of the effective date of this notice, the Ethics, Employment and Administrative Law Branch will cease to exist as a branch within the Division of Legal Counsel. Labor Relations and Special Counsel will move from the Division of Legal Counsel to directly report to the Office of the General Counsel and the Chairman as a new office entitled Special Counsel and Labor Relations Office, and Government and Legal Ethics will move from the Division of Legal Counsel to directly report to the Office of the General Counsel and the Chairman as a new office entitled Ethics Office. In addition, an E-Litigation Branch will be created in the Division of Legal Counsel, and the Lead Technology Counsel will continue to directly report to the Associate General Counsel of that Division, and will also supervise and manage a staff. Finally, the Associate General Counsel of the Division of Legal Counsel will act as the Chief FOIA Officer for the Agency.

    These administrative changes are being adopted in order to improve the delivery of services, and streamline, integrate and enhance management functions. Because these administrative changes relate to the internal management of the Agency, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553, they are exempted from the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.

    Dated: Washington, DC, January 19, 2016.

    By direction of the Board.

    William B. Cowen, Solicitor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01322 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7545-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. 50-003, 50-247, 50-286, 72-51, 50-333, 72-12, 50-220, 50-410, 72-1036, 50-244, 72-67, 50-275, 50-323, 72-26, 50-361, 50-362, and 72-41; EA-14-137, EA-14-135, EA-14-136, EA-14-138, EA-14-139, EA-14-134, and EA-14-140; NRC-2016-0007] In the Matter of Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 1, 2, and 3, and James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant; Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, and R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant; Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Units 1 and 2; and Southern California Edison Company, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Units 2 and 3, including Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installations for All Facilities; Correction AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Confirmatory order; correction.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is correcting the attachment to a notice that was published in the Federal Register (FR) on January 15, 2016, regarding authorizing the licensees to transfer, receive, possess, transport, import, and use certain firearms and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices not previously permitted to be owned or possessed under Commission authority, notwithstanding certain local, State, or Federal firearms laws, including regulations that prohibit such actions, as reflected in the confirmatory orders for the nuclear plant facilities listed above. This action is necessary to correct an order number.

    DATES:

    The correction is effective January 25, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0007 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2016-0007. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected] For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document.

    • NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select “ADAMS Public Documents” and then select “Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.” For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected] Orders EA-14-135, EA-14-136, EA-14-137, EA-14-138, EA-14-139, EA-14-134, and EA-14-140 are available in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML15176A264, ML15176A028, ML15176A306, ML15176A256, ML15174A020, and ML15174A102, respectively.

    • NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Siva P. Lingam, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-1564, email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In the FR on January 15, 2016, in FR Doc. 2016-00720, on page 2256, in the third column, in the title to the confirmatory order for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the order number “EA-14-140” is corrected to read order number “EA-14-134.”

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of January 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Cindy Bladey, Branch Chief, Rules, Announcements and Directives Branch, Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01420 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2016-0001] Sunshine Act Meeting Notice DATES:

    January 25, February 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2016.

    PLACE:

    Commissioners' Conference Room, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland.

    STATUS:

    Public and Closed.

    Week of January 25, 2016

    There are no meetings scheduled for the week of January 25, 2016.

    Week of February 1, 2016—Tentative

    There are no meetings scheduled for the week of February 1, 2016.

    Week of February 8, 2016—Tentative

    There are no meetings scheduled for the week of February 8, 2016.

    Week of February 15, 2016—Tentative

    There are no meetings scheduled for the week of February 15, 2016.

    Week of February 22, 2016—Tentative Tuesday, February 23, 2016 9:30 a.m. Discussion of Management Issues (Closed Meeting—Ex. 2) Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:00 a.m. Strategic Programmatic Overview of the Fuel Facilities and the Nuclear Material, Users Business Lines (Public Meeting),

    (Contact: Anita Gray: 301-415-7036).

    This meeting will be webcast live at the Web address—http://www.nrc.gov/.

    Week of February 29, 2016—Tentative Thursday, March 3, 2016 9:30 a.m. Briefing on NRC International Activities (Closed Meeting—Ex. 1&9) Friday, March 4, 2016 10:00 a.m. Meeting with Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (Public Meeting) (Contact: Mark Banks: 301-415-3718)

    This meeting will be webcast live at the Web address—http://www.nrc.gov/.

    The schedule for Commission meetings is subject to change on short notice. For more information or to verify the status of meetings, contact Denise McGovern at 301-415-0681 or via email at [email protected]

    The NRC Commission Meeting Schedule can be found on the Internet at: http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/schedule.html.

    The NRC provides reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in these public meetings, or need this meeting notice or the transcript or other information from the public meetings in another format (e.g., braille, large print), please notify Kimberly Meyer, NRC Disability Program Manager, at 301-287-0739, by videophone at 240-428-3217, or by email at [email protected] Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

    Members of the public may request to receive this information electronically. If you would like to be added to the distribution, please contact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the Secretary, Washington, DC 20555 (301-415-1969), or email [email protected] or [email protected]

    Dated: January 20, 2016. Denise L. McGovern, Policy Coordinator, Office of the Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01408 Filed 1-21-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. T2016-1; Order No. 3038] Income Tax Review AGENCY:

    Postal Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Commission is noticing a recent Postal Service filing concerning the calculation of the assumed Federal income tax on competitive products income for fiscal year (FY) 2015. This notice informs the public of the filing, invites public comment, and takes other administrative steps.

    DATES:

    Comments are due: March 24, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit comments electronically via the Commission's Filing Online system at http://www.prc.gov. Those who cannot submit comments electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by telephone for advice on filing alternatives.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    David A. Trissell, General Counsel, at 202-789-6820.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Introduction II. Notice of Commission Action III. Ordering Paragraphs I. Introduction

    In accordance with 39 U.S.C. 3634 and 39 CFR 3060.40 et seq., the Postal Service filed its calculation of the assumed Federal income tax on competitive products income for fiscal year (FY) 2015.1 The calculation details the FY 2015 competitive product revenue and expenses, the net competitive products income before tax, and the assumed Federal income tax on that income.

    1 United States Postal Service Notice of Submission of the Calculation of the FY 2015 Assumed Federal Income Tax on Competitive Products, January 19, 2016. The Postal Service also filed a motion for late acceptance of its submission. Motion for Late Acceptance of the Postal Service Notice of Submission of the Calculation of the FY 2015 Assumed Federal Income Tax on Competitive Products, January 19, 2016 (Motion). The Motion is granted.

    II. Notice of Commission Action

    In accordance with 39 CFR 3060.42, the Commission establishes Docket No. T2016-1 to review the calculation of the assumed Federal income tax and supporting documentation.

    The Commission invites comments on whether the Postal Service's filing in this docket is consistent with the policies of 39 U.S.C. 3634 and 39 CFR 3060.40 et seq. Comments are due no later than March 24, 2016. The Postal Service's filing can be accessed via the Commission's Web site (http://www.prc.gov).

    The Commission appoints Jennaca D. Upperman to serve as Public Representative in this docket.

    III. Ordering Paragraphs

    It is ordered:

    1. The Commission establishes Docket No. T2016-1 to consider the calculation of the assumed Federal income tax on competitive products for FY 2015.

    2. Pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 505, Jennaca D. Upperman is appointed to serve as an officer of the Commission to represent the interests of the general public in this proceeding (Public Representative).

    3. Comments are due no later than March 24, 2016.

    4. The Secretary shall arrange for publication of this order in the Federal Register.

    By the Commission.

    Stacy L. Ruble, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01335 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7710-FW-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Office of the Secretary Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request; Simplification of Disclosure Requirements for Emerging Growth Companies and Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 for Smaller Reporting Companies ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) has submitted the sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, “Simplification of Disclosure Requirements for Emerging Growth Companies and Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 for Smaller Reporting Companies,” to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance under the emergency processing procedures in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35) (“PRA”) and 5 CFR 1320.13. OMB approval has been requested by January 19, 2016. In addition, this notice solicits comment on the three-year extension of the same information collection under 5 CFR 1320.12.

    ADDRESSES:

    A copy of this ICR with applicable supporting documentation, including a description of the likely respondents, proposed frequency of response, and estimated total burden may be obtained free of charge from the RegInfo.gov Web site at http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

    OMB Control Numbers 3235-0065 (Form S-1) and 3235-0258 (Form F-1)

    Comments should be directed to: (i) Desk Officer for the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, or by sending an email to: [email protected]; and (ii) Pamela Dyson, Director/Chief Information Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission, c/o Remi Pavlik-Simon, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 or send an email to: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) is requesting that OMB authorize emergency processing of the submission of collection of information for “Simplification of Disclosure Requirements for Emerging Growth Companies and Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 for Smaller Reporting Companies.” This request should also serve to notify the public that the Commission is seeking PRA approval from OMB on an emergency basis for the collections of information associated with the interim final rule amendments to Form S-1 and Form F-1 adopted by the Commission on January 13, 2016 1 to implement Sections 71003 and 84001 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (“FAST”) Act, which was enacted on December 4, 2015.2 In addition, the Commission is providing notice of the three-year extension under 5 CFR 1320.12.

    1See Release No. 33-10003 [81 FR 2743].

    2 Public Law 114-94.

    As adopted, the amendments implement Sections 71003 and 84001 of the FAST Act, which require that the Commission revise Forms S-1 and F-1, OMB Control Numbers, 3235-0065 (Form S-1) and 3235-0258 (Form F-1), to permit emerging growth companies to omit financial information for certain historical periods and revise Form S-1 to permit forward incorporation by reference for smaller reporting companies.

    Form S-1 (17 CFR 239.11) is the form used by domestic issuers to register the offer and sale of securities under the Securities Act of 1933 (15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.) when no other form is authorized or prescribed, and Form F-1 (17 CFR 239.31) is the corresponding form used by foreign private issuers. Item 512 of Regulation S-K (17 CFR 229.512) describes the undertakings that an issuer must include in a registration statement.

    The amendments revise Form S-1 and Form F-1 to make them conform to the requirements in Sections 71003 and 84001 of the FAST Act. Section 71003 of the FAST Act allows an emerging growth company that is filing a registration statement (or submitting the registration statement for confidential review) on Form S-1 or Form F-1 to omit financial information for historical periods otherwise required by Regulation S-X if it reasonably believes the omitted information will not be required to be included in the filing at the time of the contemplated offering, so long as the issuer amends the registration statement prior to distributing a preliminary prospectus to include all financial information required by Regulation S-X at the time of the amendment. The amendments revise the general instructions to Form S-1 and Form F-1 to reflect this self-executing change, as directed by Section 71003.

    Section 84001 of the FAST Act requires the Commission to revise Form S-1 to permit a smaller reporting company to incorporate by reference into its registration statement any documents filed by the issuer subsequent to the effective date of the registration statement. The amendments add a new paragraph to Item 12 of Form S-1 and make a conforming change to Item 512(a) of Regulation S-K to effect this provision.

    The Commission, for good cause, found that notice and comment were unnecessary because the amendments merely conform the specified forms to the requirements of a newly enacted statute, the FAST Act. The amendments revised the Commission's forms to make them consistent with the provisions of the FAST Act pertaining to simplified disclosure requirements for emerging growth companies and forward incorporation by reference for smaller reporting companies on Form S-1 and therefore did not involve the exercise of Commission discretion. Section 71003 of the FAST Act was effective 30 days after enactment, and Section 84001 required the Commission to revise Form S-1 within 45 days of enactment. The Commission also found there was good cause for the amendments to take effect on January 19, 2016 because without the amendments the Commission's applicable forms did not conform to the requirements of Sections 71003 and 84001 of the FAST Act. Additionally, the Commission found that the amendments relieve restrictions in the Commission's forms.

    This information collection is subject to the PRA. A federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if the collection of information does not display a valid OMB Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. The SEC obtains OMB approval for this information collection under OMB ICR Reference Numbers 201409-3235-039 (Form S-1) and 201407-3235-008 (Form F-1).

    Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the OMB, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within 15 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should reference OMB Control Numbers 3235-0065 (Form S-1) and 3235-0258 (Form F-1). The OMB is particularly interested in comments that:

    • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

    • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

    • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

    • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

    For purposes of the PRA, we estimate the total annual decrease in the paperwork burden for all affected issuers to comply with our collection of information requirements to be approximately 70,214 hours of company personnel time and the reduction in cost to be approximately $84,256,400 for the services of outside professionals. These estimates include the time and cost of preparing and reviewing disclosure, filing documents, and retaining records. We estimate that 25% of the burden of preparation is carried by the issuer internally and is reflected in hours, and that 75% of the burden is carried by outside professionals retained by the issuer at an average cost of $400 per hour.3 Our methodologies for deriving the above estimates are discussed below.

    3 Consistent with other recent rulemakings, we estimate an average hourly rate of $400 for hiring outside professionals to assist issuers in preparing disclosures and conducting registered offerings.

    1. Omission of Financial Information for Historical Periods by Emerging Growth Companies

    For purposes of the PRA, we estimate that the amendment to allow emerging growth companies to omit financial information for historical periods that the issuer reasonably believes will not be required to be included in the Form S-1 or F-1 at the time of the contemplated offering would reduce incrementally the annual paperwork burden by approximately 17,089 hours of issuer personnel time and by a cost of approximately $20,506,400 for the services of outside professionals. The estimate reflects the reduction in disclosure preparation time resulting from the omission of one year of audited financial statements 4 multiplied by the average number of Forms S-1 and F-1 filed by emerging growth companies over a three-year period.5

    4 We estimated the audit fee for emerging growth companies by using the median audit fee of $46,300 for smaller reporting companies. See John Pakaluk, Audit Fees for Smaller Reporting Companies, AUDIT ANALYTICS (Feb. 26, 2015), http://www.auditanalytics.com/blog/audit-fees-for-smaller-reporting-companies.

    5 The number of responses equals the average number of Forms S-1 or Form F-1, respectively, filed by emerging growth companies (EGCs) during a three-year period. In 2012, EGCs filed 295 Forms S-1; in 2013, EGCs filed 404 Forms S-1; and in 2014, EGCs filed 504 Forms S-1. In 2012, EGCs filed 25 Forms F-1; in 2013, EGCs filed 31 Forms F-1; and in 2014, EGCs filed 65 Forms F-1.

    6 We estimate that $46,300 divided by $400, or 116 hours, represents the cost of services of outside professionals, or 75% of the burden, and we estimate that the reduction in burden hours for the issuer equals 39 hours, or 25% of the burden. These estimates were rounded up to nearest whole hour.

    Table 1—Revised PRA Burden Under the Amendment Permitting Emerging Growth Companies To Omit Financial Information for Certain Historical Periods Number of
  • responses
  • Incremental burden hours 6/form Total
  • incremental
  • burden hours
  • 25%
  • company
  • 75%
  • professional
  • Professional
  • costs
  • (A) (B) (C) = (A) * (B) (D) = (C) * 0.25 E = (C) * 0.75 (F) = (E) * $400 Form S-1 401 (155) (62,155) (15,539) (46,616) $(18,646,400) Form F-1 40 (155) (6,200) (1,550) (4,650) $(1,860,000) Total (68,355) (17,089) $(20,506,400)
    2. Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 by Smaller Reporting Companies

    For purposes of the PRA, we estimate that all smaller reporting companies will take advantage of the election to forward incorporate by reference. We estimate that the amendments to permit smaller reporting companies to incorporate by reference into the prospectus contained in the registration statement on Form S-1 all documents subsequently filed by the issuer with the Commission after the effective date of the registration statement would reduce incrementally the annual paperwork burden by approximately 53,125 hours of issuer personnel time and by a cost of approximately $63,750,000 for the services of outside professionals. The estimate reflects the decrease in disclosure preparation time by eliminating the need to file certain post-effective amendments when that information is disclosed in Exchange Act filings after the effectiveness of the Form S-1. We estimate that forward incorporation by reference would reduce the paperwork burden in Form S-1 for smaller reporting companies by 212,500 hours on the assumption that the burden to complete a Form S-1 that incorporates by reference would be the same as the burden currently imposed by Form S-3 (472 hours). Therefore, the amount of time eliminated for each Form S-1 that incorporates by reference would be 500 hours (972 hours for a Form S-1 that does not incorporate information by reference minus 472 hours for a Form S-1 that does incorporate information by reference).

    Table 2—Revised PRA Burden Under the Amendment Permitting Smaller Reporting Companies To Forward Incorporate by Reference on Form S-1 Number of
  • responses 7
  • Incremental burden hours/Form Total
  • incremental
  • burden
  • hours
  • 25%
  • company
  • 75%
  • professional
  • Professional
  • costs
  • (A) (B) (C) = (A) * (B) (D) = (C)* 0.25 E = (C) * 0.75 (F) = (E) * $400 Form S-1 425 (500) (212,500) (53,125) (159,375) $(63,750,000)

    Title of Collection: Simplification of Disclosure Requirements for Emerging Growth Companies and Forward Incorporation by Reference on Form S-1 for Smaller Reporting Companies.

    7 The number of responses equals the average number of Forms S-1 filed by smaller reporting companies (SRCs) during a three-year period. In 2012, SRCs filed 394 Forms S-1; in 2013, SRCs filed 432 Forms S-1; and in 2014, SRCs filed 448 Forms S-1.

    OMB Control Numbers: 3235-0065 (Form S-1) and 3235-0258 (Form F-1).

    Type of Review: Emergency.

    Requested Duration of Authorization: 6 Months.

    Dated: January 19, 2016. Robert W. Errett, Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01304 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76929; File No. SR-Phlx-2016-03] Self-Regulatory Organizations; NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Make Nonsubstantive, Clarifying Amendments to Several Rules Relating to the Clearing of Exchange Options Transactions January 19, 2016.

    Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on January 5, 2016, NASDAQ OMX PHLX LLC (“Phlx” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III, below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    The Exchange proposes to make nonsubstantive, clarifying amendments to several rules relating to clearing of Exchange options transactions.

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at http://nasdaqomxphlx.cchwallstreet.com/, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose

    The Exchange proposes to make minor nonsubstantive amendments to four rules relating to options clearing responsibilities of members. The changes are intended to correct minor drafting errors, and to update and improve readability of the rules. The Exchange is also proposing to extend applicability of a rule concerning violations of The Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”) rules to off-floor transactions as well as to on-floor transactions.

    Phlx Rule 1046, Clearing Arrangements, currently provides that a member or member organization conducting an options business must either be: (i) A clearing member of OCC; or (ii) have a clearing arrangement with an Exchange member organization that is a clearing member of OCC. The Exchange is revising the rule to simply state that a member or member organization conducting an options business must be a Clearing Member or have a clearing arrangement with a Clearing Member. The revision simply makes use of the existing defined term “Clearing Member” 3 to improve readability. No change in meaning is intended.

    3 Exchange Rule 1000(b)(3) defines “Clearing Member” as “a member organization which has been admitted to membership in the Options Clearing Corporation pursuant to the provisions of the rules of the Options Clearing Corporation.”

    Phlx Rule 1050, Violation Of By-Laws And Rules Of Options Clearing Corporation, currently provides for Exchange penalties in the event a member, member organization or director of a member organization that is a corporation “shall be adjudged guilty in a proceeding under Article XVIII of the by-laws of a violation of any provision of the rules of the Options Clearing Corporation with respect to the reporting, clearance or settlement of any transaction on the options trading floor of this Corporation. . . . ” The Exchange is deleting the reference to a proceeding under Article XVIII of the by-laws, which the Exchange deleted in 2011,4 and is replacing it with a more general and accurate reference to “an Exchange disciplinary proceeding.” The Exchange is also replacing the reference to “any transaction on the options trading floor of this Corporation” with a reference to “any Exchange options transaction” in view of today's electronic options trading which is not limited to the trading floor and the fact that the Exchange is not otherwise referred to in the rulebook as “this Corporation.” The Exchange did not amend Rule 1050 when it introduced off-floor trading, but is doing so now because whether a transaction takes place on-floor or off-floor has no bearing on the significance of any violation of the OCC rules. The Exchange has determined that there is no reason for off-floor transactions to be excluded from a requirement that transactions must be conducted in accordance with OCC rules. The new rule should ensure that off-floor transactions as well as on-floor transactions are conducted in a manner consistent with OCC rules.

    4See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 63981 (February 25, 2011), 76 FR 12180 (March 4, 2011) (SR-Phlx-2011-13) (a rule proposal to, among other things, amend the Limited Liability Company Agreement and By-Laws to substantially conform to The NASDAQ Stock Market's Second Amended Limited Liability Company Agreement and By-Laws).

    Phlx Rule 1052, Responsibility Of Clearing Options Members For Exchange Options Transactions, currently provides for the clearing of transactions of non-Clearing Members by a “member organization which is a clearing member of the Options Clearing Corporation. . . .” The Exchange again is replacing this quoted language with the more succinct defined term “Clearing Member.” 5 The word “Options” is deleted from the rule's title as superfluous.

    5 Rule 1052 currently provides that every member organization which is a clearing member of the Options Clearing Corporation shall be responsible for the clearance of the Exchange options transactions of such member organization and of each member or member organization who gives up the name of such clearing member in an Exchange options transaction, provided the clearing member has authorized such member or member organization to give up its name with respect to Exchange options transactions.

    Finally, Rule 1054, Verification Of Trades And Reconciliation Of Uncompared Trades, imposes certain trade verification and reconciliation obligations on any “member organization which is a clearing member of the Options Clearing Corporation.” Once again the Exchange is replacing the cumbersome language in quotation marks with the succinct, defined term “Clearing Member.” The change is made simply to improve readability.

    2. Statutory Basis

    The Exchange believes that its proposal is consistent with section 6(b) of the Act 6 in general, and furthers the objectives of section 6(b)(5) of the Act 7 in particular, in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general to protect investors and the public interest, by improving the accuracy and readability of the amended rules.

    6 15 U.S.C. 78f(b).

    7 15 U.S.C. 78f(b)(5).

    With respect to Rules 1046, 1052 and 1054, employing the defined term “Clearing Member” rather than “a clearing member of the Options Clearing Corporation” shortens the rule and makes it more readable. With respect to Rule 1050, deletion of a reference to a nonexistent provision of the Exchange's bylaws and replacing it with a general reference to the Exchange's disciplinary proceedings should make the rule more understandable. Additionally with respect to Rule 1050, extending the applicability of the rule to off-floor transactions as well as to on-floor transactions should incentivize those who engage in off-floor transactions to comply with OCC rules, which is in the public interest.

    B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

    The Exchange does not believe that the clarifying amendments proposed herein will impose any burden on competition not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act inasmuch as they simply improve the accuracy and readability of the rules. Additionally, Rule 1050, as amended, will apply to members transacting off the trading floor as well as those transacting on the trading floor, which should reduce a burden on competition on members who transact primarily on the trading floor and also on members of other markets whose rules require compliance with OCC rules in connection with transactions not occurring on a trading floor.

    C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

    No written comments were either solicited or received.

    III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

    Because the foregoing proposed rule change does not: (i) Significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative for 30 days from the date on which it was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate, it has become effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A)(iii) of the Act 8 and subparagraph (f)(6) of Rule 19b-4 thereunder.9

    8 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A)(iii).

    9 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). In addition, Rule 19b-4(f)(6) requires a self-regulatory organization to give the Commission written notice of its intent to file the proposed rule change at least five business days prior to the date of filing of the proposed rule change, or such shorter time as designated by the Commission. The Exchange has satisfied this requirement.

    At any time within 60 days of the filing of the proposed rule change, the Commission summarily may temporarily suspend such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is: (i) Necessary or appropriate in the public interest; (ii) for the protection of investors; or (iii) otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. If the Commission takes such action, the Commission shall institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule should be approved or disapproved.

    IV. Solicitation of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Comments

    • Use the Commission's Internet comment form (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml); or

    • Send an email to [email protected] Please include File Number SR-Phlx-2016-03 on the subject line.

    Paper Comments

    • Send paper comments in triplicate to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

    All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2016-03. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/rules/sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-Phlx-2016-03, and should be submitted on or before February 16, 2016.

    10 17 CFR 200.30-3(a)(12).

    For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.10

    Robert W. Errett, Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01307 Filed 1-22-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8011-01-P
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34-76931; File No. SR-FINRA-2016-002] Self-Regulatory Organizations; Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change Relating to Alternative Trading System Volume and Trading Information January 19, 2016.

    Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) 1 and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,2 notice is hereby given that on January 8, 2016, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by FINRA. FINRA has designated the proposed rule change as constituting a “non-controversial” rule change under paragraph (f)(6) of Rule 19b-4 under the Act,3 which renders the proposal effective upon receipt of this filing by the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

    1 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(1).

    2 17 CFR 240.19b-4.

    3 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6).

    I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

    FINRA is proposing to (i) delete from the FINRA rulebook Rule 4552, which requires each alternative trading system (“ATS”) that has filed a Form ATS with the SEC to report to FINRA weekly volume information and number of trades regarding equity securities transactions within the ATS; (ii) amend Rules 6110 and 6610 to add provisions regarding FINRA's publication of ATS volume and trade count information for equity securities, including information similar to what is currently reported by ATSs pursuant to Rule 4552 as well as information regarding ATS block transactions; and (iii) amend Rules 6183 and 6625 to require ATSs seeking an exemption from FINRA trade reporting rules to provide FINRA with a link to a publicly-available Web site that displays their weekly equity volume information in a format substantially similar to that used by FINRA.

    The text of the proposed rule change is available on FINRA's Web site at http://www.finra.org, at the principal office of FINRA and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

    II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

    In its filing with the Commission, FINRA included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. FINRA has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

    A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change 1. Purpose (i) Background

    On January 17, 2014, the SEC approved a proposed rule change to (i) adopt Rule 4552 (Alternative Trading Systems—Trading Information for Securities Executed Within the Alternative Trading System) to require ATSs 4 to report to FINRA weekly volume information and number of trades regarding securities transactions within the ATS (“ATS Data”) and to publish the ATS Data on a delayed basis on FINRA's Web site; 5 and (ii) amend Rules 6160, 6170, 6480, and 6720 (“MPID Rules”) to require each ATS to acquire and use a single, unique market participant identifier (“MPID”) when reporting information to FINRA (“MPID Requirement”).6 The implementation date for the reporting requirements under Rule 4552 was May 12, 2014, and FINRA began publishing the ATS Data for equity securities on its Web site on June 2, 2014.7 The MPID Requirement was implemented on February 2, 2015.8 As the SEC noted in its order approving Rule 4552 and the MPID Requirement, FINRA's response to comments received on that proposal included a commitment by FINRA to evaluate the continued need for self-reporting under Rule 4552 after the MPID Requirement was in place and to “eliminate the self-reporting requirement for ATSs subject to FINRA trade reporting requirements if the MPID [R]equirement is implemented and operating as anticipated.” 9 FINRA has conducted this evaluation, and the proposed rule change eliminates the self-reporting requirement in Rule 4552 for ATSs in light of the successful implementation of the MPID Requirement.10

    4 Regulation ATS defines an “alternative trading system” as “any organization, association, person, group of persons, or system: (1) That constitutes, maintains, or provides a market place or facilities for bringing together purchasers and sellers of securities or for otherwise performing with respect to securities the functions commonly performed by a stock exchange within the meaning of [Exchange Act Rule 3b-16]; and (2) That does not: (i) Set rules governing the conduct of subscribers other than the conduct of such subscribers' trading on such organization, association, person, group of persons, or system; or (ii) Discipline subscribers other than by exclusion from trading.” 17 CFR 242.300(a). Rule 4552 applies to any alternative trading system, as that term is defined in Regulation ATS, that has filed a Form ATS with the Commission. See Rule 4552(a).

    5 FINRA subsequently filed a proposed rule change to limit the reporting requirements in Rule 4552 to equity securities and exclude TRACE-Reportable Securities. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 71911 (April 9, 2014), 79 FR 21316 (April 15, 2014) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of File No. SR-FINRA-2014-017).

    6See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 71341 (January 17, 2014), 79 FR 4213 (January 24, 2014) (Order Approving File No. SR-FINRA-2013-042) (“ATS Approval Order”). The MPID Requirement was subsequently amended to permit the use of two MPIDs by a single ATS provided each MPID is used only to report to either the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (“TRACE”) or one or more of FINRA's equity reporting facilities. See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 71911 (April 9, 2014), 79 FR 21316 (April 15, 2014) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of File No. SR-FINRA-2014-017).

    7See Regulatory Notice 14-07 (February 2014).

    8See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 73340 (October 10, 2014), 79 FR 62500 (October 17, 2014) (Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of File No. SR-FINRA-2014-042).

    9 ATS Approval Order, supra note 6, 79 FR at 4215-16.

    10 FINRA and the SEC also noted that certain ATSs exempt from FINRA's trade reporting rules (“Exempt ATSs”) may need to continue reporting because Exempt ATSs would not be using a separate MPID to report their volume due to the exemption. See ATS Approval Order, supra note 6, 79 FR at 4216 n.34. As discussed in more detail below, rather than require Exempt ATSs to continue to self-report volume information pursuant to Rule 4552, FINRA has determined to require any ATS that wishes to avail itself of the trade reporting exemption to provide FINRA with a link to this information on a publicly-available Web site. FINRA will include a link to this information on its ATS Web site so that it is readily accessible to investors and the public.

    Rule 4552 requires individual ATSs to submit weekly reports to FINRA regarding equity security volume information within the ATS, including share volume and number of trades for both NMS stocks and OTC Equity Securities.11 This information must be reported to FINRA on a security-by-security basis within seven business days after the end of each calendar week.12 The first reports pursuant to Rule 4552 were due to FINRA by May 28, 2014, covering the week of May 12 through 16, 2014.13 After FINRA began receiving the self-reported data from ATSs, FINRA began publishing on its Web site, on a delayed basis, the reported information for each equity security for each ATS with appropriate disclosures that the published volume numbers are based on ATS-submitted reports and not on reports produced or validated by FINRA.14 FINRA currently makes this data available on its Web site through weekly reports listing aggregate volume and number of trades by security for each ATS within the designated time period.15 Aggregate reported information regarding NMS stocks in Tier 1 of the NMS Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility 16 is published on a two-week delayed basis.17 FINRA publishes the information on all other NMS stocks and OTC Equity Securities subject to FINRA trade reporting requirements on a four-week delayed basis.18

    11See Rule 4552(a) and (d)(4).

    12See Rule 4552(a).

    13See Regulatory Notice 14-07 (February 2014).

    14See Rule 4552(b).

    15 The volume information is available at www.finra.org/ats.

    16 Tier 1 NMS stocks include those NMS stocks in the S&P 500 Index or the Russell 1000 Index and certain exchange-traded products. See NMS Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility. FINRA makes changes to the Tier 1 NMS stocks in accordance with the Indices. Changes to the S&P 500 are made on an as needed basis and are not subject to an annual or semi-annual reconstitution. S&P typically does not add new issues until they have been seasoned for six to twelve months. Russell 1000 rebalancing typically takes places in June.

    17See Rule 4552(b)(1). Thus, for example, a typical reporting scenario (i.e., no federal holidays) requires ATSs to report the information for a given week by the second Tuesday following the week. FINRA publishes the information regarding Tier 1 NMS stocks no earlier than the following Monday. Information on all other equity securities subject to FINRA trade reporting requirements is published two weeks following the publication of information for the Tier 1 NMS stocks.

    18See Rule 4552(b)(2).

    Rule 4552 also specifies how an ATS should calculate its volume to ensure consistency and to avoid potential over-counting and requires that, “[w]hen calculating and reporting the volume of securities traded and the number of trades, an alternative trading system shall include only those trades executed within the alternative trading system. If two orders are crossed by the alternative trading system, the volume shall include only the number of shares crossed as a single trade (e.g., crossing a buy order of 1,000 shares with a sell order of 1,000 shares would be calculated as a single trade of 1,000 shares of volume).” 19 Thus, for example, an ATS only reports trades executed within the ATS (not orders routed out of the ATS) and only reports the volume of each executed trade once (not separate or double counting for the buy and sell side of the trade). Supplementary Material .01 to Rule 4552 provides further guidance on how to calculate volume for reporting purposes and notes that “[i]f an ATS routes an order to another member firm or other execution venue for handling or execution where that initial order matches against interest resident at the other venue, then the ATS would not not [sic] . . . include such volume for reporting purposes.”

    19See Rule 4552(c).

    In addition to the reporting requirements under Rule 4552, the MPID Rules generally require that a member operating an ATS obtain for each such ATS a single, unique MPID that is designated for exclusive use for reporting each ATS's transactions.20 Members that operate multiple ATSs or engage in other lines of business requiring the use of MPIDs are required to obtain and use multiple MPIDs, and if a firm operates multiple ATSs, each ATS must have its own MPID. Firms are required to notify FINRA before changing the usage of the MPID in any way (e.g., repurposing an MPID from reflecting ATS activity to other trading activity at the firm). After an ATS is provided its MPID, any reporting by the ATS—either reporting trades to a FINRA TRF, the Alternative Display Facility, the OTC Reporting Facility, TRACE, or reporting orders to the Order Audit Trail System (“OATS”)—must include the MPID assigned to the particular ATS, and the member must use the separate MPID to report all transactions executed within the ATS to the appropriate reporting facility. Finally, the MPID Rules prohibit a member from using an MPID assigned to an ATS to report any transaction that is not executed within the ATS and require members to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that trades reported with a separate MPID obtained under the rules are restricted to trades executed within the ATS.

    20See Rule 6160 (Multiple MPIDs for Trade Reporting Facility Participants); Rule 6170 (Primary and Additional MPIDs for Alternative Display Facility Participants); Rule 6480 (Multiple MPIDs for Quoting and Trading in OTC Equity Securities). As noted above, an ATS is permitted to use two separate MPIDs if one MPID is used exclusively for reporting transactions to TRACE and the other MPID is used exclusively for reporting transactions to the equity trade reporting facilities. See Rule 6160(d); Rule 6170(e); Rule 6480(d).

    (ii) MPID Requirement Implementation and Evaluation

    Under FINRA's trade reporting rules, orders that are crossed by an ATS are reported to the appropriate FINRA trade reporting facility by the ATS.21 The MPID Requirement—which requires ATSs to use a single, unique MPID when reporting trades within the ATS to an equity trade reporting facility—became effective on February 2, 2015. Since that time, FINRA has been able to calculate the trading volume for ATSs, other than Exempt ATSs, through the trade reports submitted using the ATS's MPID. FINRA has been comparing the information repor