Federal Register Vol. 81, No.2,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 2 (January 5, 2016)

Page Range145-370
FR Document

81_FR_2
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 281 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 257 - Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards ConsiderationsPDF
81 FR 219 - Submission for OMB Review; Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 247 - Oklahoma; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 240 - Sunshine Act Meeting NoticePDF
81 FR 246 - Texas; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 246 - Idaho; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 248 - Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of a Computer Matching Program Between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)PDF
81 FR 239 - Notice of Request for Comments on Insurance ProgramsPDF
81 FR 247 - Federal Property Suitable as Facilities to Assist the HomelessPDF
81 FR 236 - Notice of Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Pesticide Registrations and Amend Registrations To Terminate Certain UsesPDF
81 FR 242 - Advisory Committee; Food Advisory Committee, RenewalPDF
81 FR 194 - Anchorage Regulations, Delaware River; Philadelphia, PAPDF
81 FR 228 - Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Port of Long Beach Deep Draft Navigation Project, Los Angeles County, CAPDF
81 FR 353 - Obstetrical and Gynecological Devices; Reclassification of Surgical Mesh for Transvaginal Pelvic Organ Prolapse RepairPDF
81 FR 223 - Aluminum Extrusions From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review and Notice of Amended Final Results Pursuant to Court DecisionPDF
81 FR 363 - Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Surgical Mesh for Transvaginal Pelvic Organ Prolapse RepairPDF
81 FR 220 - Magnesium Metal From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015PDF
81 FR 222 - Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From ThailandPDF
81 FR 220 - Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 20-Newport News, Virginia; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Canon Virginia, Inc.; Subzone 20D; (Toner Cartridges and Bottles) Newport News, VirginiaPDF
81 FR 290 - Membership in the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group Aviation Rulemaking CommitteePDF
81 FR 243 - Meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDSPDF
81 FR 242 - Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority HealthPDF
81 FR 214 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered Status for Five Species From American SamoaPDF
81 FR 183 - Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2015 Tribal Fishery Allocations for Pacific Whiting; Reapportionment Between Tribal and Non-Tribal SectorsPDF
81 FR 219 - Commerce Data Advisory CouncilPDF
81 FR 227 - Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Quantitative Assessment of Spatially-Explicit Social Values Relative to Wind Energy Areas: Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North CarolinaPDF
81 FR 228 - Orders Granting Authority To Import and Export Natural Gas, To Import and Export Liquefied Natural Gas, To Vacate Prior Authorization and Errata During November 2015PDF
81 FR 193 - Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel; Consideration of Negotiated Rulemaking ProcessPDF
81 FR 188 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch AmountsPDF
81 FR 252 - Habitat Conservation Plan for the Operation, Repair, Maintenance, and Replacement of State Water Pipeline and Facilities From the Polonio Pass Water Treatment Plant, San Luis Obispo County to Lake Cachuma, Santa Barbara County, CaliforniaPDF
81 FR 249 - Endangered Species Recovery Permit ApplicationsPDF
81 FR 184 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch AmountsPDF
81 FR 253 - Proposed Collection, Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 226 - Genome in a Bottle Consortium-Progress and Planning WorkshopPDF
81 FR 173 - Ballast Water Management Reporting and RecordkeepingPDF
81 FR 291 - Commercial Driver's License Standards: Application for Exemption; CRST Expedited (CRST)PDF
81 FR 290 - Rate for Assessment on Direct Payment of Fees to Representatives in 2016PDF
81 FR 292 - Notice and Request for CommentsPDF
81 FR 278 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 279 - New Postal ProductPDF
81 FR 239 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection Renewal; Comment Request (3064-0114)PDF
81 FR 235 - Combined Notice of FilingsPDF
81 FR 224 - National Conference on Weights and Measures 101st Interim MeetingPDF
81 FR 240 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Draft Guidance for Industry and Review Staff on Target Product Profile-A Strategic Development Process ToolPDF
81 FR 233 - Records Governing Off-the-Record Communications; Public NoticePDF
81 FR 230 - Proposed Agency Information CollectionPDF
81 FR 231 - C.P. Crane LLC; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective DatePDF
81 FR 231 - Delfin LNG, LLC; Notice of Scoping for the Proposed Delfin LNG Project and Request for Comments on Environmental IssuesPDF
81 FR 235 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
81 FR 234 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 256 - Determination of Rates and Terms for Public Broadcasting (PB III) 1PDF
81 FR 255 - Determination of Rates and Terms for Satellite Radio and “Preexisting” Subscription Services (SDARS III 1PDF
81 FR 255 - Determination of Rates and Terms for Making and Distributing Phonorecords (Phonorecords III)PDF
81 FR 279 - Product Change-Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 281 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending Its Price List To Modify Certain Fees for Executions at the ClosePDF
81 FR 288 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; C2 Options Exchange, Incorporated; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of a Proposed Rule Change To Amend the Fees SchedulePDF
81 FR 283 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; National Securities Clearing Corporation; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Adjust Fees Related to Automated Customer Account Transfer Service, Obligation Warehouse, Fund/SERV®, Insurance and Retirement Processing Services, and Alternative Investment Product ServicesPDF
81 FR 286 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Extend Single Name Backloading Incentive ProgramPDF
81 FR 280 - Product Change-Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, & First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 280 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 279 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 281 - Product Change-Priority Mail Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 215 - Fisheries Off West Coast States; Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1; Amendments to the Fishery Management Plans for Coastal Pelagic Species, Pacific Coast Groundfish, U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species, and Pacific Coast SalmonPDF
81 FR 280 - Product Change-First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service AgreementPDF
81 FR 150 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; New Cost Recovery Fee ProgramsPDF
81 FR 244 - National Cancer Institute: Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 194 - Dividend Equivalents From Sources Within the United States; Hearing CancellationPDF
81 FR 246 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 245 - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development: Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 244 - Center for Scientific Review: Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 245 - National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 239 - Notice of Agreements FiledPDF
81 FR 196 - Copayments for Medications Beginning January 1, 2017PDF
81 FR 191 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus HelicoptersPDF
81 FR 147 - Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation HelicoptersPDF
81 FR 145 - Airworthiness Directives; Piper Aircraft, Inc.PDF
81 FR 173 - Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile HandsetsPDF
81 FR 204 - Improvements to Benchmarks and Related Requirements Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile HandsetsPDF
81 FR 272 - Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations and Containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards InformationPDF
81 FR 295 - Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Texas and Oklahoma; Regional Haze State Implementation Plans; Interstate Visibility Transport State Implementation Plan to Address Pollution Affecting Visibility and Regional Haze; Federal Implementation Plan for Regional HazePDF

Issue

81 2 Tuesday, January 5, 2016 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Risk Management Agency

Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Ballast Water Management Reporting and Recordkeeping, 173 2015-33137 PROPOSED RULES Anchorage Regulations: Delaware River; Philadelphia, PA, 194-196 2015-33167 Commerce Commerce Department See

Economics and Statistics Administration

See

Foreign-Trade Zones Board

See

International Trade Administration

See

National Institute of Standards and Technology

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Copyright Royalty Board Copyright Royalty Board NOTICES Determination of Rates and Terms: Making and Distributing Phonorecords (Phonorecords III), 255-256 2015-33118 Public Broadcasting, 256-257 2015-33120 Satellite Radio and Preexisting Subscription Services, 255 2015-33119 Defense Department Defense Department See

Engineers Corps

Economics Statistics Economics and Statistics Administration NOTICES Meetings: Commerce Data Advisory Council, 219-220 2015-33154 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Authority To Import and Export Natural Gas, etc.: Pieridae Energy (USA) Ltd., et al., 228-230 2015-33151
Engineers Engineers Corps NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Port of Long Beach Deep Draft Navigation Project, Los Angeles County, CA, 228 2015-33166 Environmental Protection Environmental Protection Agency RULES Air Quality State Implementation Plans; Approvals and Promulgations: Texas and Oklahoma; Regional Haze State Implementation Plans; Interstate Visibility Transport State Implementation Plan to Address Pollution Affecting Visibility and Regional Haze; Federal Implementation Plan for Regional Haze, 296-352 2015-31904 NOTICES Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Pesticide Registrations and Amend Registrations To Terminate Certain Uses, 236-238 2015-33179 Federal Accounting Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board NOTICES Insurance Programs, 239 2015-33191 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Piper Aircraft, Inc., 145-147 2015-32907 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Helicopters, 147-150 2015-33013 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Helicopters, 191-193 2015-33014 NOTICES Requests for Nominations: National Parks Overflights Advisory Group Aviation Rulemaking Committee, 290-291 2015-33159 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets, 173-183 2015-32757 PROPOSED RULES Improvements to Benchmarks and Related Requirements Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets:, 204-214 2015-32756 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 239 2015-33131 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Major Disaster Declarations: Idaho, 246-247 2015-33199 Oklahoma, 247 2015-33204 Texas; Amendment No. 2, 246 2015-33200 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 230-231 2015-33125 Combined Filings, 234-236 2015-33121 2015-33122 2015-33129 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Delfin LNG Project, 231-233 2015-33123 Records Governing Off-the-Record Communications, 233-234 2015-33126 Refund Effective Dates: C.P. Crane, LLC, 231 2015-33124 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission NOTICES Agreements Filed, 239-240 2015-33083 Federal Mine Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 2015-33201 240 2015-33203 Federal Motor Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration NOTICES Commercial Driver's License Standards; Exemption Applications: CRST Expedited, 291-292 2015-33136 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service PROPOSED RULES Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Proposed Endangered Status for Five Species From American Samoa, 214-215 2015-33156 NOTICES Endangered Species Recovery Permit Applications, 249-251 2015-33146 Habitat Conservation Plans: Operation, Repair, Maintenance, and Replacement of State Water Pipeline and Facilities From the Polonio Pass Water Treatment Plant, San Luis Obispo County to Lake Cachuma, Santa Barbara County, CA, 252-253 2015-33148 Food and Drug Food and Drug Administration RULES Effective Date of Requirement for Premarket Approval for Surgical Mesh for Transvaginal Pelvic Organ Prolapse Repair, 364-370 2015-33163 Obstetrical and Gynecological Devices: Reclassification of Surgical Mesh for Transvaginal Pelvic Organ Prolapse Repair, 354-361 2015-33165 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Draft Guidance for Industry and Review Staff on Target Product Profile—A Strategic Development Process Tool, 240-242 2015-33127 Charter Renewals: Food Advisory Committee, 242 2015-33171 Foreign Trade Foreign-Trade Zones Board NOTICES Proposed Production Activities: Canon Virginia, Inc., Subzone 20D, Newport News, VA, 220 2015-33160 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Food and Drug Administration

See

National Institutes of Health

NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Minority Health, 242-243 2015-33157 Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, 243-244 2015-33158
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Federal Properties Suitable as Facilities To Assist the Homeless, 247 2015-33188 Privacy Act; Computer Matching Program, 248-249 2015-33195 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service PROPOSED RULES Dividend Equivalents From Sources Within the United States; Hearing Cancellation, 194 2015-33090 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Aluminum Extrusions From the People's Republic of China, 223-224 2015-33164 Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand, 222-223 2015-33161 Magnesium Metal From the People's Republic of China, 220-222 2015-33162 Labor Department Labor Department See

Labor Statistics Bureau

Labor Statistics Labor Statistics Bureau NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 253-255 2015-33142 2015-33143 Library Library of Congress See

Copyright Royalty Board

National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 292-293 2015-33134 National Institute National Institute of Standards and Technology NOTICES Meetings: Genome in a Bottle Consortium—Progress and Planning Workshop, 226-227 2015-33140 National Conference on Weights and Measures, 224-226 2015-33128 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Meetings: Center for Scientific Review, 244 2015-33085 Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 245-246 2015-33086 National Cancer Institute, 2015-33084 244-245 2015-33094 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 246 2015-33087 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RULES Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska: Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; New Cost Recovery Fee Programs, 150-173 2015-33096 Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts, 184-188 2015-33145 Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts, 188-190 2015-33149 Fisheries Off West Coast States: Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2015 Tribal Fishery Allocations for Pacific Whiting; Reapportionment Between Tribal and Non-Tribal Sectors, 183-184 2015-33155 PROPOSED RULES Fisheries Off West Coast States: Amendments to the Fishery Management Plans for Coastal Pelagic Species, Pacific Coast Groundfish, West Coast Highly Migratory Species, and Pacific Coast Salmon, 215-218 2015-33106 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Quantitative Assessment of Spatially-Explicit Social Values Relative to Wind Energy Areas—Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina, 227-228 2015-33152 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Facility Operating and Combined Licenses: Applications and Amendments Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations, etc., 2015-33260 257-278 2015-32363 Postal Regulatory Postal Regulatory Commission NOTICES New Postal Products, 2015-33132 278-279 2015-33133 Postal Service Postal Service NOTICES Product Changes: First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 280 2015-33099 Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 279 2015-33117 Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service Negotiated Service Agreement, 280-281 2015-33112 Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement, 279-281 2015-33100 2015-33101 2015-33102 2015-33103 2015-33104 2015-33107 2015-33109 2015-33110 2015-33111 Risk Risk Management Agency NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 219 2015-33205 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 281 2015-33314 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: C2 Options Exchange, Inc., 288-290 2015-33115 ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 286-287 2015-33113 National Securities Clearing Corp., 283-286 2015-33114 New York Stock Exchange, LLC, 281-283 2015-33116 Social Social Security Administration NOTICES Rate for Assessment on Direct Payment of Fees to Representatives in 2016, 290 2015-33135 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

PROPOSED RULES Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel, 193-194 2015-33150
Treasury Treasury Department See

Internal Revenue Service

Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Department PROPOSED RULES Copayments for Medications Beginning January 1, 2017, 196-204 2015-33052 Separate Parts In This Issue Part II Environmental Protection Agency, 296-352 2015-31904 Part III Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 354-361 2015-33165 Part IV Health and Human Services Department, Food and Drug Administration, 364-370 2015-33163 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 2 Tuesday, January 5, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-8311; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-039-AD; Amendment 39-18356; AD 2015-26-08] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Piper Aircraft, Inc. AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Piper Aircraft, Inc. Model PA-44-180 and PA-44-180T airplanes. This AD requires an inspection and, if necessary, modification of the emergency gear extension cable. This AD was prompted by a report of a misrouted emergency gear extension cable. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

DATES:

This AD is effective January 20, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of January 20, 2016.

We must receive comments on this AD by February 19, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods:

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

Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Piper Aircraft, Inc., Customer Service, 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32960; telephone: (877) 879-0275; fax: none; email: [email protected]; Internet: www.piper.com. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for locating Docket No. FAA-2015-4085.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-8311; or in person at the Docket Management Facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Hector Hernandez, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, Georgia 30337; telephone: (404) 474-5587; fax: (404) 474-5606; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

The FAA has received recent reports of misrouted emergency gear extension cables on Piper Models PA-44-180 and PA-44-180T airplanes. This condition spans many years beginning in 2007 where one of the airplanes experienced the left-side copilot rudder pedal snagging on the emergency landing gear extension cable during taxi maneuvers. Piper Modification Kit 884333 (Piper Service Bulletin No. 1188, dated April 14, 2008) provides the parts and instructions to reroute the cable away from the pedal for airplanes in service and a production change was made to duplicate the kit configuration.

In 2009, there was a quality escape on the production aircraft (after issuance of SB 1188), which was addressed with Piper Service Bulletin No. 1213, dated March 24, 2010. Recently, there has been another quality escape reported of the cable being routed incorrectly, resulting in the issuance of Piper Service Bulletin 1213A, dated October 23, 2015 to more fully address the incorrect routing of the emergency gear extension cables.

Although the incidents occurred on the ground, the airworthiness concern is the potential for this rudder restriction to occur in flight at high angles of rudder deflection.

The FAA believes that a majority of the airplanes have already incorporated Service Bulletin 1188 and Service Bulletin 1213. However, the only way to mandate its incorporation is through AD action. In addition, the FAA believes that a large percentage of the airplanes that were manufactured after SB 1213 was issued could have the emergency gear extension cable routed incorrectly because the P-clamp that secures the cable could be installed on the inboard bolt just as easily as the outboard bolt (the type design configuration).

Piper is establishing a very robust assembly/inspection procedure going forward to ensure that the quality escape issue does not reoccur. The FAA has determined that this condition can be addressed by requiring:

• The modification in Service Bulletin 1188 for all Models PA-44-180 and PA-44-180T airplanes manufactured prior to April 14, 2008 (the date of SB 1188); and

• The inspection of the emergency gear inspection cable for correct routing of all Model PA-44-180 airplanes manufactured after April 14, 2008 (the date of SB 1188) following SB 1213A, dated October 23, 2015.

This condition, if not corrected, could result in restriction of the rudder movement at high angles of rudder deflection with consequent loss of control. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1213A, dated October 23, 2015. The service information describes procedures for inspection of the routing and security of the emergency gear extension cable and, if necessary, instructions to reroute the emergency gear extension cable. Piper considers compliance with this service bulletin mandatory.

We reviewed Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1188, dated April 14, 2008. The service information describes procedures to reroute and restrain the emergency gear extension cable. Piper considers compliance with this service bulletin mandatory.

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

FAA's Determination

We are issuing this AD because we evaluated all the relevant information and determined the unsafe condition described previously is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.

AD Requirements

This AD requires accomplishing the actions specified in the service information described previously.

FAA's Justification and Determination of the Effective Date

An unsafe condition exists that requires the immediate adoption of this AD. The FAA has found that the risk to the flying public justifies waiving notice and comment prior to adoption of this rule because if the emergency gear extension cable is left routed incorrectly, it could allow the copilot's left rudder pedal to become entangled with the cable, resulting in a restriction of rudder movement at high angles of rudder deflection with consequent loss of control. Therefore, we find that notice and opportunity for prior public comment are impracticable and that good cause exists for making this amendment effective in less than 30 days.

Comments Invited

This AD is a final rule that involves requirements affecting flight safety and was not preceded by notice and an opportunity for public comment. However, we invite you to send any written data, views, or arguments about this AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include the docket number FAA-2015-8311 and Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-039-AD at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this AD because of those comments.

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

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 415 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We estimate the following costs to comply with this AD:

Estimated Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Cost on
  • U.S. operators
  • Inspect the emergency gear extension cable for proper routing .5 work-hour × $85 per hour = $42.50 Not applicable $42.50 (Estimated 35 airplanes) $1,487.75. Install Piper emergency gear extension modification kit 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 $21 $191 (Estimated 380 airplanes) $72,580.

    We estimate the following costs to do any necessary replacements that would be required based on the either the results of the inspection or other requirements. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need this replacement:

    On-Condition Costs Action Labor cost Parts cost Cost per
  • product
  • Reroute the emergency gear extension cable 2 work-hours × $85 per hour = $170 $21 $191

    According to the manufacturer, some of the costs of this AD may be covered under warranty, thereby reducing the cost impact on affected individuals. We do not control warranty coverage for affected individuals. As a result, we have included all costs in our cost estimate.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

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

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

    (3) Will not affect intrastate aviation in Alaska, and

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2015-26-08: Amendment 39-18356; Docket No. FAA-2015-8311; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-039-AD. (a) Effective Date

    This AD is effective January 20, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    None.

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to Piper Aircraft, Inc. Model PA-44-180 Seminole airplanes, serial numbers (S/Ns) 44-7995001 through 44-8195026, 4495001 through 4496377, 4496379, 4496380, and 4496384 through 4496386; and Piper Aircraft, Inc. Model PA-44-180T Seminole airplanes, S/Ns 44-8107001 through 44-8207020, certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Joint Aircraft System Component (JASC)/Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 2720, Rudder Control System.

    (e) Unsafe Condition

    This AD was prompted by a report of a misrouted emergency gear extension cable. We are issuing this AD to require an inspection and, if necessary, modification of the emergency gear extension cable. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

    (f) Compliance

    Comply with paragraphs (g)(1) through (g)(2) including all subparagraph's of this AD within the compliance times specified, unless already done.

    (g) Actions

    (1) For Piper Model PA-44-180 Seminole airplanes serial numbers (S/N) 4496245 through 4496377, 4496379, 4496380, and 4496384 through 4496386: Within 30 days after January 20, 2016 (the effective date of this AD), inspect the emergency gear extension cable for proper routing and appropriate attachment of the cable to the rudder pedal assembly following the Part 1 instructions in Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin (SB) No. 1213A, dated October 23, 2015.

    (i) If the inspection required in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD reveals a misrouted cable, before further flight, correct the emergency gear extension cable following the Part 2 instructions in Piper Aircraft, Inc. SB No. 1213A, dated October 23, 2015.

    (ii) If the inspection required in paragraph (g)(1) of this AD reveals a correct installation following the Part 1 instructions in Piper Aircraft, Inc. SB No. 1213A, dated October 23, 2015, no further action is required.

    (2) For Piper Model PA-44-180 Seminole airplanes SNs 44-7995001 through 44-8195026, 4495001 through 4496244; and Piper Model PA-44-180T Seminole airplanes, SNs 44-8107001 through 44-8207020: Within 30 days after January 20, 2016 (the effective date of this AD), install the Piper emergency gear extension cable modification kit, part number 88433-002, following the instructions in Piper Aircraft, Inc. SB No. 1188, dated April 14, 2008.

    (h) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Atlanta ACO, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. In accordance with 14 CFR 39.19, send your request to your principal inspector or local Flight Standards District Office, as appropriate. If sending information directly to the manager of the ACO, send it to the attention of the person identified in paragraph (k) of this AD.

    (2) Before using any approved AMOC, notify your appropriate principal inspector, or lacking a principal inspector, the manager of the local flight standards district office/certificate holding district office.

    (i) Related Information

    For more information about this AD, contact Hector Hernandez, Aerospace Engineer, FAA, Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, Georgia 30337; telephone: (404) 474-5587; fax: (404) 474-5606; email: [email protected].

    (j) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1188, dated April 14, 2008.

    (ii) Piper Aircraft, Inc. Service Bulletin No. 1213A, dated October 23, 2015.

    (3) For Piper Aircraft, Inc. service information identified in this AD, contact Piper Aircraft, Inc., Customer Service, 2926 Piper Drive, Vero Beach, Florida 32960; telephone: (877) 879-0275; fax: none; email: [email protected]; Internet: www.piper.com.

    (4) You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Small Airplane Directorate, 901 Locust, Kansas City, Missouri 64106. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (816) 329-4148.

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

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 23, 2015. Pat Mullen, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-32907 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2014-0335; Directorate Identifier 2013-SW-021-AD; Amendment 39-18358; AD 2015-26-10] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation Helicopters AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky) Model S-76A, S-76B, and S-76C helicopters. This AD requires inspecting the main gearbox (MGB) lower housing jet bores for leaks, paint or caulk blistering, and liner protrusion. This AD was prompted by several reports of MGB low oil pressure warnings which were determined to be the result of unsecured jet bore liners that had protruded. The actions are intended to prevent failure of the MGB from loss of oil, which could result in subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    DATES:

    This AD is effective February 9, 2016.

    The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain document listed in this AD as of February 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    For service information identified in this final rule, contact Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Customer Service Engineering, 124 Quarry Road, Trumbull, Connecticut 06611; telephone 1-800-Winged-S or 203-416-4299; email [email protected] You may review a copy of the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, Texas 76177.

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for or locating Docket No. FAA-2014-0335; or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this AD, any incorporated-by-reference service information, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations Office, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kirk Gustafson, Aviation Safety Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7190; email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Discussion

    On June 2, 2014, at 79 FR 31231, the Federal Register published our notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to Sikorsky Model S-76A, S-76B, and S-76C helicopters with a MGB installed that has undergone certain repairs. The NPRM proposed to require, within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), inspecting the MGB for leaks, paint or caulk blistering, and liner protrusion. If there is oil leakage or protrusion of a jet bore liner, the NPRM proposed to require replacing the MGB before further flight. The NPRM also proposed to require, within 1,500 hours TIS, replacing the MGB with an MGB that was not subject to the applicability of the NPRM unless it had been repaired in accordance with a later overhaul and repair procedure.

    The NPRM was prompted by four reports of protruding jet bore liners on Sikorsky S-76 helicopters with a MGB, part number (P/N) 76351-09000 series, 76351-09500 series, and 76351-09600 series. During an overhaul of the MGB, the jet bore liner retaining pins were not adequately drilled into the liner, allowing the jet bore liner to move in the housing, because the overhaul and repair instruction (ORI) did not adequately describe procedures and housing wall thickness limitations for installing the retaining pins. Movement of the jet bore liner into the housing allows oil to leak between the liner and the housing, possibly resulting in loss of oil in the MGB, which could result in failure of the MGB and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    At the time we issued the NPRM, we understood these repairs had been made in accordance with Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revisions A through E. However, the incident MGBs had only been repaired in accordance with Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision A or earlier. Sikorsky ORI 76350-065, Revisions B through F, resolve the unsafe condition by clarifying the retaining pin installation instructions. This AD now reflects that clarification.

    Comments

    After our NPRM (79 FR 31231, June 2, 2014) was published, we received comments from one commenter.

    Request

    Sikorsky stated the proposed requirement to overhaul the affected MGBs within 1,500 hours TIS is overly conservative because the daily visual inspection is adequate to ensure safety until the next overhaul period. Sikorsky further commented that the 1,500 hour compliance time would be burdensome to operators and not cost effective. When asked for additional information to support this comment, Sikorsky stated that its maintenance program has a major inspection, and not a MGB overhaul, every 1,500 hours. The major inspection does not require removal of the MGB. Overhaul of the MGB for Model S76A helicopters occurs every 3,250 hours and for Model S76B/C helicopters occurs every 3,750 hours.

    We agree. We intended the proposed requirement to provide a terminating action that coincides with overhaul of the MGB. We incorrectly understood the 1,500-hour major inspection involved removing the MGB from the helicopter. We agree that due to the gradual loss of oil, safety is maintained with the repetitive inspections until the MGB is replaced or overhauled when specified in the maintenance program. We have revised paragraph (e)(2) of this AD to require replacement of the MGB “within 3,750 hours TIS” instead of “within 1,500 hours TIS.”

    Sikorsky also commented that limiting acceptable repairs to those performed in accordance with Sikorksy ORI 76350-065 Revision F was unnecessary because Revision B and subsequent revisions provide installation details that are structurally equivalent to Revision F. When asked for additional information to support this comment, Sikorsky stated the changes in Revision B clarified the pin retention instructions sufficiently to resolve the oil leakage issue. Although Revision F provides for the installation of an additional pin, Sikorsky stated that this is not a significant change. Sikorsky confirmed that all reports of oil leakage involved repairs using the procedures in Revision A or earlier.

    We agree. We reexamined Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065 and its revisions and found Revisions B through F structurally equivalent with only minor changes and improvements. We have changed paragraphs (a) and (e) of this AD to reference the appropriate revisions of Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065.

    FAA's Determination

    We have reviewed the relevant information, considered the comments received, and determined that an unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of these same type designs and that air safety and the public interest require adopting the AD requirements as proposed with the changes described previously. These changes are consistent with the intent of the proposals in the NPRM (79 FR 31231, June 2, 2014), and will not increase the economic burden on any operator nor increase the scope of this AD.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    Sikorsky issued Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) 76-66-50, Basic Issue, dated January 14, 2013 (ASB 76-66-50) for Model S-76A, S-76B, and S-76C helicopters with an MGB P/N 76351-09000 series, 76351-09500 series, and 76351-09600 series, which have been repaired in accordance with ORI No. 76350-065 or ORI No. 76350-065, Revision A. ASB 76-66-50 describes procedures for inspecting each MGB lower housing jet bore for leaking oil, paint or caulk blistering, and liner protrusion. If there is any liner protrusion or leaking oil between the liner and the housing, the ASB requires replacing the MGB. If there is paint or caulk blistering, the ASB requires further inspecting for leaking oil by replacing the jet bore packing, performing a ground run of the main rotor for 30 minutes, and re-inspecting the jet bore for leaking oil.

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

    Other Related Service Information

    We also reviewed Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision B, dated June 10, 2011; Revision C, dated June 27, 2011; Revision D, dated January 20, 2012; Revision E, dated January 27, 2012; and Revision F, dated May 10, 2012. This service information describes procedures for repairing the retaining ring groove areas of the MGB jet bores and installing retaining pins in the jet bore liners.

    Differences Between This AD and the Service Information

    The ASB specifies compliance by a specific calendar date, while the compliance time in this AD is in hours TIS. The ASB does not specify a terminating action for the recurring inspections of the MGB jet bores; while this AD does specify a terminating action for the recurring inspections.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this AD affects 53 helicopters of U.S. Registry. We estimate that operators may incur the following costs in order to comply with this AD. At an average labor rate of $85 per work-hour, inspecting the jet bore liners requires about 1.1 work-hours, for a cost per helicopter of $94 and a total cost to US operators of $4,982 per inspection cycle. If required, repairing a jet bore liner requires about 14 work-hours, and required parts cost $200, for a cost per helicopter of $1,390. If required, replacing the MGB requires about 134 work-hours, and required parts cost $994,000, for a cost per helicopter of $1,005,390.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed above, I certify that this AD:

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

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

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

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

    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this AD and placed it in the AD docket.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    Adoption of the Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): 2015-26-10 Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (Sikorsky): Amendment 39-18358; Docket FAA-2014-0335; Directorate Identifier 2013-SW-021-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Sikorsky Model S-76A, S-76B, and S-76C helicopters with a main gearbox (MGB) part number (P/N) 76351-09000 series, 76351-09500 series, and 76351-09600 series installed that has been repaired in accordance with Sikorsky Overhaul and Repair Instruction (ORI) No. 76350-065, dated November 12, 1982 (ORI 76350-065), or ORI No. 76350-065, Revision A, dated September 21, 1984 (ORI 76350-065A), certificated in any category.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as an unsecured MGB lower housing jet bore liner. This condition may cause the liner to move out of place, allowing oil to leak from the MGB, resulting in MGB failure and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    (c) Effective Date

    This AD becomes effective February 9, 2016.

    (d) Compliance

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

    (e) Required Actions

    (1) Within 50 hours time-in-service (TIS), and thereafter at intervals not to exceed 6 hours TIS, inspect each MGB lower housing jet bore (jet bore), as depicted in Figures 3 and 4 of Sikorsky S-76 Alert Service Bulletin 76-66-50, Basic Issue, dated January 14, 2013 (ASB 76-66-50), for liner protrusion or movement, paint or caulk blistering, or oil leakage.

    (i) If there is any liner protrusion or movement, before further flight, replace the MGB with an MGB that has not been repaired in accordance with ORI 76350-065 or ORI 76350-065A, unless it has been subsequently repaired in accordance with Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision B, dated June 10, 2011 (ORI 76350-065B); Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision C, dated June 27, 2011 (ORI 76350-065C); Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision D, dated January 20, 2012 (ORI 76350-065D); Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision E, dated January 27, 2012 (ORI 76350-065E); or Sikorsky ORI No. 76350-065, Revision F, dated May 10, 2012 (ORI 76350-065F).

    (ii) If there is any oil leakage or paint or caulk blistering, inspect the jet bore for liner protrusion and perform a leakage check by following the Accomplishment Instructions, Paragraphs 3.C.(1) through 3.C.(6)(a), of ASB 76-66-50.

    (iii) If any moisture or droplets of MGB oil are visible on a jet bore after accomplishing the leakage check specified in paragraph 3.C.(6)(a) of ASB 76-66-50, repeat paragraphs 3.C(4) through 3.C(6) of ASB 76-66-50. If any moisture or droplets of MGB oil are still visible, before further flight, replace the MGB with an MGB that has not been repaired in accordance with ORI 76350-065 or ORI 76350-065A, unless it has been subsequently repaired in accordance with ORI 76350-065B, ORI 76350-065C, ORI 76350-065D, ORI 76350-065E, or ORI 76350-065F.

    (2) Within 3,750 hours TIS, replace the MGB with an MGB that has not been repaired in accordance with ORI 76350-065 or ORI 76350-065A, unless it has been subsequently repaired in accordance with ORI 76350-065B, ORI 76350-065C, ORI 76350-065D, ORI 76350-065E, or ORI 76350-065F. This is terminating action for the repetitive inspections required by this AD.

    (f) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Kirk Gustafson, Aviation Safety Engineer, Boston Aircraft Certification Office, Engine & Propeller Directorate, 12 New England Executive Park, Burlington, Massachusetts 01803; telephone (781) 238-7190; email [email protected]

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

    (g) Additional Information

    Sikorsky Overhaul and Repair Instruction No. 76350-065, dated November 12, 1982; Revision A, dated September 21, 1984; Revision B, dated June 10, 2011; Revision C, dated June 27, 2011; Revision D, dated January 20, 2012; Revision E, dated January 27, 2012; and Revision F, dated May 10, 2012, which are not incorporated by reference, contain additional information about the subject of this AD. You may review a copy of this service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, Texas 76177.

    (h) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 6320, Main Rotor Gearbox.

    (i) Material Incorporated by Reference

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

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

    (i) Sikorsky S-76 Alert Service Bulletin 76-66-50, Basic Issue, dated January 14, 2013.

    (ii) Reserved.

    (3) For Sikorsky service information identified in this final rule, contact Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Customer Service Engineering, 124 Quarry Road, Trumbull, Connecticut 06611; telephone 1-800-Winged-S or 203-416-4299; email [email protected]

    (4) You may view this service information at FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, Texas 76177. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call (817) 222-5110.

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

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 23, 2015. John Hardie, Acting Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33013 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 15 CFR Part 902 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140304192-5999-02] RIN 0648-BE05 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area; New Cost Recovery Fee Programs AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS publishes regulations to implement cost recovery fee programs for the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program for groundfish and halibut, and three limited access privilege programs: The American Fisheries Act (AFA), Aleutian Islands Pollock, and Amendment 80 Programs. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) authorizes and requires the collection of cost recovery fees for the CDQ Program and limited access privilege programs. Cost recovery fees recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the programs. The Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates that cost recovery fees not exceed 3 percent of the annual ex-vessel value of fish harvested by a program subject to a cost recovery fee. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP), and other applicable laws.

    DATES:

    Effective February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Electronic copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (the Analysis) and the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this action may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection of information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted by mail to NMFS, Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; in person at NMFS, Alaska Region, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; or by email to [email protected] or fax to (202) 395-5806.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Glenn Merrill, (907) 586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the Federal exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) under the FMP. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMP under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing this FMP appear at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679.

    The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and NMFS manage fishing for Pacific halibut through regulations established under the authority of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982 (Halibut Act). The IPHC promulgates regulations governing the halibut fishery under the Convention between the United States and Canada for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea (Convention). The IPHC's regulations are subject to approval by the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary). NMFS publishes the IPHC's regulations as annual management measures pursuant to 50 CFR 300.62. The Halibut Act, at sections 773c(a) and (b), provides the Secretary with general responsibility to carry out the Convention and the Halibut Act.

    Statutory Authority

    The primary statutory authority for this action is section 304(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Section 304(d)(2)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act specifies that the Secretary is authorized and shall collect a fee to recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of any limited access privilege (LAP) program and community development quota (CDQ) program that allocates a percentage of the total allowable catch (TAC) of a fishery to such program. Section 304(d)(2)(B) specifies that such fee shall not exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of fish harvested under any such program.

    Section 304(d)(2)(A)(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act authorizes and requires the Secretary to collect fees to recover costs from any LAP program. Section 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act defines a “limited access privilege” as including “an individual fishing quota.” Section 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act defines “individual fishing quota” as “a Federal permit under a limited access system to harvest a quantity of fish, expressed by a unit or units representing a percentage of the total allowable catch of a fishery that may be received or held for exclusive use by a person. Such term does not include community development quotas as described in section 305(i).” The Magnuson-Stevens Act and Federal regulations further define the terms “permit,” “limited access system,” “total allowable catch,” and “person.” These terms will be discussed in detail below.

    Section 304(d)(2)(A)(ii) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act authorizes and requires the Secretary to collect fees to recover costs from the CDQ Program for fisheries in which a percentage of the TAC of a fishery is allocated to the CDQ Program. Section 305(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act authorizes the CDQ Program and specifies the annual percentage of the TAC allocated to the CDQ Program in each directed fishery of the BSAI. Section 305(i) also specifies the method for further apportioning the TAC allocated to the CDQ Program to specific entities, called CDQ groups. NMFS previously implemented cost recovery fees for the amount of BSAI crab fishery TACs allocated to the CDQ Program under regulations implementing the Crab Rationalization Program (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005, see regulations at § 680.44) under the authority of section 304(d)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This final rule implements cost recovery fees under the authority of section 304(d)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act for BSAI groundfish and halibut TACs allocated to the CDQ Program.

    A more detailed description of the statutory authority can be found in the preamble of the proposed rule (80 FR 936, January 7, 2015), as well as in Section 1.1 of the Analysis prepared for this action.

    Cost Recovery Fee Programs

    Cost recovery is the process by which NMFS recovers the actual costs associated with the management, data collection, and enforcement (also referred to as program costs) of a LAP or CDQ program. NMFS determines the costs based on the costs described in section 304(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, consistent with NOAA policy on cost recovery. LAP and CDQ Program costs are recovered annually through a fee paid by persons who hold a permit granting an exclusive harvesting privilege for a portion of the TAC in a fishery subject to cost recovery.

    The cost recovery fees assessed cannot exceed the statutory limitation of 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of the fish subject to a cost recovery fee as specified in section 304(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Section 1.8 of the Analysis and the preamble to this proposed rule (80 FR 936, January 7, 2015) contain additional information on the costs that are subject to a cost recovery fee and current NOAA policy on the collection of cost recovery fees.

    With this final rule, NMFS is implementing cost recovery fee programs for the AFA, Aleutian Islands Pollock, and Amendment 80 LAP Programs, and the CDQ Program. An effective cost recovery fee program requires calculating species ex-vessel values, using a standardized methodology to assess Program costs, assigning the appropriate fee to each person holding a permit, and ensuring that fees are submitted in full and on time. Below is a summary of the primary components of each cost recovery fee program (Tables 1 through 4). Each of these components is discussed in detail in the preamble to the proposed rule (80 FR 936, January 7, 2015), as well as the Analysis prepared for this action.

    Cost Recovery Fees

    Each calendar year, NMFS will determine the cost recovery fee that each Program must pay. The cost recovery fee for each Program will be based on costs incurred during the previous Federal fiscal year (from October 1 of the previous calendar year through September 30 of the current calendar year), and the ex-vessel value of the fish that are subject to a cost recovery fee during the current calendar year (from January 1 through December 31). The incurred costs that can be recovered under a cost recovery program are described in Section 1.8.3 of the Analysis and the preamble to the proposed rule.

    NMFS will calculate cost recovery fees only for fish that are landed and deducted from the TAC in the fisheries subject to cost recovery under the action. NMFS will not calculate cost recovery fees for any portion of a permit holder's exclusive harvest privilege that was not landed and deducted from the TAC. The permit holder refers to the person who holds the exclusive harvest privilege in the specific fishery. These methods for assessing cost recovery fees on landed catch and the designation of the permit holder are consistent with the cost recovery fee programs already implemented and NOAA policy guidance.

    NMFS will calculate the cost recovery fee as a percentage of the ex-vessel value of allocated fish species harvested by the participants in each program. The use of a standard ex-vessel price will provide a consistent methodology to assess fees on all fishery participants and reduce administrative costs that would be incurred by collecting ex-vessel data from each fishery participant. The methods used to determine a standard ex-vessel price vary depending on the specific program subject to a cost recovery fee. NMFS will use existing data sources to determine a standard ex-vessel price for pollock (the Commercial Operators Annual Report), and halibut and sablefish (IFQ Buyer Report). NMFS will require a new report from processors who receive Pacific cod to determine a standard ex-vessel price for Pacific cod (Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report). NMFS will also require a new report from Amendment 80 vessel operators to determine standard ex-vessel prices from a range of other species subject to cost recovery (First Wholesale Volume and Value Report). These two new volume and value reports are due by November 10 of each year.

    NMFS will determine a cost recovery fee percentage applicable to the species subject to cost recovery for each LAP and the CDQ Program. The cost recovery fee percentage is the percentage of the ex-vessel value of species used to determine a cost recovery fee that must be paid to NMFS. NMFS will publish the cost recovery fee percentage for each program in a Federal Register notice each year by December 1. NMFS will also send a fee liability notice to each designated representative of the person liable for a cost recovery fee by December 1 of each year. The cost recovery fee liability notice will include the total estimated fees due to NMFS from the person liable for the fee for that calendar year. The cost recovery fee will be due by December 31 of each year.

    For the first year of fee collection, NMFS will begin assessing costs for these cost recovery programs starting on the effective date of this final rule. The costs assessed under the first year of cost recovery fee program will be based on costs incurred by NMFS from the final rule effective date through September 30, 2016. NMFS will base the ex-vessel value of the fish used to determine the cost recovery fee on actual and estimated harvests from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016. NMFS will publish the cost recovery fee percentage for each Program in a Federal Register notice by December 1, 2016. NMFS will send each designated representative a fee liability notice by December 1, 2016. The cost recovery fee will be due on December 31, 2016.

    Additional detail on how NMFS will calculate ex-vessel values, cost recovery fees, and the fee schedule is provided in Sections 1.7 and 1.10 of the Analysis and the preamble to the proposed rule (80 FR 936, January 7, 2015) and is not repeated here.

    AFA Cost Recovery Fee Program

    The Bering Sea pollock fishery is managed under the American Fisheries Act (AFA) (16 U.S.C. 1851 note) and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The AFA limits entry by vessels and processors into all sectors of the pollock fishery by identifying the vessels and processors eligible to participate in the fishery and allocating pollock among those eligible participants. The AFA defines the various sectors of the Bering Sea pollock fishery, determines what vessels and processors are eligible to participate in each sector, establishes allocations of Bering Sea pollock total TAC to each sector as directed fishing allowances, and establishes excessive share limits for harvesting pollock. The provisions of the AFA were incorporated into the FMP and its implementing regulations under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The AFA cost recovery fee program will apply to participants in the AFA pollock fishery.

    As required by section 206(b) of the AFA, NMFS allocates a specified percentage of the Bering Sea directed pollock fishery TAC to each of the three AFA fishery sectors: (1) 50 percent to catcher vessels delivering to inshore processors, called the “inshore sector”; (2) 40 percent to catcher/processors and catcher vessels delivering to those catcher/processors, called the “catcher/processor sector”; and (3) 10 percent to catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by motherships, called the “mothership sector.”

    Section 208 of the AFA specifies the vessels and processors that are eligible to participate in the inshore sector, the catcher/processor sector, and the mothership sector. Section 210 of the AFA authorizes the formation of fishery cooperatives in all sectors of the Bering Sea pollock fishery and provides flexibility to the Council and NMFS to govern the formation and operation of fishery cooperatives.

    Under section 210(b), the AFA establishes additional qualifying criteria and operational restrictions on the formation and operation of cooperatives for the inshore sector. The AFA establishes a specific formula for making allocations of pollock to qualified inshore cooperatives. A catcher vessel with an AFA inshore endorsement may join an AFA inshore cooperative associated with an AFA inshore processor (AFA section 210(b); 50 CFR 679.4(l)(6)). For 2015, seven inshore cooperatives were formed by AFA eligible inshore catcher vessels and their partner inshore processors (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/afa/15bsaicoopallocations.pdf). Each inshore cooperative will be responsible for the payment of that cooperative's fee.

    The catcher/processor sector has formed two cooperatives for managing the exclusive harvest allocation mandated for the catcher/processor sector under section 206(b) of the AFA—one cooperative for the catcher/processors and one cooperative for the catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by catcher/processors. These two cooperatives are associated through a joint agreement called the “Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative” to facilitate efficient harvest management and accurate harvest accounting between the participants in the catcher/processor sector. These two cooperatives jointly submit an annual cooperative report to the Council (see Cooperative Reports, NMFS Alaska Region Web site, http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/afa/afa_sf.htm). The catcher/processor sector also formed one entity to represent the catcher/processor sector for the purposes of receiving and managing their transferable Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) allocation under a program to minimize Chinook salmon bycatch in the pollock fishery (see the final rule implementing Amendment 91 to the FMP, 75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010). This entity will be responsible for submitting the payment of the AFA catcher/processor fee under this rule.

    All participants that harvest pollock allocated to the catcher/processor sector are members of the two cooperatives, except for one participant. Section 208(e)(21) of the AFA expressly limits the amount of harvest by the one participant in the catcher/processor sector who is not a member of a cooperative to 0.5 percent of the TAC apportioned to the catcher/processor sector, thereby providing an exclusive harvest privilege to all catcher/processor cooperative members. The participant that is not a member of a cooperative will not be subject to a cost recovery fee for its harvest of Bering Sea pollock under this rule because that vessel is not given an explicit allocation of pollock and is already subject to cost recovery fees under the Amendment 80 Program. Section 1.5.3 of the Analysis provides additional detail on allocations to the AFA catcher/processor sector.

    The owners of all 19 catcher vessels eligible to deliver to a mothership in the Bering Sea pollock fishery have joined a single cooperative under section 208(c) of the AFA to coordinate harvests, the AFA Mothership Fleet Cooperative. This cooperative harvests the exclusive pollock allocation mandated for the mothership sector under section 206(b) of the AFA. The AFA Mothership Fleet Cooperative will be responsible for the payment of the AFA mothership cooperative fee.

    NMFS recognizes that each AFA sector has slightly different management costs. This final rule establishes that NMFS will calculate fee percentage and fee liability separately for the catcher/processor sector, mothership sector, and inshore sector. NMFS estimates that annual fee liabilities for each sector will range from 0.23 percent to 0.72 percent of the ex-vessel value of Bering Sea pollock.

    Table 1—Summary of the AFA Cost Recovery Fee Program Elements What species are subject to a cost recovery fee? Bering Sea pollock. How is the standard price determined? NMFS will calculate a standard price based on data from the Commercial Operators Annual Report (COAR) from the previous calendar year. Are there any additional reporting requirements for AFA cooperatives to determine the standard price? No. How will NMFS determine the Standard Ex-vessel Value? NMFS will add total reported landings of Bering Sea pollock from January 1 through November 30, and estimate total landings in each year (beginning in 2016) from December 1 through December 31, if any, for each AFA cooperative or sector and multiply that amount by the standard price determined by COAR data to calculate a standard ex-vessel value for each AFA cooperative or sector. Who is responsible for submission of the fee payment and (how many cooperatives are estimated to receive a fee liability notice)? AFA Catcher/Processor Sector (1): The designated entity representative for the catcher/processor sector under § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C).
  • AFA Mothership Sector (1): The designated representative for the AFA Mothership Fleet Cooperative.
  • AFA Inshore Sector (7): The designated representative on each AFA Inshore Catcher Vessel Cooperative Permit application.
  • When are the standard prices published in the Federal Register and when are the fee liability notices sent? The standard prices are published in the Federal Register by December 1 of each calendar year, and the fee liability notices will be sent to each designated representative by December 1 of each year (beginning December 1, 2016). When are fee payments due and how are they submitted? Fee payments are due by December 31 of each year (beginning December 31, 2016), and must be submitted online. Submittal forms are available online at: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    Aleutian Islands Pollock Cost Recovery Fee Program

    This cost recovery fee program will apply to participants in the Aleutian Islands pollock fishery. The Aleutian Islands Pollock Program allocates the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery TAC to the Aleut Corporation, consistent with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-109), and its implementing regulations. Annually, prior to the start of the pollock season, the Aleut Corporation provides NMFS with the identity of their designated representative. This person will be responsible for the submission of all cost recovery fees. The Aleutian Islands pollock fishing regulations are at § 679.20(a)(5)(iii).

    Prior to 2015, Aleutian Islands pollock was not harvested due to restrictions imposed by Steller sea lion protection measures. Therefore, prior to 2015, NMFS reallocated the Aleutian Islands pollock allocation to the AFA Program in the Bering Sea. Changes in Steller sea lion protection measures effective in 2015 allow for a directed pollock fishery to occur in the Aleutian Islands (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014). However, NMFS does not know whether participants will be able to successfully harvest the Aleutian Islands pollock because there has not been an Aleutian Islands pollock fishery since 1999. NMFS will reallocate any Aleutian Islands pollock not harvested in the Aleutian Islands to the AFA Program in the Bering Sea. Any pollock that NMFS reallocates from the Aleutian Islands Pollock Program to the AFA Program will be subject to cost recovery fees under the provisions of the AFA Program.

    NMFS estimates that the cost recovery fee percentage applicable to Aleutian Islands pollock will be the same percentage applicable to Bering Sea pollock harvested by the AFA Program (Section 1.8.6.5 of the Analysis). Based on the information in the Analysis, NMFS assumes that the Aleutian Islands Pollock and the AFA Programs have similar management costs and ex-vessel values. NMFS will assess and determine a fee percentage specifically for Aleutian Islands pollock if management requirements differ between the Aleutian Islands Pollock Program and the AFA Program. Estimates of recoverable costs will be determined once additional information on the management costs for the Aleutian Islands pollock fishery is available.

    Table 2—Summary of the Aleutian Islands Pollock Cost Recovery Fee Program Elements What species are subject to a cost recovery fee? Aleutian Islands pollock. How is the standard price determined? NMFS will calculate a standard price based on data from the COAR from the previous calendar year. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year. Are there any additional reporting requirements for the Aleut Corporation to determine the standard price? No. How will NMFS determine the Standard Ex-vessel Value? NMFS will add total reported landings of Aleutian Islands pollock from January 1 through November 30, and estimate total landings in each year (beginning in 2016) from December 1 through December 31, if any, and multiply that amount by the standard price determined by COAR data to calculate a standard ex-vessel value for the Aleut Corporation. Who is responsible for fee payment and (how many cooperatives are estimated to receive a fee liability notice)? Aleut Corporation (1). When are the standard prices published in the Federal Register and when are fee liability notices sent? The standard prices are published in the Federal Register by December 1 of each calendar year, and the fee liability notices will be sent to each designated representative by December 1 of each year (beginning December 1, 2016). When are fee payments due and how are they submitted? Fee payments are due by December 31 of each year (beginning December 31, 2016), and must be submitted online. Submittal forms are available online at: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Amendment 80 Cost Recovery Fee Program

    This cost recovery fee program will apply to participants in the Amendment 80 fisheries. The Amendment 80 Program allocates groundfish fisheries TAC, other than Bering Sea pollock, to identified trawl catcher/processors in the BSAI. The Amendment 80 Program allocates a portion of the BSAI TACs of six species: Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, flathead sole, rock sole, yellowfin sole, and Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch. Amendment 80 vessel owners can harvest these species in cooperatives that receive an exclusive harvest privilege, or in an “open access” fishery that will not be subject to a cost recovery fee requirement.

    All 27 vessels currently participating in the Amendment 80 Program and their vessel owners are members of cooperatives and are subject to a cost recovery fee. Each Amendment 80 cooperative is responsible for payment of any cost recovery fee, and each Amendment 80 cooperative will designate a person responsible for submitting its fee and provide NMFS with the identity of that person. NMFS estimates that annual fee liabilities for Amendment 80 cooperatives will range from 1.22 to 1.77 percent of the ex-vessel value of allocated species (Section 1.8.4.6 of the Analysis).

    Table 3—Summary of the Amendment 80 Cost Recovery Fee Program Elements What species are subject to a cost recovery fee? Amendment 80 species: BSAI Atka mackerel, BSAI flathead sole, BSAI Pacific cod, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, BSAI rock sole, and BSAI yellowfin sole. How is the standard price determined? NMFS will calculate a standard price for BSAI Pacific cod based on data from the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year. NMFS will calculate a standard price for all other species other than Pacific cod from the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year, except for BSAI rock sole. For BSAI rock sole, NMFS will calculate one standard price for landings made from January 1 through March 31, and a separate standard price for landings made from April 1 through December 31 of each year. Are there any additional reporting requirements to determine the standard price? Yes. Each Amendment 80 vessel owner that lands Amendment 80 species during a calendar year is required to submit a First Wholesale Volume and Value Report. How will NMFS determine the Standard Ex-vessel Value? NMFS will add total reported landings of Amendment 80 species from January 1 through November 30, and estimate total landings in each year (beginning in 2016) from December 1 through December 31, if any, and multiply that amount by the standard price determined by the applicable volume and value report to calculate a standard ex-vessel value for each Amendment 80 cooperative. Who is responsible for fee payment and (how many cooperatives are estimated to receive a fee liability notice)? Each Amendment 80 cooperative's designated representative listed on the Cooperative Quota (CQ) application (2). When are the standard prices published in the Federal Register, and when are fee liability notices sent? The standard prices are published in the Federal Register by December 1 of each calendar year, and the fee liability notices will be sent to each designated representative by December 1 of each year (beginning December 1, 2016). When are fee payments due and how are they submitted? Fee payments are due by December 31 of each year (beginning December 31 2016), and must be submitted online. Submittal forms are available online at: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. CDQ Cost Recovery Fee Program

    This cost recovery fee program will apply to CDQ groups. The CDQ Program was implemented in 1992 to provide access to BSAI fishery resources to villages located in Western Alaska. Since the implementation of the CDQ Program, Congress has amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act to define specific provisions of the CDQ Program. Section 305(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act identifies 65 villages eligible to participate in the CDQ Program and the six CDQ groups to represent these villages. CDQ groups receive exclusive harvesting privileges of the TACs for a broad range of crab species, groundfish species, and halibut. This final rule establishes a cost recovery fee program only for groundfish and halibut because CDQ crab cost recovery fees are already collected under existing regulations. Each CDQ group will be subject to cost recovery fee requirements, and the designated representative of each CDQ group will be responsible for submitting payment for its CDQ group. This is consistent with the method NMFS uses to collect fees for the crab CDQ cost recovery program. NMFS estimates that annual fee liabilities for a CDQ group will range from 0.73 to 1.33 percent of the harvested ex-vessel value of CDQ groundfish and halibut.

    Table 4—Summary of the CDQ Cost Recovery Fee Program Elements What species are subject to a cost recovery fee? BSAI halibut and groundfish species allocated to the CDQ Program: BSAI Arrowtooth Flounder, BSAI Atka mackerel, BSAI flathead sole, Bering Sea Greenland turbot, BSAI Pacific cod, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, BSAI pollock, BSAI rock sole, BSAI sablefish, and BSAI yellowfin sole. How is the standard price determined? NMFS will calculate a standard price for BSAI Pacific cod based on data from the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year. NMFS will calculate a standard price for all other species other than BSAI pollock, BSAI Pacific cod, BSAI sablefish, and BSAI halibut from the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year, except for BSAI rock sole. For BSAI rock sole, NMFS will calculate one standard price for landings made from January 1 through March 31, and a separate standard price for landings made from April 1 through December 31 of each year. NMFS will calculate a standard price for BSAI pollock based on data from the COAR from the previous calendar year. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year. NMFS will calculate a standard price for BSAI sablefish and BSAI halibut from the IFQ Buyer Report. The standard price will be applied to all landings during a calendar year. Are there any additional reporting requirements from CDQ groups to determine the standard price? No. How will NMFS determine the Standard Ex-vessel Value? NMFS will add total reported landings of species subject to a CDQ cost recovery fee from January 1 through November 30, and estimate total landings in each year (beginning in 2016) from December 1 through December 31, if any, and multiply that amount by the standard price determined by the volume and value report, COAR Report, or IFQ Buyer Report applicable to that species to calculate a standard ex-vessel value for each CDQ group. Who is responsible for fee payment and (how many cooperatives are estimated to receive a fee liability notice)? Each CDQ group's designated representative (6). When are the standard prices published in the Federal Register and when are the fee liability notices sent? The standard prices are published in the Federal Register by December 1 of each calendar year, and the fee liability notices will be sent to each designated representative by December 1 of each year (beginning December 1, 2016). When are fee payments due and how are they submitted? Fee payments are due by December 31 of each year (beginning December 31, 2016), and must be submitted online. Submittal forms are available online at: http://www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Response to Comments

    NMFS published a proposed rule that describes in detail the statutory authority to implement cost recovery fee programs, the Programs affected by the implementation of a cost recovery fee program, and how NMFS will implement the new cost recovery fee programs, in the Federal Register on January 7, 2015 (80 FR 936). The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule ended February 6, 2015. NMFS received a total of three comment letters from three unique persons representing participants in programs that are subject to cost recovery under this final rule. The comment letters contained 24 substantive comments. A summary of the comments received and NMFS' responses follow.

    Comments on NMFS' Costs Subject to Recovery

    Comment 1: NMFS received several comments regarding the process for calculating costs subject to cost recovery. The issues raised in the comments include the following:

    • Base fee liabilities on the incremental costs associated with management and enforcement of the specific LAP or CDQ Program.

    • Do not assess costs attributed to the general management of the fisheries that cannot be directly attributed to the specific LAP or CDQ Program.

    • Appropriately apportion costs among LAP and CDQ programs to ensure that costs applicable to one program are not attributed to another program.

    • Do not include costs associated with deploying and debriefing observers in the cost recovery fee calculations since observer deployment and debriefing would have been implemented without the implementation of the LAP or CDQ programs.

    • Provide detailed cost breakouts for each LAP and CDQ Program.

    Response: Section 304(d)(2)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act states that the Secretary is authorized and shall collect a fee to recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of any limited access privilege program and community development quota program that allocates a percentage of the total allowable catch of a fishery to such program.

    As stated in the preamble to the proposed rule, NMFS intends to employ the same accounting methods for the cost recovery fee programs established by this rule as NMFS has consistently used in cost recovery fee programs in the Alaska Region (Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program, Crab Rationalization Program, and the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program). This methodology to assess cost recovery fees is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and current NOAA policy (NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-86, November 2007). The costs described in Section 1.8.3 of the Analysis and the preamble to the proposed rule provide the best available description of the costs subject to cost recovery for each LAP program and the CDQ Program. As explained in in Section 1.8.3 of the Analysis, NMFS will only assess costs that can be directly attributed to the specific LAP or CDQ Program.

    NMFS agrees that costs should be accurately attributed to each CDQ and LAP program. As noted in the preamble to the proposed rule, NMFS will capture the incremental costs of managing the fisheries of each CDQ or LAP program through an established accounting system that allows NMFS to track labor, travel, and procurement specific to that program. This process is described in Section 1.8.3 of the Analysis. This accounting system will allow NMFS to properly apportion costs among the CDQ and LAP programs.

    NMFS agrees that certain categories of observer costs should not be included in the fee calculation. For example, many catcher/processors operating in the directed pollock and non-pollock fisheries in the BSAI were required to carry an observer prior to the implementation of the AFA or the Amendment 80 Programs. Costs associated with the debriefing and training of one observer will not be assessed or included in the fee calculation. However, NMFS required additional observer coverage for implementation of the AFA and the Amendment 80 Programs (Section 1.8 of the Analysis). These LAP programs required the deployment of two observers on board each AFA catcher/processor or Amendment 80 vessel. NMFS will assess fees for costs necessary to debrief and train the second observer because those costs are incurred as a direct result of the implementation of those LAP programs.

    NMFS agrees that information on the costs used to determine the fee should be disclosed annually. NMFS will make publically available an annual report that provides information on how the cost recovery fee was estimated for that year. This report will be structured like the cost recovery fee reports that are currently generated for the Halibut and Sablefish IFQ Program and Crab Rationalization Program. An example of the Halibut and Sablefish Cost Recovery Fee report for 2013 is available at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/ram/fees/feerpt2013.pdf.

    Comment 2: The cost recovery regulations should be revised to more clearly incorporate the Magnuson-Stevens Act's limitations on costs that may be recovered. To focus on truly recoverable costs, revise the regulations to incorporate the definition of “direct program costs” provided under the cost recovery rule established for certain Pacific Coast groundfish fisheries (78 FR 75269, December 11, 2013).

    Response: This final rule already incorporates the section 304(d)(2)(B) Magnuson-Stevens Act limitation on the costs that may be recovered and clearly states that the fee percentage amount must not exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of the species harvested under the Program. In this final rule at § 679.2, the definition of the fee percentage for each program limits the fee percentage to no greater than 3 percent. Additionally, the cost recovery regulations specific to each program state that the fee amounts must not exceed 3 percent, see this final rule at §§ 679.33(c)(1), 679.66(c)(1), 679.67(c)(1), and 679.95(c)(1).

    NMFS' recoverable costs are limited by the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Section 304(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act states that the recoverable costs must be the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the CDQ or LAP programs. NMFS will use the accounting methods that have been developed for all other cost recovery programs in the North Pacific to determine the “direct program costs” that are recoverable, as described in the preamble to the proposed rule. NMFS made no changes to this final rule at §§ 679.33(c)(2)(ii), 679.66(c)(2)(ii), 679.67(c)(2)(ii), or 679.95(c)(2)(ii) because the direct program cost language is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, regulations implementing the other North Pacific cost recovery fee programs, and NOAA policy.

    Comment 3: Explain the cause of the rapid increase in the Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program cost recovery fee to 3 percent of its ex-vessel value. Ensure that a similar rapid and unanticipated increase in the fee percentage will not happen to the cost recovery fees for these CDQ and LAP programs.

    Response: The preamble to the final rule that implemented the Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program (Amendment 88 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska) stated that, given the relatively small value of the Rockfish Program relative to anticipated administrative costs, cost would likely exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of the Rockfish Program, therefore, it would be likely that the costs recovery fee for the Rockfish Program would be 3 percent, the statutory limit established by the Magnuson-Stevens Act (76 FR 81263, December 27, 2011). Cost recovery fee percentages in the Rockfish Program have ranged from 1.4 percent in 2012 (the year the Rockfish Program cost recovery fee was implemented), to 3 percent in 2015 (the most recent year for which a cost recovery fee was assessed). NMFS attributes the increase in the fee percentage in 2015 primarily to a decrease in the ex-vessel value of rockfish, and to a lesser extent, an increase in NMFS' management and enforcement costs (80 FR 6053, February 4, 2015).

    As stated in Section 1.8.4.6 (Amendment 80), Section 1.8.6.5 (AFA/Aleutian Islands pollock), and Section 1.8.5.5 (CDQ) of the Analysis, NMFS does not anticipate that the factors that led to the increase in the Rockfish Program cost recovery fee percentage are likely to exist in the CDQ and LAP programs subject to cost recovery under this rule. The referenced sections of the Analysis show that the CDQ and LAP Program fisheries have substantially higher ex-vessel values than the ex-vessel value of the Rockfish Program fishery. The Rockfish Program fishery ex-vessel value fell from about $14.3 million in 2012 to about $6.3 million in 2014. Section 1.8.4.6 (Amendment 80), Section 1.8.6.5 (AFA/Aleutian Islands pollock), and Section 1.8.5.5 (CDQ) of the Analysis state that NMFS does not expect future ex-vessel values or anticipated costs subject to cost recovery to change in a way that would result in a 3 percent cost recovery fee for these Programs.

    Section 1.8.1 of the Analysis states that the Crab Rationalization Program has not experienced an increase in its fee percentage, but the Halibut and Sablefish IFQ Program has had an increase in its fee percentage over time. In the Crab Rationalization Program, the fee percentage declined over time due to a variety of factors, including (1) increasing TACs for various crab species, (2) increasing ex-vessel prices for various crab species, and (3) decreasing management costs. In the Halibut and Sablefish IFQ Program, the fee percentage has increased due to costs remaining fairly constant and ex-vessel value decreasing due to reduced harvests that have not been off-set by increases in ex-vessel prices.

    Comments on the CDQ Cost Recovery Fee Program

    Comment 4: NMFS' definition of a “person” as each CDQ group that is issued an annual CDQ allocation is consistent with the way that each CDQ group manages its allocations individually for all other purposes.

    Response: NMFS agrees. Regulations at § 679.2 define a CDQ group as “an entity identified as eligible for the CDQ Program under 16 U.S.C. 1855(i)(1)(D).” The six eligible CDQ groups are listed in Table 7 to 50 CFR part 679. Each CDQ group is responsible for a fee payment, and each CDQ group must designate a representative who is responsible for submitting a fee payment for that CDQ group (see regulations at § 679.33(a)).

    Comments on the AFA Cost Recovery Fee Program

    Comment 5: The Bering Sea pollock directed fishing allowance does not meet the Magnuson-Stevens Act's definition of individual fishing quota because it is not a permit. The directed fishing allowance does not allow any person “to harvest a quantity of fish” for that person's “exclusive use.” The directed fishing allowance is the amount of fish available to be harvested with a permit and therefore is a management restriction on a group of vessels rather than a permit. That is exactly how NMFS' regulation at § 679.20(a) describes the pollock directed fishing allowance.

    Response: Section 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act defines an individual fishing quota as “a Federal permit under a limited access system to harvest a quantity of fish, expressed by a unit or units representing a percentage of the total allowable catch of a fishery that may be received or held for exclusive use by a person.” According to § 679.2, a permit means documentation granting permission to fish.

    The harvest specifications, with the AFA directed fishing allowance entitling the catcher/processor sector to harvest a quantity of fish for its exclusive use, is the individual fishing quota and documentation granting permission to fish. NMFS publishes harvest specifications each year in the Federal Register that allocate a specific percentage of the pollock TAC to the AFA sectors, called the directed fishing allowance, for exclusive use by eligible AFA permit holders (see the most recent example at Table 4, 80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015; corrected 80 FR 13787, March 17, 2015). The harvest specifications with the directed fishing allowance is a permit that authorizes the AFA sectors to harvest a portion of the pollock TAC each year.

    Federal regulations at § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) specify that the catcher/processor sector allocation is 40 percent of the directed fishing allowance that is allocated to AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels that deliver to catcher/processors. The AFA catcher/processor sector has exclusive use of its directed fishing allowance because the catcher/processors that are eligible to participate are specified in the AFA, FMP, and associated regulations. The exclusive quantity of fish allocated to the AFA catcher processor sector is then harvested by those specified in the FMP and regulations according to contractual arrangement among the members of that sector.

    Comment 6: The Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative (Cooperative Agreement) does not constitute a “person.”

    Response: Based on this public comment, NMFS realizes that the proposed rule was not sufficiently specific in explaining who the person is that receives the individual fishing quota and is therefore responsible for the cost recovery fee for the AFA catcher/processor sector.

    Regulations at § 679.2 define a person as “any individual (whether or not a citizen or national of the United States), any corporation, partnership, association, or other non-individual entity (whether or not organized, or existing under the laws of any state), and any Federal, state, local, or foreign government or any entity of any such aforementioned governments.” A similar definition of a “person” is in section 3 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    As explained in response to Comment 5, the directed fishing allowance is an individual fishing quota. NMFS allocates the directed fishing allowance to the AFA catcher/processor sector. NMFS considers the AFA catcher/processor sector an entity and therefore a person under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The AFA catcher/processor sector also (1) shares common ownership of vessels, (2) enters into contracts that allow the catcher/processors to harvest the catcher vessel allocation, (3) participates in incentive plan agreements to avoid Chinook salmon, and (4) submits one salmon avoidance report and one annual cooperative report for the AFA catcher/processor sector each year. The contracts establishing these relationships among members describe and provide for allocations of pollock and salmon to specific vessel owners and operators. Section 1.6.3.3 of the Analysis describes the harvest of catch in the AFA catcher/processor sector in greater detail, and the ability of the AFA catcher/processor sector members to precisely harvest the sector's exclusive pollock allocation.

    Under Amendment 91 to the FMP, members of the AFA catcher/processor sector also formed one entity to represent the AFA catcher/processor sector for the purposes of receiving and managing their transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation under the regulations at § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C). The members of the AFA catcher/processor sector created a contract that, among other things, lists the vessel owners represented by the entity, and submitted an application to NMFS under § 679.21(f)(8)(ii). NMFS has approved the application for the entity representing the AFA catcher/processor sector. The contract also designates an entity representative and an agent for service of process. Currently, all eligible members of the AFA catcher/processor sector are represented by the entity. Entity participants cannot change during a fishing year. To make additions or deletions to the vessel owners represented by the entity for the next year, the entity representative must submit a complete application, as described in § 679.21(f)(8)(ii)(F), by December 1.

    NMFS has modified this final rule to clarify that the entity representative under § 679.21(f)(8) will be the designated representative responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee payment for the AFA catcher/processor sector. See Changes from the Proposed Rule, below, for a complete description of the changes NMFS made to this final rule in response to comments on the AFA catcher/process sector.

    Comment 7: The pollock directed fishing allowance is allocated to AFA catcher/processor vessels rather than to the Cooperative Agreement. Even if the pollock directed fishing allowance qualifies as a “permit” and the catcher/processor sector's Cooperative Agreement constitutes a “person,” the asserted permit is not held by the alleged person.

    Response: Each year, NMFS allocates the pollock directed fishing allowance to the AFA catcher/processor sector under Federal regulations § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), as required by section 206(b)(2) of the AFA. Each year, NMFS also allocates Chinook salmon PSC to the AFA catcher/processor sector under Amendment 91 to the FMP and § 679.21(f). Once the catcher/processor sector receives the sector's pollock directed fishing allowance for exclusive harvest and the sector's Chinook salmon PSC allocation, the AFA catcher/processor sector members divide these allocations among themselves.

    As explained in the response to Comment 5, the annual harvest specifications with the directed fishing allowance is an IFQ to the AFA catcher/processor sector. As explained in the response to Comment 6, the “person” who receives the exclusive harvest privilege for the purposes of cost recovery is the catcher/processor sector that is eligible to harvest pollock from that sector's directed fishing allowance defined in section 206(b)(2) of the AFA.

    Comment 8: The Bering Sea pollock directed fishing allowance provided to the AFA sectors was not created under a limited access system and could not have been created under such a system because it went into effect during the moratorium on individual fishing quotas.

    Response: In 2007, Congress adopted the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (MSRA, Pub. L. 109-479) to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In the MSRA, Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act to include language applicable to limited access systems and limited access programs.

    In section 3(27) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Congress defined “limited access system” as “a system that limits participation in a fishery to those satisfying certain eligibility criteria or requirements contained in a fishery management plan or associated regulation.” Although the AFA was adopted and implemented through the FMP before 2007, the AFA Program meets this definition of a limited access system. The AFA Program is a system that limits participation in the Bering Sea pollock fishery to those satisfying certain eligibility criteria or requirements contained in a fishery management plan or associated regulations. The AFA specified sector allocations and eligibility criteria for vessels to harvest pollock in each of the specified sectors (section 206 and section 208 of the AFA, 16 U.S.C. 1851 statutory note). The eligibility criteria and requirements in the AFA were incorporated into the FMP, the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab, and the Fishery Management Plan for the Scallop Fishery Off Alaska (Amendments 61/61/13/8, respectively). NMFS manages the AFA Program through the FMPs and their implementing regulations (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002).

    NMFS is implementing the cost recovery program for the AFA under authority of section 304(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Section 304(d)(2)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which was adopted as part of the MSRA, authorizes and requires the Secretary to collect a cost recovery fee for limited access privilege programs. In section 3(26) of Magnuson-Stevens Act, Congress defined the term “limited access privilege” and specifically included “individual fishing quota.”

    The AFA Program is a limited access privilege program because (1) NMFS issues a permit as part of a limited access system established by the AFA Program, (2) this permit allows the harvest of a quantity of pollock representing a portion of the TAC managed under the AFA Program, and (3) this permit is issued for exclusive use by a person, the AFA catcher/processor sector. Therefore, NMFS is implementing cost recovery fees for the AFA catcher/processor sector as authorized and required in section 304(d)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    Further, the AFA does not prohibit the Secretary from imposing cost recovery requirements on participants in the AFA catcher/processor sector. Section 213(b) of the AFA states that, except for the measures required by this subtitle [subtitle II, Bering Sea Pollock Fishery], nothing in the subtitle shall be construed to limit the authority of the Council or the Secretary under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to approve conservation and management measures as part of a fishery management plan and to give effect to measures in those plans. Therefore, NMFS may implement the requirements of section 304(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and establish a cost recovery program for participants in the AFA Program, including the AFA catcher/processor sector.

    As for the moratorium on IFQ programs, section 303(d)(1)(A) of the 1996 Magnuson-Stevens Act (Section 108(e) of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, Pub. L. 104-297) prohibited the Council from submitting and the Secretary from approving or implementing before October 1, 2000, any plan amendment or regulations that created a new individual fishing quota program. On December 21, 2000, Congress extended the moratorium until October 1, 2002, in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 (Section 144(a), Pub. L. 106-554). The moratorium ended on October 1, 2002, and was not extended again by Congress.

    During the moratorium on IFQ Programs, on October 21, 1998, Congress adopted the AFA and explicitly directed the Council and NMFS to implement, by January 1, 1999, the provisions of the AFA allocating a portion of the TAC of BSAI pollock to the catcher/processor sector (Section 206 of the AFA, Pub. L. 105-277, 16 USCA 1851 note). In the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001, the same Act where Congress extended the moratorium on IFQ programs, Congress also mandated that all BSAI groundfish management measures, which included the AFA management measures, in effect as of July 15, 2000, be extended through the end of 2001 (Section 209(c)(3), Pub. L. 106-554). On November 28, 2001, Congress made key provisions of the AFA permanent, including the pollock allocation to the catcher/processor sector, in section 211 of the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriation Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-77).

    While the permanent AFA management program was under analysis and development, NMFS met the statutory deadlines in the AFA on an interim basis through several emergency interim rules starting in January 1999 (64 FR 3435, January 22, 1999) that were extended through the end of 2002 (67 FR 34860, May 16, 2002). The Secretary approved the FMP amendments implementing the AFA on February 27, 2002, and NMFS published final implementing regulations for the AFA on December 30, 2002, after the moratorium ended (67 FR 79692). The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, determined that the FMP amendments were necessary for the conservation and management of the groundfish, crab, and scallop fisheries off Alaska and that they are consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws (67 FR 79692, December 30, 2002).

    By adopting the AFA in 1998, by mandating its implementation in 1999, and by making it permanent in 2001, Congress in effect adopted an exception to the moratorium on IFQ programs for the AFA. Further, NMFS did not adopt permanent regulations implementing the AFA until after the IFQ moratorium ended.

    Comment 9: Imposing cost recovery on vessel owners in the AFA catcher/processor sector who voluntarily end “a race for fish” creates a disincentive to rationalize through private cooperation.

    Response: The AFA, not the vessel owners in the AFA catcher/processor sector, ended the “race for fish.” As explained in response to Comment 8, the AFA, and the implementing FMP amendments and regulations, created a limited access privilege program. The AFA Program required a fixed allocation of pollock to specific vessels that are eligible to participate in the fishery. The AFA allocated 40 percent of the annual pollock TAC to catcher/processors and catcher vessels that harvest pollock for processing by catcher/processors and the AFA named the specific vessels that are eligible to harvest that allocation. Additionally, ending the race for fish resulted in substantial economic benefits to fishery participants (Section 1.5.3.1 of the Analysis).

    Comment 10: If the Pacific whiting catcher/processor sector that currently operates off the west coast in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Fishery Management Council was not considered to be a LAP program prior to 2011, then why is the AFA catcher/processor sector considered a LAP program? NMFS should identify any material differences in management of the AFA catcher/processor sector today and the Pacific whiting catcher/processor sector prior to 2011.

    Response: The primary material difference between the Pacific whiting fishery and the AFA catcher/processor sector is that the Pacific whiting fishery is not managed under the AFA. The AFA Program is a limited access privilege program because the AFA mandated allocations and specifically named eligible participants. The AFA and Federal regulations at § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4) allocate 40 percent of the directed fishing allowance to the AFA catcher/processor sector and AFA catcher vessels delivering to the catcher/processors. The AFA catcher/processor sector has exclusive use of its directed fishing allowance because the catcher/processors that are eligible to participate are specified in section 208(e) of the AFA and Federal regulations at § 679.4(l)(2), and the catcher vessels that are eligible to deliver to those catcher/processors are specified in section 208(b) of the AFA and Federal regulations at § 679.4(l)(3)(i)(A). The AFA catcher/processor sector manages its exclusive directed fishing allocation for the benefit of its members.

    For a description of the management of the Pacific whiting catcher/processor sector that operates off the west coast in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, please see the proposed rule to establish a trawl rationalization program for the Pacific Coast groundfish fishery (75 FR 32994, June 10, 2010).

    Comment 11: NMFS defines the person responsible for paying the cost recovery fee applicable to the AFA catcher/processor sector in the proposed rule at § 679.66(a)(1)(ii). This regulation should be revised to read “the person designated as the representative of the Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative.”

    Response: Based on this and similar comments from the same commenter, regarding the person responsible for paying the cost recovery fee, NMFS has modified this final rule to specify the AFA catcher/processor sector's designated representative responsible for paying the cost recovery fee. Under the Amendment 91 implementing regulations, the AFA catcher/processor sector has already designated an entity for the management of the Chinook salmon PSC that represents all the participants in the sector. Use of the entity representative resolves the confusion over who the designated representative is for the AFA catcher/processor sector that is responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee payment. NMFS has modified this final rule at § 679.66(a)(1)(ii) to clarify that the entity representative under § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C) will be the designated representative responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee payment. See response to Comment 6 for additional information.

    For the AFA catcher/processor sector, the proposed rule specified that the representative responsible for submitting the cost recovery payment for all Bering Sea pollock landings made under the authority of their cooperative is the person designated as the representative of the listed AFA catcher/processors and catcher vessels that deliver to them. However, the proposed rule did not include a mechanism for designating this representative to NMFS. Since public comments expressed concern with the appropriate representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector, NMFS modified this final rule to provide clarity. With this change, the AFA catcher/processor sector will use its existing entity and entity representative that the AFA catcher/processor sector has already designated with NMFS under the implementing regulations for Amendment 91 to submit the fee.

    Comment 12: In the proposed rule at §§ 679.66(c)(2), 679.66(c)(2)(iii)(B), 679.66(c)(3)(i), and 679.66(c)(5)(iii), the references to a cooperative of listed AFA catcher/processors and catcher vessels delivering to catcher/processors should be revised to read “the Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative” or, where appropriate, to the representative of that agreement. References to “an AFA cooperative,” “an AFA cooperative representative,” and “cooperative” in the proposed rule at § 679.66(c)(4) and (5)(i) should also include references to the Cooperative Agreement or, where appropriate, the agreement's representative.

    Response: This final rule at § 679.66(c) governs the calculation of the AFA catcher/processor sector fee percentage and fee liability determination. In the proposed rule, NMFS had used cooperative as a general term applicable to the three AFA sectors. However, the use of the term cooperative for the AFA catcher/processor sector generated concern, as reflected in this public comment. Based on this and similar comments from the same commenter, NMFS has modified this final rule to specify that NMFS will calculate the AFA fee percentage for the AFA catcher/processor sector. NMFS changed §§ 679.66(c)(2) introductory text, 679.66(c)(2)(iii)(B), 679.66(c)(3)(i), 679.66(c)(4), and 679.66(c)(5)(i) and (iii) to add language specifying the entity representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector and stating that these paragraphs are applicable to the AFA catcher/processor sector. See response to Comments 6 and 11 for additional information on the entity representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector.

    Comment 13: The definition of “AFA fee liability” at § 679.2 should be revised to mean “the amount of money . . . owed to NMFS by an AFA cooperative or the Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative . . . .”

    Response: NMFS has changed the definition of “AFA fee liability” at § 679.2 in this final rule to clarify that the AFA fee liability means the amount of money for Bering Sea pollock cost recovery, in U.S. dollars, owed to NMFS by an AFA cooperative or AFA sector as determined by multiplying the appropriate AFA standard ex-vessel value of landed Bering Sea pollock by the appropriate AFA fee percentage. For consistency, NMFS also changed the definition of “AFA fee percentage” at § 679.2 in this final rule to clarify that the AFA fee liability applies to an AFA cooperative or AFA sector. See response to Comment 11 for additional detail.

    Comment 14: Change the proposed rule at § 679.66(d) to add the representative of the Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative as the designated representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector. Make this change at §§ 679.66(d)(3), 679.66(d)(3)(i), 679.66(d)(3)(ii), 679.66(d)(4), 679.66(d)(5), and 679.66(d)(6).

    Response: This final rule at § 679.66(d) governs the underpayment of the cost recovery fee liability. In the proposed rule, NMFS used cooperative as a general term applicable to the three AFA sectors and their unique associations. However, the use of the term cooperative for the AFA catcher/processor sector generated a number of public comments from one commenter. NMFS agrees that the proposed rule language § 679.66(d) should be more specific regarding the designated representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector. However, NMFS disagrees that the appropriate designated representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector is the representative of the Cooperative Agreement.

    Based on this and Comments 6, 11, 12, and 13, NMFS has modified this final rule to specify that the designated representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector is the entity representative defined at § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C). NMFS changed this final rule at §§ 679.66(d)(3), 679.66(d)(3)(i), 679.66(d)(3)(ii), 679.66(d)(4), 679.66(d)(5), and 679.66(d)(6) to add language specifying the entity representative for the AFA catcher/processor sector and that these paragraphs are applicable to the AFA catcher/processor sector.

    Comment 15: References to “an AFA cooperative,” “an AFA cooperative representative,” and “cooperative” in the proposed rule at §§ 679.66(e) and 679.66(f) should also include references to “the Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative” or, where appropriate, the agreement's representative.

    Response: This final rule at § 679.66(e) and (f) governs over payment and appeals, respectively. NMFS disagrees that the Cooperative Agreement is the appropriate entity for the AFA catcher/processor sector for reasons explained in the response to Comment 11. However, NMFS changed this final rule at § 679.66(e) and (f) to clarify that the designated representative is the appropriate person for activities regulated by § 679.66(e) and (f).

    Comment 16: In § 679.66(g) Administrative Fees, the reference to the account drawn on to pay the “CDQ fee liability” should refer to the “AFA fee liability.”

    Response: NMFS removed paragraph (g) Administrative Fees from each cost recovery program at §§ 679.33, 679.66, 679.67, and 679.95. These paragraphs addressed administrative fees if the account drawn on to pay the cost recovery fee liability has insufficient funds to cover the transaction or if the account becomes delinquent. These paragraphs are not necessary because the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, as explained in the Treasury Financial Manual Part 4, Chapter 4000, generally requires Federal agencies to transfer any nontax debt to U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) for debt collection services. After transfer, Fiscal Service takes appropriate action to service, collect, compromise, or suspend or terminate collection action on the debt. NMFS then renumbered paragraph (h) as paragraph (g) Annual report.

    Comment 17: The regulations should clarify that the person designated as the representative of the Cooperative Agreement between Offshore Pollock Catchers' Cooperative and Pollock Conservation Cooperative is a representative of that agreement solely for purposes of payment of cost recovery fees.

    Response: In this final rule at § 679.66(a)(1)(ii), the person responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee is the person designated as the representative of the entity representing the AFA catcher/processor sector under § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C).

    Comments on the Amendment 80 Cost Recovery Fee Program

    Comment 18: Use the Commercial Operator's Annual Report (COAR) to determine the standard ex-vessel price for Amendment 80 species and remove the requirement that Amendment 80 cooperatives submit the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report. The new reporting requirement is burdensome, redundant, and will require additional costs for NMFS. These additional costs will result in additional fee liabilities for the Amendment 80 cooperatives. COAR data are adequate for determining the standard price for species covered by the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report and can be obtained with less cost.

    Response: NMFS considered using COAR for all species and all CDQ and LAP programs that would be subject to the new cost recovery regulations (see Section 1.7.2.1 of the Analysis). NMFS selected using COAR data only for the AFA and Aleutian Islands Pollock Programs because these are single species fisheries. As noted in Section 1.7.2.2.1 of the Analysis, there is not substantial variation in the pollock ex-vessel price from year to year. Therefore, the standard ex-vessel price is unlikely to impact the cost recovery fee that any person would be required to pay. Also, because a single price is set for all Bering Sea AFA pollock landed and only pollock is used to determine the cost recovery fee, the amount of the pollock each person harvests determines the percentage of the cost recovery fee each AFA person must pay.

    In contrast, the Amendment 80 and CDQ Programs are multispecies programs and the variation in the ex-vessel price of a species and the proportion of species harvested by an Amendment 80 cooperative or CDQ group can affect the total fee liability due. Section 1.7.2 of the RIR/FRFA and the preamble to the proposed rule show that the ex-vessel price of species covered by the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report and the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report can vary substantially from year to year, and this variation would have an impact on the fees that each person in these programs would be liable to pay. Using COAR data from the previous year may not reflect the ex-vessel prices that exist in the year that the catch subject to cost recovery occurs. Therefore, NMFS is requiring that Amendment 80 cooperatives submit a First Wholesale Volume and Value Report for species subject to a cost recovery fee for species other than BSAI halibut, BSAI Pacific cod, BSAI pollock, and BSAI sablefish. NMFS collects data on BSAI halibut and BSAI sablefish through existing data collection methods that provide more timely data than that provided by the COAR. NMFS will collect data for BSAI Pacific cod using a separate Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report.

    The First Wholesale Volume and Value Report allows NMFS to collect price and quantity data for the current year's fishery (as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act) to determine the portion of the total cost recovery fee that each person is required to pay. NMFS must have this information to fulfill its obligation in assessing each person the required fee. The data collected from the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report is the minimum amount of information needed to determine each person's fee liability for Amendment 80 species and species other than BSAI halibut, BSAI Pacific cod, BSAI pollock, and BSAI sablefish.

    NMFS agrees that collecting these data through the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report will increase the Amendment 80 sector cost recovery fee and increase the reporting burden on industry. NMFS considered implementing monthly reporting requirements for the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report similar to the IFQ program's Volume and Value Reports. However, to reduce the reporting burden and reduce the overall costs to the Amendment 80 participants, NMFS determined that an annual First Wholesale Volume and Value Report would provide sufficient information to collect the cost recovery fees and reduce administrative costs relative to a monthly reporting requirement. Overall, the cost that NMFS is likely to incur to maintain and process the First Volume Wholesale Volume and Value Report is only a small proportion of NMFS' total costs to manage the Amendment 80 and CDQ Programs.

    Comment 19: There is no need to collect data to determine a standard ex-vessel price for rock sole harvests during the first quarter (January 1 through March 31), and a separate standard ex-vessel price for harvests for the remainder of the year. The intra-annual ex-vessel price fluctuations for rock sole have been limited in recent years due to the decline in the rock sole and roe market. The average annual rock sole prices are sufficient for the Amendment 80 sector to determine the standard ex-vessel price.

    Response: Table 1-26 of the Analysis provides a summary of the estimated monthly rock sole ex-vessel prices. Table 1-26 shows that the difference in rock sole ex-vessel prices from the first quarter of a year relative to the rest of the year have declined. However, there is still a substantial difference in the estimated ex-vessel prices during the first quarter and the remainder of the year. Even in the most recent year of complete ex-vessel price data (2013), there was still a 20 percent variation in price between the first quarter of the year and the remainder of the year. Because this difference continues to persist, NMFS intends to collect ex-vessel data for rock sole for the first quarter and for all remaining quarters, as described in proposed rule.

    If the price premium for rock sole in the first quarter of the year continues to decline, NMFS could consider modifying the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report in the future. The information collected in the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report will allow NMFS to monitor the rock sole ex-vessel prices and determine if a change in reporting is appropriate.

    Comment 20: Clarify in this final rule the term harvested fish for Amendment 80 vessels. NMFS should only assess fees against fish that were retained and offloaded from the vessel.

    Response: Section 304(d)(2)(B) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act states that a cost recovery fee “shall not exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of fish harvested under any such program.” This rule defines the fish harvested and subject to a cost recovery fee as all AFA Program, Aleutian Islands Pollock Program, Amendment 80 Program, or CDQ Program landings debited against that AFA cooperative or sector, Aleut Corporation, Amendment 80 cooperative, or CDQ group's allocations, respectively (see regulations at §§ 679.66(c)(5)(i) for AFA, 679.67(c)(5)(i) for Aleutian Islands pollock, 679.95(c)(5)(i) for Amendment 80, and 679.33(c)(5)(i) for CDQ).

    For catcher/processor vessels that harvest fish subject to a cost recovery fee, NMFS uses information currently collected from at-sea scales and onboard observers to determine the amount and species composition of fish landed and debited from the applicable CDQ or LAP program allocation. Catcher/processors are not currently required to submit information on the weight and species composition of fish retained and offloaded. Establishing an offload reporting requirement and subsequent monitoring requirements would result in additional costs to NMFS. These costs would be included in the calculation of the cost recovery fee for the applicable CDQ or LAP program because NMFS would be requiring an offload report and monitoring requirement solely to monitor compliance with regulations necessary for CDQ or LAP program cost recovery. These additional costs are not necessary because information currently collected from at-sea scales and onboard observers provides a less costly independent source of information on the amount and species composition of fish harvested that are subject to a cost recovery fee. For catcher vessels, NMFS uses data from the processor receiving the fish (i.e., a fish ticket) to determine the amount and species composition of fish subject to a cost recovery fee.

    Comment 21: Grant the Amendment 80 Program the same exception to the requirement to pay the fee liability in full by December 31 as granted to the AFA catcher/processor sector. The Amendment 80 Program should receive a proportion of its quota that matches the proportion of fees paid by the deadline (i.e., if an Amendment 80 cooperative pays only 80 percent of its fee liability, then NMFS would issue only 80 percent of the cooperative quota allocation to that cooperative). It would be appropriate and fair to grant this same exception because of difficulties associated with the timing of internal fee collection and unplanned increases in fees or decreases in fish values that may result in insufficient inseason fee collections from cooperative members.

    Response: This final rule at § 679.66(d)(3)(ii) provides that if the AFA catcher/processor sector pays only a portion of its AFA fee liability, the Regional Administrator may release a portion of the Bering Sea pollock allocation equal to the portion of the fee liability paid.

    Section 1.10.1.1, Section 1.10.3.1, and the Executive Summary of the Analysis and the preamble to the proposed rule explain that NMFS can release a percentage of the allocation of catch that is equal to the percentage of the cost recovery fee only for single species LAP programs. The Amendment 80 LAP Program is a multi-species LAP program. Withholding a portion of the allocation for an Amendment 80 cooperative would be complicated by the fact that each Amendment 80 species has a different ex-vessel value and members within the cooperative are allocated different amounts of Amendment 80 quota share. These allocations yield different amounts of Amendment 80 cooperative quota (CQ) when the Amendment 80 quota share is assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative. Therefore, NMFS could not conclusively determine how much of a specific Amendment 80 species CQ allocation should be withheld.

    For example, if an Amendment 80 cooperative paid only 90 percent of its fee liability, it is not clear what portion of the Amendment 80 CQ would match the percentage of the cost recovery fee paid. Making this determination would require assumptions and would risk NMFS withholding species that do not match the cooperative allocations associated with the unpaid cost recovery fee. Because of this uncertainty, NMFS will require full payment of the cost recovery fee for the Amendment 80 sector prior to releasing any of the cooperative's annual CQ. The cooperative contract should address the payment of the cost recovery fee and persons that do not meet the terms of the contract should be subject to penalties outlined in the contract.

    Comment 22: The Analysis prepared for this action should be revised to include some additional information on how potential reductions to halibut PSC limits would affect the overall revenues and the potential cost recovery fee percent a CDQ or LAP program would have to pay in the future. Specifically, the Analysis prepared for this action should describe the potential impact of halibut PSC reductions on the cost recovery fee percentage paid by the Amendment 80 Program.

    Response: Section 1.11 of the Analysis acknowledges that management actions recommended by the Council and implemented by NMFS could affect the total amount harvested by these LAP and CDQ programs. Future management measures applicable to LAP and CDQ programs could increase or reduce costs, or increase or reduce the ex-vessel value of fisheries subject to cost recovery. These future management actions could result in either an increase or a decrease in the cost recovery fee percentage applicable to LAP or CDQ programs.

    The Council has recommended and NMFS is reviewing reduced halibut PSC limits applicable to the vessels participating in the LAP and CDQ programs covered by this action. On November 16, 2015, NMFS published a proposed rule to reduce halibut PSC limits (80 FR 71650). NMFS and the Council prepared a draft Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) to consider the impacts of that action. The draft EA/RIR/IRFA states that halibut PSC limit reductions could result in an increase in the cost recovery fee percentage due to the decreased harvests that may occur if halibut PSC limits constrain the ability of vessels to fish. We refer the reader to that EA/RIR/IRFA for additional details, see the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    As the commenter states, changes in the halibut PSC limits applicable to Amendment 80 cooperatives could reduce the amount of the TAC harvested in these fisheries, and therefore would affect the fee percentage that Amendment 80 vessels would pay. Reduced catch could be partially offset by an increase in prices, but the world market for these fish and the wide availability of substitute products indicate that an increase in price due to reduced supply is unlikely. Given the estimated cost recovery fee of 1.62 percent for the Amendment 80 Program, the value of the fishery would need to decrease by about 50 percent, assuming the agency costs remain constant, before the maximum 3 percent cost recovery fee limit is reached.

    Comment 23: Clarify regulations at § 679.95(b)(2)(iii) and § 679.95(c)(5)(iii) to specify who will calculate the fee liability for each Amendment 80 cooperative, NMFS or the Amendment 80 cooperative representative. Regulations at § 679.95(b)(2)(iii) state that the Amendment 80 cooperative representative determines the fee liability. Regulations at § 679.95(c)(5)(iii) state that NMFS will determine the fee liability.

    Response: NMFS determines the fee liability owed under each LAP or CDQ program. NMFS also determines the standard prices for landings under each program. Regulations at § 679.95(b) pertain to NMFS' determination of the Amendment 80 standard ex-vessel value. The comment is correct that the proposed rule at § 679.95(b)(2)(iii) incorrectly explained that an Amendment 80 cooperative representative determines the Amendment 80 fee liability. The fee liability determination is in the regulations at § 679.95(c). These regulations explain that NMFS determines the fee liability. In response to this comment, NMFS changed this final rule at § 679.95(b)(2)(iii) to remove language pertaining to the fee liability and to clarify that this paragraph applies to NMFS' determination of the Amendment 80 standard ex-vessel prices.

    NMFS noticed this same error in the proposed rule at § 679.33(b)(2)(iii) that applies to the determination of the CDQ standard prices. NMFS changed this final rule at § 679.33(b)(2)(iii) to remove language pertaining to the fee liability and to clarify that this paragraph applies to NMFS's determination of the CDQ standard prices.

    Comment 24: Regulations at § 679.95(g) incorrectly contain a reference to pay the “CDQ fee liability” because this regulation applies to the Amendment 80 Program.

    Response: NMFS removed paragraph (g) Administrative Fees from each cost recovery program at §§ 679.33, 679.66, 679.67, and 679.95. See response to Comment 16.

    Changes From the Proposed Rule

    This final rule includes changes to particular sections of the regulatory text and amendatory instructions published in the proposed rule.

    NMFS removed paragraph (g) Administrative fees from each cost recovery program at §§ 679.33, 679.66, 679.67, and 679.95. These paragraphs addressed administrative fees if the account drawn on to pay the cost recovery fee liability has insufficient funds to cover the transaction or if the account becomes delinquent. These paragraphs are not necessary because the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, as explained in the Treasury Financial Manual Part 4, Chapter 4000, generally requires Federal agencies to transfer any nontax debt to U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) for debt collection services. After transfer, Fiscal Service takes appropriate action to service, collect, compromise, or suspend or terminate collection action on the debt. NMFS then renumbered paragraph (h) as paragraph (g) Annual report.

    NMFS removed from paragraph (e), in §§ 679.33, 679.66, 679.67, and 679.95, the sentence that NMFS may deduct payment processing fees from any fees returned due to over payment. This additional sentence is not necessary because processing costs due to over payment are nominal with improvements in methods to collect fees.

    In addition to these two changes, NMFS also made some non-substantive minor technical corrections to the regulatory text.

    NMFS made substantive changes to this final rule in response to public comments. These changes improve the functioning of the cost recovery programs implemented with this final rule. All the specific regulation changes, and the reasons for making these changes, are contained under Response to Comments, above. This section provides a summary of the changes made to this final rule in response to public comment.

    CDQ Cost Recovery Changes

    • In this final rule at § 679.33(b)(2)(iii), NMFS corrected this paragraph to remove language pertaining to the fee liability and to clarify that this paragraph applies to NMFS' determination of the CDQ standard prices in response to Comment 23.

    AFA Cost Recovery Changes

    • In this final rule at § 679.2, NMFS modified the definitions of AFA fee liability and AFA fee percentage to clarify that these terms apply to an AFA cooperative or AFA sector in response to Comment 13.

    • In this final rule at § 679.66(a)(1)(ii), NMFS clarified that the entity representative under § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C) will be the AFA catcher/processor sector's designated representative for submission of the cost recovery fee in response to Comment 11.

    • In this final rule at § 679.66(d)(3), NMFS clarified that the AFA catcher/processor sector receives the Bering Sea pollock allocation and that the AFA catcher/processor sector entity representative under § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C) submits the fee payment in response to Comment 14.

    • To match the changes to § 679.66(a)(1)(ii), NMFS also changed this final rule as follows. These changes are discussed in detail in the responses to Comments 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15.

    ○ §§ 679.66(a)(2), (a)(3), (a)(4), (b)(1), (c)(4), (c)(5)(v), (d)(4), (d)(5), and (d)(6), (e), and (f) were changed to replace “cooperative representative” with “designated representative;”

    ○ § 679.66(b)(2)(i), (c)(5)(i), (d)(5), (d)(6) and (e) were changed to add “or AFA sector;” and

    ○ § 679.66(c)(2) introductory text, (c)(2)(iii)(B), (c)(3)(i) and (c)(5)(iii) were changed to replace references to listed AFA catcher/processors and high seas catcher vessels that deliver to them with “AFA catcher/processor sector.”

    Amendment 80 Cost Recovery Changes

    • In this final rule at § 679.95(b)(2)(iii), NMFS corrected this paragraph to remove language pertaining to the fee liability and to clarify that this paragraph applies to NMFS' determination of the Amendment 80 standard ex-vessel prices in response to Comment 23.

    OMB Revisions to Paperwork Reduction Act References in 15 CFR 902.1(b)

    Section 3507(c)(B)(i) of the PRA requires that agencies inventory and display a current control number assigned by the Director, OMB, for each agency information collection. Section 902.1(b) identifies the location of NOAA regulations for which OMB approval numbers have been issued. Because this final rule revises and adds data elements within a collection-of-information for recordkeeping and reporting requirements, 15 CFR 902.1(b) is revised to reference correctly the sections resulting from this final rule.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that this final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the groundfish and halibut fisheries and that it is consistent with the FMP, the National Standards, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.

    Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    This final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) incorporates the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), a summary of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, and NMFS' responses to those comments, and a summary of the analyses completed to support the action.

    Section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires that, when an agency promulgates a final rule under section 553 of Title 5 of the United States Code, after being required by that section, or any other law, to publish a general notice of proposed rulemaking, the agency shall prepare a final regulatory flexibility analysis.

    Section 604 describes the required contents of a FRFA: (1) A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule; (2) a statement of the significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the IRFA, a statement of the assessment of the agency of such issues, and a statement of any changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments; (3) the response of the agency to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) in response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rule in this final rule as a result of the comments; (4) a description of and an estimate of the number of small entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such estimate is available; (5) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the report or record; and (6) a description of the steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in this final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the impact on small entities was rejected.

    Need for and Objectives of the Rule

    A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule is contained in the preamble to this final rule and is not repeated here.

    Public and Chief Counsel for Advocacy Comments on the Proposed Rule

    NMFS published a proposed rule on January 7, 2015 (80 FR 936). An IRFA was prepared and summarized in the “Classification” section of the preamble to the proposed rule. The comment period closed on February 6, 2015. NMFS received three public comment letters, containing 23 separate comments on the proposed rule. These comments did not address the IRFA. The economic impacts of the rule were addressed in the comments by requesting that NMFS clearly define the costs that are subject to the rule. One comment specifically requested information on how BSAI halibut PSC reductions being considered by the Council and Secretary would impact the overall profitability of the Amendment 80 vessels, which are not considered small entities under the Small Business Administration Guidelines. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA did not file any comments on the proposed rule.

    Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by the Action

    This analysis considers the active fleet in 2013, which is the most recent year for which size, revenue, and affiliation data were all available. The only small entities directly regulated by this rule are the six CDQ groups—the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, the Central Bering Sea Fishermen's Association, the Coastal Villages Region Fund, the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, and the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association. Through the CDQ Program, the Council and NMFS allocate a portion of the BSAI groundfish TACs, halibut quota, and halibut and crab PSC limits, to these six CDQ groups. These groups represent 65 villages and maintain a non-profit status. Each of the CDQ groups is organized as an independently owned and operated not-for-profit entity and none is dominant in its field; consequently, each is a “small entity” under the Small Business Administration's definition for “small organization.” The proceeds from the CDQ allocations must be used to start or support activities that will result in ongoing, regionally based, commercial fishery or related businesses. Section 2.6 of the Analysis prepared for the proposed rule provides more information on these entities (80 FR 936, January 7, 2015).

    All other entities that are directly regulated through this rule are not small entities under the SBA definitions. This action would regulate Amendment 80, AFA cooperatives, and AFA sectors, and the vessels that are harvesting exclusive harvest privileges under the Amendment 80 and AFA Programs; The Aleut Corporation; and processors and motherships that receive CDQ Pacific cod deliveries and trawl-caught Pacific cod. The SBA defines a small commercial finfish fishing entity as one that has annual gross receipts, from all activities of all affiliates, of less than $20.5 million (79 FR 33647, June 12, 2014). None of these entities are considered to be small entities based on the SBA's size standard.

    Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

    This action modifies recordkeeping or reporting requirements so that sufficient data are available to determine the cost recovery fee and standardized prices in the time frame required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. No small entity is subject to additional reporting requirements. Shorebased processors will be required to submit ex-vessel Volume and Value Reports for all CDQ groundfish landings and all BSAI Pacific cod trawl landings. Each Amendment 80 catcher/processor will be required to submit a First Wholesale Volume and Value Report for all groundfish species, except Pacific cod, harvested under the Amendment 80 and CDQ programs. The information to be collected is described in Section 1.7.2.1 of the Analysis.

    The only additional recordkeeping requirements for small entities are the bookkeeping skills necessary for the six CDQ groups to submit payment for their cost recovery fees. NMFS will calculate the fee amount that each CDQ group owes. The designated representative of each group is then required to ensure the timely submission of the fee payment.

    Description of Significant Alternatives to the Final Action That Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities

    A FRFA must the outline steps the agency has taken to minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant alternatives to the rule considered by the agency which affect the impact on small entities was rejected. The action is the implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act's mandatory cost recovery fees for LAP and CDQ programs.

    No alternatives or options were identified that would have accomplished the action's objectives while reducing the potential economic impact on small entities relative to the preferred alternative. NMFS has determined that the minimum amount of data necessary to calculate the cost recover fees as mandated under the Magnuson-Stevens Act would be collected through volume and value reports. Collecting the minimum amount of data necessary from the fewest persons possible is beneficial to all entities.

    The economic impact on directly regulated small entities is the implementation of a cost recovery fee mandated under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that participants in limited access privilege programs and the CDQ Program pay up to 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of the fish they are allocated to recover the actual costs that are directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the programs specific costs that are incurred by the management agencies. Given the specific requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to implement a cost recovery fee, no other alternatives would accomplish the stated objective. Each CDQ group is required to submit its own fee payment using a payment system approved by NMFS.

    For all directly regulated entities NMFS considered and analyzed a range of specific options to determine standard prices for calculating standard ex-vessel value data, dates for volume and value report and fee submission, and other details of the fee collection process described in the Analysis. NMFS selected those options that would minimize the reporting burden and costs on small entities consistent with the stated objective when possible.

    Specifically, NMFS considered options to use COAR data to determine standard prices and standard ex-vessel values for all species subject to cost recovery, but did not select that option for species other than BSAI pollock because it could impact the fee liability each person would be required to pay. NMFS did select options that minimized reporting requirements on small entities by using existing data sources (e.g., COAR for BSAI pollock, and the IFQ buyer report for BSAI sablefish and BSAI halibut). NMFS also selected dates for the submission of reports that provided the most current data available to allow fee liabilities to be calculated on a timely basis. These dates would minimize the potential impact on small entities relative to other dates considered. NMFS will provide annual reports to the persons subject to the cost recovery fee and other interested stakeholders to help provide transparency in the fee liability determination.

    Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as “small entity compliance guides.” The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules.

    NMFS has posted a small entity compliance guide on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov) as a plain language guide to assist small entities in complying with this rule. Contact NMFS to request a hard copy of the guide (see ADDRESSES).

    Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This rule contains collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which have been approved under the following OMB control numbers.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0318

    With this action, the payment and observer fee submittal (15 minutes) is removed from this collection and added to the new fee collection.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0398

    With this action, this IFQ Cost Recovery collection is removed and superseded by the new cost recovery collection.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0401

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average eight hours for Cooperative Contract. This information collection is revised by adding to the Cooperative Contract the obligation of AFA cooperative members to ensure full payment of cost recovery fees.

    OMB Contract No. 0648-0545

    With this action, two forms—the Rockfish Volume and Value Report (two hours per response) and the payment and fee submittal (10 minutes per response) are removed from this collection.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0565

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average two hours for Application for Amendment 80 Cooperative Quota; the Cooperative Agreement is an attachment to this application. This information collection is revised by adding to the Cooperative Agreement the obligation of AFA cooperative members to ensure full payment of cost recovery fees.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0570

    With this action, the Crab Rationalization Program Cost Recovery collection is removed and superseded by the new cost recovery collection.

    OMB Control No. 0648-0711

    This new information collection is created by combining all existing Alaska Region fee information collections with the observer fee submission. Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average one minute for cost recovery fee or observer fee submission; five minutes for value and volume report; and four hours for appeal of an incomplete payment of a cost recovery fee or observer fee.

    Estimates for public reporting burden include the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

    Send comments regarding these burden estimates or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by email to [email protected], or fax to 202-395-5806.

    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

    List of Subjects 15 CFR Part 902

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 15 CFR part 902 and 50 CFR part 679 as follows:

    Title 15—Commerce and Foreign Trade PART 902—NOAA INFORMATION COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT: OMB CONTROL NUMBERS 1. The authority citation for part 902 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

    2. In § 902.1, in the table in paragraph (b), under the entry “50 CFR”: a. Revise entries for “679.5(a)”; “679.5(c), (e), and (f)”; “679.5(d)”; and “679.5(l)(7); b. Add entries in alphanumeric order for “679.5(u)” and “679.33”; c. Revise entries for “679.43”; “679.45”; “679.55”; and “679.65”; d. Add entries in alphanumeric order for “679.66”; “679.67”; “679.85”; and “679.95”; e. Remove the entries for “680.5(f)”; “680.5(g)”; and “680.5(m)”; f. Add an entry in alphanumeric order for “680.5(f), (g), and (m)”.

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 902.1 OMB control numbers assigned pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

    (b) * * *

    CFR part or section where the information collection
  • requirement is located
  • Current OMB control No.
  • (all numbers begin with 0648-)
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * 50 CFR: *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.5(a) -0213, -0269, and -0272. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.5(c), (e), and (f) -0213, -0272, -0330, -0513, and -0515. 679.5(d) -0213 and -0515. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.5(l)(7) -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.5(u) -0206 and -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.33 -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.43 -0272, -0318, -0334, -0401, -0545, -0565, -0569, and -0711. 679.45 -0272, -0592, and -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.55 -0206, -0272, and -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.65 -0213, -0515, and -0633. 679.66 -0711. 679.67 -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.85 -0545. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 679.95 -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         * 680.5(f), (g), (m) -0711. *         *         *         *         *         *         *
    Title 50—Wildlife and Fisheries
    PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 3. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 111-281.

    4. In § 679.2, add definitions for “AFA fee liability”; “AFA fee percentage”; “AFA pollock equivalent pounds”; “AFA standard ex-vessel value”; “AFA standard price”; “Aleutian Islands pollock equivalent pounds”; “Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability”; “Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage”; “Aleutian Islands pollock standard ex-vessel value”; “Aleutian Islands pollock standard price”; “Amendment 80 equivalent pounds”; “Amendment 80 fee liability”; “Amendment 80 fee percentage”; “Amendment 80 standard ex-vessel value”; “Amendment 80 standard price”; “CDQ equivalent pounds”; “CDQ fee liability”; “CDQ fee percentage”; “CDQ standard ex-vessel value”; and “CDQ standard price” in alphabetical order to read as follows:
    § 679.2 Definitions.

    AFA fee liability means the amount of money for Bering Sea pollock cost recovery, in U.S. dollars, owed to NMFS by an AFA cooperative or AFA sector as determined by multiplying the appropriate AFA standard ex-vessel value of landed Bering Sea pollock by the appropriate AFA fee percentage.

    AFA fee percentage means that positive number no greater than 3 percent (0.03) determined by the Regional Administrator and established for use in calculating the AFA fee liability for an AFA cooperative or AFA sector.

    AFA pollock equivalent pounds means the weight recorded in pounds for landed AFA pollock and calculated as round weight.

    AFA standard ex-vessel value means the total U.S. dollar amount of landed Bering Sea pollock as calculated by multiplying the number of landed pounds of Bering Sea pollock by the appropriate AFA standard price determined by the Regional Administrator.

    AFA standard price means the price, in U.S. dollars, for landed Bering Sea pollock, in AFA pollock equivalent pounds, as determined by the Regional Administrator.

    Aleutian Islands pollock equivalent pounds means the weight recorded in pounds for landed Aleutian Islands pollock and calculated as round weight.

    Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability means the amount of money for Aleutian Islands directed pollock cost recovery, in U.S. dollars, owed to NMFS by the Aleut Corporation as determined by multiplying the appropriate standard ex-vessel value of its landed Aleutian Islands pollock by the appropriate Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage.

    Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage means that positive number no greater than 3 percent (0.03) determined by the Regional Administrator and established for use in calculating the Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability for the Aleut Corporation.

    Aleutian Islands pollock standard ex-vessel value means the total U.S. dollar amount of landed Aleutian Islands pollock as calculated by multiplying the number of landed pounds of Aleutian Islands pollock by the appropriate Aleutian Islands pollock standard price determined by the Regional Administrator.

    Aleutian Islands pollock standard price means the price, in U.S. dollars, for landed Aleutian Islands pollock, in Aleutian Islands pollock equivalent pounds, as determined by the Regional Administrator.

    Amendment 80 equivalent pounds means the weight recorded in pounds for landed Amendment 80 species CQ and calculated as round weight.

    Amendment 80 fee liability means the amount of money for Amendment 80 cost recovery, in U.S. dollars, owed to NMFS by an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder as determined by multiplying the appropriate standard ex-vessel value of landed Amendment 80 species CQ by the appropriate Amendment 80 fee percentage.

    Amendment 80 fee percentage means that positive number no greater than 3 percent (0.03) determined by the Regional Administrator and established for use in calculating the Amendment 80 fee liability for an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder.

    Amendment 80 standard ex-vessel value means the total U.S. dollar amount of landed Amendment 80 species CQ as calculated by multiplying the number of landed Amendment 80 equivalent pounds by the appropriate Amendment 80 standard price determined by the Regional Administrator.

    Amendment 80 standard price means the price, in U.S. dollars, for landed Amendment 80 species, in Amendment 80 equivalent pounds, as determined by the Regional Administrator.

    CDQ equivalent pounds means the weight recorded in pounds, for landed CDQ groundfish and halibut, and calculated as round weight.

    CDQ fee liability means the amount of money for CDQ groundfish and halibut cost recovery, in U.S. dollars, owed to NMFS by a CDQ group as determined by multiplying the appropriate standard ex-vessel value of landed CDQ groundfish and halibut by the appropriate CDQ fee percentage.

    CDQ fee percentage means that positive number no greater than 3 percent (0.03) determined by the Regional Administrator and established for use in calculating the CDQ groundfish and halibut fee liability for a CDQ group.

    CDQ standard ex-vessel value means the total U.S. dollar amount of landed CDQ groundfish and halibut as calculated by multiplying the number of landed CDQ equivalent pounds by the appropriate CDQ standard price determined by the Regional Administrator.

    CDQ standard price means the price, in U.S. dollars, for landed CDQ groundfish and halibut, in CDQ equivalent pounds, as determined by the Regional Administrator.

    5. In § 679.5, add paragraph (u) to read as follows:
    § 679.5 Recordkeeping and reporting (R&R).

    (u) BSAI Cost Recovery Volume and Value Reports—(1) Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report—(i) Applicability. A shoreside processor designated on an FPP, or a mothership designated on an FFP, that processes landings of either CDQ Pacific cod or BSAI Pacific cod harvested by a vessel using trawl gear must submit annually to NMFS a complete Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report, as described in this paragraph (u)(1), for each reporting period for which the shorebased processor or mothership receives this Pacific cod.

    (ii) Reporting period. The reporting period of the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report shall extend from January 1 to October 31 of the year in which the landings were made.

    (iii) Due date. A complete Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report must be received by NMFS no later than November 10 of the year in which the processor or mothership received the Pacific cod.

    (iv) Information required. (A) The submitter must log in using his or her password and NMFS person ID to submit a Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report. The User must review any auto-filled cells to ensure that they are accurate. A completed report must have all applicable fields accurately filled-in.

    (B) Certification. By using the NMFS person ID and password and submitting the report, the submitter certifies that all information is true, correct, and complete to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.

    (v) Submittal. The submitter must complete and submit online to NMFS the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report available at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    (2) First Wholesale Volume and Value Report—(i) Applicability. An Amendment 80 vessel owner that harvests groundfish species, other than Pacific cod, must submit annually to NMFS a complete First Wholesale Volume and Value Report, as described in this paragraph (u)(2), for each reporting period for which the Amendment 80 vessel harvests groundfish species, other than Pacific cod.

    (ii) Reporting period. (A) The reporting period of the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report for all species except rock sole shall extend from January 1 to October 31 of the year in which the landings were made.

    (B) The first reporting period of the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report for rock sole shall extend from January 1 to March 31, and the second reporting period shall extend from April 1 to October 31.

    (iii) Due date. A complete First Wholesale Volume and Value Report must be received by NMFS no later than November 10 of the year in which the Amendment 80 vessel received the groundfish species, other than Pacific cod.

    (iv) Information required. (A) The Amendment 80 vessel owner must log in using his or her password and NMFS person ID to submit a First Wholesale Volume and Value Report. The vessel owner must review any auto-filled cells to ensure that they are accurate. A completed report must have all applicable fields accurately filled-in.

    (B) Certification. By using the NMFS person ID and password and submitting the report, the Amendment 80 vessel owner certifies that all information is true, correct, and complete to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.

    (v) Submittal. The Amendment 80 vessel owner must complete and submit online to NMFS the First Wholesale Volume and Value Report available at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

    6. In § 679.7, add paragraphs (c)(6), (d)(8), (k)(9), (l)(6), (o)(4)(vii), and (o)(9) to read as follows:
    § 679.7 Prohibitions.

    (c) * * *

    (6) For a shoreside processor designated on an FPP, or a mothership designated on an FFP, that processes landings of either CDQ Pacific cod or BSAI Pacific cod harvested by a vessel using trawl gear to fail to submit a timely and complete Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report as required under § 679.5(u)(1).

    (d) * * *

    (8) Fail to submit a timely and complete CDQ cost recovery fee submission form and fee as required under § 679.33.

    (k) * * *

    (9) Fail to submit a timely and complete AFA cost recovery fee submission form and fee as required under § 679.66.

    (l) * * *

    (6) Fail to submit a timely and complete Aleutian Islands pollock cost recovery fee submission form and fee as required under § 679.67.

    (o) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (vii) Fail to submit a timely and complete Amendment 80 cost recovery fee submission form and fee as required under § 679.95.

    (9) First Wholesale Volume and Value Report. For an Amendment 80 vessel owner to fail to submit a timely and complete First Wholesale Volume and Value Report as required under § 679.5(u)(2).

    7. Add § 679.33 to subpart C to read as follows:
    § 679.33 CDQ cost recovery.

    (a) Cost Recovery Fee Program for CDQ groundfish and halibut—(1) Who is Responsible? The person documented with NMFS as the CDQ group representative at the time of a CDQ landing.

    (i) Subsequent transfer, under § 679.31(c), of a CDQ allocation by a CDQ group does not affect the CDQ group representative's liability for noncompliance with this section.

    (ii) Changes in amount of a CDQ allocation to a CDQ group do not affect the CDQ group representative's liability for noncompliance with this section.

    (2) Fee collection. Each CDQ group that receives a CDQ allocation of groundfish and halibut is responsible for submitting the cost recovery payment for all CDQ landings debited against that CDQ group's allocations.

    (3) Payment—(i) Payment due date. A CDQ group representative must submit all CDQ fee payment(s) to NMFS at the address provided in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the CDQ groundfish and halibut landings were made.

    (ii) Payment recipient. Make electronic payment payable to NMFS.

    (iii) Payment address. Submit payment and related documents as instructed on the fee submission form. Payments must be made electronically through the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Instructions for electronic payment will be made available on both the payment Web site and a fee liability summary letter mailed to the CDQ group representative.

    (iv) Payment method. Payment must be made electronically in U.S. dollars by automated clearing house, credit card, or electronic check drawn on a U.S. bank account.

    (b) CDQ standard ex-vessel value determination and use—(1) General. A CDQ group representative must use the CDQ standard prices determined by NMFS under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (2) CDQ standard prices—(i) General. Each year the Regional Administrator will publish CDQ standard prices for groundfish and halibut in the Federal Register by December 1 of the year in which the CDQ groundfish and halibut landings were made. The CDQ standard prices will be described in U.S. dollars per CDQ equivalent pound for CDQ groundfish and halibut landings made during the current calendar year.

    (ii) Effective duration. The CDQ standard prices published by NMFS shall apply to all CDQ groundfish and halibut landings made during the current calendar year.

    (iii) Determination. NMFS will calculate the CDQ standard prices for each CDQ fishery as follows:

    (A) CDQ halibut and CDQ fixed gear sablefish. NMFS will calculate the CDQ standard prices for CDQ halibut and CDQ fixed gear sablefish to reflect, as closely as possible by port or port-group, the variations in the actual ex-vessel values of CDQ halibut and fixed-gear sablefish based on information provided in the IFQ Registered Buyer Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report described at § 679.5(l)(7). The Regional Administrator will base CDQ standard prices on the following information:

    (1) Landed pounds of IFQ halibut and sablefish and CDQ halibut in the Bering Sea port-group;

    (2) Total ex-vessel value of IFQ halibut and sablefish and CDQ halibut in the Bering Sea port-group; and

    (3) Price adjustments, including retroactive payments.

    (B) CDQ Pacific cod. NMFS will use the standard prices calculated for Pacific cod based on information provided in the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report described at § 679.5(u)(1) for CDQ Pacific cod.

    (C) CDQ pollock. NMFS will use the standard prices calculated for AFA pollock described at § 679.66(b) for CDQ pollock.

    (D) Other CDQ groundfish including sablefish caught with trawl gear. (1) NMFS will base all CDQ standard prices for all other CDQ groundfish species on the First Wholesale Volume and Value reports specified in § 679.5(u)(2).

    (2) NMFS will establish CDQ standard prices for all other CDQ groundfish species on an annual basis; except the Regional Administrator will establish a first CDQ standard price for rock sole for all landings from January 1 through March 31, and a second CDQ standard price for rock sole for all landings from April 1 through December 31.

    (3) The average first wholesale product prices reported will be multiplied by 0.4 to obtain a proxy for the ex-vessel prices of those CDQ groundfish species.

    (c) CDQ fee percentage—(1) Established percentage. The CDQ fee percentage for CDQ groundfish and halibut is the amount as determined by the factors and methodology described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. This amount will be announced by publication in the Federal Register in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section. This amount must not exceed 3.0 percent pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1854(d)(2)(B).

    (2) Calculating fee percentage value. Each year NMFS will calculate and publish the CDQ fee percentage according to the following factors and methodology:

    (i) Factors. NMFS will use the following factors to determine the fee percentage:

    (A) The catch to which the CDQ groundfish and halibut cost recovery fee will apply;

    (B) The ex-vessel value of that catch; and

    (C) The costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the CDQ Program for groundfish and halibut.

    (ii) Methodology. NMFS will use the following equations to determine the fee percentage: 100 × DPC/V, where:

    (A) DPC = the direct program costs for the CDQ Program for groundfish and halibut for the most recent Federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) with any adjustments to the account from payments received in the previous year.

    (B) V = total of the CDQ standard ex-vessel value of the catch subject to the CDQ fee liability for the current year.

    (3) Publication—(i) General. NMFS will calculate and announce the CDQ fee percentage in a Federal Register notice by December 1 of the year in which the CDQ groundfish and halibut landings were made. NMFS will calculate the CDQ fee percentage based on the calculations described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

    (ii) Effective period. NMFS will apply the calculated CDQ fee percentage to CDQ groundfish and halibut landings made between January 1 and December 31 of the same year.

    (4) Applicable percentage. The CDQ group representative must use the CDQ fee percentage applicable at the time a CDQ groundfish and halibut landing is debited from a CDQ group's allocation to calculate the CDQ fee liability for any retroactive payments for that CDQ species.

    (5) Fee liability determination for a CDQ group. (i) Each CDQ group will be subject to a CDQ fee for any CDQ groundfish and halibut debited from that CDQ group's allocation during a calendar year.

    (ii) The CDQ fee assessed to a CDQ group will be based on the proportion of the standard ex-vessel value of CDQ groundfish and halibut debited from a CDQ group's allocation relative to all CDQ groups during a calendar year as determined by NMFS.

    (iii) NMFS will provide a CDQ fee liability summary letter to each CDQ group representative by December 1 of each year. The summary will explain the CDQ fee liability determination including the current fee percentage, and details of CDQ pounds debited from the CDQ group allocations by permit, species, date, and prices.

    (d) Underpayment of fee liability—(1) No CDQ group will receive its allocations of CDQ groundfish or halibut until the CDQ group representative submits full payment of that CDQ group's complete CDQ fee liability.

    (2) If a CDQ group representative fails to submit full payment for its CDQ fee liability by the date described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the Regional Administrator may:

    (i) At any time thereafter send an IAD to the CDQ group representative stating that the CDQ group's estimated fee liability, as indicated by his or her own submitted information, is the CDQ fee liability due from the CDQ group.

    (ii) Disapprove any application to transfer CDQ to or from the CDQ group in accordance with § 679.31(c).

    (3) If a CDQ group fails to submit full payment by December 31 of each year, the Regional Administrator will not issue allocations of CDQ groundfish and halibut to that CDQ group for the following calendar year.

    (4) Upon final agency action determining that a CDQ group representative has not paid the CDQ fee liability due for that CDQ group, the Regional Administrator may continue to not issue allocations of CDQ groundfish and halibut for that CDQ group for any subsequent calendar years until NMFS receives the unpaid fees. If payment is not received by the 30th day after the final agency action, the agency may pursue collection of the unpaid fees.

    (e) Over payment. Upon issuance of final agency action, payment submitted to NMFS in excess of the CDQ fee liability determined to be due by the final agency action will be returned to the CDQ group representative unless the CDQ group representative requests the agency to credit the excess amount against the CDQ group's future CDQ fee liability.

    (f) Appeals. A CDQ group representative who receives an IAD for incomplete payment of a CDQ fee liability may appeal under the appeals procedures set out at 15 CFR part 906.

    (g) Annual report. Each year, NMFS will publish a report describing the CDQ Cost Recovery Fee Program for groundfish and halibut.

    8. In § 679.61,: a. Revise paragraph (c)(1); and b. Add paragraph (e)(1)(vi) to read as follows:
    § 679.61 Formation and operation of fishery cooperatives.

    (c) * * *

    (1) What is a designated representative? The designated representative is the primary contact person for NMFS on issues relating to the operation of the cooperative. Any cooperative formed under this section must appoint a designated representative to fulfill regulatory requirements on behalf of the cooperative including, but not limited to, filing of cooperative contracts, filing of annual reports, submitting all cost recovery fees, and in the case of inshore sector catcher vessel cooperatives, signing cooperative fishing permit applications and completing and submitting inshore catcher vessel pollock cooperative catch reports.

    (e) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (vi) List the obligations of members of a cooperative, governed by this section, to ensure the full payment of all AFA fee liabilities that may be due.

    9. Add § 679.66 to subpart F to read as follows:
    § 679.66 AFA cost recovery.

    (a) Cost recovery fee program for AFA—(1) Who is responsible for submitting the fee? (i) The person designated on the AFA inshore cooperative permit as the designated representative at the time of a Bering Sea pollock landing.

    (ii) The person designated as the representative of the entity representing the AFA catcher/processor sector under § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C) at the time of a Bering Sea pollock landing.

    (iii) The person designated as the representative of the AFA mothership cooperative at the time of a Bering Sea pollock landing.

    (2) Responsibility. (i) Subsequent transfer of AFA permits held by cooperative members does not affect the designated representative's liability for noncompliance with this section.

    (ii) Changes in the membership in a cooperative, such as members joining or departing during the relevant year, or changes in the holdings of AFA permits of those members do not affect the designated representative's liability for noncompliance with this section.

    (3) Fee collection. Each designated representative (as identified under paragraph (a)(1) of this section) is responsible for submitting the cost recovery payment for all Bering Sea pollock landings debited against the AFA cooperative's or AFA sector's AFA pollock fishery allocation.

    (4) Payment—(i) Payment due date. The designated representative (as identified under paragraph (a)(1) of this section) must submit all AFA fee payment(s) to NMFS at the address provided in paragraph (a)(4)(iii) of this section no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the Bering Sea pollock landings were made.

    (ii) Payment recipient. Make electronic payment payable to NMFS.

    (iii) Payment address. Submit payment and related documents as instructed on the fee submission form. Payments must be made electronically through the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Instructions for electronic payment will be made available on both the payment Web site and a fee liability summary letter mailed to each designated representative.

    (iv) Payment method. Payment must be made electronically in U.S. dollars by automated clearing house, credit card, or electronic check drawn on a U.S. bank account.

    (b) AFA standard ex-vessel value determination and use—(1) General. A designated representative must use the AFA standard price determined by NMFS under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (2) AFA standard price—(i) General. Each year the Regional Administrator will publish the AFA standard price in the Federal Register by December 1 of the year in which the landings were made. The AFA standard price will be described in U.S. dollars per AFA pollock equivalent pound for Bering Sea pollock landings made by AFA cooperative or AFA sector members during the current calendar year.

    (ii) Effective duration. The AFA standard price published by NMFS shall apply to all Bering Sea pollock landings made by an AFA cooperative or AFA sector member during the current calendar year.

    (iii) Determination. NMFS will calculate the AFA standard price to reflect, as closely as possible, the standard price of Bering Sea pollock landings based on information provided in the COAR for the previous year, as described in § 679.5(p). The Regional Administrator will base the AFA standard price on the following information:

    (A) Landed pounds of Bering Sea pollock;

    (B) Total ex-vessel value of Bering Sea pollock; and

    (C) Price adjustments, including retroactive payments.

    (c) AFA fee percentages—(1) Established percentages. The AFA fee percentages are the amounts as determined by the factors and methodology described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. These amounts will be announced by publication in the Federal Register in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section. These amounts must not exceed 3.0 percent pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1854(d)(2)(B).

    (2) Calculating fee percentage value. Each year NMFS will calculate and publish AFA fee percentages for AFA inshore cooperatives, the AFA catcher/processor sector, and the AFA mothership cooperative according to the following factors and methodology:

    (i) Factors. NMFS will use the following factors to determine the fee percentages:

    (A) The catch to which the AFA pollock cost recovery fee will apply;

    (B) The ex-vessel value of that catch; and

    (C) The costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the AFA directed pollock fisheries.

    (ii) Methodology. NMFS will use the following equations to determine the AFA fee percentage: 100 × DPC/V, where:

    (A) DPC = the direct program costs for the directed AFA pollock fisheries for the most recent fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) with any adjustments to the account from payments received in the previous year.

    (B) V = total of the standard ex-vessel value of the catch subject to the AFA fee liability for the current year.

    (iii) Direct program costs will be calculated separately for:

    (A) AFA inshore cooperatives;

    (B) The AFA catcher/processor sector; and

    (C) The AFA mothership cooperative.

    (3) Publication—(i) General. NMFS will calculate and announce the AFA fee percentages in a Federal Register notice by December 1 of the year in which the Bering Sea pollock landings were made. AFA fee percentages will be calculated separately for the AFA inshore cooperatives, the AFA catcher/processor sector, and the AFA mothership cooperative. NMFS will calculate the AFA fee percentages based on the calculations described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

    (ii) Effective period. NMFS will apply the calculated AFA fee percentages to all Bering Sea directed pollock landings made between January 1 and December 31 of the current year.

    (4) Applicable percentage. A designated representative must use the AFA fee percentage applicable at the time a Bering Sea directed pollock landing is debited from an AFA pollock fishery allocation to calculate the AFA fee liability for any retroactive payments for that landing.

    (5) Fee liability determination. (i) Each AFA inshore cooperative, the AFA mothership cooperative, and the AFA catcher/processor sector will be subject to an AFA fee liability for any Bering Sea pollock debited from its AFA pollock fishery allocation during a calendar year.

    (ii) The AFA fee liability assessed to an AFA inshore cooperative will be based on the proportion of the AFA fee liability of Bering Sea pollock debited from that AFA inshore cooperative's AFA pollock fishery allocation relative to all AFA inshore cooperatives during a calendar year as determined by NMFS.

    (iii) The AFA fee liability assessed to the AFA catcher/processor sector will be based on the standard ex-vessel value of Bering Sea pollock debited from the sector's AFA pollock fishery allocation during a calendar year as determined by NMFS.

    (iv) The AFA fee liability assessed to the AFA mothership cooperative will be based on the proportion of the standard ex-vessel value of Bering Sea pollock debited from the cooperative's AFA pollock fishery allocation during a calendar year as determined by NMFS.

    (v) NMFS will provide a fee liability summary letter to each designated representative by December 1 of each year. The summary will explain the AFA fee liability determination including the current fee percentage and details of Bering Sea pollock pounds debited from the AFA pollock fishery allocation by permit, species, date, and prices.

    (d) Underpayment of fee liability—(1) No AFA inshore cooperative will receive its AFA pollock fishery allocation until the cooperative's designated representative submits full payment of the cooperative's AFA fee liability.

    (2) The AFA mothership cooperative will not receive its AFA pollock fishery allocation until the cooperative's designated representative submits full payment of that cooperative's AFA fee liability.

    (3) The AFA catcher/processor sector will not receive its Bering Sea pollock allocation until the entity's designated representative defined at § 679.21(f)(8)(i)(C) submits full payment of the AFA fee liability at the time of a Bering Sea pollock landing, except the Regional Administrator may release to the AFA catcher/processor sector a portion of the AFA catcher/processor sector's Bering Sea pollock allocation that is equal to the portion of the fee liability submitted by the entity's designated representative.

    (4) If the designated representative fails to submit full payment for the AFA fee liability by the date described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the Regional Administrator, at any time thereafter, may send an IAD to the designated representative stating that the estimated fee liability, based on the information submitted by the designated representative, is the AFA fee liability due from the designated representative.

    (5) If the designated representative fails to submit full payment for the AFA fee liability by the date described at paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the Regional Administrator will not issue a Bering Sea pollock allocation to that AFA cooperative or AFA sector for the following calendar year, except as provided in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

    (6) Upon final agency action determining that the designated representative has not submitted the AFA fee liability payment, the Regional Administrator may continue to not issue a Bering Sea pollock allocation for that AFA cooperative or AFA sector for any subsequent calendar years until NMFS receives the unpaid fees. If payment is not received by the 30th day after the final agency action, the agency may pursue collection of the unpaid fees.

    (e) Over payment. Upon issuance of final agency action, payment submitted to NMFS in excess of the AFA fee liability determined to be due by the final agency action will be returned to the designated representative unless the designated representative requests the agency to credit the excess amount against a cooperative's or sector's future AFA fee liability.

    (f) Appeals. The designated representative who receives an IAD for incomplete payment of an AFA fee liability may appeal under the appeals procedures set out at 15 CFR part 906.

    (g) Annual report. Each year, NMFS will publish a report describing the AFA Cost Recovery Fee Program.

    10. Add § 679.67 to subpart F to read as follows:
    § 679.67 Aleutian Islands pollock cost recovery.

    (a) Cost recovery fee program for Aleutian Islands pollock—(1) Representative. The person identified as the representative, designated by the Aleut Corporation, at the time of an Aleutian Islands pollock landing is responsible for submitting all cost recovery fees.

    (2) Fee collection. The designated representative (as identified under paragraph (a)(1) of this section) is responsible for submitting the cost recovery payment for all Aleutian Islands pollock landings made under the authority of Aleut Corporation.

    (3) Payment. (i) Payment due date. The designated representative (as identified under paragraph (a)(1) of this section) must submit all cost recovery fee payment(s) to NMFS at the address provided in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the Aleutian Islands pollock landings were made.

    (ii) Payment recipient. Make electronic payment payable to NMFS.

    (iii) Payment address. Submit payment and related documents as instructed on the fee submission form. Payments must be made electronically through the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Instructions for electronic payment will be made available on both the payment Web site and a fee liability summary letter mailed to the designated representative of the Aleut Corporation.

    (iv) Payment method. Payment must be made electronically in U.S. dollars by automated clearing house, credit card, or electronic check drawn on a U.S. bank account.

    (b) Aleutian Islands pollock standard ex-vessel value determination and use—(1) General. The designated representative of the Aleut Corporation must use the Aleutian Islands pollock standard price determined by NMFS under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (2) Aleutian Islands pollock standard price—(i) General. Each year the Regional Administrator will publish the Aleutian Islands pollock standard price in the Federal Register by December 1 of the year in which the landings were made. The Aleutian Islands pollock standard price will be described in U.S. dollars per Aleutian Islands pollock equivalent pound for Aleutian Islands pollock landings during the current calendar year.

    (ii) Effective duration. The Aleutian Islands pollock standard price published by NMFS shall apply to all Aleutian Islands pollock landings during the current calendar year.

    (iii) Determination. NMFS will calculate the Aleutian Islands pollock standard price to reflect, as closely as possible, the standard price of Aleutian Islands pollock landings based on information provided in the COAR for the previous year, as described in § 679.5(p). The Regional Administrator will base Aleutian Islands pollock standard price on the following information:

    (A) Landed pounds of Aleutian Islands pollock;

    (B) Total ex-vessel value of Aleutian Islands pollock; and

    (C) Price adjustments, including retroactive payments.

    (c) Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage—(1) Established percentage. The Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage is the amount as determined by the factors and methodology described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. This amount will be announced by publication in the Federal Register in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section. This amount must not exceed 3.0 percent pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1854(d)(2)(B).

    (2) Calculating fee percentage value. Each year NMFS will calculate and publish the fee percentage according to the following factors and methodology:

    (i) Factors. NMFS will use the following factors to determine the fee percentage:

    (A) The catch to which the Aleutian Islands pollock cost recovery fee will apply;

    (B) The ex-vessel value of that catch; and

    (C) The costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery.

    (ii) Methodology. NMFS will use the following equations to determine the fee percentage: 100 × DPC/V, where:

    (A) DPC = the direct program costs for the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery for the most recent fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) with any adjustments to the account from payments received in the previous year.

    (B) V = total of the standard ex-vessel value of the catch subject to the Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability for the current year.

    (3) Publication—(i) General. NMFS will calculate and announce the fee percentage in a Federal Register notice by December 1 of the year in which the Aleutian Islands pollock landings were made. NMFS will calculate the Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage based on the calculations described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

    (ii) Effective period. NMFS will apply the calculated Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage to all Aleutian Islands pollock landings made between January 1 and December 31 of the current year.

    (4) Applicable percentage. The designated representative must use the Aleutian Islands pollock fee percentage applicable at the time an Aleutian Islands pollock landing is debited from the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation to calculate the Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability for any retroactive payments for that pollock.

    (5) Fee liability determination. (i) The Aleut Corporation will be subject to a fee for any Aleutian Islands pollock debited from the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation during a calendar year.

    (ii) NMFS will provide a fee liability summary letter to the Aleut Corporation by December 1 of each year. The summary will explain the fee liability determination including the current fee percentage, and details of Aleutian Islands pollock pounds debited from the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation by permit, species, date, and prices.

    (d) Underpayment of fee liability—(1) The Aleut Corporation will not receive its Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation until the Aleut Corporation's designated representative submits full payment of the Aleut Corporation's cost recovery fee liability.

    (2) If the Aleut Corporation's designated representative fails to submit full payment for Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability by the date described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the Regional Administrator may at any time thereafter send an IAD to the Aleut Corporation's designated representative stating that the estimated fee liability, based on the information submitted by the designated representative, is the Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability due from the Aleut Corporation.

    (3) If the Aleut Corporation's designated representative fails to submit full payment by the Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability payment deadline described at paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the Regional Administrator will not issue the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation to the Aleut Corporation for that calendar year.

    (4) Upon final agency action determining that the Aleut Corporation has not paid its Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability, the Regional Administrator may continue to not issue the Aleutian Islands directed pollock fishery allocation for any subsequent calendar years until NMFS receives the unpaid fees. If payment is not received by the 30th day after the final agency action, the agency may pursue collection of the unpaid fees.

    (e) Over payment. Upon issuance of final agency action, payment submitted to NMFS in excess of the Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability determined to be due by the final agency action will be returned to the Aleut Corporation unless its designated representative requests the agency to credit the excess amount against the cooperative's future Aleutian Islands pollock fee liability.

    (f) Appeals. A representative of the Aleut Corporation who receives an IAD for incomplete payment of an Aleutian Islands pollock fee may appeal under the appeals procedures set out at 15 CFR part 906.

    (g) Annual report. Each year, NMFS will publish a report describing the Aleutian Islands Pollock Cost Recovery Fee Program.

    11. In § 679.91: a. Revise paragraphs (b)(4)(vii) and (h)(3)(xiv); and b. Add paragraph (h)(3)(xx) to read as follows:
    § 679.91 Amendment 80 Program annual harvester privileges.

    (b) * * *

    (4) * * *

    (vii) Copy of membership agreement or contract. Attach a copy of the membership agreement or contract that includes terms that list:

    (A) How the Amendment 80 cooperative intends to catch its CQ; and

    (B) The obligations of Amendment 80 QS holders who are members of an Amendment 80 cooperative to ensure the full payment of Amendment 80 fee liabilities that may be due.

    (h) * * *

    (3) * * *

    *         *         *         *         *         *         * (xiv) Does an Amendment 80 cooperative need a membership agreement or contract? Yes, an Amendment 80 cooperative must have a membership agreement or contract. A copy of this agreement or contract must be submitted to NMFS with the application for CQ. The membership agreement or contract must specify:
  • (A) How the Amendment 80 cooperative intends to catch its CQ; and
  • (B) The obligations of Amendment 80 QS holders, who are members of an Amendment 80 cooperative, to ensure the full payment of Amendment 80 fee liabilities that may be due.
  • *         *         *         *         *         *         * (xx) Is there a requirement that an Amendment 80 cooperative pay Amendment 80 cost recovery fees? Yes, see § 679.95 for the provisions that apply.
    12. Add § 679.95 to subpart H to read as follows:
    § 679.95 Amendment 80 Program cost recovery.

    (a) Cost recovery fee program for Amendment 80—(1) Who is responsible? The person designated as the Amendment 80 cooperative representative at the time of an Amendment 80 CQ landing must comply with the requirements of this section, notwithstanding:

    (i) Subsequent transfer of Amendment 80 CQ or Amendment 80 QS held by Amendment 80 cooperative members;

    (ii) Non-renewal of an Amendment 80 CQ permit; or

    (iii) Changes in the membership in an Amendment 80 cooperative, such as members joining or departing during the relevant year, or changes in the amount of Amendment 80 QS holdings of those members.

    (2) Fee collection. Each Amendment 80 cooperative representative is responsible for submitting the cost recovery payment for Amendment 80 CQ landings made under the authority of its Amendment 80 CQ permit.

    (3) Payment—(i) Payment due date. An Amendment 80 cooperative representative must submit all Amendment 80 fee liability payment(s) to NMFS at the address provided in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the Amendment 80 CQ landings were made.

    (ii) Payment recipient. Make electronic payment payable to NMFS.

    (iii) Payment address. Submit payment and related documents as instructed on the fee submission form. Payments must be made electronically through the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Instructions for electronic payment will be made available on both the payment Web site and a fee liability summary letter mailed to the Amendment 80 CQ permit holder.

    (iv) Payment method. Payment must be made electronically in U.S. dollars by automated clearing house, credit card, or electronic check drawn on a U.S. bank account.

    (b) Amendment 80 standard ex-vessel value determination and use—(1) General. An Amendment 80 cooperative representative must use the Amendment 80 standard prices determined by NMFS under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (2) Amendment 80 standard prices—(i) General. Each year the Regional Administrator will publish Amendment 80 standard prices in the Federal Register by December 1 of the year in which the Amendment 80 species landings were made. The standard prices will be described in U.S. dollars per Amendment 80 equivalent pound for Amendment 80 species landings made by Amendment 80 CQ permit holders during the current calendar year.

    (ii) Effective duration. The Amendment 80 standard prices published by NMFS will apply to all Amendment 80 species landings made by an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder during that calendar year.

    (iii) Determination. NMFS will calculate the Amendment 80 standard prices for Amendment 80 species based on the following information:

    (A) Pacific cod. NMFS will use the standard prices calculated for Pacific cod based on information provided in the Pacific Cod Ex-vessel Volume and Value Report described at § 679.5(u)(1).

    (B) Amendment 80 species other than Pacific cod. (1) The Regional Administrator will base Amendment 80 standard prices for all Amendment 80 species other than Pacific cod on the First Wholesale Volume and Value reports specified in § 679.5(u)(2).

    (2) The Regional Administrator will establish Amendment 80 standard prices for all Amendment 80 species other than Pacific cod on an annual basis; except the Regional Administrator will establish a first Amendment 80 standard price for rock sole for all landings from January 1 through March 31, and a second Amendment 80 standard price for rock sole for all landings from April 1 through December 31.

    (3) The average first wholesale product prices reported on the First Wholesale Volume and Value reports, specified in § 679.5(u)(2), will be multiplied by 0.4 to obtain a proxy for the ex-vessel prices of Amendment 80 species other than Pacific cod.

    (c) Amendment 80 fee percentage—(1) Established percentage. The Amendment 80 fee percentage is the amount as determined by the factors and methodology described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. This amount will be announced by publication in the Federal Register in accordance with paragraph (c)(3) of this section. This amount must not exceed 3.0 percent pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1854(d)(2)(B).

    (2) Calculating fee percentage value. Each year NMFS will calculate and publish the fee percentage according to the following factors and methodology:

    (i) Factors. NMFS will use the following factors to determine the fee percentage:

    (A) The catch to which the Amendment 80 cost recovery fee will apply;

    (B) The ex-vessel value of that catch; and

    (C) The costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the Amendment 80 Program.

    (ii) Methodology. NMFS will use the following equations to determine the fee percentage: 100 × DPC/V, where:

    (A) DPC = the direct program costs for the Amendment 80 Program for the most recent fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) with any adjustments to the account from payments received in the previous year.

    (B) V = total of the standard ex-vessel value of the landings subject to the Amendment 80 fee liability for the current year.

    (3) Publication—(i) General. NMFS will calculate and announce the Amendment 80 fee percentage in a Federal Register notice by December 1 of the year in which the Amendment 80 landings were made. NMFS will calculate the Amendment 80 fee percentage based on the calculations described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

    (ii) Effective period. NMFS will apply the calculated Amendment 80 fee percentage to Amendment 80 CQ landings made between January 1 and December 31 of the same year.

    (4) Applicable percentage. The Amendment 80 CQ permit holder must use the Amendment 80 fee percentage applicable at the time an Amendment 80 species landing is debited from an Amendment 80 CQ allocation to calculate the Amendment 80 fee liability for any retroactive payments for that Amendment 80 species.

    (5) Fee liability determination for an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder. (i) Each Amendment 80 CQ permit holder will be subject to a fee liability for any Amendment 80 species CQ debited from an Amendment 80 CQ allocation between January 1 and December 31 of the current year.

    (ii) The Amendment 80 fee liability assessed to an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder will be based on the proportion of the standard ex-vessel value of Amendment 80 species debited from an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder relative to all Amendment 80 CQ permit holders during a calendar year as determined by NMFS.

    (iii) NMFS will provide a fee liability summary letter to each Amendment 80 CQ permit holder by December 1 of each year. The summary will explain the fee liability determination including the current fee percentage, and details of Amendment 80 species CQ pounds debited from Amendment 80 CQ allocations by permit, species, date, and prices.

    (d) Underpayment of fee liability—(1) No Amendment 80 cooperative will receive its Amendment 80 CQ until the Amendment 80 CQ permit holder submits full payment of an applicant's complete Amendment 80 fee liability.

    (2) If an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder fails to submit full payment for its Amendment 80 fee by the date described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the Regional Administrator may:

    (i) At any time thereafter send an IAD to the Amendment 80 cooperative's representative stating that the Amendment 80 CQ permit holder's estimated fee liability, based on information submitted by the Amendment 80 cooperative's representative, is the Amendment 80 fee liability due from the Amendment 80 CQ permit holder.

    (ii) Disapprove any application to transfer Amendment 80 CQ to or from the Amendment 80 CQ permit holder in accordance with § 679.91(g).

    (3) If an Amendment 80 cooperative representative fails to submit full payment by the Amendment 80 fee payment deadline described at paragraph (a)(3) of this section:

    (i) The Regional Administrator will not issue a Amendment 80 CQ permit to that Amendment 80 cooperative for the following calendar year; and

    (ii) The Regional Administrator will not issue Amendment 80 CQ based on the Amendment 80 QS held by the members of that Amendment 80 cooperative to any other CQ permit for that calendar year.

    (4) Upon final agency action determining that an Amendment 80 CQ permit holder has not paid his or her Amendment 80 fee, the Regional Administrator may continue to not issue an Amendment 80 CQ permit for any subsequent calendar years until NMFS receives the unpaid fees. If payment is not received by the 30th day after the final agency action, the agency may pursue collection of the unpaid fees.

    (e) Over payment. Upon issuance of final agency action, payment submitted to NMFS in excess of the Amendment 80 fee determined to be due by the final agency action will be returned to the Amendment 80 cooperative unless the Amendment 80 cooperative's representative requests the agency to credit the excess amount against the Amendment 80 CQ permit holder's future Amendment 80 fee.

    (f) Appeals. An Amendment 80 cooperative representative who receives an IAD for incomplete payment of an Amendment 80 fee may appeal under the appeals procedures set out a 15 CFR part 906.

    (g) Annual report. Each year, NMFS will publish a report describing the Amendment 80 Cost Recovery Fee Program.

    [FR Doc. 2015-33096 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 151 [Docket No. USCG-2012-0924] RIN 1625-AB68 Ballast Water Management Reporting and Recordkeeping AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; information collection approval.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard announces that it has received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for an information collection request associated with ballast water management reporting and recordkeeping requirements in a final rule we published in the Federal Register on November 24, 2015. In that rule, we stated we would publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date of the collection-of-information related sections. This rule establishes February 22, 2016, as the effective date for those sections.

    DATES:

    The amendments to §§ 151.2060(b) through (f) and 151.2070, published November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73105), are effective February 22, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this rule, call or email Ms. Regina Bergner, Environmental Standards Division (CG-OES-3), U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 202-372-1431, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Viewing Documents Associated With This Rule

    To view the final rule published on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73105), or other documents in the docket for this rulemaking, go to www.regulations.gov, type the docket number, USCG-2012-0924, in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on “Open Docket Folder” in the first item listed. Use the following link to go directly to the docket: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=USCG-2012-0924.

    Background

    On November 24, 2015, the Coast Guard published a final rule that amends the ballast water management reporting and recordkeeping requirements. 80 FR 73105. The final rule delayed the effective date of 33 CFR 151.2060(b) through (f) and § 151.2070 because these sections contain collection-of-information provisions that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520. On December 4, 2015, the OMB approved the collection assigned OMB Control Number 1625-0069, Ballast Water Management for Vessels with Ballast Tanks Entering U.S. Waters. Accordingly, we announce that 33 CFR 151.2060(b) through (f) and 151.2070 are effective February 22, 2016. The approval for this collection of information expires on December 31, 2018.

    This document is issued under the authority of 33 U.S.C. 1231.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. J.G. Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, U.S. Coast Guard.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33137 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 20 [WT Docket No. 07-250; FCC 15-155] Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) modernizes its wireless hearing aid compatibility rules. The Commission adopts these rules to ensure that people with hearing loss have full access to innovative handsets and technologies.

    DATES:

    Effective February 4, 2016.

    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 Fourth Report and Order in WT Docket Nos. 15-285 and 07-250; FCC 15-155, adopted November 19, 2015, and released on November 20, 2015. This summary should be read with its companion document, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking summary published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. The full text of the Fourth Report and Order is available for inspection and copying during business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Portals II, 445 12th Street SW., Room CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. The complete item is also available on the Commission's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

    Synopsis of the Fourth Report and Order I. Introduction

    1. After review of the record and consideration of both the requirements of section 710 as amended by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) and the previous actions taken in this proceeding, the Commission revises the scope of the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules largely as proposed in the 2010 Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM), 75 FR 54546, Sept. 8, 2010. Specifically, the Commission broadens the scope of the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules, which have until now covered only handsets that are used with CMRS networks meeting specified characteristics enabling frequency reuse and seamless handoff. The Commission now extends the scope to cover handsets (that is, devices with a built-in speaker held to the ear in any of their ordinary uses) used with any terrestrial mobile service that enables two-way real-time voice communications among members of the public or a substantial portion of the public, including both interconnected and non-interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services provided through pre-installed software applications. In doing so, the Commission establishes a comprehensive hearing aid compatibility requirement that ensures consumers with hearing loss will have access to the same rapidly evolving voice technology options available to other consumers. To ensure testability under the currently approved technical standard, the Commission will require compliance only to the extent these handsets are used in connection with voice communication services in bands covered by Commission-approved standards for hearing aid compatibility. Section 20.19(a) is limited to mobile handsets consistent with the scope of ANSI Standard C63.19, and remains so under the expanded scope. The Commission therefore affirms that cordless telephones remain subject to section 68.4 of the Commission's rules, including the hearing aid compatibility requirements applicable to telephones under Part 68, and are not affected by the change in scope.

    2. While the Commission has taken steps previously to bring such emerging voice services under the rules, these steps are necessary to complete the process. The Third Report and Order adopted a technical standard that can be applied to test VoLTE, Wi-Fi-based calling, and other IP-based voice capabilities for hearing aid compatibility, and indicated an expectation that handsets that support covered CMRS voice communications services over IP-based air interfaces such as LTE would indeed be subject to the hearing aid compatibility requirements as a result. The Third Report and Order did not expand the scope provision of the rule beyond covered CMRS, or clarify the extent to which the new IP-based voice technologies and air interfaces constituted covered CMRS services. Consistent with the provisions of the CVAA that expressly extend section 710 to both interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP services, adopting the expanded scope will ensure that the wireless hearing aid compatibility requirements apply to handsets used for such services regardless of how the services are classified for other regulatory purposes, and without regard to the network architecture over which the services are provided. The Commission thus resolves any uncertainty regarding the extent to which IP-based voice services covered by the 2011 ANSI Standard are also within the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules.

    3. Its actions also ensure that the hearing aid compatibility rules cover modes of voice communications access that are increasingly available to the public as well as those that may develop in the future. For example, the expanded scope will cover handsets that enable voice communications through VoIP software applications installed by the manufacturer or service provider regardless of whether the calling functionality provides interconnection to the public switched telephone network. It will also cover advances in voice technology that have rendered obsolete some of the current rule's limitations on scope, such as provisions that apply hearing aid compatibility requirements only to services that involve frequency reuse and cell site handoff. Unlike the current scope, the expanded scope will also apply to a voice communications service over Wi-Fi that does not utilize an in-network switching facility that enables reuse of frequencies and seamless hand-off.

    1. Statutory Analysis of Expanded Scope

    4. The Commisson first finds that section 710, as amended by the CVAA, provides authority to require hearing aid compatibility in any device that meets the Commission's definition of handset and that is used in whole or in part for the delivery of services within the new scope of the rule. The CVAA expressly extended section 710 to cover mobile devices used with advanced communications services, including interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP services, to the extent that such devices are designed to provide two-way voice communication via a built-in speaker intended to be held to the ear in a manner functionally equivalent to a telephone. Thus, as amended by the CVAA, section 710 clearly supports expanding the scope of section 20.19 to cover the full range of handsets used to provide consumers with voice communications services, including IP-based services and voice communications software.

    5. Similarly, the CVAA amendments to section 710 confirm the Commission's prior determination that obligations should extend to cover a broad range of mobile handsets, and not merely those used exclusively as telephones. For example, these amendments make clear that covered devices used with public mobile services and private radio services include devices used “in whole or in part” to provide those services. While the Commission has recognized that engineering hearing aid compatibility for multi-use handsets may require adjustments to non-voice-communication features, the statute provides that equipment must meet hearing aid compatibility standards without any specific limitation based on non-communication adjustments. The Commission reaffirms that the hearing aid compatibility rules apply to a multi-use handset that can function as a telephone even though it may serve additional purposes or have another primary intended purpose.

    6. The Commission further finds that, in deciding whether to extend the scope of the wireless hearing aid compatibility obligations, the Commission must determine whether the statutory criteria for lifting the wireless exemption are satisfied, as it did in 2003 when it first modified the exemption for wireless telephones. The Commission examines each of the four criteria for lifting the exemption below, and determine that each criterion has been satisfied. The Commission finds that (1) individuals with hearing loss would be adversely affected absent the expansion of the rule's scope; (2) compliance with the Commission's hearing aid compatibility rules for the handsets within the expanded scope is technologically feasible; (3) compliance would not increase costs to such an extent that such equipment could not be successfully marketed; and (4) in consideration of these factors, and the costs and benefits of the rule change, expanding the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules beyond covered CMRS is in the public interest.

    7. The Commission emphasizes that the Commission's analysis of the four criteria for lifting the exemption is not restricted to voice communications services that are deployed in the 698 MHz to 6 GHz band, and that the Commission finds that the criteria for lifting the exemption are met for such services in any frequency band, including frequencies outside the band covered by the ANSI 2011 Standard. Consistent with prior Commission determinations, however, the Commission retains the current restriction in the scope of the rule to the 698 MHz to 6 GHz band at this time, so that compliance under the rule is required only for operations in spectrum bands for which there is an approved technical standard. As new frequencies are deployed for comparable voice services and standards for them approved, however, incorporating such frequencies into the rule early in their deployment will better facilitate access to handsets using such frequencies when they are rolled out to the public. For example, the Incentive Auction scheduled to begin in early 2016 will involve new, flexible-use licenses in the 600 MHz Band that are suitable for providing mobile broadband services. The Commission expects that the technical standards needed for any such frequencies will be developed in timely fashion. To the extent that a manufacturer believes that compliance is not technically feasible or would prevent marketability for devices used with a future public mobile service—such as one that operates in the 600 MHz Band—the manufacturer may apply for a waiver under section 710(b)(3) for the applicable “new telephones, or telephone associated with a new technology or service.” By addressing the statutory exemption as it applies to additional frequencies now, the Commission ensures that it need not engage in a similar statutory analysis each time ANSI adopts a revision to cover an additional frequency range, which will help to expedite incorporation of such revisions into the rules and therefore speed the testing and offering of new hearing aid-compatible technologies to consumers. The Commission's determinations in this Fourth Report and Order should remove any doubt that, as new frequencies are deployed for comparable voice services and corresponding hearing aid compatibility standards are developed, the Commission intends to incorporate them into the Commission's requirements. This will advance the Commission's goal that the Commission's rules provide people who use hearing aids and cochlear implants with continuing access to the most advanced and innovative technologies as they develop.

    8. Adverse Effect on People with Hearing Loss. In the FNPRM, the Commission proposed to find that failure to extend hearing aid compatibility requirements broadly to handsets used for voice communications with members of the public or a substantial portion of the public, including those operating over new and developing technologies, would have an adverse effect on people with hearing loss and deny such consumers an opportunity to use advanced functionalities and services becoming commonplace in society. The Commission further suggested that the inability to access such innovative technologies as they develop would have an adverse effect on individuals with hearing loss, and that a broad scope could address that concern by encouraging manufacturers to consider hearing aid compatibility at the earliest stages of the product design process.

    9. Consumer Groups and ASHA comment that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids need access to mobile phone services just like every other American, including at home, work, school, and in emergency situations, and that updated regulations can help to ensure that these people can be fully integrated into society. TIA comments that manufacturers have made gains to enhance access by deaf or hard of hearing individuals to new technologies and hearing aid-compliant products, while CTIA contends that the current rules for hearing aid compatibility have been highly effective in ensuring that a wide variety of compliant wireless handsets are available to the public.

    10. Consistent with the Commission's proposed findings, the Commission concludes that failure to adopt the expanded scope would adversely affect people with hearing loss. Absent the amended scope, mobile VoIP services would be covered only to the extent that they were determined to both satisfy the definition of CMRS and involve the use of “an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless hand-offs of subscriber calls.” Those limitations, the Commission finds, would materially impede the ability of people with hearing loss to use many advanced devices and networks, and the Commission notes that ongoing innovation would likely amplify this harmful impact over time. If handsets encompassing these emerging technologies are not broadly made hearing aid-compatible, consumers with hearing loss who use hearing aids or cochlear implants could be left without full access to new technologies and networks that are used increasingly by members of the public to communicate with one another at home, at work, and as they travel, including for communications in critical emergencies. The Commission notes that mobile technologies generally are increasingly important to members of the public. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage of adults living in households with only wireless telephones has been steadily increasing with about 44.1 percent of adults (about 106 million adults) living in wireless-only households as of the last six months of 2014; in addition, as of the last six months of 2014, 54.1 percent of all children (nearly 40 million children) lived in households that only used wireless telephones. Having access to emerging IP-based voice technologies such as High Definition Voice may prove particularly important to individuals with hearing loss. In addition, as these emerging handsets evolve to encompass a wide and growing range of computing and other functions, a lack of hearing aid-compatible handsets may force individuals with hearing loss to choose between limiting their voice communications or limiting their access to many of the other features that these new handsets offer.

    11. In broadening the scope of the rule, the Commission is mindful that it is important to ensure hearing aid-compatible access to handsets, voice technologies, and networks not only once they are established but also as they develop in the future. The Commission anticipates ongoing innovation in mobile voice technologies that will lead to more services for consumers to communicate that do not use the North American Numbering Plan or involve the cellular system architecture reflected in the current rule. By making clear that hearing aid compatibility requirements apply not only to currently available technologies such as VoLTE but to all mobile terrestrial services that enable two-way, real-time voice communications among members of the public, the Commission ensures that new consumer devices—that might be developed or emerge in the future—will be covered as technical standards become available, regardless of regulatory classification or network architecture, unless a waiver is granted. The Commission expects manufacturers to take hearing aid compatibility into account during the early stages of product development.

    12. Technological Feasibility. In the FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on whether handsets that are currently on the market or are planned for introduction that fall within the coverage of the proposed rule, but are not covered by the existing rule, would meet the existing ANSI standard or a similar performance standard, for frequency bands and air interfaces that are not addressed by the existing standard. Given that hearing aid compatibility standards were already being met for handsets that operate on a variety of 2G and 3G air interfaces over two frequency bands, the Commission stated that, absent evidence to the contrary, it was likely that such standards could be met for handsets not within the class of covered CMRS but that provide similar services. The Commission further indicated that commenters arguing that compliance was not feasible should provide specific engineering evidence related to a defined class of handsets.

    13. TIA comments that the Commission should not expand the application of the hearing aid compatibility requirements beyond the scope of consumer wireless handsets with CMRS functionality until there is a better understanding of the obstacles in making the products and expanding services, and argues that issues relating to applying the rules to VoLTE and Wi-Fi with CMRS capability illustrate that emerging technologies create new and previously unanticipated technical challenges.

    14. The Commission concludes that it is technologically feasible to manufacture newly covered handsets so they meet the minimum ratings for hearing aid compatibility under the current technical standard or, to the extent they may be deployed in frequencies not addressed under the 2011 ANSI Standard, under a similar performance standard. Since the Commission proposed its analysis in 2010, subsequent developments have only confirmed that compliance with the hearing aid compatibility requirements will generally be feasible for consumer mobile voice technologies. Indeed, manufacturers are already successfully testing and rating VoLTE operations for both T- and M-rating compliance, and they are also successfully testing and rating CMRS-enabled voice communications over Wi-Fi (hereinafter “Wi-Fi Calling”) for M-rating compliance, demonstrating empirically that compliance in those areas is technologically feasible. In addition, OET's Laboratory Division issued guidance in October 2013 describing the technical parameters related in part to testing VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling functionalities for both M-ratings and T-ratings, and did not identify any challenges related to technological feasibility. While the 2013 guidance did observe that the equipment needed to test for T-coil compliance for Wi-Fi Calling “may not be readily available” and therefore excluded such operations from the testing obligation, nothing in the record suggests that the availability of testing equipment remains a challenge, and perhaps more significantly, this limitation does not bear on technological feasibility.

    15. The Commission finds that any technical challenges to achieving hearing aid compatibility in handsets will not differ significantly from those that manufacturers have already addressed in achieving hearing aid compatibility in the broad range of mobile handsets noted above. Indeed, because the specifications for new air interface technologies (such as the Fifth Generation or 5G wireless technology) will now be developed with the expectation that hearing aid compatibility requirements will apply, the Commission anticipates that the need to meet such requirements will be taken into account early in the design process, which should help to ensure that compatibility for such technologies is feasible. The Commission notes that industry commenters have provided no example of developing technology within the adopted scope for which achieving hearing aid compatibility was found to be infeasible, and the Commission knows of no reason that consumer handsets that operate over systems within the expanded scope could not achieve these ratings. As the Commission noted in 2010, to the extent the Commission is presented with the rare case of a new technology that cannot feasibly meet the requirements, or cannot do so in full, section 710 expressly provides for a waiver.

    16. Marketability. In the FNPRM, the Commission stated that based on the number of hearing aid-compatible models that were already being successfully marketed across multiple air interfaces and frequency bands, it anticipated, in the absence of convincing evidence to the contrary, that other telephones offering similar capabilities and meeting the same or comparable compliance standards could also be successfully marketed. The Commission sought comment on this statement and on whether there is any class of handsets for which the cost of achieving compliance would preclude successful marketing. The Commission sought comment on whether, for reasons of technological infeasibility or prohibitive costs, any rule provisions could not be applied to any class of handsets.

    17. Generally, aside from the impact relating to satellite phones, commenters did not address in detail whether compliance would increase costs to such an extent that equipment could not be successfully marketed. TIA argues that an open-ended application of the rules to other types of wireless handsets with voice capability but which are not typically held to the ear would, among other matters, impose undue financial burdens. HIA comments that in terms of costs, compatibility with other devices is already a factor in hearing aid design, and thus does not anticipate that a “to the ear” standard it supports would impose additional costs on its members.

    18. In order to expand the scope of section 20.19, the Commission must also find that compliance would not increase costs to a degree that would prevent successfully marketing of the equipment. As discussed above in the Commission's analysis of technological feasibility, manufacturers already offer numerous hearing aid-compatible handsets with differing features and physical characteristics over a variety of air interfaces, including a number of models certified as hearing aid-compatible over LTE. Further, while Iridium and Inmarsat raise concerns about the impact of hearing aid compatibility requirements on the marketability of satellite phones, no commenter raises any concerns about marketability with respect to handsets and operations within the expanded scope the Commission adopts in this Fourth Report and Order. Considering the absence of anything in the record demonstrating compliance costs that would depart materially from the costs for handsets that already comply, the Commission anticipates that handsets offering comparable voice communications capabilities to the public will similarly be marketable. The Commission therefore finds that requiring hearing aid compatibility for handsets newly within the scope of the requirements will not undermine their marketability. To the extent the Commission is presented with the rare case of a new technology for which compliance would increase costs to the extent that the technology could not be successfully marketed, section 710 expressly provides that the Commission may waive the requirements.

    19. Public Interest. In the FNPRM, the Commission proposed to find that expanding the scope of the hearing aid compatibility requirements to reach handsets using new technologies would serve the public interest. In seeking comments on this proposal, the Commission stated that its policy “is to encourage manufacturers to consider hearing aid compatibility at the earliest stages of the product design process.” The Commission further stated that the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act makes clear that consumers with hearing loss should be afforded equal access to communications networks to the fullest extent feasible. The Commission stated that commenters should address the proposed finding that further modification of the exemption to reach handsets using new technologies is in the public interest.

    20. Consumer Groups argue that there are millions of Americans with hearing loss, technological innovations help people with disabilities, and they need access to their mobile phones in different settings. ASHA and Lintz note the importance of wireless phones to those who suffer from hearing loss.

    21. The Commission concludes, in light of the consideration of the costs and benefits to all telephone users, that applying the hearing aid compatibility requirements to all handsets and services within the expanded scope, including current and emerging IP-based voice services, will serve the public interest. Most notably, an expanded scope will ensure that the country's approximately 36 million individuals with hearing loss have access to the advances in communications and related technology that are becoming increasingly essential to participation in our society. The expanded scope makes it more likely that individuals with hearing loss will have access to the latest technology in mobile handsets since technological innovations will generally have to be considered in the design stage for the handsets. The Commission further finds that enabling access to the full—and growing—range of handsets available to all other consumers will provide both social and economic benefits to consumers with hearing loss. Access to mobile handsets with innovative technologies as they develop can benefit not just an employee with hearing loss who uses his or her own mobile phone but the employer and co-workers as well, by facilitating the full participation and valuable input of employees with hearing loss who otherwise may be restricted in their ability to fully communicate with their colleagues. Members of the public will also generally benefit from being able to communicate with people with hearing loss as fully and robustly as possible. The Commission also notes that the wireless industry's comments demonstrate broad support for covering advanced services. For example, in its comments to the 2010 FNPRM, TIA supports “expand[ing] the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules to advanced communications technologies” guided by the Commission's Policy Statement and consistent with section 710 of the Act. For these reasons, the Commission finds that expanding the scope of section 20.19 as discussed herein advances the public interest.

    22. Public Safety and Private Enterprise Networks. The Commission declines, at this time, to extend the hearing aid compatibility rules to handsets used exclusively with services that are not available to the public, such as services over public safety or private enterprise networks (meaning those networks that are designed and deployed to meet a business's specific communications needs). For example, the Commission does not extend hearing aid compatibility requirements to state, local, and Tribal public safety radio systems used by police, fire, or emergency medical personnel for dispatch and emergency response. Consistent with this determination, the Commission further clarifies that the incorporation of a VoIP functionality operating over Wi-Fi in a public safety or private enterprise device does not bring the device under the expanded scope of the rule. Rather, The expanded scope will cover only devices used with the provision of a service available to the public or a substantial portion of the public.

    23. In the past, the Commission's decisions to lift the exemption for devices used with some wireless services, and particularly the Commission's determination that doing so is in the public interest, have been based in part on the Commission's findings that these devices and services have become part of the mass market for communications. Generally, handsets for network services such as public safety or private enterprise networks are designed for a specialized market with a limited set of users. Based on the record before us, there is little evidence on the extent that these specialized public safety and private enterprise devices would satisfy the criteria of technical feasibility and marketability. Rather, the record supports the Commission's tentative conclusion in the FNPRM that the different market circumstances for public safety or private enterprise networks and the absence of an existing universe of hearing aid-compatible handsets would increase the burden of meeting the hearing aid compatibility requirements. In addition, although the Commission recognizes there are benefits to ensuring accessibility to public safety or private enterprise devices, the record reflects that the typical weight, shape, and other aspects of the physical design of public safety and private enterprise devices are such that the radios conventionally are not held up to the ear but rather used with audio that emanates from a loudspeaker with adjustable volume control rather than from a telephone earpiece. As such, the Commission finds that these devices are generally not comparable in their typical use to the wireless handsets covered by the hearing aid compatibility obligations. The Commission also finds that the public interest requires that the Commission proceeds with caution in order to avoid requirements that may discourage, delay, or increase the cost of equipment where public safety or critical infrastructure operations are directly at stake. Taking these factors into consideration, the record precludes us from finding that the benefit associated with expanding the rule to public safety and private enterprise networks would outweigh the cost. Accordingly, the Commission finds, at this time, that the statutory requirements are not met in order to expand the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules to include these devices. The Commission continues to be sensitive to the needs of those individuals with hearing loss, however, and will consider re-visiting this issue if it comes to the Commission's attention that the benefits associated with expanding the rule come to outweigh the costs.

    24. Non-terrestrial Networks. Based on the existing record, the Commission is unable to find that the statutory criteria for lifting the hearing aid compatibility exemption have been satisfied for radio communication devices operating over non-terrestrial networks, such as those operating in the MSS. As Iridium has explained, MSS handsets operate at significantly higher power levels than mass market devices and must communicate with stations over a dramatically greater distance than comparable terrestrial technologies. Iridium also notes that lower sales volumes, in-house product development, and longer product development and marketing cycles due to infrequent product replacements pose additional impediments to achieving hearing aid compatibility. Even if such challenges could be overcome, the record supports the conclusion that each MSS provider would need to develop its own solution, and the Commission is concerned that the increased costs associated with complying with the rules in those circumstances, and the MSS industry's need to recover those costs over a relatively limited market, would prevent the successful marketing of MSS handsets or discourage further innovation in such handsets. Further, because MSS providers offer a specialized service over customized technology to a small customer base that is focused on government, critical infrastructure, and other large enterprise users, and not the public at large, the Commission finds that extending hearing aid compatibility requirements to the MSS raises concerns similar to those noted above regarding public safety and private enterprise networks. Indeed, the Commission found last year that these characteristics justified not extending to MSS the text-to-911 requirements that the Commission otherwise imposed broadly on CMRS providers and all other providers of interconnected text-messaging applications. Although there could be benefits to individuals with hearing loss from extending the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules to cover such devices and services, the current differences between MSS and terrestrial services, as well as concerns and uncertainty regarding the marketability and technological feasibility of hearing aid-compatible MSS devices, do not allow us at this time to make the determinations necessary to lift the exemption for these devices. The Commission will reevaluate in the future whether the MSS should remain exempt from the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules.

    2. Voice Capability Provided Through Software

    25. Background. When the Commission first promulgated hearing aid compatibility rules, applications that enable voice communications through third-party software did not exist. If a digital handset enabled voice communications, it could do so only through the native voice capabilities of the service provider's network technology relying on a voice coder-decoder (codec) embedded in the hardware. Today, mobile voice communications can be enabled in a variety of ways, including: Applications pre-installed by the manufacturer, its operating system software partner, or a service provider; applications downloaded by the end user from the manufacturer's store; or applications that the end user obtains from an independent source. While third-party voice applications may rely on a voice codec built into the operating system or hardware of the device, they may also use their own proprietary codec. While seeking comment in the 2010 FNPRM on expanding the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules beyond covered CMRS, the Commission also sought comment on how its hearing aid compatibility rules should address circumstances where voice capability may be enabled on a handset by a party other than the manufacturer.

    26. AT&T, ATIS, Consumer Groups, CTIA, MetroPCS, Motorola, TIA, and T-Mobile agree that manufacturers and service providers should not be required to ensure compliance for voice communication capabilities added to a handset by consumers or third parties after original purchase. In connection with this argument, AT&T, CTIA, and TIA cite section 2(a) of the CVAA, which they claim limits liability for certain third-party activities, as support for exempting them from compliance responsibility for third party actions. These commenters oppose subjecting manufacturers and service providers to testing requirements for third party applications unless the manufacturer and service provider have themselves affirmatively incorporated the application into a device, arguing, in the main, that manufacturers and providers lack control over third party applications installed in the device by someone else. In contrast, HIA argues that hearing aid compatibility should be ensured both “at the time of sale” and upon “installation of a voice feature.” As an alternative approach, Consumer Groups urge the Commission to require manufacturers and service providers to include provisions in their licensing agreements or contracts with software application developers to ensure that software maintains the hearing aid compatibility of a device.

    27. Discussion. After consideration of the record, the Commission agrees with those commenters that argue against applying the hearing aid compatibility requirements to voice applications added by consumers after their purchase of the device. The record demonstrates that testing a device for hearing aid compatibility for all possible applications is infeasible at this time because manufacturers and service providers are unable to predict what third-party software a consumer may choose to install. The Commission believes it would create incentives to restrict the open development of new voice applications if the Commission holds manufacturers and service providers responsible for hearing aid compatibility compliance for all third-party voice applications. Certifying a handset for hearing aid compatibility does not require testing software-based voice functions except to the extent that such software applications are installed by the manufacturer or service provider, or at their direction, for use by a consumer over a given air interface. The Commission requires that, when testing a device's operations over a given air interface, manufacturers must ensure the hearing aid compatibility of all voice communication functionality they provide over that interface whether such functionality is provided through software, hardware, or both. The Commission declines to limit responsibility to the subset of such software installed prior to certification, as suggested by TIA. Such a restriction would not ensure compatibility of software that manufacturers or service providers install after certification, and the Commission sees no reason not to require compatibility of such software. Because, under the Commission's approach, manufacturers and service providers need only ensure the compatibility of the software-based voice operations that are installed by the manufacturer or service provider or at their direction, and such operations are necessarily within their control, the Commission finds that testing any software-based voice functionality is technically feasible, not unduly burdensome, and beneficial to consumers with hearing loss who may wish to use such operations.

    28. Previously, the Commission has permitted manufacturers and service providers to obtain hearing aid compatibility certification for handsets that are capable of supporting additional voice capability without testing for such operations, including the operations addressed above, but has required them to disclose to consumers that not all of the handsets' operations have been tested and rated for hearing aid compatibility. While the Commission now establishes a requirement to test and rate software applications installed under the circumstances specified above in order to obtain hearing aid compatibility certification, the Commission finds it appropriate to provide a period of time during which manufacturers may continue to certify handsets based on disclosure rather than testing. The Commission anticipates that implementing the requirement to test and rate software-based voice functionality will require additional guidance on testing parameters, the development of new systems capable of testing the applicable codec/air interface combinations, as well as coordination between manufacturers, service providers, and third-party application providers. Given these implementation issues, the Commission provides that during the transition period for applying deployment benchmarks, manufacturers may continue to obtain hearing aid compatibility ratings for a device's operation on a given air interface without testing and rating software-enabled voice functions, as long as they disclose to consumers that certain operations have not been tested and rated for hearing aid compatibility, consistent with the disclosure required in section 20.19(f)(2)(i). The Commission notes again that ANSI ASC C63®-EMC, at its November 2015 meeting, formally approved a project to revise the ANSI C63.19 standard for hearing aid compatibility to address a number of topics, including some technologies not covered in the current version of the standard. The application of the transition period to software-based voice operations reflects, in part, the Commission's expectation that industry groups will work through the standards process to finalize all necessary guidance well before the end of the transition period. If manufacturers and service providers come to conclude that such guidance is not available sufficiently far in advance of the transition date to allow parties to come into compliance, they may seek an extension of the transition deadline by petitioning the Commission for a waiver of this regulatory deadline under the Commission's waiver rules (e.g., sections 1.3 and/or 1.925, as appropriate). As part of its review of any petitions to waive this regulatory deadline, the Commission will consider possible impacts on consumers with hearing loss.

    3. Transition Period for Applying Existing Deployment Benchmarks

    29. Background. To ensure that a wide selection of digital wireless handset models is available to consumers with hearing loss, the Commission's hearing aid compatibility rules require both manufacturers and service providers to meet defined benchmarks for deploying hearing aid-compatible wireless handsets. Specifically, manufacturers and service providers are required to offer minimum numbers or percentages of handset models that meet the technical standards for compatibility with hearing aids operating in modes for acoustic coupling (M-rating) and inductive coupling (T-rating). These benchmarks apply separately to each air interface for which the manufacturer or service provider offers handsets.

    30. In the 2010 FNPRM, the Commission sought comment on the appropriate transition period before applying these hearing aid compatibility deployment benchmarks to lines of handsets that are “outside the subset of CMRS that is currently covered by section 20.19(a).” In this regard, the Communications Act, as amended by the CVAA, directs the Commission to “use appropriate timetables or benchmarks to the extent necessary (1) due to technical feasibility, or (2) to ensure the marketability or availability of new technologies to users.”

    31. In their comments, Clearwire, CTIA, T-Mobile, and Motorola support a two-year transition as adequate for many handsets to come into compliance with existing benchmarks. RWA, Blooston, and RTG support longer time frames of up to an additional 12 months for small, rural, and/or Tier III service providers who, these commenters contend, do not have the same access to new handsets as Tier I providers. While it did not propose any specific time period, HIA states that the transition period should be no longer than the minimum amount of time needed for a new product design cycle.

    32. Discussion. Based on the record in this proceeding, the Commission finds it in the public interest to adopt a January 1, 2018 transition date (for manufacturers and Tier I carriers) and an April 1, 2018 transition date (for other service providers) for applying section 20.19's deployment benchmarks and related requirements to newly covered air interfaces, i.e., those air interfaces that operate outside the former scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules due to either regulatory status or network architecture issues. The Commission will begin enforcing the benchmarks for these newly covered air interfaces once the applicable transition period expires. After the transition is complete, the M- and T-rating deployment benchmarks for handsets supporting any newly covered operations will be the same as those used for currently covered operations in handsets, and the Commission will apply the same benchmark requirements (including the de minimis rules) to all handsets, including newly covered operations, that a manufacturer or a service provider offers. In this regard, the Commission notes that TIA argues that the Commission should extend the de minimis exception to handsets offered over air interfaces that a manufacturer or service provider is phasing out of its portfolio. This comment appears to go to the exception's operation generally and not to its application after a possible transition, and therefore it is outside the scope of the FNPRM.

    33. The Commission finds that a January 1, 2018 transition date is appropriate for both manufacturers and Tier I service providers. When the Commission adopted its initial hearing aid compatibility rules in 2003, it gave manufacturers and Tier I carriers 24 months to comply with acoustic coupling requirements. Similarly, in 2012, OET and WTB adopted a 24-month transition period for covered CMRS operations that use frequency bands and air interfaces that can be tested under the 2011 ANSI Standard. As discussed above, the Commission finds that any challenges related to technical feasibility and marketability will not be significantly different for newly covered handsets than for handsets that are currently being made hearing aid-compatible under the rule. The Commission finds that a similar transition period provides adequate time to adjust handset portfolios to ensure compliance with the benchmarks that apply independently to each air interface, regardless of whether the voice communications functionality is network-based or software-based. This transition period affords manufacturers a reasonable amount of time to implement requirements to test and rate software-based voice functionality. Although HIA argues that the transition period should be limited to the length of a typical product design cycle, the Commission has previously determined that two years is an appropriate period to accommodate the typical handset industry product development cycle, and the record in this proceeding further supports that conclusion. The Commission finds that a January 1, 2018 transition date for manufacturers and Tier I service providers is an appropriate timetable to account for any issues of technical feasibility and marketability.

    34. The Commission affords an additional three months for non-Tier I service providers to meet the deployment benchmarks and related requirements for handsets newly subject to the hearing aid compatibility rules. In allowing additional time until the April 1, 2018 transition date, the Commission recognizes that non-Tier I service providers often have difficulty obtaining the newest handset models. While some commenters argue that the transition period should be longer in certain instances, the record does not demonstrate a need for an even greater transition period for non-Tier I service providers nor any reason to depart from prior hearing aid compatibility transitions in which the Commission afforded non-Tier I providers an additional three months beyond the transition period provided to Tier I service providers.

    35. Given that many manufacturers and service providers began meeting benchmarks in 2014 for handsets with operations over the additional air interfaces and frequency bands covered by the 2011 ANSI Standard, including in the case of the LTE air interface, the Commission anticipates that these parties will continue to meet existing benchmarks during the transition. The Commission finds this expectation reasonable for any IP-based voice services, including VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling, given that affected parties are already meeting deployment benchmarks for VoLTE operations, and the record reflects that manufacturers and service providers are in some cases already widely complying with hearing aid compatibility requirements.

    36. The Commission notes that, due to a lack of testing equipment availability, manufacturers are currently permitted to obtain certification of handset models for inductive coupling capability under the 2011 ANSI Standard without testing and rating any present VoLTE or Wi-Fi Calling operations, subject to a disclosure that such handsets have not been tested and rated for all of their operations. The Commission emphasizes that, at the January 1, 2018 transition date, parties will need to meet requirements to test and rate for inductive coupling capability, including for VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling if such services are included in the handset, in order to certify such handsets as hearing aid-compatible and meet applicable deployment requirements. During the transition, however, the Commission will continue the interim process permitting disclosure instead of inductive coupling testing and rating for VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling when used to provide CMRS-based voice services. The Commission notes that some newer VoLTE-enabled handsets have been tested and rated for inductive coupling capability. The record reflects an industry understanding that the current process allowing for disclosure instead of testing and rating for inductive coupling capability in all modes of operation is temporary. Indeed, the industry has had notice for over a year that Commission staff are reassessing how long the Commission should use the current process as testing equipment and protocols become increasingly available. Thus, the Commission finds that the January 1, 2018 transition date is a reasonable point in time at which the Commission will require full inductive coupling testing and rating of handsets with VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling functionality before certifying these handsets so manufacturers and service providers can meet their deployment benchmarks.

    II. Procedural Matters A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    37. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) included an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities of the rules considered in the FNPRM in WT Docket 07-250. The Commission sought written public comments on the FNPRM in this docket, including comment on the IRFA. Because the Commission amends its rules in the Fourth Report and Order, the Commission has included this Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) which conforms to the RFA. To the extent that any statement contained in this FRFA is perceived as creating ambiguity with respect to the Commission's rules, or statements made in preceding sections of this Fourth Report and Order, the rules and statements set forth in those preceding sections shall be controlling.

    1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Fourth Report and Order

    38. Until now, the hearing aid compatibility rules have generally been limited only to handsets used with two-way switched voice or data services classified as Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS), and only to the extent they are provided over networks meeting certain architectural requirements that enable frequency reuse and seamless handoff. In the Fourth Report and Order, the Commission expands the scope of these rules to cover the emerging wireless technologies of today and tomorrow. The rules adopted here eliminate uncertainty about the scope of the Commission's hearing aid compatibility requirements and ensure that emerging voice services will be covered regardless of their classification for other regulatory purposes and without restriction to a particular network architecture. The rules now extend to handsets (those mobile device that contain a built-in speaker and are typically held to the ear in any of their ordinary uses) used with any terrestrial mobile service that enables two-way real-time voice communications among members of the public or a substantial portion of the public, including through the use of pre-installed software applications. The Commission also adopts a transition period that ensures industry stakeholders will be able to comply with these rules while continuing to innovate and invest. By expanding the scope of the Commission's rules to those consumer mobile devices that are typically held to the ear, are heavily relied on for voice communications, and operate in bands covered by approved standards—and only where compliance is technically feasible—we target the Commission's efforts to those situations where Commission action can make a significant impact and best serve the public interest. In this regard, the Commission has been mindful of its obligation to expand hearing aid compatibility requirements only in those instances where the record supports the necessary statutory findings mandated by the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act. This action will require that future technologies comply with the Commission's hearing aid compatibility rules, ensuring that consumers with hearing loss are not always trying to catch up to technology and providing industry with additional regulatory certainty.

    2. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

    39. There were no comments filed that specifically addressed the rules and policies proposed in the IRFA.

    3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rules Would Apply

    40. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by proposed rules. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A “small business concern” is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).

    41. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. The Commission's action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. The Commission therefore describes here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards. First, nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.5 million small businesses, according to the SBA. In addition, a “small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.” Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small organizations. Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.” Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United States. The Commission estimates that, of this total, as many as 88,506 entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.” Thus, the Commission estimates that most governmental jurisdictions are small.

    42. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: Transmitting and receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: All such firms having 750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 939 establishments in this category that operated for part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 912 had less than 500 employees. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.

    43. Part 15 Handset Manufacturers. The Commission has not developed a definition of small entities applicable to unlicensed communications handset manufacturers. Therefore, the Commission will utilize the SBA definition applicable to Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: Transmitting and receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is: All such firms having 750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 939 establishments in this category that operated for part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 912 had less than 500 employees. Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.

    44. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, paging services, wireless Internet access, and wireless video services.” The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). In this category, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 1,383 firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,368 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 15 had employment of 1000 employees or more. According to Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, PCS, and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) telephony services. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. The Commission estimates that approximately half or more of these firms can be considered small. Thus, using available data, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless firms can be considered small.

    45. Internet Service Providers. The 2007 Economic Census places these firms, whose services might include Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), in one of three categories. The first refers to whether the service is provided over the provider's own telecommunications facilities (e.g., cable and DSL ISPs), or over client-supplied telecommunications connections (e.g., dial-up ISPs). This type of ISP is classified by the Commission in the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Wired Telecommunications Carriers comprise establishments primarily engaged in operating or providing access to transmission facilities or infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or on a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including VoIP services, wired cable audio and video programming distribution, and wired broadband Internet services. By exception, establishments providing satellite distribution services using facilities and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry. Wired Telecommunications Carriers have an SBA small business size standard under which an establishment having 1,500 or fewer employees is small. The second type of ISP is classified in the category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). This industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this service have spectrum licenses and provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, wireless Internet access, and wireless video services. The size standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite) is the same as for Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The third type of ISP is classified under All Other Telecommunications. This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or VoIP services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in this industry. The SBA size standard for this industry states that all establishments in this category whose annual receipts are $32.5 million or less are small.

    46. For purpose of this rulemaking, the Commission is concerned only with those ISPs that are classified either in the category of Wireless Communications Carriers (except satellite) or are classified in the category of All Other Telecommunications. The type of handsets which are the subject of the proposed rulemaking herein is primarily, if not exclusively, concerned with wireless handsets. ISPs which are classified under Wired Telecommunications are not relevant in the context of this particular rulemaking.

    47. United States census data for 2007 show that there were 1,383 Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite) firms that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,368 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees. According to Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony, including cellular service, PCS, and Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) telephony services. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, the Commission estimates that approximately half or more of these firms can be considered small. Thus, using available data, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers can be considered small.

    48. With regard to the category of All Other Telecommunications, U.S. Census data for 2007 state that 2,383 firms were operational during that year. Of that number, 2,346 had annual receipts of less than $25 million. The Commission estimates that the majority of ISP firms in this category are small entities.

    49. All Other Information Services. The Census Bureau defines this industry as including “establishments primarily engaged in providing other information services (except news syndicates, libraries, archives, Internet publishing and broadcasting, and Web search portals).” VoIP services over wireless technologies could be provided by entities that provide other services such as email, online gaming, web browsing, video conferencing, instant messaging, and other, similar IP-enabled services. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category; that size standard is $27.5 million or less in average annual receipts. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 367 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of these, 354 had annual receipts of under $25 million. The Commission estimates that the majority of these firms are small entities that may be affected by the Commission's action.

    4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    50. The current hearing aid compatibility regulations impose a number of obligations on covered CMRS providers and the manufacturers of handsets used with those services, including: (1) Requirements to deploy a certain number or percentage of handset models that meet hearing aid compatibility standards, (2) “refresh” requirements on manufacturers to meet their hearing aid-compatible handset deployment benchmarks in part using new models, (3) a requirement that service providers offer hearing aid-compatible handsets with varying levels of functionality, (4) a requirement that service providers make their hearing aid-compatible models available to consumers for testing at their owned or operated stores, (5) point of sale disclosure requirements, (6) requirements to make consumer information available on the manufacturer's or service provider's Web site, and (7) annual reporting requirements.

    51. The Fourth Report and Order expands the scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules to cover handsets used with any terrestrial mobile service that enables two-way real-time voice communications among members of the public or a substantial portion of the public, including through the use of pre-installed software applications and other Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies. After the transition period, the rules the Commission adopts will extend to providers of wireless voice communications among members of the public or a substantial portion of the public using equipment that contains a built-in speaker and is typically held to the ear, and to the manufacturers of such equipment, the same hearing aid compatibility rules that currently apply to a defined category of CMRS. The Commission also clarifies that testing a handset for hearing aid compatibility does not require testing software voice functions except to the extent that such functionality is installed by the manufacturer or service provider or at their direction, for use by a consumer over a given interface. The Commission provides that the existing deployment benchmarks and related requirements will apply to newly covered handsets and air interfaces beginning January 1, 2018, with an additional three months allowed for handsets offered by non-Tier I service providers. The Commission further provides that, during this transition period, manufacturers may continue to obtain a hearing aid compatibility rating for a handset's operation on a given interface without testing software-enabled voice functions provided they meet applicable disclosure requirements.

    5. Steps Taken To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    52. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.”

    53. In adopting the Fourth Report and Order, the Commission expands the scope of the wireless hearing aid compatibility rules to cover handsets used with any terrestrial mobile service that enables two-way real-time voice communications among members of the public or a substantial portion of the public, including through the use of pre-installed software applications. The change in scope ensures that handsets with emerging voice technologies are subject to hearing aid compatibility requirements. At the same time, the new scope eases burdens on manufacturers and service providers, including small entities, by permitting handsets already certified to continue to be treated as hearing aid-compatible without any need for recertification after the expanded scope of the hearing aid compatibility rules goes into effect. The new scope also eases burdens for small entities by applying the same de minimis exception rules when the existing M- and T-rating deployment benchmarks begin to apply to all handsets, including newly covered operations, that a manufacturer or a service provider offers.

    54. The Commission adopts a transition period in order to reduce burdens on small entities and others. The Commission finds it in the public interest to adopt a January 1, 2018 transition date (for manufacturers and Tier I carriers) and an April 1, 2018 transition date (for other service providers) for applying section 20.19's deployment benchmarks and related requirements to newly covered operations. Some commenters support longer time frames of up to an additional 12 months for small, rural, and/or Tier III service providers who, these commenters contend, do not have the same access to new handsets as Tier I providers. The Commission considered this alternative proposal and decided to afford an additional three months for non-Tier I service providers to meet the deployment benchmarks and related requirements for handsets newly subject to the hearing aid compatibility rules. In allowing additional time until the April 1, 2018 transition date, the Commission recognizes that non-Tier I service providers often have difficulty obtaining the newest handset models. The Commission determined that the record does not demonstrate a need for a longer transition period for non-Tier I service providers (including small entities) nor provide any reason to depart from prior hearing aid compatibility transitions in which the Commission afforded non-Tier I providers an additional three months beyond the transition period provided to Tier I service providers because, in part, a shorter period would better meet the needs of consumers with hearing loss.

    6. Report to Congress

    55. The Commission will send a copy of the Fourth Report and Order, including this FRFA, in a report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, the Commission will send a copy of the Fourth Report and Order, including this FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. A copy of the Fourth Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal Register.

    B. Final Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    56. The Fourth Report and Order does not contain substantive new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It does not contain any substantive 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 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    C. Congressional Review Act

    57. The Commission will include a copy of this Fourth Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in a report to be sent to Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act, see 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

    III. Ordering Clauses

    58. It is ordered, pursuant to sections 4(i), 303(r), and 710 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 303(r), and 610, this Fourth Report and Order is hereby adopted.

    59. It is further ordered that the rule amendments will become effective 30 days after their publication in the Federal Register.

    60. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Fourth Report and Order, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 20

    Communications common carriers, Communications equipment, Incorporation by reference, Radio.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 20 as follows:

    PART 20—COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 20 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a) 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 610, 615, 615a, 615b, 615c, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 20.19 is amended by revising paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), (a)(3)(iv), and (b)(3)(i) to read as follows:
    § 20.19 Hearing aid-compatible mobile handsets.

    (a) * * *

    (1) Service providers. (i) On or after January 1, 2018 for Tier I carriers and April 1, 2018 for service providers other than Tier I carriers, the hearing aid compatibility requirements of this section apply to providers of digital mobile service in the United States to the extent that they offer terrestrial mobile service that enables two-way real-time voice communications among members of the public or a substantial portion of the public, including both interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP services, and such service is provided over frequencies in the 698 MHz to 6 GHz bands.

    (ii) Prior to January 1, 2018 for Tier I carriers and April 1, 2018 for service providers other than Tier I carriers, the hearing aid compatibility requirements of this section apply to providers of digital CMRS in the United States to the extent that they offer real-time, two-way switched voice or data service that is interconnected with the public switched network and utilizes an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless hand-offs of subscriber calls, and such service is provided over frequencies in the 698 MHz to 6 GHz bands.

    (2) Manufacturers. On or after January 1, 2018, the requirements of this section also apply to the manufacturers of the wireless handsets that are used in delivery of the services specified in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section. Prior to January 1, 2018, the requirements of this section also apply to the manufacturers of the wireless handsets that are used in delivery of the services specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section.

    (3) * * *

    (iv) Service provider refers to a provider of digital mobile service to which the requirements of this section apply.

    (b) * * *

    (3) * * *

    (i) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, a wireless handset used for digital mobile service only over the 698 MHz to 6 GHz frequency bands is hearing aid-compatible with regard to radio frequency interference or inductive coupling if it meets the applicable technical standard set forth in paragraph (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section for all frequency bands and air interfaces over which it operates, and the handset has been certified as compliant with the test requirements for the applicable standard pursuant to § 2.1033(d) of this chapter. A wireless handset that incorporates operations outside the 698 MHz to 6 GHz frequency bands is hearing aid-compatible if the handset otherwise satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (b).

    [FR Doc. 2015-32757 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 141219999-5432-02] RIN 0648-XE345 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries Off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2015 Tribal Fishery Allocations for Pacific Whiting; Reapportionment Between Tribal and Non-Tribal Sectors AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Reapportionment of tribal Pacific whiting allocation; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    This document announces the reapportionment of 30,000 metric tons (mt) of Pacific whiting from the tribal allocation to the non-tribal commercial fishery sectors via automatic action on September 21, 2015, in order to allow full utilization of the Pacific whiting resource.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective December 30, 2015, until December 31, 2015. The reapportionment of Pacific whiting is applicable September 21, 2015, until December 31, 2015. Comments will be accepted through January 20, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0017, by any of the following methods:

    Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0017, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-0070, Attn: Miako Ushio.

    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. 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). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Miako Ushio (West Coast Region, NMFS), phone: 206-526-4644 or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Electronic Access

    This document is accessible via the Internet at the Office of the Federal Register's Web site at http://www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys/search/home.action. Background information and documents are available at the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org/.

    Pacific Whiting

    Pacific whiting (Merluccius productus) is a very productive species with highly variable recruitment (the biomass of fish that mature and enter the fishery each year) and a relatively short life span when compared to other groundfish species. Pacific whiting has the largest (by volume) annual allowable harvest levels of the more than 90 groundfish species managed under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), which governs the groundfish fishery off Washington, Oregon, and California. The coastwide Pacific whiting stock is managed jointly by the United States (U.S.) and Canada, and mature Pacific whiting are commonly available to vessels operating in U.S. waters from April through December. Background on the stock assessment for and the establishment of the 2015 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Pacific whiting is provided in the final rule for the 2015 Pacific whiting harvest specifications, published May 14, 2015 (80 FR 27588). Pacific whiting is allocated to the Pacific Coast treaty tribes (tribal fishery), and to three non-tribal commercial sectors: The catcher/processor cooperative (C/P Coop), the mothership cooperative (MS Coop), and the Shorebased Individual Fishery Quota (IFQ) Program.

    This document announces the reapportionment of 30,000 mt of Pacific whiting from the tribal allocation to the non-tribal commercial sectors on September 21, 2015. Regulations at § 660.131(h) contain provisions that allow the Regional Administrator to reapportion Pacific whiting from the tribal allocation, specified at § 660.50, that will not be harvested by the end of the fishing year to other sectors.

    Pacific Whiting Reapportionment

    For 2015, the Pacific Coast treaty tribes were allocated 56,888 mt of Pacific whiting. The best available information through September 14, 2015, indicated that there had been no harvest by the tribes to date, and at least 30,000 mt of the tribal allocation would not be harvested by December 31, 2015. To allow for full utilization of the resource, NMFS reapportioned 30,000 mt to the Shorebased IFQ Program, C/P Coop and MS Coop in proportion to each sector's original allocation on that date. Reapportioning this amount was expected to allow for greater attainment of the TAC while not limiting tribal harvest opportunities for the remainder of the year. Emails sent directly to fishing businesses and individuals, and postings on the West Coast Region's internet site were used to provide actual notice to the affected fishers. Reapportionment was effective the same day as the notice.

    After the reapportionment, the amounts of Pacific whiting available for 2015 are:

    • Tribal 26,888 mt;

    • C/P Coop 100,873 mt;

    • MS Coop 71,204 mt; and

    • Shorebased IFQ Program 124,607.45 mt.

    Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds that good cause exists for this notification to be issued without affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) because such notification would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest. As previously noted, actual notice of the reapportionment was provided to fishers at the time of the action. Prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this reapportionment was impracticable because NMFS had insufficient time to provide prior notice and the opportunity for public comment between the time the information about the progress of the fishery needed to make this determination became available and the time at which fishery modifications had to be implemented in order to allow fishers access to the available fish during the remainder of the fishing season. For the same reasons, the AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness for these actions, required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3).

    These actions are authorized by §§ 660.55 (i), 660.60(d) and 660.131(h) and are exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33155 Filed 12-30-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 141021887-5172-02] RIN 0648-XE367 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Pollock, Atka Mackerel, and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is adjusting the 2016 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 1, 2016, until the effective date of the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for BSAI groundfish, unless otherwise modified or superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register.

    Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 16, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0134, 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-2014-0134, 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 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), 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:

    Mary Furuness, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the BSAI exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) set the 2016 Bering Sea (BS) pollock TAC at 1,310,000 metric tons (mt), the 2016 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC at 54,817 mt, the 2016 BS Pacific cod TAC at 240,000 mt, and the AI Pacific cod TAC at 9,422 mt. In December 2015, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended a 2016 BS pollock TAC of 1,340,000 mt, which is more than the 1,310,000 mt TAC established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council also recommended a 2016 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC of 55,000 mt, which is more than the 54,817 mt TAC established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. Furthermore, the Council recommended a 2016 BS Pacific cod TAC of 238,680 mt, and an AI Pacific cod TAC of 12,839 mt, which is less than the BS Pacific cod TAC of 240,000 mt, and more than the AI Pacific cod TAC of 9,422 mt established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI. The Council's recommended 2016 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), dated November 2015, which NMFS has determined is the best available scientific information for these fisheries.

    Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the BSAI. The seasonal apportionment of pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical habitat for Steller sea lions. NMFS published regulations and the revised harvest limit amounts for Atka mackerel, Pacific cod, and pollock fisheries to implement Steller sea lion protection measures to insure that groundfish fisheries of the BSAI are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the western distinct population segment of Steller sea lions or destroy or adversely modify their designated critical habitat (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014). The regulations at § 679.20(a)(5)(i) specify how the BS pollock TAC will be apportioned. The regulations at § 679.20(a)(7) specify how the BSAI Pacific cod TAC will be apportioned. The regulations at § 679.20(a)(8) specify how the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC will be apportioned.

    In accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and (a)(2)(iv), the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2015 SAFE report for this fishery, the current BSAI pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Pursuant to § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2016 BS pollock TAC to 1,340,000 mt, the 2016 BSAI Atka mackerel TAC to 55,000, the 2016 BS Pacific cod TAC to 238,680 mt, and the AI Pacific cod TAC to 12,839 mt. Therefore, Table 2 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) is revised consistent with this adjustment.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i), Table 5 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) is revised for the 2016 BS allocations of pollock TAC to the directed pollock fisheries and to the Community Development Quota (CDQ) directed fishing allowances consistent with this adjustment. The Steller sea lion protection measure final rule (79 FR 70286, November 25, 2014), sets harvest limits for pollock in the A season (January 20 to June 10) in Areas 543, 542, and 541, see § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6). In Area 541, the 2016 A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 30 percent, or 9,668 mt, of the AI ABC of 32,227 mt. In Area 542, the 2016 A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 15 percent, or 4,834 mt, of the AI ABC of 32,227 mt. In Area 543, the 2016 A season pollock harvest limit is no more than 5 percent, or 1,611 mt, of the AI pollock ABC of 32,227 mt.

    Table 5—Final 2016 Allocations of Pollock TACS to the Directed Pollock Fisheries and to the CDQ Directed Fishing Allowances (DFA) 1 [Amounts are in metric tons] Area and sector 2016 Allocations 2016 A season 1 A season DFA SCA harvest limit 2 2016 B season 1 B season DFA Bering Sea subarea TAC 1 1,340,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 134,000 53,600 37,520 80,400 ICA 1 48,240 n/a n/a n/a AFA Inshore 578,880 231,552 162,086 347,328 AFA Catcher/Processors 3 463,104 185,242 129,669 277,862 Catch by C/Ps 423,740 169,496 n/a 254,244 Catch by CVs 3 39,364 15,746 n/a 23,618 Unlisted C/P Limit 4 2,316 926 n/a 1,389 AFA Motherships 115,776 46,310 32,417 69,466 Excessive Harvesting Limit 5 202,608 n/a n/a n/a Excessive Processing Limit 6 347,328 n/a n/a n/a Total Bering Sea DFA 1,157,760 463,104 324,173 694,656 Aleutian Islands subarea ABC 32,227 n/a n/a n/a Aleutian Islands subarea TAC 1 19,000 n/a n/a n/a CDQ DFA 1,900 760 n/a 1,140 ICA 2,400 1,200 n/a 1,200 Aleut Corporation 14,700 10,931 n/a 3,769 Area harvest limit 7 541 9,668 n/a n/a n/a 542 4,834 n/a n/a n/a 543 1,611 n/a n/a n/a Bogoslof District ICA 8 500 n/a n/a n/a 1 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A), the BS subarea pollock, after subtracting the CDQ DFA (10 percent) and the ICA (4.0 percent), is allocated as a DFA as follows: Inshore sector—50 percent, catcher/processor sector (C/P)—40 percent, and mothership sector—10 percent. In the BS subarea, 40 percent of the DFA is allocated to the A season (January 20-June 10) and 60 percent of the DFA is allocated to the B season (June 10-November 1). Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(i) and (ii), the annual AI pollock TAC, after subtracting first for the CDQ directed fishing allowance (10 percent) and second the ICA (2,400 mt), is allocated to the Aleut Corporation for a pollock directed fishery. In the AI subarea, the A season is allocated 40 percent of the ABC and the B season is allocated the remainder of the pollock directed fishery. 2 In the BS subarea, no more than 28 percent of each sector's annual DFA may be taken from the SCA before April 1. 3 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4), not less than 8.5 percent of the DFA allocated to listed catcher/processors shall be available for harvest only by eligible catcher vessels delivering to listed catcher/processors. 4 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(4)(iii), the AFA unlisted catcher/processors are limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of the catcher/processors sector's allocation of pollock. 5 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(6), NMFS establishes an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 6 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(A)(7), NMFS establishes an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the non-CDQ pollock DFAs. 7 Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iii)(B)(6), NMFS establishes harvest limits for pollock in the A season in Area 541 no more than 30 percent, in Area 542 no more than 15 percent, and in Area 543 no more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC. 8 The Bogoslof District is closed by the final harvest specifications to directed fishing for pollock. The amounts specified are for ICA only and are not apportioned by season or sector. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(8), Table 7 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) is revised for the 2016 seasonal and spatial allowances, gear shares, CDQ reserve, incidental catch allowance, and Amendment 80 allocation of the BSAI Atka mackerel TAC consistent with this adjustment.

    Table 7—Final 2016 Seasonal and Spatial Allowances, Gear Shares, CDQ Reserve, Incidental Catch Allowance, and Amendment 80 Allocations of the BSAI ATKA Mackerel TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Sector 1 Season 2 3 4 2016 Allocation by area Eastern
  • Aleutian
  • District/
  • Bering Sea
  • Central
  • Aleutian
  • District 5
  • Western
  • Aleutian
  • District
  • TAC n/a 28,500 16,000 10,500 CDQ reserve Total 3,050 1,712 1,124 A 1,525 856 562 Critical Habitat n/a 514 337 B 1,525 856 562 Critical Habitat n/a 514 337 ICA Total 1,000 75 40 Jig 6 Total 122 0 0 BSAI trawl limited access Total 2,433 1,421 0 A 1,216 711 0 Critical Habitat n/a 426 0 B 1,216 711 0 Critical Habitat n/a 426 0 Amendment 80 sectors Total 21,895 12,792 9,337 A 10,948 6,396 4,668 B 10,948 6,396 4,668 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative Total 6 12,349 7,615 5,742 A 6,175 3,808 2,871 Critical Habitat n/a 2,285 1,723 B 6,175 3,808 2,871 Critical Habitat n/a 2,285 1,723 Alaska Seafood Cooperative Total 6 9,546 5,177 3,595 A 4,773 2,589 1,798 Critical Habitat n/a 1,553 1,079 B 4,773 2,589 1,798 Critical Habitat n/a 1,553 1,079 1 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii) allocates the Atka mackerel TACs, after subtracting the CDQ reserves, jig gear allocation, and ICAs to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The allocation of the ITAC for Atka mackerel to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors is established in Table 33 to part 679 and § 679.91. The CDQ reserve is 10.7 percent of the TAC for use by CDQ participants (see §§ 679.20(b)(1)(ii)(C) and 679.31). 2 Regulations at §§ 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(A) and 679.22(a) establish temporal and spatial limitations for the Atka mackerel fishery. 3 The seasonal allowances of Atka mackerel are 50 percent in the A season and 50 percent in the B season. 4 Section 679.23(e)(3) authorizes directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear during the A season from January 20 to June 10 and the B season from June 10 to December 31. 5 Section 679.20(a)(8)(ii)(C)(1)(i) limits no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543 to be caught inside of critical habitat; (a)(ii)(C)(1)(ii) equally divides the annual TACs between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3); and (a)(8)(ii)(C)(2) requires the TAC in Area 543 shall be no more than 65 percent of ABC. 6 Section 679.20(a)(8)(i) requires that up to 2 percent of the Eastern Aleutian District and the Bering Sea subarea TAC be allocated to jig gear after subtracting the CDQ reserve and ICA. The amount of this allocation is 0.5 percent. The jig gear allocation is not apportioned by season. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(7), Table 9 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the BSAI (80 FR 11919, March 5, 2015) is revised for the 2016 gear shares and seasonal allowances of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC consistent with this adjustment.

    Table 9—Final 2016 Gear Shares and Seasonal Allowances of the BSAI Pacific Cod TAC [Amounts are in metric tons] Gear sector Percent 2016 Share of gear sector total 2016 Share of sector total 2016 Seasonal apportionment Seasons Amount BS TAC n/a 238,680 n/a n/a n/a BS CDQ n/a 25,539 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a BS non-CDQ TAC n/a 213,141 n/a n/a n/a AI TAC n/a 12,839 n/a n/a n/a AI CDQ n/a 1,374 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(i)(B) n/a AI non-CDQ TAC n/a 11,465 n/a n/a n/a Western Aleutian Island Limit n/a 3,377 n/a n/a n/a Total BSAI non-CDQ TAC 1 100 224,606 n/a n/a n/a Total hook-and-line/pot gear 60.8 136,561 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line/pot ICA 2 n/a 500 n/a see § 679.20(a)(7)(ii)(B) n/a Hook-and-line/pot sub-total n/a 136,061 n/a n/a n/a Hook-and-line catcher/processor 48.7 n/a 108,983 Jan 1-Jun 10 55,581 Jun 10-Dec 31 53,402 Hook-and-line catcher vessel 60 ft LOA 0.2 n/a 448 Jan 1-Jun 10 228 Jun 10-Dec 31 219 Pot catcher/processor 1.5 n/a 3,357 Jan 1-Jun 10 1,712 Sept 1-Dec 31 1,645 Pot catcher vessel 60 ft LOA 8.4 n/a 18,798 Jan 1-Jun 10 9,587 Sept 1-Dec 31 9,211 Catcher vessel <60 ft LOA using hook-and-line or pot gear 2 n/a 4,476 n/a n/a Trawl catcher vessel 22.1 49,638 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 36,732 Apr 1-Jun 10 5,460 Jun 10-Nov 1 7,446 AFA trawl catcher/processor 2.3 5,166 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 3,874 Apr 1-Jun 10 1,291 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Amendment 80 13.4 30,097 n/a Jan 20-Apr 1 22,573 Apr 1-Jun 10 7,524 Jun 10-Nov 1 0 Alaska Groundfish Cooperative n/a n/a 4,751 Jan 20-Apr 1 3,563 Apr 1-Jun 10 1,188 Jun 10-Dec 31 0 Alaska Seafood Cooperative n/a n/a 25,346 Jan 20-Apr 1 19,010 Apr 1-Jun 10 6,337 Jun 10-Dec 31 0 Jig 1.4 3,144 n/a Jan 1-Apr 30 1,887 Apr 30-Aug 31 629 Aug 31-Dec 31 629 1 The gear shares and seasonal allowances for BSAI Pacific cod TAC are based on the sum of the BS and AI Pacific cod TACs, after the subtraction of CDQ. If the TAC for Pacific cod in either the AI or BS is reached, then directed fishing for Pacific cod in that subarea may be prohibited, even if a BSAI allowance remains. 2 The ICA for the hook-and-line and pot sectors will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC allocated to the hook-and-line and pot sectors. The Regional Administrator approves an ICA of 500 mt for 2016 based on anticipated incidental catch in these fisheries. Note: Seasonal or sector apportionments may not total precisely due to rounding. Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would allow for harvests that exceed the appropriate allocations for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod in the BSAI based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 28, 2015, and additional time for prior public comment would result in conservation concerns for the ESA-listed Steller sea lions.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until January 16, 2015.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33145 Filed 12-30-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140918791-4999-02] RIN 0648-XE383 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Inseason Adjustment to the 2016 Gulf of Alaska Pollock and Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Temporary rule; inseason adjustment; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS is adjusting the 2016 total allowable catch (TAC) amounts for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) pollock and Pacific cod fisheries. This action is necessary because NMFS has determined these TACs are incorrectly specified, and will ensure the GOA pollock and Pacific cod TACs are the appropriate amounts based on the best available scientific information for pollock and Pacific cod in the GOA. This action is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.

    DATES:

    Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), January 1, 2016, until the effective date of the final 2016 and 2017 harvest specifications for GOA groundfish, unless otherwise modified or superseded through publication of a notification in the Federal Register.

    Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., A.l.t., January 20, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2013-0147, 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-2013-0147, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Address 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 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), 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). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Obren Davis, 907-586-7228.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) under authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

    The final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) set the 2016 pollock TAC at 257,178 metric tons (mt) and the 2016 Pacific cod TAC at 75,202 mt in the GOA. In December 2015, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended a 2016 pollock TAC of 257,872 mt for the GOA, which is more than the 257,178 mt established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA. The Council also recommended a 2016 Pacific cod TAC of 71,925 mt for the GOA, which is less than the 75,202 mt established by the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA. The Council's recommended 2016 TACs, and the area and seasonal apportionments, are based on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation report (SAFE), dated November 2015, which NMFS has determined is the best available scientific information for these fisheries.

    Steller sea lions occur in the same location as the pollock and Pacific cod fisheries and are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Pollock and Pacific cod are a principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the GOA. The seasonal apportionment of pollock and Pacific cod harvest is necessary to ensure the groundfish fisheries are not likely to cause jeopardy of extinction or adverse modification of critical habitat for Steller sea lions. The regulations at § 679.20(a)(5)(iv) specify how the pollock TAC will be apportioned. The regulations at § 679.20(a)(6)(ii) and § 679.20(a)(12)(i) specify how the Pacific cod TAC will be apportioned.

    In accordance with § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), (a)(2)(i)(B), and (a)(2)(iv) the Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS (Regional Administrator), has determined that, based on the November 2015 SAFE report for this fishery, the current GOA pollock and Pacific cod TACs are incorrectly specified. Consequently, pursuant to § 679.25(a)(1)(iii), the Regional Administrator is adjusting the 2016 GOA pollock TAC to 257,872 mt and the 2016 GOA Pacific cod TAC to 71,925 mt. Therefore, Table 2 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) is revised consistent with this adjustment.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(5)(iv), Table 4 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) is revised for the 2016 TACs of pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Area of the GOA.

    Table 4—Final 2016 Distribution of Pollock in the Central and Western Regulatory Areas of the GOA; Seasonal Biomass Distribution, Area Apportionments; and Seasonal Allowances of Annual TAC [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.01] Season 1 Shumagin (Area 610) Chirikof (Area 620) Kodiak (Area 630) Total 2 A (Jan 20-Mar 10) 3,827 6.41% 43,374 72.71% 12,456 20.88% 59,651 B (Mar 10-May 31) 3,826 6.41% 50,747 85.07% 5,083 8.52% 59,651 C (Aug 25-Oct 1) 24,421 40.94% 15,404 25.82% 19,822 33.23% 59,651 D (Oct 1-Nov 1) 24,421 40.94% 15,402 25.82% 19,822 33.23% 59,651 Annual Total 56,494 124,927 57,183 238,604 1 As established by § 679.23(d)(2)(i) through (iv), the A, B, C, and D season allowances are available from January 20 to March 10, March 10 to May 31, August 25 to October 1, and October 1 to November 1, respectively. The amounts of pollock for processing by the inshore and offshore components are not shown in this table. 2 The WYK and SEO District pollock TACs are not allocated by season and are not included in the total pollock TACs shown in this table. Note: Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual TAC total due to rounding.

    Pursuant to § 679.20(a)(6)(ii) and § 679.20(a)(12)(i), Table 6 of the final 2015 and 2016 harvest specifications for groundfish in the GOA (80 FR 10250, February 25, 2015) is revised for the 2016 seasonal apportionments and allocation of Pacific cod TAC in the GOA consistent with this adjustment.

    Table 6—Final 2016 Seasonal Apportionments and Allocation of Pacific Cod Total Allowable Catch Amounts in the GOA; Allocations for the Western GOA and Central GOA Sectors and the Eastern GOA Inshore and Offshore Processing Components [Values are rounded to the nearest metric ton and percentages to the nearest 0.01. Seasonal allowances may not total precisely to annual allocation amount] Regulatory area and sector Annual
  • allocation
  • (mt)
  • A Season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual
  • non-jig TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • B Season Sector
  • percentage of
  • annual
  • non-jig TAC
  • Seasonal
  • allowances
  • (mt)
  • Western GOA: Jig (3.5% of TAC) 992 N/A 595 N/A 397 Hook-and-line CV 383 0.70 192 0.70 192 Hook-and-line C/P 5,417 10.90 2,982 8.90 2,435 Trawl CV 10,506 27.70 7,579 10.70 2,927 Trawl C/P 657 0.90 246 1.50 410 All Pot CV and Pot C/P 10,397 19.80 5,417 18.20 4,979 Total 28,352 60.00 17,011 40.00 11,341 Central GOA: Jig (1.0% of TAC) 370 N/A 222 N/A 148 Hook-and-line <50 CV 5,347 9.32 3,411 5.29 1,936 Hook-and-line ≥50 CV 2,456 5.61 2,054 1.10 402 Hook-and-line C/P 1,869 4.11 1,504 1.00 365 Trawl CV 1 15,226 21.14 7,738 20.45 7,487 Trawl C/P 1,537 2.00 734 2.19 804 All Pot CV and Pot C/P 10,180 17.83 6,528 9.97 3,652 Total 36,984 60.00 22,190 40.00 14,794 Eastern GOA Inshore (90% of Annual TAC) Offshore (10% of Annual TAC) 6,589 5,930 659 Note: Seasonal apportionments may not total precisely due to due to rounding.
    Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently obtained from the fishery. The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely fashion and would allow for harvests that exceed the appropriate allocations for Pacific cod based on the best scientific information available. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became available as of December 28, 2015, and additional time for prior public comment would result in conservation concerns for the ESA-listed Steller sea lions.

    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and opportunity for public comment.

    Under § 679.25(c)(2), interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this action to the above address until January 20, 2016.

    This action is required by § 679.20 and § 679.25 and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Alan D. Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33149 Filed 12-30-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 2 Tuesday, January 5, 2016 Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-3883; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-029-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Helicopters AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Airbus Helicopters Model AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters. This proposed AD would require installing a cut-out for the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) rail support junction profiles and inspecting splices, frame 5295, and related equipment for a crack. This proposed AD is prompted by reports of cracks on frame 5295 and on splices installed to prevent those cracks. The proposed actions are intended to detect a crack in frame 5295, which could lead to loss of the helicopter frame's structural integrity and consequently, loss of helicopter control.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

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

    Examining the AD Docket

    You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-3883 or in person at the Docket Operations Office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The AD docket contains this proposed AD, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD, the economic evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Operations Office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    For service information identified in this proposed rule, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, Texas 76177.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, Texas 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. We also invite comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time.

    We will file in the docket all comments that we receive, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, we will consider all comments we receive on or before the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change this proposal in light of the comments we receive.

    Discussion

    EASA, which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, issued AD No. 2014-0098-E, dated April 25, 2014, to correct an unsafe condition for AS332L2 and EC225LP helicopters. EASA AD No. 2014-0098-E applies to helicopters with a frame 5295 that have been reinforced by installing aluminium splices on the RH and LH fuselage external skins. EASA advises of a report of a crack detected on the reinforced frame during a scheduled inspection of a helicopter. According to EASA, the crack initiated on a splice in an area hidden by the overlapping junction profile of the cabin sliding door rail support, and then spread to the frame.

    EASA states that a crack in frame 5295, if not detected and corrected, could lead to loss of structural integrity of the helicopter frame and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. To address this condition, EASA issued AD No. 2014-0098-E to require repetitive inspections of the splices for a crack, as well as cutting out the rail support junction profiles to provide a convenient access to identify cracks in a splice.

    FAA's Determination

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

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

    We reviewed Airbus Helicopters Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. EC225-05A038 for Model EC225LP helicopters and ASB No. AS332-05.00.97 for Model AS332L2 helicopters. The ASBs, both Revision 0 and both dated April 15, 2014, report cracks were found in the splice and frame 5295 on a Model AS332L2 helicopter during a major inspection. The splice had been added in compliance with Modification 0726517. Had an optional rail support cut-out been accomplished on the aircraft to allow for a visual check of the splice for frame 5295, it would have revealed the crack in the splice, prompting its repair and consequently limiting the damage to frame 5295. As a result, the ASBs call for the rail support cut-out on the RH and LH side of the frame as well as periodic visual inspections of frame 5295 and related equipment. This service information is reasonably available because the interested parties have access to it through their normal course of business or by the means identified in the ADDRESSES section.

    Other Related Service Information

    We reviewed Airbus Service Bulletin (SB) No. 53-003, Revision No. 4, for Model EC225LP helicopters and SB No. 53.01.52, Revision 5, for Model AS332L2 helicopters, both dated July 23, 2010. The SBs specify procedures to reinforce frame 5295 by installing a new titanium plate underneath the fitting and a new widened aluminum splice below the upper corner of the door. We also reviewed Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin No. 05-019, Revision 4, dated September 22, 2014, for Model EC225LP helicopters, which proposes that you cut out the junction profiles to perform periodic visual inspections.

    Proposed AD Requirements

    This proposed AD would require the following before a splice reaches 1,700 hours time-in-service (TIS), within 50 hours TIS, or before the helicopter reaches 11,950 hours TIS, whichever occurs later:

    • Installing the rail support cut-out and identifying the right-hand and left-hand junction profile.

    • Inspecting each splice for a crack, and repairing or replacing the splice if there is a crack.

    This proposed AD would then require, at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS, inspecting each splice for a crack, and repairing or replacing the splice if there is a crack.

    Differences Between This Proposed AD and the EASA AD

    The EASA AD requires contacting Airbus Helicopters if there is a crack in the affected parts. This proposed AD would make no such requirement.

    The EASA AD sets various timelines for the repair or replacement of affected parts if a crack exists. This proposed AD would require the repair or replacement of affected parts before further flight if a crack exists.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 4 helicopters of U.S. Registry and that labor costs average $85 a work-hour. Based on these estimates, we expect the following costs:

    Installing the cut-outs on frame 5295 would require 40 work hours for a labor cost of $3,400. Parts would cost $5,000 for total cost per helicopter of $8,400 and $33,600 for the U.S. fleet.

    Inspecting helicopter frame 5295 would require 2 work-hours for a labor cost of $170 per helicopter. No parts would be needed for a total U.S. fleet cost of $680 per inspection cycle.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

    For the reasons discussed, I certify this proposed regulation:

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

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

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

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

    We prepared an economic evaluation of the estimated costs to comply with this proposed AD and placed it in the AD docket.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by adding the following new airworthiness directive (AD): Airbus Helicopters: Docket No. FAA-2015-3883; Directorate Identifier 2014-SW-029-AD. (a) Applicability

    This AD applies to Model AS332L2 and Model EC225LP helicopters with an extended aluminum splice installed on frame 5295, certificated in any category.

    Note 1 to paragraph (a) of this AD:

    Helicopters with modification (MOD) 0726517 have an extended aluminum splice installed.

    (b) Unsafe Condition

    This AD defines the unsafe condition as a crack on helicopter frame 5295. This condition could result in structural failure of the frame and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter.

    (c) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by March 7, 2016.

    (d) Compliance

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

    (e) Required Actions

    (1) Before a splice reaches 1,700 hours time-in-service (TIS), within 50 hours TIS, or before the helicopter reaches 11,950 hours TIS, whichever occurs later, do the following:

    (i) Install the rail support cut-out and identify the right-hand and left-hand junction profile in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions, paragraph 3.B.2, of Alert Service Bulletin (ASB) No. EC225-05A038, Revision 0, dated April 15, 2014 (ASB EC225-05A038), or ASB No. AS332-05.00.97, Revision 0, dated April 15, 2014 (ASB AS332-05.00.97), whichever is applicable to your helicopter.

    (ii) Inspect each splice for a crack in the area depicted as Area Y in Figure 3 of ASB EC225-05A038 or ASB AS332-05.00.97, whichever is applicable to your helicopter. If a crack exists, repair or replace the splice before further flight.

    (2) Thereafter at intervals not to exceed 110 hours TIS, inspect each splice for a crack in the area depicted as Area Y in Figure 3 of ASB EC225-05A038 or ASB AS332-05.00.97. If a crack exists, repair or replace the splice before further flight.

    (f) Credit for Actions Previously Completed

    Installing rail support cut-outs in accordance with MOD 0728090 or Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin No. 05-019, Revision 4, dated September 22, 2014, before the effective date of this AD is considered acceptable for compliance with the corresponding actions specified in paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this AD.

    (g) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

    (1) The Manager, Safety Management Group, FAA, may approve AMOCs for this AD. Send your proposal to: Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, Regulations and Policy Group, Rotorcraft Directorate, FAA, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy., Fort Worth, Texas 76177; telephone (817) 222-5110; email [email protected]

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

    (h) Additional Information

    (1) Airbus Helicopters Service Bulletin (SB) No. 05-019, Revision 4, dated September 22, 2014, and SB No. 53-003 and SB No. 53.01.52, both Revision 4 and both dated July 12, 2010, which are not incorporated by reference, contain additional information about the subject of this AD. For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus Helicopters, Inc., 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75052; telephone (972) 641-0000 or (800) 232-0323; fax (972) 641-3775; or at http://www.airbushelicopters.com/techpub. You may review the referenced service information at the FAA, Office of the Regional Counsel, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Pkwy, Room 6N-321, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    (2) The subject of this AD is addressed in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No. 2014-0098-E, dated April 25, 2014. You may view the EASA AD on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the AD Docket.

    (i) Subject

    Joint Aircraft Service Component (JASC) Code: 5310, Fuselage Main, Structure.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 22, 2015. Lance T. Gant, Manager, Rotorcraft Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33014 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Office of the Secretary 14 CFR Part 382 [Docket No. DOT-OST-2015-0246] RIN 2105-AE12 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel; Consideration of Negotiated Rulemaking Process AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    This document extends the comment period for the notice of intent that was published in the Federal Register on Monday, December 7, 2015. The notice announced that the Department of Transportation (“Department” or “DOT”) is exploring the feasibility of conducting a negotiated rulemaking (reg neg) concerning accommodations for air travelers with disabilities addressing inflight entertainment, supplemental medical oxygen, service animals, accessible lavatories on single-aisle aircraft, seating accommodations, and carrier reporting of disability service requests.

    DATES:

    The deadline for submitting comments on the notice of intent published on December 7, 2015, (80 FR 75953), is extended from January 6, 2016 to January 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number DOT-OST-2015-0246 using any one of the following methods:

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

    Fax: 202-493-2251.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kathleen Blank Riether, Senior Attorney, Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings, U.S. Department of Transportation, by email at [email protected] or by telephone at 202-366-9342. To obtain a copy of this notice in an accessible format, you may also contact Kathleen Blank Riether.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On December 7, 2015, the Department announced its intention to explore the feasibility of conducting a reg neg to:

    • Ensure that the same in-flight entertainment (IFE) available to all passengers is accessible to passengers with disabilities;

    • Provide individuals dependent on in-flight medical oxygen greater access to air travel consistent with Federal safety and security requirements;

    • Determine the appropriate definition of a service animal;

    • Establish safeguards to reduce the likelihood that passengers wishing to travel with their pets will be able to falsely claim that their pets are service animals;

    • Address the feasibility of accessible lavatories on new single aisle aircraft;

    • Address whether premium economy is a different class of service from standard economy as airlines are required to provide seating accommodations to passengers with disabilities within the same class of service; and

    • Require airlines to report annually to the Department the number of requests for disability assistance they receive and the time period within which wheelchair assistance is provided to passengers with disabilities.

    The Department requested that all comments be submitted no later than January 6, 2016.

    On December 21, 2015, the Department received a letter from 11 disability advocacy organizations representing diverse interests expressing their concern that the designated comment period does not allow enough time for stakeholders to fully consider the impact of engaging in a negotiated rulemaking on these issues of critical concern to people with disabilities. The disability advocacy organizations noted that as a result of the holidays, the 30-day comment period is effectively reduced by nearly two weeks. They noted that the notice and comment process would be more effective if all stakeholders had sufficient time to consider and comment on the efficacy of conducting a negotiated rulemaking on each of the proposed issues.

    We agree that an extension of the comment period is appropriate given the effective shortening of the comment period by observance of the holidays. We believe that a 15-day extension to the comment filing period is reasonable to provide stakeholders with ample opportunity to more fully analyze and respond to the issues to be considered during the reg neg. Accordingly, the deadline for filing comments is extended to January 21, 2016.

    Issued on December 29, 2015, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.27. Kathryn B. Thomson, General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33150 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-127895-14] RIN 1545-BM33 Dividend Equivalents From Sources Within the United States; Hearing Cancellation AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Cancellation of a notice of public hearing on proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    This document cancels a public hearing on proposed regulations providing guidance to nonresident alien individuals and foreign corporations that hold certain financial products providing for payments that are contingent upon or determined by reference to U.S. source dividend payments.

    DATES:

    The public hearing originally scheduled for January 15, 2016 at 10 a.m. is cancelled.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Oluwafunmilayo Taylor of the Publications and Regulations Branch, Legal Processing Division, Associate Chief Counsel (Procedure and Administration) at (202) 317-6901 (not a toll-free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    A notice of proposed rulemaking by cross-reference to temporary regulations and a notice of public hearing that appeared in the Federal Register on September 18, 2015 (80 FR 56415) announced that a public hearing was scheduled for January 15, 2016, at 10 a.m. in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. The subject of the public hearing is under section 871(m) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    The public comment period for these regulations expired on December 17, 2015. The notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing instructed those interested in testifying at the public hearing to submit a request to speak and an outline of the topics to be addressed. As of December 28, 2015, no one has requested to speak. Therefore, the public hearing scheduled for January 15, 2016 at 10 a.m. is cancelled.

    Martin V. Franks, Chief, Publications and Regulations Branch, Legal Processing Division, Associate Chief Counsel, (Procedure and Administration).
    [FR Doc. 2015-33090 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 110 [Docket Number USCG-2015-0825] RIN 1625-AA01 Anchorage Regulations, Delaware River; Philadelphia, PA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to amend the geographic coordinates and modify the regulated use of anchorage “10” in the Delaware River in the vicinity of the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The proposed change would alter the size and use of the anchorage, reducing the anchorage in size and allowing the anchorage to be used as a general anchorage in the Delaware River. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2015-0825 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 about this proposed rulemaking, call or email Lieutenant Brennan Dougherty, U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Delaware Bay, Chief Waterways Management Division, Coast Guard; telephone (215) 271-4851, 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 COTP Captain of the Port II. Background, Purpose, and Legal Basis

    The legal basis for this rule is: 33 U.S.C. 471, 1221 through 1236, 2071; 33 CFR 1.05-1; and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1, which collectively authorize the Coast Guard to define anchorage grounds.

    On December, 12, 1967, the Coast Guard Fifth District published a final rule establishing an anchorage area on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the Federal Register (32 FR 17726, 17749). The anchorage area established is contained in 33 CFR 110.157(a)(11). This proposed rule would change the shape and the dimensions of anchorage “10”, and remove the “restricted naval anchorage” verbiage from the regulation. The anchorage currently remains unused by the Naval Yard. Removing the restrictions on anchorage “10” would alleviate congestion within the port, allowing the anchorage to be used as a general anchorage for commercial traffic.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The new anchorage area would encompass all waters of the Delaware River on the north side of the channel along West Horseshoe Range, bounded as follows: Beginning off of the southeasterly corner of Pier 1 at 39°53′07″ N., 075°10′30″ W., thence south to the to the north edge of the channel along West Horseshoe Range to 39°52′58″ N., 075°10′29″ W., thence east along the edge of the channel to 39°52′56″ N., 075°09′53″ W., thence north to 39°53′07″ N., 075°09′54″ W., thence continuing west to the beginning point at 39°53′07″ N., 075°10′30″ W. Additionally, the restrictions on the use of the anchorage will be removed, permitting all vessels to anchor within its bounds. The regulatory text we are proposing appears at the end of this document.

    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 NPRM has not been designated a “significant regulatory action,” under E.O. 12866. Accordingly, the NPRM has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action because it will not interfere with existing maritime activity on the Delaware River. Moreover, it is enhancing navigational safety along the Delaware River by providing an additional anchorage for commercial and recreational vessels. The proposed anchorage maintains the same parallel distance along the channel boundaries as the existing anchorage. The impacts to navigational safety are expected to be minimal because the proposed anchorage area would not unnecessarily restrict traffic, as it is located outside of the established navigation channel. Vessels may navigate in, around, and through the proposed anchorage.

    B. Impact on Small Entities

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

    For the reasons stated in paragraph IV.A, this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this rule would economically affect it.

    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 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. 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 would 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 would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes. 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 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 (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 involves the alteration of the size and use of anchorage “10,” restricted Naval Anchorage. It is categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(f) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination and a Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this 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. Documents mentioned in this NPRM, 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.

    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).

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 110

    Anchorage grounds.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 110 as follows:

    PART 11—ANCHORAGE REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for part 110 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    33 U.S.C. 471, 1221 through 1236, 2071; 33 CFR 1.05-1; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1.

    2. In § 110.157, revise paragraph (a)(11) to read as follows:
    § 110.157 Delaware Bay and River.

    (a) * * *

    (11) Anchorage 10 at Naval Base, Philadelphia. On the north side of the channel along West Horseshoe Range, bounded as follows: Beginning off of the southeasterly corner of Pier 1 at 39°53′07″ N., 075°10′30″ W., thence south to the to the north edge of the channel along West Horseshoe Range to 39°52′58″ N., 075°10′29″ W., thence east along the edge of the channel to 39°52′56″ N., 075°09′53″ W., thence north to 39°53′07″ N., 075°09′54″ W., thence continuing west to the beginning point at 39°53′07″ N., 075°10′30″ W.

    Dated: December 17, 2015. Stephen P. Metruck, Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33167 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 17 RIN 2900-AP35 Copayments for Medications Beginning January 1, 2017 AGENCY:

    Department of Veterans Affairs.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its regulations concerning copayments charged to certain veterans for medication required on an outpatient basis to treat non-service connected conditions. VA currently charges non-exempt veterans either $8 or $9 for each 30-day or less supply of medication, and under current regulations, a calculation based on the prescription drug component of the Medical Consumer Price Index would be used to determine the copayment amount in future years. This rulemaking would eliminate the formula used to calculate future rate increases and establish three classes of medications, identified as Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. These tiers would be defined further in the rulemaking and would be distinguished in part based on whether the medications are available from multiple sources or a single source, with some exceptions. Copayment amounts would be fixed and would vary depending upon the class of medication. The following copayment amounts would be effective January 1, 2017: $5 for a 30-day or less supply of a Tier 1 medication, $8 for a 30-day or less supply of a Tier 2 medication, and $11 for a 30-day or less supply of a Tier 3 medication. For most veterans these copayment amounts would result in lower out-of-pocket costs, thereby encouraging greater adherence to prescribed medications and reducing the risk of fragmented care that results when veterans use multiple pharmacies to fill their prescriptions.

    DATES:

    Comment Date: Comments must be received by VA on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written comments may be submitted by email through http://www.regulations.gov; by mail or hand-delivery to Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273-9026. Comments should indicate that they are submitted in response to “RIN 2900-AP35-Copayments for Medications Beginning January 1, 2017.” Copies of comments received will be available for public inspection in the Office of Regulation Policy and Management, Room 1068, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays). Please call (202) 461-4902 for an appointment. (This is not a toll-free number.) In addition, during the comment period, comments may be viewed online through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http://www.regulations.gov.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kristin Cunningham, Chief Business Office (10NB), Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 382-2508. (This is not a toll-free number.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under 38 U.S.C. 1722A(a), VA must require veterans to pay a $2 copayment for each 30-day supply of medication furnished on an outpatient basis for the treatment of a non-service-connected disability or condition, unless the veteran is exempt from having to pay a copayment because the veteran has a service-connected disability rated 50 percent or more, is a former prisoner of war, or has an annual income at or below the maximum annual rate of VA pension that would be payable if the veteran were eligible for pension. Under 38 U.S.C. 1722A(b), VA “may,” by regulation, increase that copayment amount and establish a maximum annual copayment amount (a “cap”). We have consistently interpreted section 1722A(b) to mean that VA has discretion to determine the appropriate copayment amount (as long as that amount is at least $2) for medication furnished on an outpatient basis for covered treatment, provided that any increase in the copayment amount or annual cap is the subject of a rulemaking proceeding. VA is also prohibited under 38 U.S.C. 1722A(a)(2) from requiring a veteran to pay an amount in excess of the cost to VA. We have implemented this statute in 38 CFR 17.110.

    Under 38 CFR 17.110(b)(1), veterans are obligated to pay a copayment for each 30-day or less supply of medication provided by VA on an outpatient basis (other than medication administered during treatment). Under the current regulation, for the period from July 1, 2010, through December 31, 2015, the copayment amount for veterans in priority categories 2 through 6 of VA's health care system is $8. 38 CFR 17.110(b)(1)(i). For the period July 1, 2010, through December 31, 2015, the copayment amount for veterans in priority categories 7 and 8 is $9. 38 CFR 17.110(b)(1)(ii). Thereafter, the copayment amount for all affected veterans is to be established using a formula based on the prescription drug component of the Medical Consumer Price Index (CPI-P), set forth in regulation in 38 CFR 17.110(b)(1)(iii).

    Current § 17.110(b)(2) also includes a “cap” on the total amount of copayments in a calendar year for a veteran enrolled in one of VA's health care enrollment system priority categories 2 through 6. Through December 31, 2015, the annual cap is set at $960. Thereafter, the cap increases “by $120 for each $1 increase in the copayment amount” applicable to veterans enrolled in one of VA's health care enrollment system priority categories 2 through 6.

    VA has found that the current regulatory model has produced and will continue to produce copayment amounts that increase at a higher rate than the larger, non-VA retail market for prescribed medications. For this reason, VA has published a series of rulemakings that have “frozen” copayments from 2009 to the present. In these rulemakings, we stated that these freezes were appropriate because higher copayments reduce the utilization of VA pharmacy benefits. Even with the freezes VA has instituted, however, VA's copayment rates have exceeded those charged in other pharmacy benefits programs.

    In addition to higher copayments increasing the risk that veterans will not fill their prescriptions, VA's lack of competitive copayment pricing increases the likelihood that veterans will obtain their prescribed medications from other sources. Fragmentation of prescription records to more than one pharmacy increases the risk of an incomplete medication record, which can lead to unintended adverse reactions. Different clinicians caring for the patient may not be aware of all the medications that the patient is taking. VA medical providers need to be aware of all of the medications a veteran is taking to avoid unintended prescribing of contraindicated medications. Through this rulemaking, we believe that we can prevent or minimize these unintended or adverse effects of patients choosing multiple pharmacies to fill their prescriptions.

    A large body of academic research supports this position. Researchers have found that prescription copayments can affect medication adherence (Lieberman, D.A., J.M. Polinski, N.K. Choudhry, J. Avorn, and M.A. Fischer. 2014. Unintended consequences of a Medicaid prescription copayment plan. Medical Care. 52(5):422). Research also has found that higher copayment levels are associated with poor adherence, discontinuation, and non-initiation of therapy (Mann, B.S., L. Barnieh, K. Tang, D.J.T. Campbell, F. Clement, B. Hemmelgarn, M. Tonelli, D. Lorenzetti, B.J. Manns. Association between drug insurance cost sharing strategies and outcomes in patients with chronic diseases: a systematic review. PLOS ONE. 9(3):e89168). These findings are evident in a veteran study regarding lipid-lowering medication adherence. (Doshi, J.A., Zhu, J., Lee, B.Y., Kimmel, S.E., Volpp, K.G. 2009. Impact of a Prescription Copayment Increase on Lipid-Lowering Medications Adherence in Veterans. Circulation. 2009;119:390-397.). Other studies have also found that high copayment requirements can negatively influence adherence to prescription medication plans (Kazerooni, R., K. Vu, A. Tazikawa, C. Broadhead, and A.P. Morreale. Association of copayment and socioeconomic status with hormonal contraceptive adherence in a female veteran population. 2014. Women's Health Issues. 24(2):e237). Another team of researchers found that adherence rates are negatively affected by copayment rates, and that these effects vary based upon the disease burden of the patient; they also found that patients with low-comorbidity risks were more likely to be more affected by copayments, which may subsequently lead to adverse events that require more intensive and expensive health care services (Wang, V., C.F. Liu, C.L. Bryson, N.D. Sharp, and M.L. Maciejewski. 2011. Does medication adherence following a copayment increase differ by disease burden? HSR: Health Services Research. 46(6):1963).

    The proposed rule would focus on the type of medication being prescribed and would remove the automatic escalator provision, meaning that changes in copayments would only occur through subsequent rulemakings. Veterans exempt by law from copayments under 38 U.S.C. 1722A(a)(3) would continue to be exempt. VA proposes to include a definition of “medication” and to establish three classes of medications: Tier 1 medications, Tier 2 medications, and Tier 3 medications. Tiers 1 and 2 would include multi-source medications, a term that would be defined in § 17.110(b)(1)(iv). Tier 3 would include medications that retain patent protection and exclusivity and are not multi-source medications. Copayment amounts would vary depending upon the Tier in which the medication is classified. A 30-day or less supply of Tier 1 medications would have a copayment of $5. For Tier 2 medications, the copayment would be $8, and for Tier 3 medications, the copayment would be $11.

    This proposed change would provide a financial benefit to many veterans because it would reduce their copayment liabilities for most medications and their overall liability under the copayment cap. An average veteran would be better off under this model than the current approach in nearly every scenario; the sole exception is veterans who only fill Tier 3 medications, but even this group would face the same copayment liabilities under the current regulation in 2017, and would face higher copayments in future years. These veterans would also often pay substantially more in the private sector to fill the same prescriptions. Based on a comparison of the current and proposed copayment amounts, we anticipate that most veterans would realize between a 10 and 50 percent reduction in their overall pharmacy copayment liability each year based on historic utilization patterns. By our estimates, 94 percent of copayment eligible veterans would experience no cost increase, and 80 percent would realize a savings of between $1 and $5 per 30-day equivalent of medications. The proposed copayment amounts intends to support patient adherence, reduce instances of veterans not filling prescription medications and assisting veteran health improvements from chronic disease. The following table shows how copayments would vary for veterans and different types of medications. Annual savings would be even greater for veterans with a large number of medication copayments. VA estimates that at least 50 percent of all billable prescriptions would be in Tier 1, with no more than 35 percent in Tier 2, and approximately 15 percent in Tier 3. Exact estimates for Tier 1 and Tier 2 are not possible at this time and would depend on the final list of medications selected for Tier 1.

    Table 1—Typical User, Annual Cost of Copayments, Calendar Year 2017 Medication distribution Tiered
  • copayment
  • proposal
  • Current
  • regulation
  • Potential
  • annual
  • savings
  • under tiered
  • proposal
  • 100% Tier 1 $150 $330 $180 50% Tier 1, 50% Tier 2 195 330 135 100% Tier 2 240 330 90 50% Tier 1, 50% Tier 3 240 330 90 100% Tier 3 330 330 0

    Initially, VA would make a clarifying amendment to § 17.110(a) to define the term “medication.” As noted previously, VA is required by 38 U.S.C. 1722A to charge veterans at least a $2 copayment for each 30-day or less supply of medication furnished on an outpatient basis for the treatment of non-service-connected disabilities or conditions, unless the veteran is otherwise exempt. VA has interpreted the term “medication” in the past to include prescription and over-the-counter medications as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but not medical supplies and nutritional items. This change would clarify that interpretation in regulation. Medical supplies and nutritional items, such as bandages, diabetic supplies, and catheters, would be excluded from the definition of medication, and hence not subject to the medication copayment requirements of this section. These are not considered medications and are not regulated by FDA as such, and consequently should be excluded from this definition.

    Medications are conventionally classified as either “generic” or “brand name” medications, and generic medications generally are less expensive and more available than brand name medications. However, this simple classification does not capture all of the factors that affect the price and availability of medications. For example, when a brand manufacturer's patent protection and/or regulatory exclusivity ends, it sometimes authorizes the marketing of its brand name medication under a private label at generic prices; the FDA describes these products as “authorized generics” at 21 CFR 314.3. In addition, even without the entry of an authorized generic, the price of most brand name drugs declines as generic competitors enter the market. Because generic medications, authorized generic medications, and brand name medications that face competition from generic medications typically are sold at lower prices than brand name medications that do not face such competition, VA would include all three classes of medications in a single class for copayment purposes. Because brand name medications that face competition from generic medications may still be sold at a higher price than their generic equivalents, however, VA would only include those brand name medications that face generic competition and are procured by VA under a contracting strategy in place that makes the brand name medication lower in cost than other generic sources. VA would be able to determine if these medications are lower in cost because the contracting strategy would have reviewed available prices and identified prices that are preferable to generic competition.

    Some medications also have multiple brand name products capable of being substituted because they work in the same way and in a comparable amount of time with the same active ingredients. This competition between brand name medications generally results in a lower price and so, VA would also include them in the same class as generic medications, authorized generic medications, and brand name medications that face competition from generic medications and are procured by VA under a contracting strategy in place that makes the brand name medication lower in cost than other generic sources. To avoid confusion that could arise by placing brand name medications and generic medications in the same class, VA would simply refer to these four types of medications together as multi-source medications. The term multi-source medication would be defined in § 17.110(b)(1)(iv)(A). VA would then designate medications as Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. The first two tiers would consist of multi-source medications, but those in Tier 1 would have been selected by VA using a process described below and would be available at a lower copayment than medications in Tier 2. Tier 3 medications would include all other medications and would have the highest copayment amount.

    VA proposes to amend § 17.110(b)(1) by revising the subparagraphs that currently identify the copayment rates for different priority groups of veterans. Specifically, VA would revise paragraph (b)(1)(i) to state that the copayment amount for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 1 medications, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(iv), is $5. Paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section would state the copayment amount for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 2 medications is $8, and paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section would state the copayment amount for a 30-day or less supply of Tier 3 medications is $11.

    These copayment amounts are cost competitive with other health care plans, while still in line with VA's appropriated resources. Many large retailers offer a limited range of generic or multi-source medications between $1 and $4, but these plans often include premiums of more than $10 per month. VA does not charge veterans a premium, so their only out-of-pocket costs are the copayment amounts. In this context, we believe the $5 and $8 copayment amounts are comparable to what many veterans would pay for selected generic or multi-source medications from these retailers. The $11 amount for Tier 3 medications is a small increase ($2) for veterans in priority groups 7 and 8, and a modest increase ($3) for veterans in priority groups 2 through 6. The vast majority of our billable prescriptions (85 percent) are for medications that would be categorized as Tier 1 or Tier 2. For veterans receiving Tier 1 medications, there would be a price decrease of $3 in priority groups 2 through 6 and $4 in priority groups 7 and 8. The price for Tier 2 medications would remain unchanged for veterans in priority groups 2 through 6, but veterans in priority groups 7 and 8 would experience a ($1) price decrease for medications in this category. Even with an increase in the copayment amount for Tier 3 medications from their current levels, VA's pharmacy copayments for these drugs would remain a significant value for veterans, as many non-VA pharmacy plans charge $20, $30, or $40 or more for brand name medications, which comprise the bulk of Tier 3 medications, in addition to regular premiums. Moreover, the pharmacy copayment amounts calculated using the existing regulations currently exceed $11 for veterans in priority categories 2 through 8.

    VA estimates that the copayment amounts would increase three times over 6 years if the current regulations are left unchanged. These increases are projected using the current regulation's methodology because VA has taken action to freeze medication copayments over the last several years, which has generated greater separation from the initial CPI-P as of September 30, 2001.

    VA would define the three classes of medications in proposed paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(B)-(D), which would be Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 medications.

    As briefly described above, VA would define a “multi-source medication” that could be included in either Tier 1 or Tier 2 to include four types of medications. First, this would include a medication that has been and remains approved by the FDA either under sections 505(b)(2) or 505(j) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA, 21 U.S.C. 355) and that has an A-rating in the current version of the FDA's Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (the Orange Book), or under section 351(k) of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA, 42 U.S.C. 262) and that has been granted an I or B rating in the current version of FDA's Lists of Licensed Biological Products with (1) Reference Product Exclusivity and (2) Biosimilarity or Interchangeability Evaluations (the Purple Book). Second, a multi-source medication would also include medications that have been and remain approved by the FDA pursuant to FDCA section 505(b)(1) or PHSA section 351(a) and which are referenced by at least one FDA-approved product that meets the first definition of multi-source medication. These medications would be included only if they are covered by a contracting strategy in place with pricing such that it is lower in cost than other generic sources. Third, multi-source medications would include those medications that have been and remain approved by the FDA pursuant to FDCA section 505(b)(1) or PHSA section 351(a) and have the same active ingredient(s), work in the same way and in a comparable amount of time, and are determined by VA to be substitutable for another medication that has been and remains approved by the FDA pursuant to FDCA section 505(b)(1) or PHSA section 351(a). Insulin and levothyroxine are two examples of such medications. Finally, multi-source medications would also include a listed drug, as defined in 21 CFR 314.3, that has been approved under FDCA section 505(c) and is marketed, sold, or distributed directly or indirectly to retail class of trade with either labeling, packaging (other than repackaging as the listed drug in blister packs, unit doses, or similar packaging for use in institutions), product code, labeler code, trade name, or trademark that differs from that of the listed drug. These definitions cover the full range of medications that are broadly available and lack patent protection and exclusivity and which can be procured at a low price. This includes all generic medications, as well as brand name medications that are marketed as generic medications and medications with multiple substitutable options. Such medications are widely prescribed and used by both VA and non-VA providers and represent generally the lowest cost medications available. As such, these are ideally suited for a lower copayment rate.

    VA offers these medications to address a variety of chronic conditions common in our patient population, such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. If a significant portion of these prescriptions are filled with VA because of this rule, the potential clinical benefits could be far-reaching and significant, and therefore, we would encourage the use of these drugs by providing lower copayments. (We also note that, in addition to being a clear benefit to our veteran patients, far-reaching improved health outcomes would necessarily lead to lower future health care costs, although we cannot quantify these predicted cost benefits.) VA would separate multi-source medications into two categories: Tier 1 medications and Tier 2 medications. Tier 1 medications would be multi-source medications that meet all of the criteria in proposed paragraph (b)(2) as explained in further detail below. Tier 2 would include multi-source medications that do not meet all of the criteria in (b)(2).

    Tier 3 medications would be defined as a medication approved by the FDA under a New Drug Application (NDA) or a biological product approved by the FDA pursuant to a biologics license agreement (BLA) that retains its patent protection and exclusivity and is not a multi-source medication identified in paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(A)(3). FDA publishes a list of the medications that have been approved under NDAs on its Web site at www.fda.gov.

    Proposed paragraph (b)(2) would identify how VA will determine whether a multi-source medication qualifies as a Tier 1 medication; all other multi-source medications would be Tier 2 medications under proposed paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(C). Although we believe that lowering copayments for prescription medications would improve clinical outcomes for veterans who take those medications, for budgetary reasons we must limit the number of medications that would qualify for a lower copayment amount as selected multi-source medications. This limitation should effectively target VA's health care resources to achieve maximum health benefits for veterans. For example, the reduction in copayments for affected medication must be significant enough to increase the likelihood that veterans would choose to fill their medications with VA, thereby leading to the clinical benefits we discuss above. Reducing the copayment amount for a limited group of medications that are used on a long-term basis by a large number of veterans would allow us to reduce the copayment by a significant amount while still extending this financial and clinical benefit to as many veterans as possible.

    Accordingly, in addition to excluding Tier 3 medications through the definition of the term “multi-source medication,” VA proposes to use seven exclusionary criteria to limit the medications that would be considered as Tier 1 medications entitled to the lowest copayment amount of $5. A medication must meet all of these criteria to be selected as a Tier 1 medication. These criteria would appear in proposed paragraph (b)(2) and its subparagraphs. VA would use these criteria not less than once per year to select which medications would qualify as Tier 1 medications. This annual (or more frequent) review would ensure that VA regularly reviews new medications and changes in prescription patterns and patient needs.

    The first five criteria appear in paragraph (b)(2)(i). The first, in proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A), would be that VA's acquisition cost for the medication must be less than or equal to $10 for a 30-day supply of medication. This is an economic criterion designed to limit the effects of the proposed rule on VA's overall budget. The $10 amount is currently the greatest amount that VA may consider while also keeping the cost of the reduced copayment amounts within acceptable budgetary limits.

    Second, in proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B), VA would exclude topical creams, products used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, antihistamines, and steroid-containing medications. These classes of medications generally are used on an “as needed” basis, and the quantity dispensed is not uniform for topical creams, lotions, and ointments. These medications would be excluded because they are not often used to treat chronic conditions, and their inclusion would result in a loss of revenue beyond what VA can support within its appropriated resources. Finally, excluding medications that are often used for short time periods and/or for acute skin infections or conditions is consistent with the criterion in proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i)(E), below.

    Third, under proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i)(C), we would require that the medication be on the VA National Formulary (VANF). The VANF is a list of medications approved by VA for VA patients based on considerations of safety, quality, effectiveness, and the ability of the medications to meet the needs of VA's unique patient population. Requiring a medication to be on the VANF ensures that VA has already reviewed the medication in terms of its safety, quality, effectiveness, and general applicability, thereby ensuring sound clinical care. Medications that are not on the VANF are not approved on a national level, even if they may have specialized uses and may be appropriate for prescribing in individual cases. Non-formulary medications can be prescribed by VA when clinically warranted, on a case-by-case basis. However, these medications are much less likely to meet VA's goal of reaching the largest number of VA patients possible through this rulemaking. In addition, a drug may not be included on the VANF because we have determined that another medication from the same drug class is selected based on clinical effectiveness. Finally, many non-VANF drugs are prescribed by VA clinicians to treat conditions with a low prevalence among veterans or to treat non-chronic conditions. Requiring that the medication be on the VANF is medically appropriate and consistent with the purposes of this rulemaking. VA periodically revises the medications that appear on the formulary, and to the extent it appears that a drug meets the other criteria of this proposed rule, and a lower copayment for that drug would serve the clinical objectives animating this rulemaking, we would consider adding the drug to the VANF.

    Fourth, under proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i)(D), VA would exclude antibiotics that primarily are used for short periods of time to treat infections. These medications may lead to harmful health outcomes if overprescribed, and this exclusion is intended to support clinical care. A veteran in need of antibiotics for a short-term illness likely only pays a single copayment for this prescription during the course of a year. Accordingly, the clinical incentive for patient medication adherence over time that VA intends to promote through this rulemaking is less relevant for these medications.

    Fifth, under proposed paragraph (b)(2)(i)(E), VA would only consider medications that primarily are prescribed to either treat or manage a chronic condition, or to reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes of secondary conditions that are often more dangerous than the chronic condition itself. We believe this is crucial to maximizing the clinical benefit under this proposed rule. For example, VA would select medications used to treat high blood pressure because they reduce the risks of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Some examples of chronic conditions prevalent among veterans include hypertension (more than 40 percent of enrolled veterans), diabetes (25 percent), and various types of heart disease (between 5 and 10 percent). VA anticipates that reducing copayments for medications treating these conditions would improve health outcomes for veterans by increasing the rate of adherence to prescribed medication regimens. VA may also benefit from secondary cost savings resulting from improved health outcomes and reduced demand for high cost treatments, such as surgery, for potentially life-threatening conditions that could have been prevented.

    This criterion is also crucial because it serves to focus budgetary resources onto drugs used to treat and prevent conditions for which we expect the clinical benefits of this proposed rule will be the most pronounced. Improving our ability to monitor patients' compliance and increased patient compliance with treatment plans would have the most dramatic health benefits for veterans who take medications that fall within this criterion. It is well established that adherence to medications used in the management of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and heart disease slows progression of major diseases that result in disability and increased consumption of health care resources.

    Further, we propose that conditions that persist for 3 months or more will be considered chronic. We are aware that 38 CFR 3.317(a)(4) provides that a condition must persist for 6 months before it may be considered chronic. However, that section is designed to identify conditions that form the basis of a monthly monetary payment of compensation, which is a different goal than the treatment of a medical condition. Treating a persistent medical condition can be critical in preventing additional or worsening symptoms as well as secondary illnesses. Moreover, § 3.317(a)(4) of 38 CFR deals with undiagnosed illnesses arising out of the comparatively narrow context of the Gulf War. When a disease is difficult to diagnose, requiring a longer period of persistence helps VA ensure that condition in question actually is chronic as that term is commonly understood. We would also apply this criterion to conditions, not to individual patients. For example, just because it is technically possible for a common cold to persist for 3 months does not mean that colds are chronic. Rather, conditions which typically persist for 3 months in most or all patients would meet this criterion. For example, VA would select medications used to treat high blood pressure because that condition typically persists for more than 3 months and, under the proposed rule, we would charge the $5 copayment for such medication (as long as it met all other criteria) regardless of whether the patient for whom the medication is prescribed has actually been diagnosed as having had high blood pressure for 3 months.

    Under the sixth criterion in proposed paragraph (b)(2)(ii), we would consider, among those medications that satisfy all of the criteria in paragraph (b)(2)(i), those medications that are among the top 75 most commonly prescribed multi-source medications based on the number of prescriptions issued for a 30-day or less supply on an outpatient basis during a fixed period of time to determine our annual list of Tier 1 medications. This would enable VA to consider veteran utilization when adopting the list. By looking at how many prescriptions are filled by veterans, VA can identify those medications that are in greatest demand and reduce their copayments, thereby providing the greatest benefit to veterans in terms of cost reduction. VA clinicians are also most likely to prescribe medications that have the greatest clinical benefit to veterans, and as a result, veterans are also likely to benefit from improved health care delivery. This factor would also ensure that, as the clinical needs of veterans change, VA reassesses the list to determine if new drugs should qualify or if drugs currently identified as selected should be removed. VA proposes to identify up to 75 medications under this paragraph because this number would allow VA to identify a broad spectrum of pharmaceuticals while limiting the potential budgetary impact of reduced copayment collections. VA would review utilization data for a fixed period of time, likely a 12-month period either consisting of a fiscal year or a calendar year. This requirement would allow VA to regularly assess the available data and make any necessary changes.

    After identifying the top multi-source medications prescribed that also satisfy the criteria in paragraph (b)(2)(i), VA would evaluate these medications to determine their clinical value under the seventh criterion, which appears in proposed paragraph (b)(2)(iii), and in the context of VA's available budgetary resources, as described in more detail below. VA would make a medical determination concerning the clinical value of each entry on the list of the most utilized medications. New developments, such as a shift in the health care needs of the veteran population, newly released data or clinical treatment guidelines, or newly released multi-source medications could help VA determine which medications should be Tier 1 medications, but the possible range of factors are too numerous to be set forth in regulation. For example, many veterans have cardiovascular conditions that require treatment or management, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and others. VA would take the prevalence of these conditions into account when selecting medications to ensure that a large number of veterans would be able to receive medications at a reduced copayment. As another example, VA would consider the recommendations of clinical practice guidelines it follows in the treatment of serious, chronic conditions. These clinical practice guidelines are developed in consultation with experts in each disease and are based on the latest available research in terms of efficacy and health outcomes. A medication that is identified as a first course of treatment would likely receive preference over a medication that is primarily used as second treatment option. In a similar way, VA would also look to empirical data on morbidity and mortality rates for conditions following treatment with certain medications. If one medication does a better job at improving health outcomes than another based on these measures, VA would likely select that better performing medication. There may be certain medications that treat a larger segment of the population than others, and VA would likely consider these attributes as well. If one medication is particularly effective with a sub-group, but is less effective with the average patient, it would be less likely to be selected. Similarly, VA may apply public health principles to identify conditions that are either under-treated or that, if treated early, can prevent the onset of more complex conditions that are more expensive to treat. For example, VA may look for medications that treat glaucoma or osteoporosis, which have a low prevalence in the veteran population, but that if treated and managed early can prevent more serious conditions such as blindness or broken bones. Ultimately, these determinations would be made by VA using the clinical expertise of its physicians, pharmacists, public health specialists, and other clinicians as appropriate to ensure that VA is able to offer at a reduced copayment the right mix of medications for its patient population. This approach is commonly used by other health care plans to select medications under their pharmacy benefits programs. As new multi-source medications become approved and available, VA would need to reassess this list and, as the health profile of its patient population changes, VA would need to maintain flexibility to ensure that the medications identified for a reduced copayment are appropriate.

    The purpose of the criterion of clinical value in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) would be to ensure that those medications that would most improve clinical care would be available at a reduced copayment; however, we note that this evaluation should not be read to suggest that other multi-source mediations do not have clinical value. The Tier 1 and Tier 2 classifications are designed simply to distinguish between two similar classes of medications and do not reflect on the quality of the medication itself. VA would make determinations regarding which medications should be included in Tier 1 in light of available budgetary resources to ensure that it does not select more medications than it can afford to maintain at a reduced copayment amount.

    The decision regarding which medications qualify for Tier 1 would also be made in the context of VA's available budgetary resources, as noted in proposed paragraph (b)(2)(iii). Each year, VA assembles a budget request that is carefully calculated based on its enrolled patient population, their clinical needs, and the cost of delivering health care. Included in VA's budget projections is an estimate for how much VA will receive from first- and third-party payers for certain types of treatment. These payments are deposited into the Medical Care Collections Fund (MCCF). Medication copayments are one source of revenue for the MCCF. In each year's budget recommendation submitted by VA, we identify the MCCF estimates, and in each budget enacted by Congress, the MCCF estimates are also included. VA's budget for the Medical Services, Medical Support and Compliance, and Medical Facilities accounts are appropriated in advance under 38 U.S.C. 117, so VA knows in one year what resources it will have in the following year. VA would use these figures to determine how it can enhance the value of the pharmacy portion of the medical benefits package by offering the maximum number of Tier 1 medications while maintaining the established budget parameters. VA does not anticipate dramatic changes in the numbers or types of medications that are available for a Tier 1 reduced copayment from year to year.

    VA is aware that as a result of using these proposed criteria, some veterans who have conditions that are very serious but not very common may receive no Tier 1 medication copayment reduction under the proposed rule. Whether a particular veteran realizes reduced medication expenditures in a given year would depend on the medications VA selects for a reduced copayment amount and the medications prescribed to that veteran. However, as explained above, the purpose of this rule is to improve clinical outcomes for a large number of veterans while maintaining a responsible budget. VA does not expect that veterans' obligations for copayments would increase by a notable amount, and any increases resulting from this rule would be less than they would have been over time with the current regulations.

    VA would also modify § 17.110(b)(3) to state that VA would publish a list of Tier 1 medications not less than once per year in the Federal Register and on VA's Web site at www.va.gov/health. The current paragraph (b)(3) requires VA to publish and distribute information on copayment amounts, but as these amounts would be established in regulation, there would be no need to continue that practice. VA expects it would publish a list of Tier 1 medications only once per year, but there may be situations when a change during the year would be justified. For example, if a medication that VA has identified as a Tier 1 medication is removed from the market or if significant safety concerns are raised with its use, VA physicians and pharmacists would likely shift patients to a different multi-source medication to treat the same conditions. In this scenario, VA may elect to designate this alternative medication as a Tier 1 medication so that a large number of veterans do not experience a mid-year increase in the cost of filling their medications as a result of events outside their control.

    VA has published a list of medications that it would classify as Tier 1 medications on its Web site, www.va.gov/health. This list was compiled using the process described above to show what medications would be placed in Tier 1 if the proposed rule were effective today, and as such, this list is intended to be demonstrative only. We expect the list of Tier 1 medications to change before January 1, 2017, as new medications become available, prices vary for different for medications, and new clinical evidence is published showing the efficacy of different medications. If the proposed rule is finalized and takes effect prior to January 1, 2017, VA will publish an updated list showing those medications that will be placed in Tier 1 for purposes of copayments starting on January 1, 2017.

    VA would further modify § 17.110(b) by moving the discussion of the copayment cap from current paragraph (b)(2) to a new paragraph (b)(5). VA would amend this provision, which establishes a current rate and a methodology for increasing that rate, and replace it with a single rate that could only be changed through subsequent rulemaking. VA proposes to establish a fixed copayment cap of $700 in a calendar year for all enrolled veterans. VA is extending application of the copayment cap to include veterans in priority groups 7 and 8. A typical veteran fills two to three prescriptions per month, and at the current copayment rates, a veteran must fill 10 prescriptions per month each month of the year to hit the copayment cap. Presently, less than three percent of all veterans realize savings as a result of the copayment cap. With a copayment cap of $700, veterans filling six to eight prescriptions per month would likely reach the cap over a calendar year. Reducing the copayment cap would also provide a unique benefit to veterans who exclusively use Tier 3 medications, as their total annual expenses would be no more than $700, whereas under the current regulations, they would be $960 or more. We estimate approximately nine percent of veterans subject to a copayment would benefit from a $700 copayment cap. If, in the future, VA engaged in further rulemaking to raise the copayment rates from those proposed in this rule, it could also then consider whether to raise the copayment cap.

    VA would also make a formatting revision to paragraph (b)(4), titling this section “Veterans Choice Program,” to maintain consistency with other paragraph headings. This would result in no formal or substantive change to the copayment rule articulated in this paragraph for the Veterans Choice Program, authorized by 38 CFR 17.1500-17.1540.

    Effect of Rulemaking

    The Code of Federal Regulations, if revised as proposed by this rulemaking, would represent the exclusive legal authority on this subject. No contrary rules or procedures would be authorized. All VA guidance would be read to conform with this rulemaking once made final, if possible or, if not possible, such guidance would be superseded by this rulemaking.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521).

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a “significant regulatory action,” requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as “any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive Order.”

    The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this regulatory action have been examined, and it has been determined that it is an economically significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866.

    Regulatory Impact Analysis Summary Statement

    This rulemaking proposes to amend its regulations concerning copayments and the copayment cap charged to certain Veterans for medications required on an outpatient basis to treat non-service connected conditions. In addition, this rule would eliminate the formula used to calculate future rate increases and change the copayment amount beginning January 1, 2017, to $5 for a 30-day supply of Tier 1 medications, to $8 for a 30-day supply of Tier 2 medications, and $11 for a 30-day supply of Tier 3 medications. The Tiers of medications would be defined in regulation, but generally would reflect selected multi-source medications (Tier 1), other multi-source medications (Tier 2), and single source medications (Tier 3), with certain exceptions.

    Based on a comparison of the current and proposed copayment amounts, we anticipate that most veterans would realize between a 10 and 50 percent reduction in their overall pharmacy copayment liability each year based on historic utilization patterns. By our estimates, 94 percent of copayment eligible veterans would experience no cost increase, and 80 percent would realize a savings of between $1 and $5 per 30-day equivalent of medications. The proposed copayment amounts are intended to support patient adherence, reduce instances of veterans not filling prescription medications and assisting veteran health improvements from chronic disease. Table 1 above, shows how copayments would vary for veterans and different types of medications. Annual savings would be even greater for veterans with a large number of medication copayments. VA estimates that at least 50 percent of all billable prescriptions would be in Tier 1, with no more than 35 percent in Tier 2, and approximately 15 percent in Tier 3. Exact estimates for Tier 1 and Tier 2 are not possible at this time and would depend on the final list of medications selected for Tier 1.

    VA anticipates the implementation of a tiered copayment plan in CY2017 would reduce First Party Pharmacy copayment revenue from current budget levels for Veterans in PGs 2 through 8 who are required to make a copayment for certain medications. VA's regulatory impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http://www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are available on VA's Web site at http://www.va.gov/orpm/, by following the link for “VA Regulations Published From FY 2004 Through Fiscal Year to Date.”

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Secretary hereby certifies that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612). This proposed rule would generally be small business neutral. The rule would not affect pharmaceutical manufacturers, as it does not change the amount VA pays for medications to supply its pharmaceutical benefits program, only the amount VA collects from veterans as copayments. To the extent there are effects on pharmaceutical companies, we believe it would most likely have a positive affect if VA is purchasing more medications and supplies from them. Similarly, VA does not believe that this rule would have a significant economic impact on small pharmacies. It is possible that some veterans would choose to fill their prescriptions within VA rather than from a community pharmacist, but we anticipate such a shift would not result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of such entities. Therefore, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this rulemaking would be exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604.

    Congressional Review Act

    This proposed rule is subject to the Congressional Review Act provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801, et seq.), which specifies that before a rule can take effect, the Federal agency promulgating the rule shall submit to each House of the Congress and to the Comptroller General a report containing a copy of the rule along with other specified information, and has been submitted to Congress and the Comptroller General for review.

    Unfunded Mandates

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires, at 2 U.S.C. 1532, that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before issuing any rule that may result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more (adjusted annually for inflation) in any one year. This proposed rule would have no such effect on State, local, and tribal governments, or on the private sector.

    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers and titles for the programs affected by this document are 64.007, Blind Rehabilitation Centers; 64.008, Veterans Domiciliary Care; 64.009, Veterans Medical Care Benefits; 64.010, Veterans Nursing Home Care; 64.011, Veterans Dental Care; 64.012, Veterans Prescription Service; 64.013, Veterans Prosthetic Appliances; 64.014, Veterans State Domiciliary Care; 64.015, Veterans State Nursing Home Care; 64.019, Veterans Rehabilitation Alcohol and Drug Dependence; and 64.022, Veterans Home Based Primary Care.

    Signing Authority

    The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or designee, approved this document and authorized the undersigned to sign and submit the document to the Office of the Federal Register for publication electronically as an official document of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Robert L. Nabors II, Chief of Staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, approved this document on September 1, 2015, for publication.

    List of Subjects in 38 CFR Part 17

    Administrative practice and procedure, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholism, Claims, Day care, Dental health, Drug abuse, Foreign relations, Government contracts, Grant programs—health, Grant programs—Veterans, Health care, Health facilities, Health professions, Health records, Homeless, Medical and dental schools, Medical devices, Medical research, Mental health programs, Nursing homes, Philippines, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Scholarships and fellowships, Travel and transportation expenses, Veterans.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. William F. Russo, Director, Office of Regulation Policy & Management, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Veterans Affairs.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, VA proposes to amend 38 CFR part 17 as follows:

    PART 17—MEDICAL 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    38 U.S.C. 501, and as noted in specific sections.

    2. Amend § 17.110 by: a. Revising paragraph (a). b. Revising paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iii). c. Adding paragraph (b)(1)(iv). d. Revising paragraphs (b)(2) and (3). e. Adding a heading to paragraph (b)(4). f. Adding paragraph (b)(5).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 17.110 Copayments for medications.

    (a) General. This section sets forth requirements regarding copayments for medications provided to veterans by VA. For purposes of this section, the term “medication” means prescription and over-the-counter medications, as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    (b) * * *

    (1) * * *

    (i) For a 30-day or less supply of Tier 1 medications, the copayment amount is $5.

    (ii) For a 30-day or less supply of Tier 2 medications, the copayment amount is $8.

    (iii) For a 30-day or less supply of Tier 3 medications, the copayment amount is $11.

    (iv) For purposes of this section:

    (A) Multi-source medication is any one of the following:

    (1) A medication that has been and remains approved by the FDA—

    (i) Under sections 505(b)(2) or 505(j) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA, 21 U.S.C. 355), and that has been granted an A-rating in the current version of the FDA's Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (the Orange Book); or

    (ii) Under section 351(k) of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA, 42 U.S.C. 262), and that has been granted an I or B rating in the current version of the FDA's Lists of Licensed Biological Products with Reference Product Exclusivity and Biosimilarity or Interchangeability Evaluations (the Purple Book).

    (2) A medication that—

    (i) Has been and remains approved by the FDA pursuant to FDCA section 505(b)(1) or PHSA section 351(a);

    (ii) Which is referenced by at least one FDA-approved product that meets the criteria of paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(A)(1) of this section; and

    (iii) Which is covered by a contracting strategy in place with pricing such that it is lower in cost than other generic sources.

    (3) A medication that—

    (i) Has been and remains approved by the FDA pursuant to FDCA section 505(b)(1) or PHSA section 351(a); and

    (ii) Has the same active ingredient or active ingredients, works in the same way and in a comparable amount of time, and is determined by VA to be substitutable for another medication that has been and remains approved by the FDA pursuant to FDCA section 505(b)(1) or PHSA section 351(a). This may include but is not limited to insulin and levothyroxine.

    (4) A listed drug, as defined in 21 CFR 314.3, that has been approved under FDCA section 505(c) and is marketed, sold, or distributed directly or indirectly to retail class of trade with either labeling, packaging (other than repackaging as the listed drug in blister packs, unit doses, or similar packaging for use in institutions), product code, labeler code, trade name, or trademark that differs from that of the listed drug.

    (B) Tier 1 medication means a multi-source medication that has been identified using the process described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (C) Tier 2 medication means a multi-source medication that is not identified using the process described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (D) Tier 3 medication means a medication approved by the FDA under a New Drug Application (NDA) or a biological product approved by the FDA pursuant to a biologics license agreement (BLA) that retains its patent protection and exclusivity and is not a multi-source medication identified in paragraph (b)(1)(iv)(A)(3) of this section.

    (2) Determining Tier 1 medications. Not less than once per year, VA will identify a subset of multi-source medications as Tier 1 medications using the criteria below. Only medications that meet all of the criteria in paragraphs (b)(2)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this section will be eligible to be considered Tier 1 medications, and only those medications that meet all of the criteria in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section will be assessed using the criteria in paragraphs (b)(2)(ii) and (iii).

    (i) A medication must meet all of the following criteria:

    (A) The VA acquisition cost for the medication is less than or equal to $10 for a 30-day supply of medication;

    (B) The medication is not a topical cream, a product used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, an antihistamine, or a steroid-containing medication;

    (C) The medication is available on the VA National Formulary;

    (D) The medication is not an antibiotic that is primarily used for short periods of time to treat infections; and

    (E) The medication primarily is used to either treat or manage a chronic condition, or to reduce the risk of adverse health outcomes secondary to the chronic condition, for example, medications used to treat high blood pressure to reduce the risks of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. For purposes of this section, conditions that typically are known to persist for 3 months or more will be considered chronic.

    (ii) The medication must be among the top 75 most commonly prescribed multi-source medications that meet the criteria in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, based on the number of prescriptions issued for a 30-day or less supply on an outpatient basis during a fixed period of time.

    (iii) VA must determine that the medication identified provides maximum clinical value consistent with budgetary resources.

    (3) Information on Tier 1 medications. Not less than once per year, VA will publish a list of Tier 1 medications in the Federal Register and on VA's Web site at www.va.gov/health.

    (4) Veterans Choice Program. * * *

    (5) Copayment cap. The total amount of copayments in a calendar year for an enrolled veteran will not exceed $700.

    [FR Doc. 2015-33052 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 20 [WT Docket No. 15-285; FCC 15-155] Improvements to Benchmarks and Related Requirements Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) seeks comment on revisions to the Commission's wireless hearing aid compatibility rules. The Commission proposes to adopt a consensus approach developed cooperatively by consumer advocates and industry trade associations, which would require manufacturers and service providers to increase the percentage of new wireless handset models that are hearing aid compatible over time, culminating in a system in which all wireless handset models are accessible to people with hearing loss.

    DATES:

    Interested parties may file comments on or before January 14, 2016, and reply comments on or before January 29, 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 herein 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 regarding the NPRM, contact Michael Rowan, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, (202) 418-1883, email [email protected]fcc.gov, or Eli Johnson, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (202) 418-1395, email [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in WT Docket No. 15-285; FCC 15-155, adopted November 19, 2015, and released on November 20, 2015. This summary should be read with its companion document, the Fourth Report and Order summary published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. The full text of the NPRM 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; the contractor's Web site, http://www.bcpiweb.com; or by calling (800) 378-3160, facsimile (202) 488-5563, or email [email protected] Additionally, the complete item is available on the Commission's Web site at http://www.fcc.gov.

    Synopsis of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking I. Introduction

    1. In this NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on potential revisions to the Commission's part 20 rules governing wireless hearing aid compatibility. The Commission initiates this proceeding to develop a record on an innovative and groundbreaking proposal, advanced collaboratively by industry and consumer groups, to replace the current fractional regime with the staged adoption of a system under which all covered wireless handsets will be hearing aid-compatible. The Commission proposes to adopt this consensus approach, which recognizes that the stakeholders themselves are best positioned to craft a regime that ensures full accessibility while protecting incentives to innovate and invest.

    II. Background

    2. The Joint Consensus Proposal provides that within two years of the effective date of the adoption of the new benchmark rules, 66 percent of wireless handset models offered to consumers should be compliant with the Commission's acoustic coupling radio frequency interference (M rating) and inductive coupling (T rating) requirements. The proposal provides that within five years of the effective date of new rules adopted, 85 percent of wireless handset models offered to consumers should be compliant with the Commission's M and T ratings.

    3. The proposal provides that these new benchmarks should apply to manufacturers and carriers that offer six or more digital wireless handset models in an air interface, except that Tier I and Non-Tier I carriers would receive six months and eighteen months of additional compliance time, respectively, to account for availability of handsets and inventory turn-over rates. The proposal states that the existing de minimis exception should continue to apply for manufacturers and carriers that offer three or fewer handset models in an air interface and that manufacturers and carriers that offer four or five digital wireless handset models in an air interface should ensure that at least two of those handsets models are compliant with our M and T rating requirements. In addition, the proposal provides that these benchmarks should only be applicable if testing protocols are available for a particular air interface.

    4. In addition to these two-year and five-year benchmarks, the proposal provides that “[t]he Commission should commit to pursue that 100% of wireless handsets offered to consumers should be compliant with [the M and T rating requirements] within eight years.” The Joint Consensus Proposal conditions the transition to 100 percent, however, on a Commission determination within seven years of the rules' effective date that reaching the 100 percent goal is “achievable.” The Joint Consensus Proposal prescribes the following process for making that determination:

    [The Commission shall create] a task force, including all stakeholders, identifying questions for exploration in year four after the effective date that the benchmarks described above are established. After convening, the stakeholder task force will issue a report to the Commission within two years.

    The Commission, after review and receipt of the report described above, will determine whether to implement 100 percent compliance with [the M and T ratings requirements] based on concrete data and information about the technical and market conditions involving wireless handsets and the landscape of hearing improvement technology collected in years four and five. Any new benchmarks resulting from this determination, including 100 percent compliance, would go into effect no less than twenty-four months after the Commission's determination.

    Consumer groups and the Wireless Industry shall work together to hold meetings going forward to ensure that the process will include all stakeholders: including at a minimum, consumer groups, independent research and technical advisors, wireless industry policy and technical representatives, hearing aid manufacturers and Commission representatives.

    III. Discussion

    5. The Commission proposes to adopt the general approach discussed in the Joint Consensus Proposal, including the staged benchmark revisions, the Commission's determination of achievability, and the process for moving to a 100 percent compliance standard, and the Commission seeks comment on this proposal and its various components. The Commission recognizes that the Joint Consensus Proposal reflects the intensive efforts and commitment of consumer and industry stakeholders to develop an approach that expands access for consumers with hearing loss while preserving the flexibility that allows innovation to flourish. The Commission notes that the current hearing aid compatibility rules, including the current benchmarks, are also based on a consensus proposal developed and submitted in 2007 by representatives of the wireless industry and consumers with hearing loss. In substantially adopting the terms of that proposal, the Commission found that broad multi-stakeholder support “testifie[d] to the success of the proffered proposals in meeting the goals of the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act, and in addressing the concerns of manufacturers and service providers while still advancing the interests of consumers with hearing loss in having greater access to advanced digital wireless communications.” Given the success of the previous consensus proposal, and recognizing that the Joint Consensus Proposal was generated by the very stakeholders that it will impact most directly, the Commission considers favorably the Joint Consensus Proposal—particularly to the extent that it moves toward a 100 percent hearing aid compatibility requirement without discouraging or impairing the development of improved technology. The Commission also believes that an approach developed through consensus among the relevant stakeholders may yield outcomes that most effectively leverage innovative technological solutions.

    6. Accordingly, below, the Commission seeks comment on the merits of the Joint Consensus Proposal, both with respect to its overall effectiveness in fulfilling Congress's intent to ensure access to telephones for people with hearing loss under Section 710 of the Communications Act as amended by the CVAA, and more specifically with respect to its various components as these have been presented jointly by the consumer and industry stakeholders. The Commission also seeks comment on several related matters.

    1. The Joint Consensus Proposal

    7. Benchmarks. First, the Commission asks commenters to address the timeframes that the proposal describes as well as the process for the Commission's determination of achievability. Are the proposed new benchmarks appropriate for all covered entities and handsets? How will these benchmarks effectively meet the needs of consumers while protecting innovation and competition for current and future operations? The Commission asks commenters who recommend different benchmarks for small entities, for certain technologies or services, or for meeting the standards for acoustic coupling and inductive coupling to explain their reasoning in detail, along with justifications for why their preferred alternatives would be better than the approach contained in the Joint Consensus Proposal, taking into consideration the purposes and goals of Section 710. The Joint Consensus Proposal provides that the Commission should commit to pursuing a goal of 100 percent compatibility within eight years of the effective date at the time the revised benchmarks are established. The Commission seeks comment on this eight-year period. Would a longer or shorter transition period be more appropriate and, if so, why?

    8. De minimis exception to two- and five-year benchmarks. The proposal recommends that the existing de minimis exception to the benchmarks should continue to apply for manufacturers and carriers that offer three or fewer handset models in an air interface and that the rule should further provide that manufacturers and carriers that offer four or five digital wireless handset models in an air interface should ensure that at least two of those handsets models are compliant with sections 20.19(b)(1) and (b)(2). The Commission seeks comment on these proposed exceptions to the new benchmarks.

    9. Determination of Achievability. The Commission seeks comment on the proposed process for determining achievability. For example, in determining achievability, should the Commission limit itself to assessing information and data collected in years four and five, or should it also take account of more recent data and information that may be available at that time? Should the Commission seek public comment in connection with reaching the achievability determination? Are there any aspects of the Joint Consensus Proposal's benchmarks, timing, and achievability determination that the Commission should not adopt? Should the Commission supplement them with any additional requirements or considerations? Regarding the proposed task force, the Commission seeks comment on how and through what process or mechanism the Commission should establish the task force, on whether the task force should be established without delay even if its primary functions would not begin until year four, and on how the task force should be structured and its membership determined, including how to ensure that “all stakeholders” are adequately represented. The Commission also seeks comment on which issues or questions the Commission should ask the task force to explore, on the scope and content of the task force's report, and on the processes or rules, if any, that should govern its activities.

    10. The Commission also seeks comment on how the Commission should determine achievability, including the appropriate substantive definition, standard, or framework to govern the Commission's determination. For example, should the determination of achievability be based on relevant factors specified in Section 710, e.g., technological feasibility, marketability, and impact on the use and development of technology? The Commission notes that the CVAA contains a specific definition of achievability that applies in the context of sections 716 and 718 of the Act. Specifically, Section 716(g) of the Act defines the term “achievable” to mean “with reasonable effort or expense, as determined by the Commission.” Section 716 requires providers of advanced communications services and manufacturers of equipment used for those services to make their offerings accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, unless not achievable. Section 718 requires manufacturers of telephones used with public mobile services to ensure that web browsers on those devices are accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or have a visual impairment, unless doing so is not achievable. Given that these sections similarly contain mandates for equipment accessibility by people with disabilities, is it appropriate to apply the CVAA achievability definition here as well? Or would an alternative be preferable in the context of the Joint Consensus Proposal?

    11. In considering whether the 100 percent goal is achievable, should the Commission consider innovative approaches, including standards or technologies that are different from the currently applicable ANSI standard, that can achieve telephone access for consumers with hearing loss? For example, Apple has explained that it “work[ed] outside the existing Part 20 framework to advance its goal of dramatically improving the user experience for individuals with hearing loss,” and that it developed a new hearing aid platform that relies on Bluetooth® technology. The Commission urges stakeholders to think broadly in developing alternative approaches, whether they build on Apple's experience or other efforts, as the Commission is confident that creativity and innovation can significantly advance the interests of consumers with hearing loss without hobbling wireless innovation. The Commission is particularly interested in commenters' insights regarding alternative compliance approaches that can, in a technologically neutral manner, ensure that devices are fully accessible for users with hearing loss.

    2. Stakeholders' Suggested Requests for Comment

    12. The Joint Proposal itself recommends that the Commission seek comment on various issues related to modifying the benchmark regime. In particular, it suggests that the Commission seek comment on the following issues, which it now does:

    The Commission should seek comment in the NPRM on how the FCC's rules should be modified to ensure manufacturers and service providers meet the new benchmarks while preserving the ability to offer innovative wireless handsets in a rapidly changing market. For example, the Commission should seek comment on whether wireless handsets can be deemed compliant with the HAC rules through means other than by measuring RF interference and inductive coupling. In addition, the Commission should seek comment on which compliance processes, such as waivers, should be modified to accommodate innovation and carriers', especially rural and regional carriers', handset inventories and turn-over rates, within a compliance regime with the enhanced benchmarks described above. The Commission also should seek comment on whether disclosures to consumers could serve as a means of compliance for wireless handsets utilizing new air interfaces or technologies where HAC standards or testing protocols are not yet available. In addition to examining the effect on innovation, the Commission should seek comment on the impact of the new benchmarks on U.S. product offerings.

    The Commission should also seek comment on the best ways to improve collaboration on consumer education including but not limited to: making information about the HAC ratings of wireless handsets and hearing aids more easily discoverable and accessible by consumers as well as how HAC information should be updated on Web sites in a timely manner that is usable by consumers. The Commission should also request comment on how the hearing aid industry and other relevant stakeholders should take measures to ensure that consumers have improved access to the HAC ratings of hearing aids.

    13. In connection with the suggested questions regarding waivers, the Commission also seeks comment on how to best to apply the Section 710(b)(3) waiver process in the context of the Joint Consensus Proposal. Should the Commission establish a fixed time period within which the Commission must take action on waiver requests? If so, would 180 days be an appropriate amount of time, considering both the need to develop a full record and the importance of avoiding delay in the introduction of new technologies? If not 180 days, what amount of time would be appropriate? If the Commission establishes a time period for Commission action, are there situations in which the Commission should have the ability to extend the deadline?

    3. Analysis of Statutory Factors

    14. The Commission seeks comment on whether the Joint Consensus Proposal is consistent with and warranted under Section 710 of the Communications Act. Section 710(b)(2)(B) directs the Commission to use a four-part test to periodically reassess exemptions from the hearing aid compatibility requirements for wireless handsets. Specifically, the statute directs the Commission to revoke or limit an exemption if it finds that (1) Continuing the exemption without such revocation or limitation would have an adverse effect on individuals with hearing loss; (2) compliance with the hearing aid compatibility requirements would be technologically feasible for devices to which the exemption applies; (3) the cost of compliance would not increase costs to such an extent that the newly covered devices could not be successfully marketed; and (4) revoking or limiting the exemption is in the public interest. The Commission seeks comment on whether this analysis is applicable to the changes proposed in the Joint Consensus Proposal, whether such changes would meet this four-part test, and whether the proposal requires any modifications to satisfy the statutory standard.

    15. Section 710 further directs that, in any rulemaking to implement hearing aid compatibility requirements, the Commission should (1) specifically consider the costs and benefits to all telephone users, including people with and without hearing loss, (2) ensure that hearing aid compatibility regulations encourage the use of currently available technology and do not discourage or impair the development of improved technology, and (3) use appropriate timetables and benchmarks to the extent necessary due to technical feasibility or to ensure marketability or availability of new technologies to users. The Commission therefore asks commenters to address these factors in their analysis of the proposal and to explain whether modifications are warranted.

    4. Standards and Technologies for Meeting Compatibility

    16. The Commission seeks comment on whether the compatibility requirement—revised pursuant to the Joint Consensus Proposal or in any other manner—should specifically require both a minimum M3 and minimum T3 rating, or whether manufacturers should be allowed to meet the requirement by incorporating other methods of achieving compatibility with hearing aids, such as Bluetooth®. The Commission is mindful that some innovative advances in accessibility features have resulted from outside-of-the-box solutions, and the Commission does not wish to discourage these types of pioneering advances. The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which such alternative approaches are able to meet the communications needs of people with hearing loss. Specifically, in addition to commenting on the effectiveness of such alternatives for aiding in comprehending telephone conversation, the Commission asks commenters to provide information about the cost of such devices to consumers, as well as the ease of procuring devices needed to use such alternatives. Given these criteria, what approaches should the Commission recognize as viable alternatives, how should such alternative approaches be incorporated into the hearing aid compatibility rules, what customer disclosures should be required for alternative approaches, and what standards should apply to the alternative approaches, particularly with respect to testing and rating alternative devices and technologies? How, if at all, would such alternative approaches impact the efficacy of the Joint Consensus Proposal?

    17. What are the costs and benefits of allowing these alternative approaches? For example, Apple proposes that the Commission apply the ANSI standards as a “safe harbor” for hearing aid compatibility but to “reward innovators for finding other, better solutions that result in real accessibility even if they do not meet the ANSI standards.” Although Apple proposes this approach as an alternative method of meeting the existing benchmarks, the Commission seeks comment on whether to adopt it in conjunction with the Joint Consensus Proposal. The Commission also seeks comment on how to determine hearing aid compatibility outside of compliance with the applicable ANSI standard. The Commission invites commenters to consider alternatives of this kind when evaluating the Joint Consensus Proposal.

    5. Exceptions

    18. The current de minimis exception provides that small manufacturers and service providers that offer two or fewer digital wireless handset models operating over a particular air interface are exempt from the benchmark deployment requirements in connection with that air interface, while larger manufacturers and service providers with two or fewer handset models have a limited obligation. The provision further states that any manufacturer or service provider that offers three digital wireless handset models operating over a particular air interface must offer at least one such handset model that meets the M3 and T3 standards for that air interface. Although the Joint Consensus Proposal recommends retaining this exception for the new two and five year benchmarks (with an added provision for entities offering four or five handsets), it does not expressly address whether and how the exception will continue to apply under a subsequent 100 percent requirement.

    19. The Commission seeks comment on whether to preserve the de minimis exception in whole or in part in the event the Commission adopts a 100 percent requirement. Should the Commission preserve the exception during the transitional periods prior to implementation of a 100 percent compatibility requirement, as proposed in the Joint Consensus Plan? Alternatively, should the Commission phase out the de minimis exception over the course of the transitional periods? Should the Commission preserve the exception even in the event of a 100 percent compatibility obligation? How would the de minimis exception operate under a 100-percent compatibility requirement? If a qualifying manufacturer were to offer a non-compliant handset, could any provider make it available to consumers, or would it only be available to providers that are also eligible for the exception? If such handsets were unavailable to providers that were not eligible for the exception, would preserving the exception effectively limit consumer choice in many cases? If so, are there distinct aspects or features of the exception that the Commission should preserve?

    20. The Commission seeks comment on whether it should include any other exceptions in the event the Commission adopts a 100 percent compatibility requirement, and how such exceptions are consistent with and warranted under Section 710's requirements. The Commission seeks comment on whether there are particular air interfaces, such as GSM operating in the 1900 MHz band, which will face particular difficulties in meeting a 100 percent compatibility requirement and, if so, whether and how such difficulties should be specifically addressed or accommodated under a 100 percent compatibility requirement. Are there new technological solutions that should better enable GSM/1900 handsets to achieve hearing aid compatibility and, if so, what requirements should apply to GSM/1900 handsets given such solutions?

    6. Legacy Models

    21. In the event the Commission adopts a 100 percent compatibility requirement, the Commission seeks comment on the appropriate treatment of legacy models. Should non-hearing aid-compatible handsets that received equipment authorization prior to the end of any transition period be grandfathered to better ensure that manufacturers are able to recoup their investments in their legacy handsets? The Commission seeks comment on this option, on alternative approaches to grandfathering, and on whether, following some additional period after a transition to a 100 percent compatibility regime, the Commission should require hearing aid compatibility for all handset models offered (as opposed to just models released after transitioning to the 100 percent regime).

    22. The Commission further seeks comment on how best to ensure that people with hearing loss are able to find hearing aid compatible phones that can meet their communication needs during the transition period to a 100 percent compatibility requirement. The Commission notes that Section 717(d) of the Communications Act, added by the CVAA, requires the Commission to maintain a clearinghouse of information about accessible products and services required under sections 255, 716, and 718 of the Act. The Commission launched its Accessibility Clearinghouse in October 2011. Among other things, this database allows consumers to search for wireless handsets with accessibility features that meet the needs of various disabilities, including hearing aid compatible handsets. Does this Accessibility Clearinghouse, or the Web sites upon which it relies, effectively provide the information needed by consumers to locate hearing aid compatible phones? In other words, does it enable a consumer to determine without difficulty whether any particular handset model is hearing aid compliant? If not, the Commission seeks comment on the format and type of information that the Commission should include in the Accessibility Clearinghouse in order to empower consumers to make educated decisions about their handset purchases. The Commission notes, for example, that currently, manufacturers are required to electronically file annual compliance reports with the Commission on FCC Form 655 in July of each year and service providers must electronically file this form with the Commission in January of each year. These reports include, among other information, the M and T ratings for each handset. Is there a way that such information can be used to automatically supplement the information now provided in the Accessibility Clearinghouse database? In addition, in the event the Commission adopts a 100 percent compatibility requirement, will it be necessary to continue providing information on hearing aid compatible phones in the Accessibility Clearinghouse? It is not the Commission's intention to create additional reporting burdens on manufacturers and service providers, therefore, the Commission seeks comment on approaches to ensuring that the improvements contemplated above do not impose such burdens.

    23. The Commission also seeks comment on whether service providers should be able to rely on information in the Accessibility Clearinghouse and on Form 655 to the extent that it reflects compliance information submitted by manufacturers. Are there any reasons service providers should not be able to rely on the Accessibility Clearinghouse or Form 655? For example, how should the Commission treat a service provider if it offers a handset that a manufacturer has included in the Accessibility Clearinghouse and indicated to be compliant in the manufacturer's annual FCC Form 655, even if it is later determined that the handset does not in fact meet the hearing aid compatibility requirements? Should such information create a presumption that the service provider is not in breach of the Commission's hearing aid compatibility rules?

    7. Burden Reduction

    24. In the event the Commission ultimately transitions to a 100-percent compatibility regime, the Commission proposes to ease or eliminate the reporting, disclosure, labeling, and other requirements imposed under the current rules. The Commission seeks comment on the extent to which these requirements are unnecessary or unwarranted in the event the Commission moves to a 100 percent regime, and on the costs and benefits of easing such requirements as they relate to consumers, manufacturers, and service providers.

    25. Currently, manufacturers are required to electronically file annual compliance reports with the Commission on FCC Form 655 in July of each year and service providers must electronically file this form with the Commission in January of each year. The Commission seeks comment on whether to end the reporting requirements for manufacturers and service providers in the event the Commission moves to a 100 percent regime or at some point thereafter. The Commission notes that numerous parties, especially rural and small service providers, have asserted that preparing these annual reports is burdensome. While these reports help the Commission monitor compliance with the hearing aid compatibility benchmarks, will such monitoring still be necessary, and will the benefits of these reports still outweigh the burdens, in the event the Commission moves to a 100 percent compatibility regime? Alternatively, should the Commission eliminate the reporting requirement only for service providers, on the grounds that manufacturers' reports will be sufficient under a 100 percent regime to ensure all models available to consumers are compliant? Should the Commission maintain the reporting requirement for other groups for a certain period of time while non-compliant legacy models remain in inventory? Should the Commission maintain reporting requirements for manufacturers and service providers who offer handsets that are exempt from hearing aid compatibility requirements or can be used for services that are exempt from these rules? The Commission notes that the Joint Consensus Plan would establish two new benchmarks, at year two and year five. Should the Commission modify the content or applicability of the reporting requirements that apply during the period following either the two or five year benchmark but prior to the implementation of a 100 percent compatibility requirement?

    26. The existing hearing aid compatibility rules also require manufacturers and service providers to label their hearing aid-compatible handsets with the appropriate M and T ratings and provide information on the rating system, and to meet certain disclosure requirements for hearing aid-compatible handsets that are not compatible over all their operations. The rules also require manufacturers and service providers to provide information on their Web sites, such as a list of all hearing aid-compatible models currently offered, the associated rating information for those handsets, and an explanation of the rating system. The Commission seeks comment on whether, in the event the Commission moves to a 100 percent compatibility regime, the current labeling and disclosure requirements should be eliminated, simplified, or amended. Alternatively, should the Commission continue to require disclosure of rating information in packaging and on Web sites for hearing aid-compatible handset models so that consumers can distinguish between M3 and M4 ratings, between T3 and T4 ratings, and between hearing aid-compatible handsets and grandfathered non-compatible models?

    27. The Commission also seeks comment on whether to eliminate the product refresh rule applicable to manufacturers and the differing levels of functionality rule applicable to service providers if the Commission moves to a 100 percent compatibility regime or adopts other modifications to the benchmarks. The product refresh rule requires manufacturers that offer new handset models in a year to ensure that a certain number of the new models are hearing aid-compatible. The differing levels of functionality rule requires service providers to offer a range of hearing aid-compatible models with differing levels of functionality in terms of capabilities, features, and price. In the context of benchmarks that do not require 100 percent of handsets to be hearing aid-compatible, these additional requirements help to ensure that people with hearing loss have access to handsets with the latest features and functions and at different price points. The Commission tentatively concludes that a refresh rule would serve no purpose after a 100 percent requirement takes effect, given that it merely imposes a fractional obligation on new models, which would be entirely subsumed by the new requirement. The Commission seeks comment on this conclusion. The Commission further seeks comment on whether a 100 percent requirement on manufacturers would also be sufficient to ensure that service providers offer a range of hearing aid-compatible models with differing levels of functionality. Will maintaining the differing levels of functionality requirement help to ensure that low-income Americans with hearing loss have access to affordable hearing aid-compatible handsets?

    28. Finally, to the extent the Commission moves to a 100 percent compatibility regime, the Commission seeks comment on whether the Commission should eliminate or otherwise ease the deployment benchmarks applicable to the overall handset portfolios of manufacturers and service providers. Will benchmarks remain necessary, even after a transition to a 100 percent requirement, to ensure that manufacturers and service providers do not weight their portfolios toward non-compliant grandfathered handsets? If so, for how long? Would an additional two-year period be an appropriate time-frame to sunset these service provider requirements? Alternatively, should the Commission eliminate deployment benchmarks for Tier III service providers immediately upon moving to a 100 percent regime, but preserve it for Tier I and II service providers for an additional two or three years? What are the costs and benefits of eliminating the benchmarks on service providers if all or nearly all new models offered by manufacturers will be compliant?

    8. Alternative to the Joint Consensus Proposal

    29. The Commission seeks comment on whether and how to revise the current benchmark system in the event that, based on the record the Commission receives, the Commission determines not to adopt the Joint Consensus Proposal. Should the Commission pursue another approach to transition to a 100 percent compatibility requirement, consistent with the factors identified in Section 710? What would be an appropriate transition period? Should the Commission consider exceptions, waivers, burden reductions, legacy handset rules, and alternative approaches to measuring compliance, as discussed above in connection with the Joint Consensus Proposal?

    IV. Procedural Matters A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    30. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities of the policies and rules proposed in this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the NPRM provided above. The Commission will send a copy of the NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

    1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    31. To ensure that a wide selection of digital wireless handset models is available to consumers with hearing loss, the Commission's rules require both manufacturers and service providers to meet defined benchmarks for offering hearing aid-compatible wireless phones. Specifically, manufacturers and service providers are required to offer minimum numbers or percentages of handset models that meet specified technical standards for compatibility with hearing aids operating in both acoustic coupling and inductive coupling modes. These benchmarks apply separately to each air interface for which the manufacturer or service provider offers handsets.

    32. The wireless hearing aid compatibility rules have incorporated this fractional benchmark approach since the provision was first established in 2003, but the Commission has on occasion revised the specific benchmarks that manufacturers and service providers are required to meet. The current benchmarks were established in 2008 when the Commission adopted the Joint Consensus Plan submitted by an Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) working group that included Tier I carriers, handset manufacturers, and several organizations representing the interests of people with hearing loss. That plan provided for benchmarks to increase over time, up to a final set of benchmarks that became effective in 2010 and remain in place today.

    33. The current deployment benchmarks require that, subject to a de minimis exception described below, a handset manufacturer must meet, for each air interface over which its models operate, (1) at least an M3 rating for RF interference reduction for at least one-third of its models using that air interface (rounded down), with a minimum of two models, and (2) a T3 rating for inductive coupling for at least one-third of its models using that interface (rounded down), with a minimum of two models. Similarly, for each of the air interfaces their handsets use, service providers also must meet an M3 rating for at least 50 percent of their models or ten models, and must meet a T3 rating for at least one-third of their models or ten models. In general, under the de minimis exception, manufacturers and service providers that offer two or fewer wireless handset models for any given covered air interface are exempt from these benchmarks for those models.

    34. In the NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on a historic agreement (hereinafter, the “Joint Consensus Proposal”) among key consumer and industry stakeholders that would revise the current benchmarks. In brief, the Joint Consensus Proposal provides that within two years of the effective date of new rules adopted, 66 percent of wireless handsets offered to consumers should be compliant with the Commission's acoustic coupling radio frequency interference (M rating) and inductive coupling (T rating) requirements. The proposal provides that within five years of the effective date of new rules adopted, 85 percent of wireless handsets offered to consumers should be compliant with the Commission's M and T ratings. The proposal provides that this benchmark should apply directly to manufacturers and carriers that offer six or more digital wireless handset models in an air interface, with additional compliance periods for Tier I and Non-Tier I carriers of six months and eighteen months, respectively, to account for limits on handset availability and inventory turn-over rates. In addition to these two-year and five-year benchmarks, the proposal provides that the Commission should commit to pursue that 100 percent of wireless handsets offered to consumers should be compliant within eight years. The Joint Consensus Proposal conditions the transition to 100 percent, however, on a Commission determination within seven years of the rules' effective date that reaching the 100 percent goal is achievable, based in part on review of a report by a task force to be established for this purpose.

    35. While the Commission finds that the existing fractional benchmarks have been successful in making a broad variety of hearing aid-compatible handsets available to consumers with hearing loss, the Commission recognizes its statutory obligation to periodically reassess any exemptions from the hearing aid compatibility requirements. The Commission proposes to adopt the Joint Consensus Proposal, finding that it provides an effective approach to replacing the fractional system with one that will give consumers with hearing loss the same selection of wireless handsets that is available to the general public.

    2. Legal Basis

    36. The potential actions about which comment is sought in this NPRM would be authorized pursuant to the authority contained in sections 4(i), 303(r), and 710 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 303(r), and 610.

    3. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed Rules Would Apply

    37. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules, if adopted. The RFA generally defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) Is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any additional criteria established by the SBA. To assist the Commission in analyzing the total number of potentially affected small entities, the Commission requests commenters to estimate the number of small entities that may be affected by any rule changes that might result from this NPRM.

    38. As discussed above, in the NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on a revision to the deployment benchmarks. While these changes would affect the specific obligations of covered entities under the rules, it would not alter the scope of entities subject to the rules, and accordingly, the Commission finds that the analysis of the categories and number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules is the same as for the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis the Commission provided in connection with the revision to those rules adopted in the Fourth Report and Order. Accordingly, the Commission incorporates the analysis in the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis accompanying the Fourth Report and Order, as the description and estimate of the number of small entities to which the proposed rules would apply.

    4. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    39. The Commission is not proposing to impose any additional reporting or record keeping requirements. Rather, as discussed in the next section, the Commission is seeking comment on whether, if it adopts a 100 percent requirement, it can reduce regulatory burden on all wireless handset manufacturers and wireless service providers regardless of size by eliminating and streamlining the related hearing aid compatibility requirements. Presently, these requirements include annual reporting, disclosure, labeling, and other regulatory requirements. As part of its decision to eliminate or reduce regulatory burden, the Commission will consider whether it can reduce regulatory burden for small service providers and manufactures, if it cannot be done for all service providers and manufacturers.

    5. Steps Proposed To Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    40. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(1) The establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.”

    41. In the NPRM, the Commission proposes to adopt the terms of the Joint Consensus Proposal, including provisions that will help to minimize impact on small entities. The Joint Consensus Proposal recommends, and the Commission proposes, that while increasing the benchmarks at year two and year five, the Commission keeps in place the existing de minimis exception for manufacturers and service providers offering three handsets or less. The current de minimis exception provides that small manufacturers and service providers that offer two or fewer digital wireless handsets operating over a particular air interface are exempt from the benchmark deployment requirements in connection with that air interface, while larger manufacturers with two or fewer handsets have a limited obligation. The provision further states that any manufacturer or service provider that offers three digital wireless handset models operating over a particular air interface must offer at least one such handset model with at least an M3 and T3 rating for that air interface. In addition to retaining this exception to the benchmarks, the Commission proposes to adopt the Joint Consensus Proposal's recommendation that manufacturers and service providers offering either four or five handsets in an air interface be required to ensure that at least two of those handset models comply with the Commission's M and T rating requirements, rather than be required to meet the new 66 percent and 85 percent benchmarks. Finally, the Joint Consensus Proposal also provides additional time to small carriers to meet the benchmarks. Specifically, it provides that, while manufacturers must meet the new 66 percent and 85 percent benchmarks after two and five years, respectively, following the effective date of the rules, all non-nationwide carriers will have eighteen additional months to reach each benchmark (i.e., eighteen months after the two and five year deadlines applicable to manufacturers).

    42. With respect to adoption of a 100 percent requirement, the Joint Consensus Proposal conditions the transition to 100 percent hearing aid compatibility on a Commission determination, after the receipt and review of a report from a newly established task force, that reaching the 100 percent goal is “achievable.” The NPRM seeks comment on how the Commission should determine achievability and what criteria should be utilized in making this determination. The NPRM also seeks comment on whether the current de minimis exception or the expanded de minimis exception, as proposed by the Joint Consensus Proposal, should be preserved in whole or in part if the Commission determines that adopting a 100 percent benchmark is achievable. In making the determination of achievable and whether to keep or expand the de minimis exception, the Commission will be considering, in part, whether small handset manufacturers and service providers have the resources to meet a 100 percent obligation or whether some accommodation, such as an exception, needs to be made for these entities.

    43. In addition to the de minimis exception, the Commission seeks comment on other possible exceptions to the 100 percent requirement. These exceptions could apply to all manufacturers of wireless handsets or to some subset of wireless handset manufacturers, such as small entities generally (i.e., including those that do not fall within the de minimis exception). Further, the Commission seeks comment on which compliance process, such as waivers, should be modified to accommodate innovation and carriers', especially rural and regional carriers', handset inventories and turn-over rates, within a compliance regime with the enhanced benchmarks. These modifications would benefit all wireless handset manufacturers, including small entities, with their compliance obligations.

    44. In the event the Commission adopts a 100 percent requirement, the NPRM seeks comment on grandfathering legacy handsets that are not hearing aid-compatible. The NPRM ask whether the Commission should allow manufacturers, including small manufacturers, of wireless handsets the ability to recoup their investment in non-hearing aid-compatible legacy handsets. Under this proposal, the Commission would allow wireless handset manufacturers to continue to offer handset models that have not been certified as hearing aid-compatible after the transition period to 100 percent ends if the manufacturer received equipment authorization for the handset prior to the end of that period. This proposal should help to minimize the economic impact of a 100 percent requirement on small entities.

    45. The NPRM also seeks comment on whether transitioning to a 100 percent requirement would justify easing or eliminating several requirements associated with the hearing aid compatibility rules, which would further reduce the net economic impact of the adopted changes on these manufacturers and providers, including small entities. First, under the current rules, manufacturers are required to electronically file annual compliance reports with the Commission on FCC Form 655 in July of each year and service providers must electronically file this form with the Commission in January of each year. While these reports help the Commission to monitor compliance with the hearing aid compatibility benchmarks, numerous parties, especially rural and small entities, have asserted that having to file these annual reports is burdensome. The Commission seeks comment on whether to end or modify the reporting requirements for manufacturers and service providers at some point as the benchmarks increase. These changes to the reporting requirements would benefit all service providers and manufacturers, including small providers and manufacturers.

    46. The existing hearing aid compatibility rules also require that manufacturers and service providers meet certain labeling and disclosure requirements for hearing aid-compatible handsets, and provide information on their Web sites, such as making available on their publicly-accessible Web sites a list of all hearing aid-compatible models currently offered, the associated rating information for those handsets, and an explanation of the rating system. The Commission seeks comment on whether, upon implementation of the 100 percent requirement, the current labeling and disclosure requirements should be eliminated or amended.

    47. The Commission also seeks comment on whether, if it adopts a 100 percent requirement or other modifications to the benchmarks, it should eliminate the product refresh rule applicable to manufacturers, which provides that each manufacturer that offers any new model for a particular air interface during the calendar year must “refresh” its offering of hearing aid-compatible handset models by offering a mix of new and existing models that comply with the hearing aid compatibility technical standards. It further seeks comment on eliminating the differing levels of functionality rule applicable to service providers. Finally, if the Commission adopts a 100 percent requirement, the NPRM seeks comment on whether to eliminate or otherwise ease the deployment benchmarks applicable to the overall handset portfolios of manufacturers and service providers. Elimination of these rules would benefit small entities as well as larger manufacturers and service providers.

    48. The Commission seeks comment generally on the effect, economic impact, or burden of the rule changes considered in the NPRM on small entities. It further seeks comment on any alternatives that would reduce the economic impact on small entities. It also seeks comment on whether there are any alternatives the Commission could implement that could achieve the Commission's goals while at the same time minimizing or further reducing the burdens on small entities, and on what effect such alternative rules would have on those entities. The Commission invites comment on ways in which it can achieve its goals while minimizing the burden on small wireless handset manufacturers and service providers. For the duration of this docketed proceeding, the Commission will continue to examine alternatives with the objectives of eliminating unnecessary regulations and minimizing any significant economic impact on small entities.

    6. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rules

    49. None.

    B. Initial Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

    50. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contains proposed modified information collection requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), the Commission seeks specific comment on how the Commission might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    C. Other Procedural Matters 1. Ex Parte Rules—Permit-But-Disclose

    51. The proceeding that the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 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.

    2. Comment Filing Procedures

    52. 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 or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. All filings related to this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 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.

    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.

    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).

    V. Ordering Clauses

    53. It is ordered, pursuant to sections 4(i), 303(r), and 710 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 303(r), and 610, this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is hereby adopted.

    54. It is further ordered that pursuant to applicable procedures set forth in sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419, interested parties may file comments on this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on or before January 14, 2016, and reply comments on or before January 29, 2016.

    55. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 20

    Communications common carriers, Communications equipment, Incorporation by reference, Radio.

    Federal Communications Commission. Gloria J. Miles, Federal Register Liaison Officer, Office of the Secretary. Proposed Rules

    For the reason discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 20 as follows:

    PART 20—COMMERCIAL MOBILE SERVICES 1. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a) 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 610, 615, 615a, 615b, 615c, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 20.19 is amended by revising paragraph (c) introductory text, adding paragraph (c)(1)(i)(C), revising paragraph (c)(1)(ii), adding paragraphs (c)(2)(iii) and (c)(3)(iii), revising paragraph (c)(4)(ii) and paragraph (d) introductory text, adding paragraphs (d)(1)(iii), (d)(2)(iii), and (d)(3)(iii), revising paragraph (d)(4)(ii), adding paragraphs (e)(3) and (4), revising paragraph (i)(1), and adding paragraph (m) to read as follows:
    § 20.19 Hearing aid-compatible mobile handsets.

    (c) Phase-in of requirements relating to radio frequency interference. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], the following applies to each manufacturer and service provider that offers wireless handsets used in the delivery of the services specified in paragraph (a) of this section and that does not fall within the de minimis exception set forth in paragraph (e) of this section.

    (1) * * *

    (i) * * *

    (C) [Beginning two years after the effective date of the rules], each manufacturer of wireless handsets models must ensure that 66 percent of the wireless handset offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. [Beginning five years after the effective date of the rules], each manufacturer of wireless handsets must ensure that 85 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

    (ii) Refresh requirement. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], for each year a manufacturer elects to produce a new model, each manufacturer that offers any new model for a particular air interface during the calendar year must “refresh” its offerings of hearing aid-compatible handset models by offering a mix of new and existing models that comply with paragraph (b)(1) of this section according to the following requirements:

    (2) * * *

    (iii) [Beginning two and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 66 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. [Beginning five and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 85 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

    (3) * * *

    (iii) [Beginning three and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 66 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. [Beginning six and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 85 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

    (4) * * *

    (ii) Offering models with differing levels of functionality. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], each service provider must offer its customers a range of hearing aid-compatible models with differing levels of functionality (e.g., operating capabilities, features offered, prices). Each provider may determine the criteria for determining these differing levels of functionality, and must disclose its methodology to the Commission pursuant to paragraph (i)(3)(vii) of this section.

    (d) Phase-in of requirements relating to inductive coupling capability. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], the following applies to each manufacturer and service provider that offers wireless handsets used in the delivery of the services specified in paragraph (a) of this section and that does not fall within the de minimis exception set forth in paragraph (e) of this section.

    (1) * * *

    (iii) [Beginning two years after the effective date of the rules], each manufacturer of wireless handsets models must ensure that 66 percent of the wireless handset offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. [Beginning five years after the effective date of the rules], each manufacturer of wireless handsets must ensure that 85 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (2) * * *

    (iii) [Beginning two and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 66 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. [Beginning five and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 85 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (3) * * *

    (iii) [Beginning three and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 66 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. [Beginning six and half years after the effective date of the rules], ensure that 85 percent of the wireless handset models offered to consumers shall comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

    (4) * * *

    (ii) Offering models with differing levels of functionality. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], each service provider must offer its customers a range of hearing aid-compatible models with differing levels of functionality (e.g., operating capabilities, features offered, prices). Each provider may determine the criteria for determining these differing levels of functionality, and must disclose its methodology to the Commission pursuant to paragraph (i)(3)(vii) of this section.

    (e) * * *

    (3) Beginning [two years after the effective date of the rules], manufacturers that offer four or five digital wireless handset models in an air interface must offer at least two handset models compliant with paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section in that air interface.

    (4) Beginning [two and a half years after the effective date of the rules] for Tier I carriers and [three and half years after the effective date of the rules] for other service providers, service providers that offer four or five digital wireless handset models in an air interface must offer at least two handset models compliant with paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section in that air interface.

    (i) * * *

    (1) Reporting dates. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], manufacturers shall submit reports on efforts toward compliance with the requirements of this section on July 15, 2009, and annually thereafter. Until [eight years after the effective date of the rules], service providers shall submit reports on efforts toward compliance with the requirements of this section on January 15, 2009, and annually thereafter. Information in the reports must be up-to-date as of the last day of the calendar month preceding the due date of the report.

    (m) Compatibility requirements for all new models. To the extent the Commission has determined it achievable, beginning [eight years after the effective date of the rules], all wireless handset models that a manufacturer offers in the United States and that are within the scope of this section must be certified as hearing aid-compatible under the standards of paragraph (b) of this section.

    [FR Doc. 2015-32756 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2015-0128; 4500030113] RIN 1018-AZ97 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Endangered Status for Five Species From American Samoa AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period and notice of public hearing.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on our October 13, 2015, proposed rule to list five species from American Samoa—two endemic American Samoan land snails, the American Samoa distinct population segment of the friendly ground-dove, the Pacific sheath-tailed bat (South Pacific subspecies), and the mao—as endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We now reopen the public comment period for an additional 30 days and announce notice of a public hearing and public information meeting on our proposed rule. We are reopening the public comment period to allow all interested parties additional time and opportunity to comment on the proposed rule.

    DATES:

    Public Hearing: We will hold a public hearing, preceded by a public information meeting. The public hearing and public information meeting will be held in the U.S. Territory of American Samoa on the island of Tutuila. A public hearing will take place on Thursday, January 21, 2016, at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium or Fale Laumei, Main Building, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will be preceded by a public information meeting from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the same location. See ADDRESSES for location details.

    Written Comments: We will consider comments received or postmarked on or before February 4, 2016 or at the public hearing. Please note that comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. Any comments that we receive after the closing date may not be considered in the final decision on these actions.

    ADDRESSES:

    Document Availability: You may obtain copies of the proposed rule at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2015-0128; from the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office's Web site (http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands); or by contacting the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office directly (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Public Hearing: The public hearing and public information meeting on the proposed listing of the five American Samoa species will be held as follows: On the island of Tutuila, a public hearing will take place on Thursday, January 21, 2016, at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium or Fale Laumei, Main Building, located at Route 1, William McKinley Memorial Highway, Utulei, American Samoa 96799, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will be preceded by a public information meeting from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. People needing reasonable accommodation in order to attend and participate in either the public hearing or the public meeting should contact Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, as soon as possible (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Comment submission: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R1-ES-2015-0128, which is the docket number for this action. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”

    (2) By hard copy: Submit comments on the proposed listing rule by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2015-0128; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

    (3) Public hearing: Interested parties may provide oral or written comments at the public hearing (see DATES).

    We request that you provide comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96850; by telephone at 808-792-9400; or by facsimile at 808-792-9581. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Comments

    We are reopening the public comment period for 30 days on our October 13, 2015, proposed rule to list the five American Samoa species (80 FR 61568), to allow all interested parties additional time to comment on the proposed rule. We received a request for a public hearing and to extend the public comment period beyond the December 14, 2015, due date in our October 13, 2015, proposal. We will accept comments and information until the date specified above in DATES or at the public hearing. We will consider all information and recommendations from all interested parties.

    For details on specific information that we are requesting, please see the Information Requested section in our proposed listing rule (80 FR 61568) for the five American Samoa species. The proposed rule is available at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (see ADDRESSES, above). Our final determination concerning this proposed rulemaking will take into consideration all written and oral comments and any additional information we receive. If you previously submitted comments or information on the proposed rule, please do not resubmit them. We have incorporated them into the public record, and we will fully consider them in our final rulemaking.

    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES.

    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire comment—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing the proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2015-0128 or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: December 21, 2015. Stephen Guertin, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33156 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No.: 150629565-5999-01] RIN 0648-BF15 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1; Amendments to the Fishery Management Plans for Coastal Pelagic Species, Pacific Coast Groundfish, U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species, and Pacific Coast Salmon AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    NMFS proposes regulations to implement Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1 (CEBA 1), which includes amendments to the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (Council's) four fishery management plans (FMPs): The Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) FMP, the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP, the FMP for U.S. West Coast Highly Migratory Species (HMS), and the Pacific Coast Salmon FMP. If approved, CEBA 1 would amend the Council's FMPs to bring new ecosystem component species (collectively, “Shared EC Species”) into each of those FMPs, and would prohibit directed commercial fisheries for Shared EC Species within the U.S. West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Implementing regulations for CEBA 1 would define and prohibit directed commercial fishing for Shared EC Species, and would prohibit, with limited exceptions, at-sea processing of Shared EC Species.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 9, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on CEBA 1 and this proposed rule, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2015-0123, 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-2015-0123, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to William W. Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, West Coast Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115-0070; Attn: Yvonne deReynier.

    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 CEBA 1 may be obtained from the Council Web site at http://www.pcouncil.org.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Yvonne deReynier, 206-526-6129, [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    Ocean fisheries in the EEZ off Washington, Oregon, and California are managed under the Council's CPS, Groundfish, HMS, and Salmon FMPs. The Council also maintains a Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP), which includes an ecosystem initiative process for reviewing fisheries management issues that may affect multiple FMPs and for developing policies and regulations to address those issues under the authority of its FMPs. Under the ecosystem initiative process, the Council has reviewed trophic connections between the West Coast EEZ's unfished forage fish species and the EEZ's predator species managed under the MSA, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Through that review, the Council determined that it wanted to bring a suite of unfished and unmanaged forage fish species into its FMPs as ecosystem component (EC) species, and to prohibit directed fisheries for those species (unless and until science indicates that the stocks could support such fisheries).

    The Council has recommended amending its FMPs to include the following species as Shared EC Species: Round herring (Etrumeus teres) and thread herring (Opisthonema libertate and O. medirastre); mesopelagic fishes of the families Myctophidae, Bathylagidae, Paralepididae, and Gonostomatidae; Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus); Pacific saury (Cololabis saira); silversides (family Atherinopsidae); smelts of the family Osmeridae; and pelagic squids (families: Cranchiidae, Gonatidae, Histioteuthidae, Octopoteuthidae, Ommastrephidae except Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas,) Onychoteuthidae, and Thysanoteuthidae). Under Federal regulations at 50 CFR 600.310(d)(5)(iii,) a species may be included in an FMP as an EC species for: Data collection purposes, to inform the understanding of ecosystem considerations related to specification of optimum yield for the associated fishery, to assist in the development of conservation and management measures for the associated fishery, or to address other ecosystem issues. The Council recommended including the suite of Shared EC Species in its FMPs as EC species to address “other ecosystem issues,” because these species are the broadly used prey of marine mammal, seabird, and fish species in the U.S. West Coast EEZ. The Council also noted that Shared EC Species are among the known prey of fishery management unit species of all four of the Council's FMPs; therefore, Shared EC Species support predator species' growth and development and may also be identified as EC species “for ecosystem considerations related to specification of optimum yield for the associated fishery.”

    CEBA 1, through its implementing FMP amendments and regulations, would prohibit the future development of fisheries for Shared EC Species within the U.S. West Coast EEZ until the Council has had an adequate opportunity to both assess the scientific information relating to any proposed directed fishery and consider potential impacts to existing fisheries, fishing communities, and the greater marine ecosystem. CEBA 1 includes these FMP amendments: Amendment 15 to the CPS FMP, Amendment 25 to the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP, Amendment 3 to the FMP for U.S. West Coast HMS, and Amendment 19 to the Pacific Coast Salmon FMP. NMFS published a notice of availability of CEBA 1 in the Federal Register (80 FR 76924, December 11, 2015) to notify the public of the availability of the FMP amendments and invite comments. Comments received by the end of the CEBA 1 comment period, whether specifically directed to the FMP amendments or the proposed rule, will be considered and addressed in the preamble to the final rule for this action.

    Proposed Regulations

    FMPs for EEZ fisheries off the U.S. West Coast are implemented under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) by regulations at 50 CFR 660. This proposed rule would revise 50 CFR 660.1(a,) subpart A, to clarify that the regulations in Part 660 of Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations apply to all vessels fishing within the U.S. West Coast EEZ. This proposed rule would also add new regulations at 50 CFR part 660, subpart B, that: (1) Identify Shared EC Species as including the unfished forage species listed earlier in the preamble to this proposed rule; (2) define what is meant by “directed commercial fishing” for Shared EC Species within the U.S. West Coast EEZ; (3) prohibit directed commercial fishing for Shared EC Species; and (4) prohibit at-sea processing of Shared EC Species, except while otherwise lawfully processing groundfish in accordance with 50 CFR part 600, subpart D. Directed commercial fishing for Shared EC Species is proposed to be defined as: Any vessel landing Shared EC Species without landing any other species; or any vessel landing Shared EC Species with other species and in amounts more than 10 mt combined weight of all Shared EC Species from any fishing trip, or 30 mt combined weight of all Shared EC Species in any calendar year.

    Proposed landings limits are based on historic daily and annual per vessel landings levels of Shared EC Species, and take into account 99 percent of all Shared EC Species daily vessel landings and 97 percent of annual vessel total landings from the 2005-2014 period. This proposed rule also addresses the potential for incidental catch of Shared EC Species within the at-sea whiting sectors of the groundfish trawl fishery by providing an exception to the prohibition on at-sea processing of Shared EC Species when those species are retained and processed in amounts smaller than 1 mt for all Shared EC Species other than squid, and 40 mt for all Shared EC squid species. Over the 2002-2014 period, the highest annual catch of Shared EC Species other than squid, for the combined catcher-processor and mothership whiting fleets was 1.2 mt in 2011. Over the 2006-2014 period, all at-sea processors received fewer than 40 mt of Shared EC squid species, except for one vessel that in one year received 60 mt of Shared EC squid species.

    This action is needed to proactively protect unmanaged, unfished forage fish of the U.S. West Coast EEZ, in recognition of the importance of these forage fish to the species managed under the Council's FMPs and to the larger California Current Ecosystem. Shared EC Species have not historically been targeted or processed in EEZ fisheries, and the limits provided in this proposed rule are intended to recognize that low levels of incidental catch if Shared EC Species may continue to occur. This action does not supersede tribal or state fishery management for these species.

    Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the MSA, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the CPS FMP, the Pacific Coast Groundfish FMP, the FMP for U.S. West Coast HMS, the Pacific Coast Salmon FMP, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment.

    An environmental assessment (EA) for this action is available on NMFS's Web site at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/ecosystem/index.html.

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

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 601-612, requires agencies to assess the economic impacts of their proposed regulations on small entities. The objective of the RFA is to consider the impacts of a rulemaking on small entities, and the capacity of those affected by regulations to bear the direct and indirect costs of regulation.

    An initial regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by section 603 of the RFA (RFA). The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal basis for this action are contained at the beginning of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A summary of the analysis follows, with significant alternatives identified per 603(c).

    Small entities include “small businesses,” “small organizations,” and “small governmental jurisdictions.” The SBA has established size standards for all major industry sectors in the U.S. including commercial finfish harvesters (NAICS code 114111), commercial shellfish harvesters (NAICS code 114112), other commercial marine harvesters (NAICS code 114119), for-hire businesses (NAICS code 487210), marinas (NAICS code 713930), seafood dealers/wholesalers (NAICS code 424460), and seafood processors (NAICS code 311710). A business primarily involved in finfish 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 for all its affiliated operations worldwide (13 CFR part 121; August 17, 2015). For commercial shellfish harvesters, the other qualifiers apply and the receipts threshold is $5.5 million. For other commercial marine harvesters, for-hire businesses, and marinas, the other qualifiers apply and the receipts threshold is $7.5 million. A business primarily involved in seafood processing 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 employment not in excess of 500 employees for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For seafood dealers/wholesalers, the other qualifiers apply and the employment threshold is 100 employees. A small organization is any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field. Small governmental jurisdictions are governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with populations less than 50,000.

    The Council considered three alternatives for the implementation of this rule. The No Action and the selected/preferred alternatives are not expected to have a signficiant impact on any small entities. The third alternative was not selected and would likely increase costs for a substantial number of small entities. A summary of each alternative and the economic impacts follows below.

    Alternative 1: If it is in conformance with all current Federal requirements, such as the Federal list of authorized fisheries and gear, the No Action alternative could allow a new fishery for Shared EC Species to begin without advance Council action to ensure the fishery's long-term sustainability. Participants in fisheries that currently take Shared EC Species incidentally (CPS and groundfish trawl) could more easily develop new fisheries for Shared EC Species under the No Action alternative than under the selected alternative. However, there have not been substantial historical U.S. West Coast landings of Shared EC Species. Barring notable shifts in composition of resident and transient species in the U.S. West Coast EEZ, it is unlikely that there are any current or future potentially important directed fishing opportunities for Shared EC Species in the EEZ. Alternative 1 is therefore not expected to have direct impacts on small entities.

    Alternative 2 (preferred/Selected): The selected (preferred) alternative will not impose any changes in existing fishing behavior and is unlikely to have any effect on West Coast fisheries, either small or large entities, compared to the No Action Alternative. The selected alternative would prohibit the future development of directed commercial fisheries for currently unfished species; recreational fisheries and associated entities are not regulated by this action. The selected alternative is not expected to change fisheries harvest rates, the types of gears used off the U.S. West Coast, fishing seasons, or the geographical location of any fishery. The selected alternative could have minor, indirect, and positive effects on fishery management practices compared to the No Action Alternative 1 and is expected to have no direct impacts on small entities.

    Alternative 3: Alternative 3 would have moderate, indirect and negative effects on coastal pelagic species net, shrimp, bottom trawl, and whiting fisheries and fishery management practices. These four fisheries comprise a substantial number of small entities, many of which likely fish in federal waters and would experience increased costs resulting from increased sorting, recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Fifty-eight vessels are currently permitted in the Federal CPS limited entry fishery. All of these vessels currently fish off California. Average annual per vessel revenue in 2013 for the West Coast CPS finfish fleet was well below $20.5 million; therefore, all of these vessels are considered small businesses under the RFA. Approximately 95 vessels participated in the pink shrimp fishery on the West Coast in 2014, all of which would be considered small businesses according to the standards. Because each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed rule has an equal effect on all of these small entities, and therefore will impact a substantial number of these small entities in the same manner.

    Currently, the Shorebased IFQ Program is composed of 149 Quota Share permits/accounts, 152 vessel accounts, and 43 first receivers. Many companies participate in multiple sectors of the fishery. After accounting for cross participation, multiple Quota Share account holders, and for affiliation through ownership, NMFS estimates that there are 103 non-tribal entities directly affected by these proposed regulations, 89 of which are considered to be “small” businesses.

    The mothership (MS) fishery is currently composed of a single cooperative, the Whiting Mothership Cooperative with six mothership processor permits, and 34 mothership/catcher-vessel (MS/CV) endorsed permits, with three permits each having two catch history assignments. The catcher/processor (C/P) Program is composed of 10 C/P permits owned by three companies that have formed a single cooperative, the Pacific Whiting Conservation Cooperative. These two cooperatives are considered large entities from several perspectives: They have participants that are large entities, cooperative revenues exceed or have exceeded $20.5 million, combined employment exceeds 500 employees, and co-op members are connected to American Fishing Act permits or co-ops where the NMFS Alaska Region has determined they are all large entities (79 FR 54597, September 12, 2014).

    Therefore, 17 large groundfish fishery entities and 242 small entities would be affected by Alternative 3 (the non-preferred alternative): 89 small entities in the trawl fishery, 58 small entities in the CPS fishery, and 95 small entities in the pink shrimp fishery. We expect Alternative 3 would have moderate, indirect and negative effects on coastal pelagic species, shrimp, bottom trawl, and whiting fisheries and fishery management practices; however, these effects cannot be quantified without better data on the costs vessels would incur discarding at sea.

    This proposed rule was developed after meaningful collaboration, through the Council process, with the tribal representative on the Council. NMFS is not aware of any Treaty Indian tribe or subsistence fisheries in the EEZ other than those listed in 50 CFR 600.725(v). This action does not supersede or otherwise affect exemptions that exist for Treaty Indian fisheries.

    This proposed rule does not contain a collection of information requirement subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).

    List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Administrative practice and procedure, Fisheries, Fishing.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C. 7001 et seq.

    2. In § 660.1 revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:
    § 660.1 Purpose and scope.

    (a) The regulations in this part govern fishing activity of vessels of the United States that fish or support fishing inside the outer boundary of the EEZ off the states of Washington, Oregon, and California.

    3. Add subpart B to read as follows: Subpart B—All West Coast EEZ Fisheries Sec. 660.5 Shared Ecosystem Component Species. 660.6 Prohibitions.
    § 660.5 Shared Ecosystem Component Species.

    (a) General. The FMPs implemented in this part 660 each contain ecosystem component species specific to each FMP, as well as a group of ecosystem component species shared between all of the FMPs. Ecosystem component species shared between all of the Pacific Fishery Management Council's FMPs, and known collectively as “Shared EC Species,” are:

    (1) Round herring (Etrumeus teres) and thread herring (Ophisthonema libertate and O. medirastre).

    (2) Mesopelagic fishes of the families Myctophidae, Bathylagidae, Paralepididae, and Gonostomatidae.

    (3) Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus).

    (4) Pacific saury (Cololabis saira).

    (5) Silversides (family Atherinopsidae).

    (6) Smelts of the family Osmeridae.

    (7) Pelagic squids (families: Cranchiidae, Gonatidae, Histioteuthidae, Octopoteuthidae, Ommastrephidae except Humboldt squid [Dosidicus gigas,] Onychoteuthidae, and Thysanoteuthidae).

    (b) Directed Commercial Fishing for Shared EC Species. For the purposes of this section, “directed commercial fishing” means that a fishing vessel lands Shared EC Species without landing any species other than Shared EC Species, or lands Shared EC Species with other species and in amounts more than:

    (1) 10 mt combined weight of all Shared EC Species from any fishing trip; or

    (2) 30 mt combined weight of all Shared EC Species in any calendar year.

    § 660.6 Prohibitions.

    In addition to the general prohibitions specified in § 600.725 of this chapter, and the other prohibitions specified in this part, it is unlawful for any person to:

    (a) Directed Commercial Fishing. Engage in directed commercial fishing for Shared EC Species from a vessel engaged in commercial fishing within the EEZ off Washington, Oregon, or California. This prohibition does not apply to:

    (1) Fishing authorized by the Hoh, Makah, or Quileute Indian Tribes, or by the Quinault Indian Nation, or

    (2) Fishing trips conducted entirely within state marine waters.

    (b) At-sea Processing. At-sea processing of Shared EC Species is prohibited within the EEZ, except while processing groundfish in accordance with Subpart D of this part.

    4. In § 660.112, add paragraphs (d)(16) and (e)(10) to read as follows:
    § 660.112 Trawl fishery—prohibitions.

    (d) * * *

    (16) Retain and process more than 1 mt of Shared EC Species other than squid species in any calendar year; or, retain and process more than 40 mt of any Shared EC squid species in any calendar year.

    (e) * * *

    (10) Retain and process more than 1 mt of Shared EC Species other than squid species in any calendar year; or, retain and process more than 40 mt of any Shared EC squid species in any calendar year.

    [FR Doc. 2015-33106 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 2 Tuesday, January 5, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Risk Management Agency Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request AGENCY:

    Risk Management Agency, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Agriculture has submitted the following information collection requirement(s) to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. Comments regarding (a) whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of burden including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology should be addressed to: Desk Officer for Agriculture, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), [email protected] or fax (202) 395-5806 and to Departmental Clearance Office, USDA, OCIO, Mail Stop 7602, Washington, DC 20250-7602.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding these information collections are best assured of having their full affect if received within February 4, 2016. Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 720-8681.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

    Risk Management Agency

    Title: Risk Management Education Partnerships; Request for Applications.

    OMB Control Number: 0563-0067.

    Summary of Collection: The Federal Crop Insurance Act, Title 7 U.S.C. Chapter 36 Section 1508(k) authorizes the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) to provide reinsurance to insurers approved by FCIC that insure producers of any agricultural commodity under one or more plans acceptable to FCIC. FCIC operating through the Risk Management Agency (RMA) has two application programs to carryout certain risk management education provisions of the Federal Crop Insurance Act. The two educational programs requiring application are: To establish crop insurance education and information programs in States that have been historically underserved by the Federal Crop Insurance Program; and to provide agricultural producers with training opportunities in risk management with a priority given to producers of specialty crops and underserved commodities. Funds are available to fund parties willing to assist RMA in carrying out local and regional risk management can crop insurance education programs.

    Need and Use of the Information: Applicants are required to submit a completed application package in hard copy to RMA. RMA and review panel will evaluate and rank applicants as well as use the information to properly document and protect the integrity of the process used to select applications for funding. For applicants that are selected, the information will be used to create the terms of cooperative agreements between the applicant and the agency and will not be shared outside of RMA.

    Description of Respondents: Not-for-profit institutions; Business or other for-profit; State, Local, or Tribal Government.

    Number of Respondents: 250.

    Frequency of Responses: Reporting: On occasion.

    Total Burden Hours: 4,188.

    Charlene Parker, Departmental Information Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33205 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-08-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economics and Statistics Administration Commerce Data Advisory Council AGENCY:

    Economic and Statistics Administration, Department of Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Economic and Statistics Administration (ESA) is giving notice of virtual meetings to be held by the following Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC) Working Groups (WG): Data Governance, Data Usability, and Commerce Data Advisory Council (CDAC). Each CDAC WG will hold a separate meeting, through virtual means, to discuss perspective WG matters. Agendas for each CDAC WG meeting will be posted the ESA.gov Web site at: http://esa.gov/content/upcoming-past-meetings. Each CDAC WG will meet for approximately two hours for discussion on January 14, 2016. Last-minute changes to the schedule are possible, which could prevent giving advance public notice of schedule adjustments.

    DATES:

    January 14, 2016. Each CDAC WG's meeting time and agenda will be posted to the ESA.gov Web site three days prior to the meeting.

    ADDRESSES:

    Meeting access information will be posted the esa.gov Web site at: http://esa.gov/content/upcoming-past-meetings.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Burton Reist, [email protected] Director of External Communication and DFO, CDAC, Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone (202) 482-3331.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Charters for each CDAC WG is available on the ESA.gov Web site at: http://esa.gov/content/federal-advisory-committee-documentation. The CDAC comprises as many as 20 members. The Council provides an organized and continuing channel of communication between recognized experts in the data industry (collection, compilation, analysis, dissemination and privacy protection) and the Department of Commerce. The CDAC provides advice and recommendations, to include process and infrastructure improvements, to the Secretary, DOC and the DOC data-bureau leadership on ways to make Commerce data easier to find, access, use, combine and disseminate. The aim of this advice shall be to maximize the value of Commerce data to all users including governments, businesses, communities, academia, and individuals.

    The Committee is established in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Title 5, United States Code, Appendix 2, Section 10(a)(b)).

    All meetings are open to the public. Individuals questions or statements must submit them in writing to: [email protected] (subject line “January 2016 CDAC Working Group Meeting Public Comment”), or by letter submission to the Director of External Communication and DFO, CDAC, Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20230. Such submissions will be included in the record for the meeting if received by Monday, January 11, 2016.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Burton Reist, Director for External Affairs, Economics and Statistics Administration.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33154 Filed 12-30-15; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [B-85-2015] Foreign-Trade Zone (FTZ) 20—Newport News, Virginia; Notification of Proposed Production Activity; Canon Virginia, Inc.; Subzone 20D; (Toner Cartridges and Bottles) Newport News, Virginia

    Canon Virginia, Inc. (Canon), operator of Subzone 20D, submitted a notification of proposed production activity to the FTZ Board for its facility within Subzone 20D, in Newport News, Virginia. The notification conforming to the requirements of the regulations of the FTZ Board (15 CFR 400.22) was received on December 14, 2015.

    Canon already has authority to produce a range of printers, copiers and their parts and supplies, including toner, toner cartridges, toner bottles and cartridge parts, within Subzone 20D. The current request would add foreign-status materials/components to the scope of authority. Pursuant to 15 CFR 400.14(b), additional FTZ authority would be limited to the specific foreign-status materials/components and specific finished products described in the submitted notification (as described below) and subsequently authorized by the FTZ Board.

    Production under FTZ procedures could exempt Canon from customs duty payments on the foreign-status materials/components used in export production. On its domestic sales, Canon would be able to choose the duty rates during customs entry procedures that apply to toner cartridges or toner bottles (duty-free) for the foreign-status materials/components noted below and in the existing scope of authority. Customs duties also could possibly be deferred or reduced on foreign-status production equipment.

    The materials/components sourced from abroad include: Carbon black and aluminum flanges (duty rates: Duty-free and 5.7%, respectively).

    Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions shall be addressed to the FTZ Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is February 16, 2016.

    A copy of the notification will be available for public inspection at the Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, Room 21013, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230-0002, and in the “Reading Room” section of the FTZ Board's Web site, which is accessible via www.trade.gov/ftz.

    For further information, contact Diane Finver at [email protected] or (202) 482-1367.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33160 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-570-896] Magnesium Metal From the People's Republic of China: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2014-2015 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (“Department”) is conducting the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on magnesium metal from the People's Republic of China (“PRC”). The period of review (“POR”) is April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015. This review covers two PRC companies, Tianjin Magnesium International, Co., Ltd. (“TMI”) and Tianjin Magnesium Metal, Co., Ltd. (“TMM”). The Department preliminarily finds that TMI and TMM did not have reviewable entries during the POR. We invite interested parties to comment on these preliminary results.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 5, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    James Terpstra or Brendan Quinn, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-3965 or (202) 482-5848, respectively.

    Scope of the Order

    The product covered by this antidumping duty order is magnesium metal from the PRC, which includes primary and secondary alloy magnesium metal, regardless of chemistry, raw material source, form, shape, or size. Magnesium is a metal or alloy containing by weight primarily the element magnesium. Primary magnesium is produced by decomposing raw materials into magnesium metal. Secondary magnesium is produced by recycling magnesium-based scrap into magnesium metal. The magnesium covered by this order includes blends of primary and secondary magnesium.

    The subject merchandise includes the following alloy magnesium metal products made from primary and/or secondary magnesium including, without limitation, magnesium cast into ingots, slabs, rounds, billets, and other shapes; magnesium ground, chipped, crushed, or machined into rasping, granules, turnings, chips, powder, briquettes, and other shapes; and products that contain 50 percent or greater, but less than 99.8 percent, magnesium, by weight, and that have been entered into the United States as conforming to an “ASTM Specification for Magnesium Alloy” 1 and are thus outside the scope of the existing antidumping orders on magnesium from the PRC (generally referred to as “alloy” magnesium).

    1 The meaning of this term is the same as that used by the American Society for Testing and Materials in its Annual Book for ASTM Standards: Volume 01.02 Aluminum and Magnesium Alloys.

    The scope of this order excludes: (1) All forms of pure magnesium, including chemical combinations of magnesium and other material(s) in which the pure magnesium content is 50 percent or greater, but less than 99.8 percent, by weight, that do not conform to an “ASTM Specification for Magnesium Alloy” 2 ; (2) magnesium that is in liquid or molten form; and (3) mixtures containing 90 percent or less magnesium in granular or powder form by weight and one or more of certain non-magnesium granular materials to make magnesium-based reagent mixtures, including lime, calcium metal, calcium silicon, calcium carbide, calcium carbonate, carbon, slag coagulants, fluorspar, nephaline syenite, feldspar, alumina (Al203), calcium aluminate, soda ash, hydrocarbons, graphite, coke, silicon, rare earth metals/mischmetal, cryolite, silica/fly ash, magnesium oxide, periclase, ferroalloys, dolomite lime, and colemanite.3 The merchandise subject to this order is classifiable under items 8104.19.00, and 8104.30.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Although the HTSUS items are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written description of the merchandise is dispositive.

    2 The material is already covered by existing antidumping orders. See Notice of Antidumping Duty Orders: Pure Magnesium from the People's Republic of China, the Russian Federation and Ukraine; Notice of Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Antidumping Duty Investigation of Pure Magnesium from the Russian Federation, 60 FR 25691 (May 12, 1995); and Antidumping Duty Order: Pure Magnesium in Granular Form from the People's Republic of China, 66 FR 57936 (November 19, 2001).

    3 This third exclusion for magnesium-based reagent mixtures is based on the exclusion for reagent mixtures in the 2000-2001 investigations of magnesium from China, Israel, and Russia. See Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Pure Magnesium in Granular Form From the People's Republic of China, 66 FR 49345 (September 27, 2001); Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Pure Magnesium From Israel, 66 FR 49349 (September 27, 2001); Final Determination of Sales at Not Less Than Fair Value: Pure Magnesium From the Russian Federation, 66 FR 49347 (September 27, 2001). These mixtures are not magnesium alloys, because they are not combined in liquid form and cast into the same ingot.

    Background

    On April 1, 2015, the Department published a notice of opportunity to request an administrative review of the antidumping duty order on magnesium metal from the PRC for the period April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015.4 On April 30, 2015, U.S. Magnesium LLC (“U.S. Magnesium”), a domestic producer and Petitioner in the underlying investigation of this case, made a timely request that the Department conduct an administrative review of TMI and TMM.5 On May 26, 2015, in accordance with section 751(a) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (“the Act”), the Department published in the Federal Register a notice of initiation of this antidumping duty administrative review.6 On June 19, 2015, TMM submitted a letter to the Department certifying that it did not export magnesium metal to the United States during the POR.7 On June 24, 2015, TMI submitted a letter to the Department certifying that it did not export magnesium metal to the United States during the POR.8

    4See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity To Request Administrative Review, 80 FR 17392 (April 1, 2015).

    5See letter from U.S. Magnesium, “Magnesium Metal from the People's Republic of China: Request for Administrative Review,” dated April 30, 2015.

    6See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 30041 (May 26, 2015).

    7See letter from TMM, “Magnesium Metal from the People's Republic of China; A-570-896; Certification of No Sales by Tianjin Magnesium Metal Co., Ltd.,” dated June 19, 2015, at 1.

    8See letter from TMI, “Magnesium Metal from the People's Republic of China; A-570-896; Certification of No Sales by Tianjin Magnesium International, Co., Ltd.,” dated June 24, 2015, at 1.

    On July 9, 2015, we notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) that we were in receipt of no-shipment certifications from TMI and TMM and requested CBP to report any contrary information within 10 days.9 CBP did not report any contrary information. On August 21, 2015, the Department placed on the record information obtained in response to the Department's query to CBP concerning imports into the United States of subject merchandise during the POR.10 This information indicates that there were no entries of subject merchandise during the POR that had been exported by TMI or TMM.

    9See Memorandum to the File, “Magnesium Metal from the People's Republic of China: 14-15 Administrative Review: U.S. Customs and Border Protection Data,” dated August 21, 2015 (“No Shipments Memo”), at Attachment 1: Customs Message 5190303.

    10See No Shipments Memo.

    Preliminary Determination of No Shipments

    As noted in the “Background” section above, TMI and TMM submitted timely-filed certifications indicating that they had no shipments of subject merchandise to the United States during the POR. In addition, CBP did not provide any evidence that contradicts TMI's and TMM's claims of no shipments. Further, on August 21, 2015, the Department released to interested parties the results of a CBP query to corroborate TMI and TMM's no shipment claims.11 The Department received no comments from interested parties concerning the results of the CBP query.

    11Id.

    Based on TMI's and TMM's certifications and our analysis of CBP information, we preliminarily determine that TMI and TMM did not have any reviewable entries during the POR. In addition, the Department finds that it is not appropriate to rescind the review in this circumstance but, rather, to complete the review with respect to TMI and TMM and issue appropriate instructions to CBP based on the final results of the review, consistent with its practice in non-market economy (“NME”) cases.12

    12See Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011) and the “Assessment Rates” section, below.

    Public Comment

    Interested parties may submit case briefs within 30 days after the date of publication of these preliminary results of review in the Federal Register.13 Rebuttals to case briefs, which must be limited to issues raised in the case briefs, must be filed within five days after the time limit for filing case briefs.14 Parties who submit arguments are requested to submit with the argument (a) a statement of the issue, (b) a brief summary of the argument, and (c) a table of authorities.15 Parties submitting briefs should do so pursuant to the Department's electronic filing system: Enforcement and Compliance's Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (“ACCESS”).16 ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov, and is available to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building.

    13See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii).

    14See 19 CFR 351.309(d)(1)-(2).

    15See 19 CFR 351.309(c)(2), (d)(2).

    16See 19 CFR 351.303 (for general filing requirements).

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.310(c), interested parties who wish to request a hearing must submit a written request to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce within 30 days of the date of publication of this notice. Requests should contain the following information: (1) The party's name, address, and telephone number; (2) the number of participants; and (3) a list of the issues parties intend to discuss. Issues raised in the hearing will be limited to those raised in the respective case and rebuttal briefs. If a request for a hearing is made, the Department intends to hold the hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230, at a date and time to be determined. See 19 CFR 351.310(d). Parties should confirm by telephone the date, time, and location of the hearing two days before the scheduled date.

    The Department intends to issue the final results of this administrative review, which will include the results of our analysis of all issues raised in the case briefs, within 120 days of publication of these preliminary results in the Federal Register, pursuant to section 751(a)(3)(A) of the Act.

    Assessment Rates

    Upon issuance of the final results, the Department will determine, and CBP shall assess, antidumping duties on all appropriate entries covered by this review. The Department intends to issue assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the publication date of the final results of this review. Additionally, pursuant to a refinement to its assessment practice in NME cases, if the Department continues to determine that an exporter under review had no shipments of the subject merchandise, any suspended entries that entered under that exporter's case number (i.e., at that exporter's rate) will be liquidated at the PRC-wide rate. For a full discussion of this practice, see Non-Market Economy Antidumping Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 76 FR 65694 (October 24, 2011).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the final results of this administrative review for all shipments of the subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date, as provided for by section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act: (1) For TMI, which claimed no shipments, the cash deposit rate will remain unchanged from the rate assigned to TMI in the most recently completed review of the company; (2) for previously investigated or reviewed PRC and non-PRC exporters who are not under review in this segment of the proceeding but who have separate rates, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the exporter-specific rate published for the most recent period; (3) for all PRC exporters of subject merchandise that have not been found to be entitled to a separate rate (including TMM, which claimed no shipments, but has not been found to be separate from the PRC-wide entity), the cash deposit rate will be the PRC-wide rate of 141.49 percent; and (4) for all non-PRC exporters of subject merchandise which have not received their own rate, the cash deposit rate will be the rate applicable to the PRC exporter(s) that supplied that non-PRC exporter. These deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a preliminary reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Secretary's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of double antidumping duties.

    This administrative review and notice are in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act, and 19 CFR 351.221(b)(4).

    Dated: December 24, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33162 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-549-822] Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 25, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the Department) initiated a changed circumstances review and published a notice of preliminary results of changed circumstances review of the antidumping duty order on certain frozen warmwater shrimp (shrimp) from Thailand.1 In that notice, we preliminarily determined that Thai Union Group Public Co., Ltd. (Thai Union Group) is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen Products Public Co., Ltd. (Thai Union Frozen) for purposes of determining antidumping duty cash deposits and liabilities. No interested party submitted comments on, or requested a public hearing to discuss, the Initiation and Preliminary Results. For these final results, the Department continues to find that Thai Union Group is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen.

    1See Notice of Initiation and Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from Thailand, 80 FR 73726 (November 25, 2015) (Initiation and Preliminary Results).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: January 5, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dennis McClure or Elizabeth Eastwood, AD/CVD Operations, Office II, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-5973 or (202) 482-3874, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    On September 17, 2015, Thai Union Group, a producer/exporter of Thai shrimp covered by this order, changed its name from Thai Union Frozen to Thai Union Group. On October 5, 2015, Thai Union Group requested that the Department conduct an expedited changed circumstances review under section 751(b) of the Act, 19 CFR 351.216(c), and 19 CFR 351.221(c)(3)(ii) to confirm that Thai Union Group is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen for purposes of determining antidumping duty cash deposits and liabilities. On November 25, 2015, the Department initiated this changed circumstances review and published the notice of preliminary results, determining that Thai Union Group is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen.2 In the Initiation and Preliminary Results, we provided all interested parties with an opportunity to comment or request a public hearing regarding our preliminary finding that Thai Union Group is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen. We received no comments or requests for a public hearing from interested parties within the time period set forth in the Initiation and Preliminary Results.

    2Id., 80 FR at 73728.

    Scope of the Order

    The merchandise subject to the order is certain frozen warmwater shrimp.3 The product is currently classified under the following Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) item numbers: 0306.17.0003, 0306.17.0006, 0306.17.0009, 0306.17.0012, 0306.17.0015, 0306.17.0018, 0306.17.0021, 0306.17.0024, 0306.17.0027, 0306.17.0040, 1605.21.1030, and 1605.29.1010. Although the HTSUS numbers are provided for convenience and customs purposes, the written product description remains dispositive.

    3 For a complete description of the scope of the order, see Initiation and Preliminary Results.

    Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review

    For the reasons stated in the Initiation and Preliminary Results, and because we received no comments from interested parties to the contrary, the Department continues to find that Thai Union Group is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen. As a result of this determination, we find that Thai Union Group should receive the cash deposit rate previously assigned to Thai Union Frozen in the most recently completed review of the antidumping duty order on shrimp from Thailand.4 Consequently, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend liquidation of all shipments of subject merchandise produced or exported by Thai Union Group and entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of this notice in the Federal Register at 1.10 percent, which is the current antidumping duty cash-deposit rate for the Thai Union group of companies, of which Thai Union Frozen (and now Thai Union Group) is a part.56 This cash deposit requirement shall remain in effect until further notice.

    4See, e.g., Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review: Certain Circular Welded Non-Alloy Steel Pipe and Tube from Mexico, 74 FR 41681, 41682 (August 18, 2009).

    5 This group now consists of Thai Union Group, Thai Union Seafood Co., Ltd., Pakfood Public Company Limited, Okeanos Co. Ltd., Okeanos Food Co., Ltd, Asia Pacific (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Chaophraya Cold Storage Co. Ltd., and Takzin Samut Co. Ltd. (collectively, “Thai Union”).

    6 Thai Union Frozen received a 1.10 percent dumping margin as part of Thai Union in the 2012-2013 administrative review of the AD order on shrimp from Thailand. See Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, Final Determination of No Shipments, and Partial Rescission of Review; 2012-2013, 79 FR 51306 (August 28, 2014) (corrected by Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp From Thailand: Notice of Correction to the Final Results of the 2012-2013 Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 79 FR 62099 (October 16, 2014)). We note that Thai Union Frozen is also a respondent in the current 2014-2015 administrative review of this antidumping duty order. See Certain Frozen Warmwater Shrimp from India and Thailand: Notice of Initiation of Antidumping Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 16634 (March 30, 2015). Because we determined that Thai Union Group is the successor-in-interest to Thai Union Frozen, we will assign Thai Union Group an updated cash deposit rate based on the final results of that administrative review.

    We are issuing this determination and publishing these final results and notice in accordance with sections 751(b)(1) and 777(i)(1) and (2) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.216 and 351.221(c)(3).

    Dated: December 24, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33161 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-968] Aluminum Extrusions From the People's Republic of China: Notice of Court Decision Not in Harmony With Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review and Notice of Amended Final Results Pursuant to Court Decision AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On December 14, 2015, the United States Court of International Trade (CIT or the Court) sustained the Department of Commerce's (Department's) results of redetermination,1 which recalculated the subsidy rate for Tai Shan City Kam Kiu Aluminium Extrusion Co. Ltd. (Kam Kiu) in the first administrative review of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on aluminum extrusions from the People's Republic of China,2 pursuant to the Court's remand order in Kam Kiu. 3 Consistent with the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in Timken, 4 as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, 5 the Department is notifying the public that the final judgment in this case is not in harmony with the Department's Final Results and is amending its Final Results with respect to Kam Kiu.

    1See Tai Shan City Kam Kiu Aluminium Extrusion Co., Ltd. v. United States, Court No. 14-00016; Slip Op. 15-138 (CIT December 14, 2015) (Kam Kiu II).

    2See Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2010 and 2011, 79 FR 106 (January 2, 2014) (Final Results), and accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum (Final Results Decision Memorandum).

    3See Tai Shan City Kam Kiu Aluminium Extrusion Co., Ltd. v. United States, Court No. 14-00016; Slip Op. 15-21 (CIT March 20, 2015) (Kam Kiu).

    4See Timken Co. v. United States, 893 F.2d 337 (Fed. Cir. 1990) (Timken).

    5See Diamond Sawblades Mfrs. Coalition v. United States, 626 F.3d 1374 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (Diamond Sawblades).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 24, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Kristen Johnson, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202-482-4793.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background

    In the Final Results, the Department determined that Kam Kiu failed to respond to its request for information regarding the company's quantity and value of imports of subject merchandise to the United States during the review period.6 The Department therefore found Kam Kiu to be uncooperative and determined that the application of facts available with an adverse inference was appropriate pursuant to sections 776(a)(2)(A) and (C) and section 776(b) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).7 The Department assigned to Kam Kiu a rate of 121.22 percent. This rate was based on the application of total adverse facts available (AFA) which the Department determined was corroborated to the extent practicable in accordance with section 776(c) of the Act.8

    6 This first administrative review covered the period September 7, 2010, through December 31, 2011.

    7See Final Results Decision Memorandum at “Use of Facts Otherwise Available and Adverse Inferences: Application of Total AFA to Non-Cooperative Companies” and Comment 23.

    8Id.

    In Kam Kiu, the Court held that the Department must, to the extent practicable, corroborate the AFA rate assigned to Kam Kiu by either attempting to corroborate Kam Kiu's ability to benefit simultaneously from the location-specific subsidy programs included in the AFA rate, or adjusting its methodology as applied to Kam Kiu and corroborate its findings under the new methodology.9 The Court found that the Department did not explain how the final rate of 121.22 percent was related to Kam Kiu, and that such a rate appeared punitive in light of the lower rates assigned to the mandatory respondents which were partially based on AFA.10 The Court further held that the Department failed to corroborate its finding that Kam Kiu could have benefited from the “Export Rebate for Mechanic, Electronic, and High-Tech Products” program, and evidence that the mandatory respondents in the review did not use the program detracted from the Department's finding.11

    9See Kam Kiu, Slip Op. at 18-20.

    10Id., at 22-23.

    11Id., at 23.

    On remand, the Court instructed the Department to reconsider its corroboration methodology with regard to location-specific subsidy programs included in Kam Kiu's rate and the “Export Rebate for Mechanic, Electronic, and High-Tech Products” program also included in Kam Kiu's rate, as well as to explain how the final AFA rate relates to Kam Kiu.12

    12Id.

    In its final results of redetermination pursuant to Kam Kiu, 13 the Department demonstrated that the AFA rate applied to Kam Kiu in the Final Results was corroborated to the extent practicable and was relevant to Kam Kiu. However, to comply with the Court's remand order, under protest, the Department adjusted Kam Kiu's AFA rate to remove all location-specific subsidy programs aside from programs that Kam Kiu could have used based on its mailing address. The Department further explained its corroboration of Kam Kiu's ability to use the “Export Rebate for Mechanic, Electronic, and High-Tech Products” program to the extent practicable, and demonstrated that the revised AFA rate of 79.80 percent was relevant to Kam Kiu.

    13See Final Results of Redetermination Pursuant to Court Remand—Tai Shan City Kam Kiu Aluminium Extrusion Co., Ltd. v. United States, Court No. 14-00016; Slip Op. 15-21 (CIT 2015), signed August 13, 2015.

    On December 14, 2015, the Court sustained the Department's final results of redetermination pursuant to remand.14

    14See Kam Kiu II.

    Timken Notice

    In its decision in Timken15 as clarified by Diamond Sawblades, the CAFC has held that, pursuant to section 516A(e) of the Act, the Department must publish a notice of a court decision that is not “in harmony” with a Department determination and must suspend liquidation of entries pending a “conclusive” court decision. The Court's opinion in Kam Kiu II, issued on December 14, 2015, sustaining the Department's final results of redetermination, constitutes a final decision of the court that is not in harmony with the Department's Final Results. This notice is published in fulfillment of the publication requirements of Timken. Accordingly, the Department will continue the suspension of liquidation of the subject merchandise pending the expiration of the period of appeal or, if appealed, pending a final and conclusive court decision.

    15See Timken, 893 F.2d at 341.

    Amended Final Results

    Because there is now a final court decision with respect to the Final Results, the Department amends its Final Results. The Department finds that the following revised net subsidy rate exists:

    Company Subsidy rate Tai Shan City Kam Kiu Aluminium Extrusion Co. Ltd 79.80 percent ad valorem

    Since the Final Results, the Department established a new cash deposit rate for Kam Kiu.16 Therefore, the cash deposit rate for Kam Kiu does not need to be updated as a result of these amended final results. In the event that the Court's ruling is not appealed, or if appealed, upheld by the CAFC, the Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to liquidate entries of subject merchandise that were exported by Kam Kiu, and which were entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption during the period September 7, 2010, through December 31, 2011, at the revised rate of 79.80 percent ad valorem.

    16See Aluminum Extrusions from the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2012, 79 FR 78788 (December 31, 2014).

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 516A(e)(1), 751(a)(1), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33164 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology National Conference on Weights and Measures 101st Interim Meeting AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The 101st Interim Meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) will be held in San Diego, California, from Sunday, January 10, 2016, through Wednesday, January 13, 2016. This notice contains information about significant items on the NCWM Committee agendas but does not include all agenda items. As a result, the items are not consecutively numbered.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Sunday, January 10, 2016, through Tuesday, January 12, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, and on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific time. The meeting schedule is available at www.ncwm.net.

    ADDRESSES:

    This meeting will be held at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, 910 Broadway Circle, San Diego, California 92101.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Carol Hockert, Chief, NIST, Office of Weights and Measures, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2600, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-2600. You may also contact Ms. Hockert at (301) 975-5507 or by email at [email protected] The meeting is open to the public, but a paid registration is required. Please see NCWM Web site (www.ncwm.net) to view the meeting agendas, registration forms, and hotel reservation information.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Publication of this notice on the NCWM's behalf is undertaken as a public service; NIST does not endorse, approve, or recommend any of the proposals or other information contained in this notice or in the publications of the NCWM.

    The NCWM is an organization of weights and measures officials of the states, counties, and cities of the United States, federal agencies, and representatives from the private sector. These meetings bring together government officials and representatives of business, industry, trade associations, and consumer organizations on subjects related to the field of weights and measures technology, administration, and enforcement. NIST participates to encourage cooperation between federal agencies and the states in the development of legal metrology requirements. NIST also promotes uniformity among the states in laws, regulations, methods, and testing equipment that comprise the regulatory control of commercial weighing and measuring devices, packaged goods, and other trade and commerce issues.

    The following are brief descriptions of some of the significant agenda items that will be considered at the NCWM Interim Meeting. Comments will be taken on these and other issues during several public comment sessions. At this stage, the items are proposals. This meeting also includes work sessions in which the Specification and Tolerances Committee (S & T Committee) and the Laws and Regulations Committee (L & R Committee) may also accept comments, and where recommendations will be developed for consideration and possible adoption at the NCWM 2016 Annual Meeting. The Committees may withdraw or carryover items that need additional development.

    Some of the items listed below provide notice of projects under development by groups working to develop specifications, tolerances, and other requirements for devices used in transportation network systems and the establishment of approximate gallon and liter equivalents to diesel fuel that would be used in marketing both compressed and liquefied natural gas.

    These notices are intended to make interested parties aware of these development projects and to make them aware that reports on the status of the project will be given at the NCWM Interim Meeting. The notices are also presented to invite the participation of manufacturers, experts, consumers, users, and others who may be interested in these efforts.

    The S&T Committee will consider proposed amendments to NIST Handbook 44, “Specifications, Tolerances, and other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices.” Those items address weighing and measuring devices used in commercial applications, that is, devices that are used to buy from or sell to the public or used for determining the quantity of products or services sold among businesses. Issues on the agenda of the NCWM L&R Committee relate to proposals to amend NIST Handbook 130, “Uniform Laws and Regulations in the area of Legal Metrology and Engine Fuel Quality” and NIST Handbook 133, “Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods.”

    S&T Committee

    The following items are proposals to amend NIST Handbook 44:

    LPG and Anhydrous Ammonia Liquid-Measuring Devices Item 332-2. S.1.4.3. Provisions for Power Lost, S.1.5.1.1. Unit Price, S.1.5.1.2. Product Identity, S.1.6. For Retail Motor Vehicle Fuel Devices Only, S.1.7. For Wholesale Devices Only, UR. 2.7. Unit Price and Product Identity, and UR.2.8.

    Computing Device

    Retail motor-fuel dispensers used to dispense refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel are regulated under the Liquid-Measuring Devices (LMD) Code in NIST Handbook 44. The LMD Code has been repeatedly revised over the past 20 years to reflect changes in technology and marketing practices surrounding the sale of these fuels; however, corresponding changes have not always been made to the LPG and Ammonia Liquid-Measuring Devices Code: The proposed changes under this item are designed to align the LPG and Ammonia Liquid-Measuring Devices Code with the LMD code and help promote uniformity in device requirements and practices and ensure a level playing field among competing businesses.

    Mass Flow Meters Item 337-2 Appendix D—Definitions: Diesel Liter and Diesel Gallon Equivalents of Natural Gas

    In 1994 both liter and gallon “equivalents” for gasoline were established by the NCWM to provide a means for consumers to make value and fuel economy comparisons between compressed natural gas (CNG) and gasoline, and to promote broader acceptance and use of CNG as a vehicle fuel. These “equivalents” are based on a specific weight (mass) per volume, called the gasoline liter equivalent (GLE) and gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE), and are calculated using an estimate of the “average” equivalent energy content—a number provided by industry. For several years, the NCWM Specifications and Tolerances (S&T) and Laws and Regulations (L&R) Committees have deliberated on proposals to establish and/or revise requirements for the method of sale and commercial measurement of LNG and CNG. The purpose of this item is to define acceptable units of measurement and identify requirements for equipment used to commercially measure these products.

    Hydrogen Gas-Metering Devices Item 339-2 Table T.2. Accuracy Classes and Tolerances for Hydrogen Gas-Measuring Devices

    The NIST Handbook 44, Hydrogen-Gas Measuring Devices code was added to NIST Handbook 44 in 2010 as a “Tentative Code.” As is often the case with a tentative code, it is expected that adjustments will need to be made to the code prior to changing its status to “permanent” as experience is gained by industry and regulatory offices on the operation, testing, and use of the devices covered by that code.

    The tolerances currently specified in the NIST Handbook 44, Hydrogen-Gas Measuring Devices code are ±1.5% for Acceptance Tolerance and ±2.0% for Maintenance Tolerance. According to the submitter of this proposal, no hydrogen-gas dispenser manufacturers can meet the tolerances currently specified in the tentative code. This item proposes establishing multiple accuracy classes in which Acceptance Tolerances would range from ±1.5% to ±5.0% and Maintenance Tolerances would range from ±2.0% to ±10.0%. The proposal places limits on the installation of certain accuracy classes after specified dates. After January 1, 2020, newly installed devices will be required to meet the current, more stringent tolerances; however, larger tolerances may continue to apply to devices installed prior to that date. This proposal would also permit devices of different accuracies to be used in the same application.

    Taximeters Item 354-5 U.S. National Work Group on Taximeters (USNWG)—Taximeter Code Revisions and Global Positioning System (GPS)-Based Systems for Time and Distance Measurement and Item 354-6 Transportation Network Systems—Draft Code

    For several years, the NIST USNWG on Taximeters has discussed possible approaches for amending the NIST Handbook 44, Taximeters Code to specifically recognize GPS-based time and distance measuring systems that are used to assess charges for transportation services such as taxicabs and limousines. Appropriate specifications, tolerances, and other technical requirements for these devices must be developed for manufacturers and users of these devices, as well for weights and measures officials. Such requirements help ensure accuracy and transparency for customers and a level playing field for transportation service companies, enabling consumers to make value comparisons between competing services. In the fall of 2015, the California Division of Measurement Standards submitted a proposal through multiple regional weights and measures associations to establish a separate NIST Handbook 44 code to address “Transportation Network Services.” The S&T Committee will examine these proposals and the result of recent discussions from a November 2015 USNWG meeting to assess how to best address these systems.

    L&R Committee

    The following items are proposals to amend NIST Handbook 130 or NIST Handbook 133:

    NIST Handbook 130—Section on Uniform Regulation for the Method of Sale of Commodities:

    Item 232-7 Section 2.23. Animal Bedding

    The L&R Committee will consider a proposal to recommend adoption of a uniform method of sale for animal bedding that will enhance the ability of consumers to make value comparisons and will ensure fair competition. Animal Bedding is generally defined as any material, except for baled straw, that is kept, offered or exposed for sale or sold to retail consumers for primary use as a medium for any pet or companion or livestock animal to nest or eliminate waste. If adopted, the proposal will require packers to advertise and sell packages of animal bedding on the basis of the expanded volume of the bedding. Most packages of animal bedding are compressed during packaging and the expanded volume is the amount of product that consumers will recover through unwrapping and decompressing the bedding according to the instructions provided by the packer. See also Item 260-5, Section 3.15. Test Procedure for Verifying the Usable Volume Declaration on Packages of Animal Bedding.

    NIST Handbook 133—Chapter 3 Items 260-3 and 260-4 Section 3.14. Firewood—(Volumetric Test Procedures for Packaged Firewood with a Labeled Volume of 113 L [4 ft3] or Less)

    The current test procedure in NIST Handbook 133, Section 3.14., Firewood—(Volumetric Test Procedure for Packaged Firewood with a Labeled Volume of 113 L [4 ft3] or Less) has provided different test results when applied in various state inspections. If adopted, this proposal would clarify the test procedure and improve the accuracy of length determinations when determining the volume of wood in bags, bundles and boxes. Improving the test procedures will help ensure that consumers can make value comparisons and reduce unfair competition. Also Item 232-4, NIST Handbook 130, Method of Sale of Sale of Commodities Regulation, Section 2.4. Fireplace and Stove Wood, is being considered for revision to recognize traditional industry labeling practice and eliminate language that appears to conflict with the requirements of the Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation.

    Authority:

    15 U.S.C. 272(b).

    Richard Cavanagh, Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33128 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Genome in a Bottle Consortium—Progress and Planning Workshop AGENCY:

    National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public workshop.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announces the Genome in a Bottle Consortium—Progress and Planning Workshop to be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016, and Friday, January 29, 2016. The Genome in a Bottle Consortium is developing the reference materials, reference methods, and reference data needed to assess confidence in human whole genome variant calls. A principal motivation for this consortium is to enable performance assessment of sequencing and science-based regulatory oversight of clinical sequencing. The purpose of this workshop is to update participants about progress of the consortium work, continue to get broad input from individual stakeholders to update or refine the consortium work plan, continue to broadly solicit consortium membership from interested stakeholders, and invite members to participate in work plan implementation.

    Topics of discussion at this workshop will include progress and planning of the Analysis Group, which is analyzing and integrating the large variety of sequencing data for four candidate NIST Reference Materials (RMs), with a particular focus on challenging types of variants and challenging regions of the genome. Other potential NIST RMs that might be developed by the consortium will also be discussed.

    DATES:

    The Genome in a Bottle Consortium workshop will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time, and Friday, January 29, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Attendees must register by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, January 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held on the second floor of the Li Ka Shing Conference Center, Stanford University, 291 Campus Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94305. Please note admittance instructions under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information contact Justin Zook by email at [email protected] or by phone at (301) 975-4133 or Marc Salit by email at [email protected] or by phone at (650) 350-2338. To register, go to: http://web.stanford.edu/~saracl/GIAB2016.fb

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Clinical application of ultra high throughput sequencing (UHTS) for hereditary genetic diseases and oncology is rapidly growing. At present, there are no widely accepted genomic standards or quantitative performance metrics for confidence in variant calling. These standards and quantitative performance metrics are needed to achieve the confidence in measurement results expected for sound, reproducible research and regulated applications in the clinic. On April 13, 2012, NIST convened the workshop “Genome in a Bottle” to initiate a consortium to develop the reference materials, reference methods, and reference data needed to assess confidence in human whole genome variant calls (www.genomeinabottle.org). On August 16-17, 2012, NIST hosted the first large public meeting of the Genome in a Bottle Consortium, with about 100 participants from government, academic institutions, and industry. This meeting was announced in the Federal Register (77 FR 43237) on July 24, 2012. A principal motivation for this consortium was to enable science-based regulatory oversight of clinical sequencing.

    At the August 2012 meeting, the consortium established work plans for four technical working groups with the following responsibilities:

    (1) Reference Material (RM) Selection and Design: Select appropriate sources for whole genome RMs and identify or design synthetic DNA constructs that could be spiked-in to samples for measurement assurance.

    (2) Measurements for Reference Material Characterization: Design and carry out experiments to characterize the RMs using multiple sequencing methods, other methods, and validation of selected variants using orthogonal technologies.

    (3) Bioinformatics, Data Integration, and Data Representation: Develop methods to analyze and integrate the data for each RM, as well as select appropriate formats to represent the data.

    (4) Performance Metrics and Figures of Merit: Develop useful performance metrics and figures of merit that can be obtained through measurement of the RMs.

    The products of these technical working groups will be a set of well-characterized whole genome and synthetic DNA RMs along with the methods (documentary standards) and reference data necessary for use of the RMs. These products will be designed to help enable translation of whole genome sequencing to regulated clinical applications. The pilot, NIST “Human DNA for Whole-Genome Variant Assessment (Daughter of Utah/European Ancestry)” RM was released in May 2015 and is available at http://tinyurl.com/giabpilot. The consortium is currently analyzing and integrating data from two trios that are candidate NIST RMs. The consortium meets in workshops two times per year, in January at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and in August at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD. At these workshops, including the last meetings at Stanford in January 2015 and at NIST in August 2015, participants in the consortium have discussed progress developing well-characterized genomes for NIST Reference Materials and planned future experiments and analysis of these genomes (see https://federalregister.gov/a/2012-18064, https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-18934, https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-18841 and https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-01158 for past workshops at NIST and Stanford). The January 2015 meeting was announced in the Federal Register (80 FR 3220) on January 22, 2015, and the meeting is summarized at https://docs.google.com/document/d/19J6YDg1MH1iD-8Q8mmV9L7wHOfuyUC3aogctZ2Nh87U/edit?usp=sharing. The August 2015 meeting was announced in the Federal Register (80 FR 45194) on July 29, 2015, and the meeting is summarized at https://docs.google.com/document/d/19-KSn0ydF8rsWRbl6OqhIdbt2gGN10dOMRF6inKmrk4/edit?usp=sharing.

    There is no cost for participating in the consortium. No proprietary information will be shared as part of the consortium, and all research results will be in the public domain.

    All attendees are required to pre-register. Anyone wishing to attend this meeting must pre-register at http://web.stanford.edu/~saracl/GIAB2016.fb by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, January 21, 2016, in order to attend.

    Richard Cavanagh, Acting Associate Director of Laboratory Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33140 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Quantitative Assessment of Spatially-Explicit Social Values Relative to Wind Energy Areas: Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina AGENCY:

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted on or before March 7, 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 Theresa L. Goedeke, 240-533-0383 or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Abstract

    Pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act, this request is for a new data collection to benefit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and policy-makers on the state and local level in North Carolina. BOEM has identified three wind energy areas for potential development on the outer continental shelf of North Carolina. The National Ocean Service (NOS) proposes to collect data on the knowledge, beliefs, social values, and attitudes of North Carolina and South Carolina residents relative to marine and coastal landscapes, alternative energy production options, and offshore wind energy development. Respondents will be sampled from households in eight to ten coastal counties.

    The required information will be used to objectively assess the level of support and/or opposition for offshore wind energy development in the region, as well as identify the relevant issues and concerns most salient to residents. The information will be used by BOEM, NOAA, and others to improve agency understanding about the beliefs, social values, attitudes, and concerns of people potentially affected by offshore wind energy development. Such information will be used to ascertain the possible sociocultural outcomes of offshore wind energy development in the region, such as an enhancement or reduction in enjoyment of the coastal landscape/seascape. Additionally, information collected will be used to improve communication efforts targeted to residents, enabling agencies to more effectively and efficiently direct outreach and community inclusion activities.

    II. Method of Collection

    The data collection will take place over a three to four month period and will be comprised of a questionnaire to be completed by the respondent. The data will be collected via a mail-back survey instrument.

    III. Data

    OMB Control Number: 0648-XXXX.

    Form Number: None.

    Type of Review: Regular submission (request for a new information collection).

    Affected Public: Individuals or households.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 4,000.

    Estimated Time per Response: 20 minutes.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1,333.

    Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

    IV. Request for Comments

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33152 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-JE-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Port of Long Beach Deep Draft Navigation Project, Los Angeles County, CA AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DOD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of Intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The Los Angeles District intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to support a cost-shared feasibility study with the Port of Long Beach, California, for navigation improvements to existing navigation channels within the Port. The purpose of the feasibility study is to provide safe, reliable, and efficient waterborne transportation improvements to the Port of Long Beach. The EIS will analyze potential impacts of the recommended plan and a range of alternatives for navigation improvements. Alternatives will include both structural and non-structural measures.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit your concerns in writing to the Los Angeles District at the address below. Comments, suggestions, and requests to be placed on the mailing list for announcements should be sent to Larry Smith, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, 915 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 930, Los Angeles, CA 90017-3401, or email to [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    For further information contact Mr. Larry Smith, Project Environmental Coordinator, (213) 452-3846.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authorization: Resolution of the Senate Committee on Public Works adopted 11 May 1967 and the Resolution of the House Committee on Public Works adopted 10 July 1968. The Army Corps of Engineers intends to prepare an EIS to assess the environmental effects associated with proposed navigation improvements measures in the study area.

    Study Area: The Port of Long Beach is on the coast of southern California in San Pedro Bay, approximately 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, California. The communities of San Pedro and Wilmington are to the west and northwest of San Pedro Bay, respectively, and to the northeast the city of Long Beach. The study area includes the waters in the immediate vicinity (and shoreward) of the breakwaters through the entire Port of Long Beach and the downstream reaches of the Los Angeles River that have direct impact on the Bay, including Outer Harbor, Inner Harbor, Cerritos Channel, West Basin, and the Back Channel.

    Problems and Needs: The primary problem is the inefficient operation of deep draft vessels in secondary channels, which increases the Nation's transportation costs. This study will address inefficiencies to container movements only. The following problem statements summarize these inefficiencies.

    (1) Due to depth limitations along channels accessing the Port's container terminals, existing container vessels cannot load to their maximum draft, which is causing light-loading of vessels at the point of origin and delays to an increasing number of containerships.

    (2) The dimensions of the world-wide fleet of container vessels have increased significantly, and it is anticipated that this trend will continue into the future. Delays and light-loading due to container vessel draft limits will increase as new, larger vessels are added to the fleet.

    (3) There are diminished recreation opportunities and environmental degradation in coastal areas outside of the study area.

    Proposed Action and Alternatives: The Los Angeles District will investigate and evaluate all reasonable alternatives to address the problems and needs identified above. In addition to the NO ACTION alternative, both structural (deepen the secondary access channel to Pier J, deepen the secondary access channel to Pier T West Basin, construct a turning basin in the secondary access channel to Pier J, construct a turning basin in the secondary access channel to Pier T West Basin, deepen the approach channel, or deepen the anchorage along the main channel, beneficial use of dredged material for recreation or ecosystem restoration) and non-structural (high tide riding, light loading, and vessel re-routing) measures will be investigated.

    Previous Actions: Port of Long Beach Main Channel Deepening Project, Pier T Marine Terminal, Middle Harbor Redevelopment.

    Scoping: The scoping process is ongoing and has involved preliminary coordination with Federal, State, and local agencies. A public scoping meeting is scheduled on 19 January 2016, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Port of Long Beach Harbor Department Interim Administrative Offices; 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, California. The public will have an opportunity to express opinions and raise any issues relating to the scope of the Feasibility Study and the EIS. The public as well as Federal, State, and local agencies are encouraged to participate by submitting data, information, and comments identifying relevant environmental and socioeconomic issues to be addressed in the study. Useful information includes other environmental studies, published and unpublished data, alternatives that could be addressed in the analysis, and potential mitigation measures associated with the proposed action. All comments enter into the public record.

    Availability of the Draft EIS: The Draft EIS is scheduled to be published and circulated in late 2016, and a public hearing to receive comments on the Draft EIS will be held after it is published.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Dennis P. Sugrue, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Acting Commander and Acting District Engineer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33166 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Orders Granting Authority To Import and Export Natural Gas, To Import and Export Liquefied Natural Gas, To Vacate Prior Authorization and Errata During November 2015 FE Docket Nos. PIERIDAE ENERGY (USA) LTD 14-179-LNG SUNCOR ENERGY MARKETING INC 15-158-NG BAKKEN HUNTER, LLC 15-160-NG MERCURIA COMMODITIES CANADA CORPORATION 15-161-NG PUGET SOUND ENERGY, INC 15-139-LNG PUGET SOUND ENERGY, INC 15-140-LNG PUGET SOUND ENERGY, INC 15-141-LNG PUGET SOUND ENERGY, INC 11-142-LNG FLORIDIAN NATURAL GAS STORAGE COMPANY, LLC 15-38-LNG IBERDROLA ENERGY SERVICES, LLC 15-172-NG COLONIAL ENERGY, INC 15-173-NG RAINBOW ENERGY MARKETING CORPORATION 15-166-NG SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GAS COMPANY 15-167-NG DELPHI ENERGY CORP 15-170-NG WISCONSIN PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION 15-163-NG DIVERSENERGY 15-159-LNG AGENCY:

    Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of orders.

    SUMMARY:

    The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the Department of Energy gives notice that during November 2015, it issued orders granting authority to import and export natural gas, to import and export liquefied natural gas (LNG), to vacate prior authority, and errata. These orders are summarized in the attached appendix and may be found on the FE Web site at http://energy.gov/fe/downloads/listing-doefe-authorizationsorders-issued-2015. They are also available for inspection and copying in the U.S. Department of Energy (FE-34), Division of Natural Gas Regulation, Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Fossil Energy, Docket Room 3E-033, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, (202) 586-9478. The Docket Room is open between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 17, 2015. John A. Anderson, Director, Office of Regulation and International Engagement, Office of Oil and Natural Gas. Appendix —DOE/FE Orders Granting Import/Export Authorizations Errata 11/02/15 14-179-LNG Pieridae Energy (USA) Ltd Errata notice to DOE/FE Order No. 3639. 3737 11/02/15 15-158-NG Suncor Energy Marketing Inc Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3738 11/02/15 15-160-NG Bakken Hunter, LLC Order granting blanket authority to import natural gas from Canada. 3739 11/03/15 15-161-NG Mercuria Commodities Canada Corporation Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3740 11/12/15 15-139-NG Puget Sound Energy, Inc Order granting long-term authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3741 11/12/15 15-140-NG Puget Sound Energy, Inc Order granting long-term authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3742 11/12/15 15-141-NG Puget Sound Energy, Inc Order granting long-term authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3743 11/12/15 15-142-NG Puget Sound Energy, Inc Order granting long-term authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3744 11/25/15 15-38-LNG Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company, LLC Final Opinion and Order 3744 granting long-term, Multi-contract authority to export LNG in ISO Containers loaded at the proposed Floridian Facility in Martin County, Florida, and exported by vessel to Free Trade Agreement Nations. 3745 11/30/15 15-172-NG Iberdrola Energy Services, LLC Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3746 11/30/15 15-173-NG Colonial Energy, Inc Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada/Mexico. 3747 11/30/15 15-166-NG Rainbow Energy Marketing Corporation Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada/Mexico. 3748 11/30/15 15-167-NG Southern California Gas Company Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3749 11/30/15 15-170-NG Delphi Energy Corp Order granting blanket authority to import natural gas from Canada. 3750 11/30/15 15-163-NG Wisconsin Public Service Corporation Order granting blanket authority to import/export natural gas from/to Canada. 3751 11/30/15 15-159-LNG DIVERSENERGY Order granting blanket authority to import/export LNG from/to Mexico by truck and vacating prior authority.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33151 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. RD16-2-000] Proposed Agency Information Collection AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) invites public comment in Docket No. RD16-2-000 on a proposed change to collections of information (FERC-725P and FERC-725P1) that the Commission is developing for submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    DATES:

    Comments regarding this proposed information collection must be received on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

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

    • Electronic Filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents created electronically using word processing software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned format.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ellen Brown may be reached by email at [email protected], telephone at (202) 502-8663, and fax at (202) 273-0873.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Commission will submit the reporting and recordkeeping requirements of Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 to OMB for review. Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 replaces or supplements requirements from previous versions of the PRC-005 Reliability Standard, which are approved under FERC-725P (Mandatory Reliability Standards: Reliability Standard PRC-005-3, OMB Control No. 1902-0269) and FERC-725P1 (Mandatory Reliability Standards, PRC-005-4 Reliability Standard, OMB Control No. 1902-0280). The requirements and associated burden of Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 will be included in FERC-725P1.1

    1 In the future, to consolidate reporting requirements associated with the PRC Standards, the Commission plans to transfer the burden associated with Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 to FERC-725G (OMB Control No. 1902-0252) and removed from FERC-725P and FERC-725P1.

    Type of Request: Three-year extension of the FERC-725P1 information collection requirements with the stated changes to the current reporting and record retention requirements, and reduction to the requirements of FERC-725P.

    Abstract: The Commission requires the information collected by the FERC-725P1 to implement the statutory provisions of section 215 of the Federal Power Act (FPA).2 On August 8, 2005, Congress enacted into law the Electricity Modernization Act of 2005, which is Title XII, Subtitle A, of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005).3 EPAct 2005 added a new section 215 to the FPA, which required a Commission-certified Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) to develop mandatory and enforceable Reliability Standards, which are subject to Commission review and approval. Once approved, the Reliability Standards may be enforced by the ERO subject to Commission oversight, or the Commission can independently enforce Reliability Standards.4

    2 16 U.S.C. 824o (2012).

    3 Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58, Title XII, Subtitle A, 119 Stat. 594, 941 (codified at 16 U.S.C. 824o).

    4 16 U.S.C. 824o(e)(3).

    On February 3, 2006, the Commission issued Order No. 672, implementing section 215 of the FPA.5 Pursuant to Order No. 672, the Commission certified one organization, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), as the ERO.6 The Reliability Standards developed by the ERO and approved by the Commission apply to users, owners and operators of the Bulk-Power System as set forth in each Reliability Standard.

    5Rules Concerning Certification of the Electric Reliability Organization; and Procedures for the Establishment, Approval, and Enforcement of Electric Reliability Standards, Order No. 672, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,204, order on reh'g, Order No. 672-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,212 (2006).

    6North American Electric Reliability Corp., 116 FERC ¶ 61,062, order on reh'g and compliance, 117 FERC ¶ 61,126 (2006), order on compliance, 118 FERC ¶ 61,190, order on reh'g, 119 FERC ¶ 61,046 (2007), aff'd sub nom. Alcoa Inc. v. FERC, 564 F.3d 1342 (D.C. Cir. 2009).

    On November 13, 2015, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) filed a petition for Commission approval of proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 (Protection System, Automatic Reclosing, and Sudden Pressure Relaying Maintenance). NERC also requested approval of the proposed implementation plan for PRC-005-6, and the retirement of previous versions of Reliability Standard PRC-005. NERC explained in its petition that Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 represents an improvement upon the most recently-approved version of the standard, PRC-005-4.7 FERC approved the proposed Reliability Standard PRC-005-6 on December 18, 2015.8

    7 As noted in NERC's petition, NERC filed a separate motion to delay implementation of the approved, but not yet effective, versions of the PRC-005 Reliability Standard in Docket Nos. RM14-8-000 (PRC-005-3), RD15-3-000 (PRC-005-3(i)), and RM15-9-000 (PRC-005-4) until after the Commission issues an order or rule regarding proposed PRC-005-6. NERC's motion was granted in a delegated letter order issued December 4, 2015. See North American Elec. Reliability Corp., Docket Nos. RM14-8-000 et al. (Dec. 4, 2015) (delegated letter order).

    8 The Delegated Letter Order is available in FERC's eLibrary at http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/common/opennat.asp?fileID=14076238.

    Type of Respondents: Transmission Owners (TO), Generator Owners (GO), and Distribution Providers.

    Estimate of Annual Burden. 9 Estimates for the changes to burden and cost due to Docket No. RD16-2-000 follow.

    9 The Commission defines burden as the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a federal agency. 5 CFR 1320.3 (2014) (explaining what is included in the information collection burden).

    Changes Made in RD16-2-000 Reliability standard Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total
  • number of
  • responses
  • Average burden and cost per
  • response
  • Total annual
  • burden (hours)
  • and cost
  • Total annual
  • cost per
  • respondent
  • (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (3) * (4) = (5) ($) FERC-725P (Reduction due to Replacement of PRC-005-3)10 11 One-time review of existing plant and substation sites to determine which ones fall under PRC-005-3 12 937 −1 −937 2 hrs.; $146 −1,874 hrs.; −$136,802 −146.00 One-time review and adjustment of existing program 13 288 −1 −288 8 hrs.; $584 −2,304 hrs.; −$168,192 −584.00 Total Reduction to FERC-725P −1,225 −4,178 hrs.; −$304,994 FERC-725P1 Replacement of PRC-005-4 14 15—One-time review of sudden pressure relay maintenance program and adjustment (Burden Reduction) 1,287 −1 −1,287 8 hrs.; $522.72 −10,296 hrs.; −$672,740.64 −522.72 Implementation of PRC-005-6—One-time review of existing plant and substation sites to determine which ones fall under PRC-005-6 (Burden Increase) 16 937 1 937 2 hrs.; $145 1,874 hrs.; $135,397 144.50 Implementation of PRC-005-6—One-time review and adjustment of existing program for reclosing relays and associated equipment (Burden Increase) 288 1 288 8.5 hrs.; $614 2,448 hrs.; $176,868 614.00 Implementation of PRC-005-6—One-time review and adjustment of existing program for sudden pressure relays (Burden Increase) 1,287 1 1,287 8 hrs.; $531.60 10,296 hrs.; $684,169.20 531.60 Total Net Increase to FERC-725P1 2,512 4,332 hrs.; $323,693.56 Total Net Change, due to RD16-2 0 144 hrs.; $18,699

    10 The estimates for cost per response are derived using the following formula: Average Burden Hours per Response * $73 per Hour = Average Cost per Response. The hourly cost figure comes from the average of the salary plus benefits for a manager and an engineer (rounded to the nearest dollar). The figures are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at (http://bls.gov/oes/current/naics3_221000.htm).

    11 Implemented in Docket RM14-8.

    12 This figure reflects the generator owners and transmission owners identified in the NERC Compliance Registry as of May 28, 2014.

    13 This figure is a subset of GOs and TOs, as discussed in Order 803 (Docket No. RM14-8), P 41.

    14 Implemented in Docket RM15-9.

    15 The estimates for cost per response are derived using the following formula: Average Burden Hours per Response * $65.34 per Hour = Average Cost per Response. The hourly cost figure comes from the average of the salary plus benefits for an engineer (rounded to the nearest dollar). The figures are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at (http://bls.gov/oes/current/naics3_221000.htm).

    16 This figure reflects the generator owners and transmission owners identified in the NERC Compliance Registry as of May 28, 2014.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33125 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL16-21-000] C.P. Crane LLC; Notice of Institution of Section 206 Proceeding and Refund Effective Date

    On December 29, 2015, the Commission issued an order in Docket No. EL16-21-000, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824e (2012), instituting an investigation into the justness and reasonableness of C.P. Crane LLC's reactive power rate schedule. C.P. Crane LLC, 153 FERC ¶ 61,348 (2015).

    The refund effective date in Docket No. EL16-21-000, established pursuant to section 206(b) of the FPA, will be the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33124 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-490-000, CP15-490-001] Delfin LNG, LLC; Notice of Scoping for the Proposed Delfin LNG Project and Request for Comments on Environmental Issues

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) is cooperating with the U.S. Coast Guard (Coast Guard), the lead federal agency for environmental review of the Delfin LNG Project. This proposal involves the construction and operation of an offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port (under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration) and associated pipeline facilities, including about 1.1 mile of onshore pipeline and aboveground facilities under the Commission's jurisdiction. FERC staff is assisting the Coast Guard in its preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Delfin LNG Project. This cooperative effort is to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), which requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impact that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act.

    NEPA requires the FERC to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals under its review. This process is referred to as “scoping.” On November 19, 2015, Delfin LNG, LLC (Delfin LNG) amended its application with the FERC regarding the proposed aboveground facilities. Thus, the FERC is opening a scoping period to solicit input from the public and interested agencies limited to the proposed onshore pipeline and related facilities (i.e., those under FERC jurisdiction) in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. You can make a difference by providing us 1 with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help determine which issues need to be evaluated in the EIS.2 Please note that the scoping period will close on January 28, 2016, and comments should be limited to the onshore facilities described in this amended docket. Details on how to submit comments are provided in the Public Participation section of this notice.

    1 “We,” “us,” and “our” refers to environmental staff of the Office of Energy Projects.

    2 For more information on the original and amended Delfin LNG Project or the Coast Guard's EIS process, see the July 29, 2015 edition of the Federal Register, page 45,270, and the December 24, 2015 edition of the Federal Register, page 80,455 “Deepwater Port License Application: Delfin LNG LLC, Delfin LNG Deepwater Port” under Department of Transportation/Maritime Administration.

    If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the planned facilities. Delfin LNG would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, Delfin LNG could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

    This notice is being sent to affected landowners; federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; Native American tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. State and local government representatives are asked to notify their constituents of this proposed project and to encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.3 If you received this notice, you are on the environmental mailing list for this project and will continue to receive project updates including the draft and final EISs.

    3 Comments submitted during the Coast Guard's scoping period (July 29-September 28, 2015) for the project as originally proposed do not need to be resubmitted.

    A fact sheet prepared by the FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility On My Land? What Do I Need To Know?” is available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings.

    Summary of the Proposed Project (FERC Jurisdictional Facilities)

    Delfin LNG proposes to activate the formerly abandoned U-T offshore system (UTOS) pipeline and construct new connecting pipelines, a compressor station, and appurtenant facilities the majority of which would be within the PSI Midstream Partners, L.P. (PSI) Cameron Meadows Gas Plant and adjacent Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line, LLC (Transco) Station 44 in Cameron Parish. The proposed facilities consist of:

    • 1.1 miles of the existing onshore portion of the 42-inch-diameter UTOS pipeline from the landward side of the mean high water mark along the coast of Cameron Parish to just inside the boundary of Transco Station 44;

    • a mainline block valve and blowdown site located south of Louisiana Highway 82;

    • a new meter station and connecting piping within the Transco Station 44 site;

    • a new 0.25-mile-long 42-inch-diameter pipeline to connect the UTOS line to the new meter station;

    • new twin 0.6-mile-long 30-inch diameter header pipelines;

    • a new compressor station consisting of:

    four 30,000 horsepower (hp) Solar Tital 250 gas turbine-driven compressors;

    four gas coolers;

    three 600 kilowatt generators;

    two control buildings, office and warehouse buildings; and

    pig launcher and check meter.

    The general location of the proposed onshore pipeline is shown in appendix 1.4

    4 The appendix referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendix were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or call (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to page 5 of this notice.

    Land Requirements for Construction

    Approximately 19.4 acres of land would be affected by construction, with about 13.0 acres permanently impacted for operation. The construction right-of-way width for the three adjacent pipelines—the twin 0.6-mile, 30-inch-diameter header pipelines and the 0.25-mile 42-inch-diameter pipeline would be 120 feet wide, of which 70 feet would be retained as permanent right-of-way. The majority of aboveground facilities would be constructed within the existing fence lines of the Cameron Meadows Gas Plant and Transco Station 44.

    Of the land effected by construction, approximately 36.4 percent is classified as industrial land use and approximately 35.9 percent is currently maintained in an herbaceous state. The remaining land comprises intermediate marsh, coastal dune shrub thicket, scrub/shrub swamp, and roads.

    The EIS Process

    NEPA requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as “scoping.” The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EIS on the important environmental issues.

    As mentioned previously, the Coast Guard is the lead federal agency preparing the EIS for the overall Delfin LNG Deepwater Port Project. According to the Maritime Administration's December 24, 2015 Notice of Receipt of Amended Application and Request for Comments, when a draft EIS is complete and ready for public review, the Maritime Administration will publish a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register to provide for a public comment period that include public meetings in Louisiana and Texas. FERC, as a cooperating agency will play an important role in developing the environmental analysis for the FERC-jurisdictional (onshore) facilities in the EIS. Thus, FERC staff will work with Coast Guard staff and contractors to ensure that the onshore facilities are thoroughly evaluated and that all scoping comments received as a result of this notice are addressed, as appropriate, in the EIS. Staff will also evaluate reasonable alternatives to the proposed project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on various resource areas.

    Public Participation

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or [email protected] Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

    (2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (CP15-490) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Becoming an Intervenor

    In addition to involvement in the EIS scoping process, you may want to become an “intervenor” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/intervene.asp.

    Additional Information

    Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site at www.ferc.gov using the “eLibrary” link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., CP15-490). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

    In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Finally, public meetings or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33123 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. RM98-1-000] Records Governing Off-the-Record Communications; Public Notice

    This constitutes notice, in accordance with 18 CFR 385.2201(b), of the receipt of prohibited and exempt off-the-record communications.

    Order No. 607 (64 FR 51222, September 22, 1999) requires Commission decisional employees, who make or receive a prohibited or exempt off-the-record communication relevant to the merits of a contested proceeding, to deliver to the Secretary of the Commission, a copy of the communication, if written, or a summary of the substance of any oral communication.

    Prohibited communications are included in a public, non-decisional file associated with, but not a part of, the decisional record of the proceeding. Unless the Commission determines that the prohibited communication and any responses thereto should become a part of the decisional record, the prohibited off-the-record communication will not be considered by the Commission in reaching its decision. Parties to a proceeding may seek the opportunity to respond to any facts or contentions made in a prohibited off-the-record communication, and may request that the Commission place the prohibited communication and responses thereto in the decisional record. The Commission will grant such a request only when it determines that fairness so requires. Any person identified below as having made a prohibited off-the-record communication shall serve the document on all parties listed on the official service list for the applicable proceeding in accordance with Rule 2010, 18 CFR 385.2010.

    Exempt off-the-record communications are included in the decisional record of the proceeding, unless the communication was with a cooperating agency as described by 40 CFR 1501.6, made under 18 CFR 385.2201(e)(1)(v).

    The following is a list of off-the-record communications recently received by the Secretary of the Commission. The communications listed are grouped by docket numbers in ascending order. These filings are available for electronic review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov using the eLibrary link. Enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits, in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected] or toll free at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659.

    Prohibited Docket No. File date Presenter or requester 1. CP15-554-000 12-14-2015 Danielle Pollard. 2. CP15-554-000 12-14-2015 Travis Hancock. 3. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Angela Rangel. 4. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Brianna L. Jess. 5. CP16-21-000 12-16-2015 J.L. Bradley. 6. CP16-21-000 12-16-2015 Sebern Fisher. 7. CP16-21-000 12-16-2015 Stephen Balog and Kate Balog. 8. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Tanesia Anthony. 9. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Esau Gilmore. 10. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Jordan McMillan. 11. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Carolyn Barrette. 12. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Devon Herndon. 13. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Bria Jackson. 14. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 DruAusten Fields. 15. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Kyle Sellers. 16. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Saloni Patel. 17. CP15-17-000 12-16-2015 Madison Armona. 18. CP14-96-000 12-18-2015 Paul M. Blanch. 19. CP15-558-000 12-18-2015 Rosemarie Jeanettorea and Walter Niemczyk. 20. CP15-554-000 12-21-2015 Leroy Haskett. 21. CP15-554-000 12-22-2015 Edith Goff. 22. CP15-93-000 12-23-2015 LIUNA. Exempt Docket No. File date Presenter or requester 1. CP16-21-000 12-11-2015 U.S. Senator Kelly A. Ayotte. 2. CP14-115-000, CP14-103-000, CP14-493-000 12-15-2015 U.S. Congressmen.1 3. CP15-504-000 12-16-2014 FERC Staff.2 4. CP15-554-000, CP16-10-000 12-16-2014 State of Virginia Delegate Lamont Bagby. 5. CP15-115-000 12-18-2015 State of New York Assemblyman John Ceretto. 6. CP16-22-000 12-18-2015 U.S. House Representative Robert E. Latta. 7. CP15-554-000 12-21-2015 U.S. Congressmen.3 8. CP15-554-000 12-21-2015 U.S. House Representative G.K. Butterfield. 9. CP14-96-000 12-22-2015 U.S. House Representative Eliot L. Engel. 10. CP16-9-000 12-22-2015 State of Maine Governor Paul R. LePage. 11. CP16-21-000 12-23-2015 Town of Brookline, Massachusetts, Town Administrator Melvin A. Kleckner. Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33126 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    1 Johnny Isakson, David Perdue, and Earl L. `Buddy' Carter.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2192-026 ER15-1537-003; ER15-1539-003; ER10-2178-026; ER13-1536-010; ER11-2010-023; ER12-1829-013; ER12-1223-018

    2 Meeting Summary from December 10, 2015 call with FERC, HDR Engineering, Inc., and International Paper regarding Columbia to Eastover Project.

    Applicants: Constellation Energy Commodities Group Maine, LLC, Constellation Energy Services, Inc., Constellation Energy Services of New York, Inc., Constellation NewEnergy, Inc., Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Exelon Wind 4, LLC, Shooting Star Wind Project, LLC, Wildcat Wind, LLC

    3 Richard Hudson, Renee Ellmers, George Holding, and Davis Rouzer.

    Description: Updated Market Power Analysis for the Southwest Power Pool Region of the Exelon SPP Entities.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5163.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-180-001.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of Colorado.

    Description: Tariff Amendment: 20151229_Amended JDA to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5208.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-641-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Expedited Service Agreement to be effective 12/10/2015.

    Filed Date: 12/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20151228-5226.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-642-000.

    Applicants: Idaho Power Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: PAC Imnaha NITSA April 2016 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5003.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-643-000.

    Applicants: Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: WPC 2016 TCEC Ex C Filing to be effective 1/31/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5142.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-644-000.

    Applicants: Entergy Services, Inc.

    Description: Application of Entergy Services, Inc. on behalf of Entergy Arkansas, Inc. to collect nuclear decommissioning costs for Nuclear One Unit 2 generating plant.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5162.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-645-000.

    Applicants: RE Barren Ridge 1 LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Application for MBR to be effective 2/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5173.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-646-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., American Electric Power Service Corporation.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: AEPSC submits updated depreciation rate revisions to Attach. H-14 and H-20 to be effective 7/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5183.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-647-000.

    Applicants: Otter Tail Power Company.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to Service Agreement No. 4 Under the CASOT to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5211.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES16-18-000.

    Applicants: NorthWestern Corporation.

    Description: Application for Authorization Under Section 204 of the Federal Power Act to Issue Securities of NorthWestern Corporation.

    Filed Date: 12/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20151228-5287.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33121 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings

    Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings:

    Filings Instituting Proceedings

    Docket Numbers: RP13-316-000.

    Applicants: Tallgrass Interstate Gas Transmission, L.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.501: TIGT 2015 Annual Reconciliation Filing to be effective.

    Filed Date: 12/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20151228-5086.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-322-000.

    Applicants: Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC.

    Description: Interruptible Revenue Sharing Report for 2015 of Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC under RP16-322.

    Filed Date: 12/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20151228-5154.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-323-000.

    Applicants: Kern River Gas Transmission Company.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: 2015 Meter Modifications to be effective 2/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20151228-5172.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-324-000.

    Applicants: Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC.

    Description: Section 4(d) rate filing per 154.204: Neg Rate 2015-12-28 Koch to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/28/15.

    Accession Number: 20151228-5191.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    Docket Numbers: RP16-325-000.

    Applicants: Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing per 154.203: Annual Accounting Report filing on 12/29/15.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5093.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/11/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33129 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #2

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2302-006.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: Public Service Company of New Mexico submits Triennial Market Power Update.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5195.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-648-000.

    Applicants: Valley Electric Association, Inc.

    Description: Section 205(d) Rate Filing: Annual TRBAA Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5230.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-649-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Cancellation of Tariff 304 to be effective 2/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5260.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-650-000.

    Applicants: Arizona Public Service Company.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Cancellation of Service Agreement No. 340 to be effective 2/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5262.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 1/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-651-000.

    Applicants: Milo Wind Project, LLC.

    Description: Market-Based Triennial Review Filing: Milo Wind Project Triennial Filing to be effective 2/28/2016.

    Filed Date: 12/29/15.

    Accession Number: 20151229-5273.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/29/16.

    The filings are accessible in the Commission's eLibrary system by clicking on the links or querying the docket number.

    Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on the specified comment date. Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding.

    eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33122 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0741; FRL-9937-07] Notice of Receipt of Requests To Voluntarily Cancel Pesticide Registrations and Amend Registrations To Terminate Certain Uses AGENCY:

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA is issuing a notice of receipt of requests by the registrants to voluntarily cancel their registrations of certain products containing the pesticides alachlor, atrazine, fludioxonil, glyphosate, POE isooctadecanol, pyrithiobac, quizalofop-p-ethyl, thiamethoxam, and thiophanate methyl, and to amend three dodine product registrations to terminate use on strawberries. The requests would not terminate the last atrazine, fludioxonil, glyphosate, POE isooctadecanol, pyrithiobac, quizalofop-p-ethyl, thiamethoxam, and thiophanate methyl products registered for use in the United States. One request, if granted, would terminate the last alachlor products registered for use in the United States. EPA intends to grant these requests at the close of the comment period for this announcement unless the Agency receives substantive comments within the comment period that would merit its further review of the requests, or unless the registrants withdraw their requests. If these requests are granted, any sale, distribution, or use of products listed in this notice will be permitted after the registrations have been cancelled and uses terminated only if such sale, distribution, or use is consistent with the terms as described in the final order.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0741, 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:

    Miguel Zavala, Pesticide Re-Evaluation Division (7508P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 347-0504; email address: [email protected].

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

    This action is directed to the public in general, and may be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders including environmental, human health, and agricultural advocates; the chemical industry; pesticide users; and members of the public interested in the sale, distribution, or use of pesticides. Since others also may be interested, the Agency has not attempted to describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action.

    B. What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

    1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to EPA through 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.

    II. Background on the Receipt of Requests To Cancel and/or Amend Registrations To Delete Uses

    This notice announces receipt by EPA of requests from ADAMA Agricultural Solutions, Gowan Company, Syngenta Crop Protection, BASF Corporation, and Monsanto Company to cancel certain product registrations and from Agriphar S.A. to amend certain registrations to terminate uses on strawberry.

    Alachlor is an herbicide registered for on beans, corn, peanuts, sorghum, and soybeans. There are no non-agricultural use sites. Atrazine is an herbicide registered for use on corn, sorghum, and sugarcane. In a letter dated October 13, 2015, Monsanto requested that EPA cancel all alachlor product registrations identified in Table 1 of Unit III. Several of these alachlor products also contain atrazine. Such action would terminate the last alachlor pesticide products registered in the United States, but would not terminate the last atrazine pesticide products registered in the United States.

    Dodine is a fungicide registered for use on almonds, apples, bananas, cherries, nectarines, peaches, peanuts and pecans. There are no non-agricultural use sites. In a letter dated June 22, 2015, Ceres International LLC requested on behalf of Agriphar S.A. that EPA amend certain registrations identified in Table 2 of Unit III to delete the use of dodine on strawberry. This request would delete the strawberry use site from all dodine product labels registered for use in the United States, but would not terminate the last dodine pesticide products registered in the United States.

    Fludioxonil is a broad spectrum contact fungicide and antimicrobial that is used on a variety of crops, berries, fruit trees, grasses, herbs, ornamentals, and residential turf, as a preservative for mold remediation and other non-food uses. Thiamethoxam is a broad spectrum nitroguanidine insecticide that is registered for use on several agricultural and non-agricultural commodities. In a letter dated November 19, 2015, Syngenta requested that EPA cancel one pesticide product registration containing both fludioxonil and thiamethoxam identified in Table 1 of Unit III. This action will not terminate the last fludioxonil or thiamethoxam pesticide products registered in the United States.

    Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide registered for use on many food and non-food crops as well as in non-crop and residential areas. Quizalofop-p-ethyl is a systemic herbicide registered for use to control annual and perennial weeds in various food/feed and non-food/feed crops. In a letter dated September 23, 2015, Monsanto Company requested that EPA cancel one pesticide product registration containing both glyphosate and quizalofop-p-ethyl identified in Table 1 of Unit III. This action will not terminate the last glyphosate or quizalofop-p-ethyl pesticide products registered in the United States.

    POE isooctadecanol is registered for insect control including mosquitos as a larvicide and pupicide in flooded areas, swamps, sewage, irrigation and drainage systems, and other aquatic sites. In letters dated October 16, 2015, BASF Corporation requested that EPA cancel certain POE isooctadecanol product registrations identified in Table 1 of Unit III. This action will not terminate the last POE isooctadecanol pesticide products registered in the United States.

    Pyrithiobac is a selective pre- and post-emergent herbicide used to control a variety of broadleaf weeds in cotton fields. In a letter dated October 1, 2015, ADAMA Agricultural Solutions requested that EPA cancel one pyrithiobac product registration identified in Table 1 of Unit III. This action will not terminate the last pyrithiobac pesticide products registered in the United States.

    Thiophanate methyl is a systemic benzimidazole fungicide registered for use on row, field and orchard crops, greenhouses, nurseries, and for commercial seed and bulb dip treatment. In a letter dated May 19, 2015, Gowan Company requested that EPA cancel certain thiophanate methyl product registrations identified in Table 1 of Unit III. This action will not terminate the last thiophanate methyl pesticide products registered in the United States.

    III. What action is the Agency taking?

    This notice announces receipt by EPA of requests from registrants to cancel certain product registrations of alachlor, atrazine, fludioxonil, glyphosate, POE isooctadecanol, pyrithiobac, quizalofop-p-ethyl, thiamethoxam, and thiophanate methyl, and terminate uses on strawberries for certain dodine registrations. The affected products and the registrants making the requests are identified in Tables 1-3 of this unit.

    Unless a request is withdrawn by the registrant or if the Agency determines that there are substantive comments that warrant further review of this request, EPA intends to issue an order canceling the affected registrations and amending to terminate certain uses the affected registrations for which the Agency received use termination requests.

    Table 1—Alachlor, Atrazine, Fludioxonil, Glyphosate, POE Isooctadecanol, Pyrithiobac, Quizalofop-p-ethyl, Thiamethoxam, and Thiophanate Methyl Product Registrations With Requests for Cancellation Registration No. Product name Active ingredient 100-1249 a Adage Maxim 4FS Twin-Pak Fludioxonil and Thiamethoxam. 524-314 Lasso Herbicide Alachlor. 524-316 Lasso 94% Stabilized Technical Alachlor. 524-329 Lariat Herbicide Alachlor and Atrazine. 524-344 Micro-Tech Herbicide Alachlor. 524-418 Bullet Herbicide Alachlor and Atrazine. 524-523 a MON 78746 Herbicide Glyphosate-isopropylammonium and Quizalofop-p-ethyl. 7969-333 Agnique MMF Mosquito Larvicide & Pupicide POE Isooctadecanol. 7969-334 Agnique MMF-GR Mosquito, Larvicide, & Pupicide POE Isooctadecanol. 7969-340 Cando Poly Mosquito Film POE Isooctadecanol. 10163-291 a Thiophanate Methyl Technical 98.4 Thiophanate Methyl. 10163-292 a Thiophanate Methyl Technical Thiophanate Methyl. 83558-11 Pyrithiobac-sodium Technical Pyrithiobac-Sodium. a There are no existing stocks of these product registrations and no requests for existing stocks provisions. Therefore, no existing stocks provision will be provided for these product registrations. Table 2—Dodine Product Registrations With Requests for Amendment To Terminate One or More Uses Registration No. Product name Active ingredient Use to be deleted 55260-4 Dodine Technical Dodine Strawberries. 55260-6 Syllit Flow Fungicide Dodine 55260-11 Syllit 65WG Dodine

    Table 3 of this unit includes the names and addresses of record for the registrants of the products listed in Table 1 and Table 2 of this unit, in sequence by EPA company number. This number corresponds to the first part of the EPA registration numbers of the products listed in Table 1 and Table 2 of this unit.

    Table 3—Registrants Requesting Voluntary Cancellation and/or Amendments EPA Company No. Company name and address 100 Syngenta Crop Protections, LLC, 410 Swing Road, P.O. Box 18300, Greensboro, NC 27419-8300. 524 Monsanto Company, 1300 I Street NW., Suite 450 East, Washington, DC 20005-7211. 7969 BASF Corporation, 26 Davis Drive, P.O. Box 13528, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3528. 10163 Gowan Company, P.O. Box 5569, Yuma, AZ 85366-5569. 55260 Agriphar S.A., 15401 Weston Parkway, Suite 150, Cary, NC 27513. 83558 ADAMA Celsius Property B.V. Amsterdam (NL), 3120 Highwoods Blvd., Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27604. IV. What is the Agency's authority for taking this action?

    Section 6(f)(1) of FIFRA (7 U.S.C. 136d(f)(1)) provides that a registrant of a pesticide product may at any time request that any of its pesticide registrations be canceled or amended to terminate one or more uses. FIFRA further provides that, before acting on the request, EPA must publish a notice of receipt of any such request in the Federal Register.

    Section 6(f)(1)(B) of FIFRA (7 U.S.C. 136d(f)(1)(B)) requires that before acting on a request for voluntary cancellation, EPA must provide a 30-day public comment period on the request for voluntary cancellation or use termination. In addition, FIFRA section 6(f)(1)(C) (7 U.S.C. 136d(f)(1)(C)) requires that EPA provide a 180-day comment period on a request for voluntary cancellation or termination of any minor agricultural use before granting the request, unless:

    1. The registrants request a waiver of the comment period, or

    2. The EPA Administrator determines that continued use of the pesticide would pose an unreasonable adverse effect on the environment.

    The alachlor, atrazine, dodine, fludioxonil, glyphosate, pyrithiobac, POE isooctadecanol, quizalofop-p-ethyl, thiamethoxam, and thiophanate methyl registrants have requested that EPA waive the 180-day comment period. Accordingly, EPA will provide a 30-day comment period on the proposed requests.

    V. Procedures for Withdrawal of Requests

    Registrants who choose to withdraw a request for product cancellation or use deletion should submit the withdrawal in writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. If the product(s) have been subject to a previous cancellation action, the effective date of cancellation and all other provisions of any earlier cancellation action are controlling.

    VI. Provisions for Disposition of Existing Stocks

    Existing stocks are those stocks of registered pesticide products that are currently in the United States and that were packaged, labeled, and released for shipment prior to the effective date of the action. If the requests for voluntary cancellation and amendments to delete uses are granted, the Agency intends to publish the cancellation order in the Federal Register.

    In any order issued in response to these requests for cancellation of product registrations and for amendments to delete uses, EPA proposes to include the following provisions for the treatment of any existing stocks of the products listed in Tables 1 and 2 of Unit III.

    A. For Products 524-523, 10163-291, 10163-292, and 100-1249 in Table 1 of Unit III

    The registrants reported to the Agency via written correspondence that there are no existing stocks of these products. Therefore, no existing stocks provision was requested by or is needed for these registrants. The registrants will be prohibited from selling or distributing these products upon cancellation of these products, except for export consistent with FIFRA section 17 (7 U.S.C. 136o) or for proper disposal.

    B. For All Other Products Identified in Table 1 of Unit III

    Because the Agency has identified no significant potential risk concerns associated with these pesticide products, upon cancellation, EPA anticipates allowing the registrants to sell and distribute existing stocks these products for 1 year after the effective date of the cancellation; i.e., one year after the date of publication of the cancellation order in the Federal Register. Thereafter, registrants will be prohibited from selling or distributing the products identified in Table 1 of Unit III, except for export consistent with FIFRA section 17 (7 U.S.C. 136o) or for proper disposal.

    Persons other than the registrant will generally be allowed to sell, distribute, or use existing stocks of the affected canceled products until such stocks are exhausted, provided that such sale, distribution, or use is consistent with the terms of the previously approved labeling on, or that accompanied, the canceled products.

    C. For All Products Identified in Table 2 of Unit III

    Once EPA has approved product labels reflecting the requested amendments to terminate uses, registrants will be permitted to sell or distribute products under the previously approved labeling for a period of 18 months after the date of Federal Register publication of the cancellation order, unless other restrictions have been imposed. Thereafter, registrants will be prohibited from selling or distributing the products whose labels include the terminated uses identified in Table 2 of Unit III, except for export consistent with FIFRA section 17 or for proper disposal.

    Persons other than the registrant may sell, distribute, or use existing stocks of the products whose labels include the terminated uses until supplies are exhausted, provided that such sale, distribution, or use is consistent with the terms of the previously approved labeling on, or that accompanied, the products with the terminated uses.

    Authority:

    7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.

    Dated: December 23, 2015. Richard P. Keigwin, Jr., Director, Pesticide Re-Evaluation Division, Office of Pesticide Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33179 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
    FEDERAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS ADVISORY BOARD Notice of Request for Comments on Insurance Programs AGENCY:

    Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    Board Action: Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 3511(d), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92-463), as amended, and the FASAB Rules Of Procedure, as amended in October 2010, notice is hereby given that the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) has issued an exposure draft, Insurance Programs.

    The Exposure Draft is available on the FASAB Web site at http://www.fasab.gov/board-activities/documents-for-comment/exposure-drafts-and-documents-for-comment/. Copies can be obtained by contacting FASAB at (202) 512-7350.

    Respondents are encouraged to comment on any part of the exposure draft. Written comments are requested by March 29, 2016, and should be sent to [email protected] or Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director, Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, 441 G Street NW., Suite 6814, Mail Stop 6H19, Washington, DC 20548.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director, 441 G St. NW., Mail Stop 6H20, Washington, DC 20548, or call (202) 512-7350.

    Authority:

    Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub. L. 92-463.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Wendy M. Payne, Executive Director.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33191 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1610-02-P
    FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection Renewal; Comment Request (3064-0114) AGENCY:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    ACTION:

    Notice and request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    The FDIC, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on the renewal of an existing information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. Currently, the FDIC is soliciting comment on renewal of the information collection described below.

    DATES:

    Comments must be submitted on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to the FDIC by any of the following methods:

    http://www.FDIC.gov/regulations/laws/federal/.

    Email: [email protected] Include the name and number of the information collection in the subject line of the message.

    Mail: Gary A. Kuiper (202.898.3877), Counsel, Room MB-3016, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20429.

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

    All comments should refer to the name and number of the information collection. A copy of the comments may also be submitted to the OMB desk officer for the FDIC: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Gary A. Kuiper, at the FDIC address above.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposal to renew the following currently-approved collection of information:

    Title: Foreign Banks.

    OMB Number: 3064-0114.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Affected Public: Insured branches of foreign banks.

    Estimated Number of Respondents: 10.

    Frequency of Response: On occasion.

    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1314 hours.

    General Description of Collection: The Foreign Banks information collection, 3064-0114, consist of applications to move an insured state-licensed branch of a foreign bank; applications to operate as such noninsured state-licensed branch of a foreign bank; applications from an insured state-licensed branch of a foreign bank to conduct activities that are not permissible for a federally-licensed branch; internal recordkeeping by such branches; and reporting and recordkeeping requirements relating to such a branch's pledge of assets to the FDIC.

    Request for Comment

    Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the FDIC's functions, including whether the information has practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the estimates of the burden of the information collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments will become a matter of public record.

    Dated at Washington, DC, this 30th day of December 2015. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33131 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714-01-P
    FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION Notice of Agreements Filed

    The Commission hereby gives notice of the filing of the following agreements under the Shipping Act of 1984. Interested parties may submit comments on the agreements to the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573, within twelve days of the date this notice appears in the Federal Register. Copies of the agreements are available through the Commission's Web site (www.fmc.gov) or by contacting the Office of Agreements at (202) 523-5793 or [email protected]

    Agreement No.: 011516-009.

    Title: Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Discussion Agreement.

    Parties: American President Lines, Ltd.; Hapag-Lloyd USA LLC; Crowley Liner Services, Inc.; Crowley Marine Services, Inc.; Matson Navigation Company; Farrell Lines, Inc. and American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier.

    Filing Party: Wayne R. Rohde, Esq.; Cozen O'Connor; 1200 Nineteenth Street NW., Washington, DC 20036.

    Synopsis: The agreement would add Liberty Global Logistics LLC as a party to the agreement, and revise the address of Hapag-Lloyd USA.

    Agreement No.: 012381.

    Title: NYK/Waterman Steamship Space Charter Agreement.

    Parties: Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Waterman Steamship Corporation.

    Filing Party: Robert Shababb; NYK Line (North America) Inc.; 300 Lighting Way, 5th Floor; Secaucus, NJ 07094.

    Synopsis: The agreement would authorize the parties to charter space from one another in the trade between the U.S. and Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

    Agreement No.: 012382.

    Title: Crowley/King Ocean Space Charter Agreement.

    Parties: Crowley Caribbean Services, LLC and King Ocean Services Limited, Inc.

    Filing Party: Wayne R. Rohde, Esq.; Cozen O'Connor; 1200 19th Street NW., Washington, DC 20036.

    Synopsis: The agreement would authorize King Ocean to charter space to Crowley in the trade between the U.S. East Coast on the one hand and Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao on the other hand.

    By Order of the Federal Maritime Commission.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Rachel E. Dickon, Assistant Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33083 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6731-AA-P
    FEDERAL MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH REVIEW COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting Notice December 30, 2015. TIME AND DATE:

    10:00 a.m., Wednesday, January 13, 2016.

    PLACE:

    The Richard V. Backley Hearing Room, Room 511N, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004 (enter from F Street entrance).

    STATUS:

    Open.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    The Commission will hear oral argument in the matter Secretary of Labor v. Hibbing Taconite Company, Docket Nos. LAKE 2013-231-RM, et al. (Issues include whether the Judge erred in upholding failure to abate orders.)

    Any person attending this oral argument who requires special accessibility features and/or auxiliary aids, such as sign language interpreters, must inform the Commission in advance of those needs. Subject to 29 CFR 2706.150(a)(3) and 2706.160(d).

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFO:

    Emogene Johnson (202) 434-9935/(202) 708-9300 for TDD Relay/1-800-877-8339 for toll free.

    Sarah L. Stewart, Deputy General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33203 Filed 12-31-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6735-01-P
    FEDERAL MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH REVIEW COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting Notice December 30, 2015. TIME AND DATE:

    10:00 a.m., Thursday, January 14, 2016

    PLACE:

    The Richard V. Backley Hearing Room, Room 511N, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004 (enter from F Street entrance).

    STATUS:

    Open.

    MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED:

    The Commission will consider and act upon the following in open session: Secretary of Labor v. Hibbing Taconite Company, Docket Nos. LAKE 2013-231-RM, et al. (Issues include whether the Judge erred in upholding failure to abate orders.)

    Any person attending this meeting who requires special accessibility features and/or auxiliary aids, such as sign language interpreters, must inform the Commission in advance of those needs. Subject to 29 CFR 2706.150(a)(3) and 2706.160(d).

    CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFO:

    Emogene Johnson (202) 434-9935/(202) 708-9300 for TDD Relay/1-800-877-8339 for toll free.

    Sarah L. Stewart, Deputy General Counsel.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33201 Filed 12-31-15; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6735-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2007-D-0256 (Formerly 2007D-0089)] Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Draft Guidance for Industry and Review Staff on Target Product Profile—A Strategic Development Process Tool AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on the reporting requirements contained in the draft guidance for industry and review staff entitled “Target Product Profile—A Strategic Development Process Tool.”

    DATES:

    Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments as follows:

    Electronic Submissions

    Submit electronic comments in the following way:

    • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments submitted electronically, including attachments, to http://www.regulations.gov will be posted to the docket unchanged. Because your comment will be made public, you are solely responsible for ensuring that your comment does not include any confidential information that you or a third party may not wish to be posted, such as medical information, your or anyone else's Social Security number, or confidential business information, such as a manufacturing process. Please note that if you include your name, contact information, or other information that identifies you in the body of your comments, that information will be posted on http://www.regulations.gov.

    • If you want to submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made available to the public, submit the comment as a written/paper submission and in the manner detailed (see “Written/Paper Submissions” and “Instructions”).

    Written/Paper Submissions

    Submit written/paper submissions as follows:

    • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for written/paper submissions): Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    • For written/paper comments submitted to the Division of Dockets Management, FDA will post your comment, as well as any attachments, except for information submitted, marked and identified, as confidential, if submitted as detailed in “Instructions.”

    Instructions: All submissions received must include the Docket No. FDA-2007-D-0256 (formerly 2007D-0089) for “Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Draft Guidance for Industry and Review Staff on Target Product Profile—A Strategic Development Process Tool.” Received comments will be placed in the docket and, except for those submitted as “Confidential Submissions,” publicly viewable at http://www.regulations.gov or at the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    • Confidential Submissions—To submit a comment with confidential information that you do not wish to be made publicly available, submit your comments only as a written/paper submission. You should submit two copies total. One copy will include the information you claim to be confidential with a heading or cover note that states “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION”. The Agency will review this copy, including the claimed confidential information, in its consideration of comments. The second copy, which will have the claimed confidential information redacted/blacked out, will be available for public viewing and posted onhttp://www.regulations.gov. Submit both copies to the Division of Dockets Management. If you do not wish your name and contact information to be made publicly available, you can provide this information on the cover sheet and not in the body of your comments and you must identify this information as “confidential.” Any information marked as “confidential” will not be disclosed except in accordance with 21 CFR 10.20 and other applicable disclosure law. For more information about FDA's posting of comments to public dockets, see 80 FR 56469, September 18, 2015, or access the information at: http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/dockets/default.htm.

    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or the electronic and written/paper comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov and insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the “Search” box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, in the Federal Register of March 30, 2007 (72 FR 15141), FDA published a notice of availability of the draft guidance document with a 60-day notice requesting public comment on the collection of information. In response to a request by OMB, FDA is republishing a notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

    With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

    The draft guidance is intended to provide sponsors and FDA review staff with information regarding target product profiles (TPPs). A TPP can be prepared by a sponsor and then shared voluntarily with the appropriate FDA review staff to facilitate communication regarding a particular drug development program. A Clinical Development Working Group recommended use of a template that provides a summary of drug labeling concepts to focus discussions and aid in the understanding between sponsors and FDA. The resulting TPP is a format for a summary of a drug development program described in terms of labeling concepts. With the TPP, a sponsor specifies the labeling concepts that are the goals of the drug development program, documents the specific studies that are intended to support the labeling concepts, and then uses the TPP to assist in a constructive dialogue with FDA. The draft guidance describes the purpose of a TPP, its advantages, and its optimal use. It also provides information on how to complete a TPP and relates case studies that demonstrate a TPP's usefulness.

    Sponsors are not required to submit a TPP. The TPP does not represent an implicit or explicit obligation on the sponsor's part to pursue all stated goals. Submission of a TPP summary does not constrain the sponsor to submit draft labeling in a new drug application (NDA) or biologics license application (BLA) that is identical to the TPP. The TPP is part of the proprietary investigational new drug application (IND) file.

    The TPP is organized according to the key sections of the drug labeling and links drug development activities to specific concepts intended for inclusion in the drug labeling. The TPP is not a long summary. Generally, the TPP is shorter than the ultimate annotated draft labeling because it captures only a summary of the drug development activities and labeling concepts. Early TPPs can be brief depending on the status of the drug's development process.

    The Target Product Profile Template in Appendix C of the draft guidance details the suggested information to be included in each section of the TPP. The TPP includes information from each discipline comprising an NDA/BLA. Within each discipline, the TPP briefly summarizes the specific studies that will supply the evidence for each conclusion that is a labeling concept. A TPP is organized according to key sections in the drug's labeling. Typical key sections are:

    • Indications and Usage • Dosage and Administration • Dosage Forms and Strengths • Contraindications • Warnings and Precautions • Adverse Reactions • Drug Interactions • Use in Specific Populations • Drug Abuse and Dependence • Overdosage • Description • Clinical Pharmacology • Nonclinical Toxicology • Clinical Studies • References • How Supplied/Storage and Handling • Patient Counseling Information

    Description of Respondents: Sponsors of applications seeking FDA approval to perform clinical investigations of a human drug before applying for marketing approval of the drug from FDA.

    Burden Estimate: FDA estimates that sponsors of approximately 10 percent of the number of active INDs submitted to FDA annually would prepare and submit TPPs. This would equal approximately 132 TPPs per year. Based on data received from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, we estimate that approximately 20 sponsors would submit TPPs and that each TPP would take approximately 20 hours to prepare and submit to FDA. Based on the previous methodology and assumptions, the following table provides an estimate of the annual reporting burden for the voluntary submission of TPPs under the draft guidance. FDA requests comments on this analysis of information collection burdens.

    Table 1—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1 Number of
  • respondents
  • Number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total annual
  • responses
  • Average
  • burden per
  • response
  • Total hours
    Target Product Profiles (TPPs) 20 6.6 132 20 2,640 1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
    Dated: December 29, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33127 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Food and Drug Administration [Docket No. FDA-2015-N-0001] Advisory Committee; Food Advisory Committee, Renewal AGENCY:

    Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice; renewal of advisory committee.

    SUMMARY:

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the renewal of the Food Advisory Committee by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs (the Commissioner). The Commissioner has determined that it is in the public interest to renew the Food Advisory Committee for an additional 2 years beyond the charter expiration date. The new charter will be in effect until the December 18, 2017.

    DATES:

    Authority for the Food Advisory Committee will expire on December 18, 2017, unless the Commissioner formally determines that renewal is in the public interest.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Strambler, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Regulations, Policy, and Social Sciences, Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 240-402-2589, [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.65 and approval by the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 45 CFR part 11 and by the General Services Administration, FDA is announcing the renewal of the Food Advisory Committee. The committee is a discretionary Federal advisory committee established to provide advice to the Commissioner.

    I. Objectives and Scope of Activities

    The Food Advisory Committee (the Committee) advises the Commissioner or designee in discharging responsibilities as they relate to helping to ensure safe and effective drugs for human use and, as required, any other product for which FDA has regulatory responsibility.

    II. Description of Duties

    The Committee reviews and evaluates emerging food safety, nutrition, and other food- or cosmetic-related health issues that FDA considers of primary importance for its food and cosmetics programs. The Committee may be charged with reviewing and evaluating available data and making recommendations on matters such as those relating to: (1) Broad scientific and technical food- or cosmetic-related issues; (2) the safety of food ingredients and new foods; (3) labeling of foods and cosmetics; (4) nutrient needs and nutritional adequacy; and (5) safe exposure limits for food contaminants. The Committee may also be asked to provide advice and make recommendations on ways of communicating to the public the potential risks associated with these issues and on approaches that might be considered for addressing the issues.

    III. Membership and Designation

    The Committee shall consist of a core of 15 voting members including the Chair. Members and the Chair are selected by the Commissioner or designee from among authorities knowledgeable in the fields of physical sciences, biological and life sciences, food science, risk assessment, nutrition, food technology, molecular biology, epidemiology, and other relevant scientific and technical disciplines. Members will be invited to serve for overlapping terms of up to 4 years. Almost all non-Federal members of this committee serve as Special Government Employees. The core of voting members may include two technically qualified member(s), selected by the Commissioner or designee, who are identified with consumer interests and are recommended by either a consortium of consumer-oriented organizations or other interested persons. In addition to the voting members, the Committee may include two non-voting member(s) who are identified with industry interests.

    Further information regarding the most recent charter and other information can be found at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/FoodAdvisoryCommittee/ucm120646.htm or by contacting the Designated Federal Officer (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). In light of the fact that no change has been made to the committee name or description of duties, no amendment will be made to 21 CFR 14.100.

    This document is issued under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. app.). For general information related to FDA advisory committees, please visit us at http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/default.htm.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33171 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Minority Health AGENCY:

    Office of Minority Health, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    As stipulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is hereby giving notice that the Advisory Committee on Minority Health (ACMH) will hold a meeting. This meeting will be open to the public. Preregistration is required for both public attendance and comment. Any individual who wishes to attend the meeting and/or participate in the public comment session should email [email protected]

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Friday, January 29, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW., Washington, DC 20008.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dr. Minh Wendt, Alternate Designated Federal Officer, ACMH; Tower Building, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Phone: 240-453-8222, Fax: 240-453-8223; [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with Public Law 105-392, the ACMH was established to provide advice to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in improving the health of each racial and ethnic minority group and on the development of goals and specific program activities of the Office of Minority Health.

    Topics to be discussed during this meeting will include strategies to improve the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will help eliminate health disparities, as well as other related issues.

    Public attendance at this meeting is limited to space available. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the designated contact person at least fourteen (14) business days prior to the meeting. Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide comments at the meeting. Public comments will be limited to three minutes per speaker. Individuals who would like to submit written statements should mail or fax their comments to the Office of Minority Health at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting. Any members of the public who wish to have printed material distributed to ACMH committee members should submit their materials to the Designated Federal Officer, ACMH, Tower Building, 1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite 600, Rockville, Maryland 20852, prior to close of business on Thursday, January 21, 2016.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Minh Wendt, Alternate Designated Federal Officer, ACMH, Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33157 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-29-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS AGENCY:

    Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    As stipulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service is hereby giving notice that the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) will be holding a meeting to continue discussions and possibly develop recommendations regarding People Living with HIV/AIDS. PACHA members will have discussions regarding Health System Transformations, community approaches to implementing the Updated National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and food as medicine. The meeting will be open to the public.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on January 28, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. (ET) and January 29, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m. (ET).

    ADDRESSES:

    200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ms. Caroline Talev, Public Health Analyst, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Room 443H, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Washington, DC 20201; (202) 205-1178. More detailed information about PACHA can be obtained by accessing the Council's Web site www.aids.gov/pacha.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    PACHA was established by Executive Order 12963, dated June 14, 1995, as amended by Executive Order 13009, dated June 14, 1996. The Council was established to provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs, policies, and research to promote effective treatment, prevention, and cure of HIV disease and AIDS, including considering common co-morbidities of those infected with HIV as needed to promote effective prevention and treatment and quality services to persons living with HIV disease and AIDS. The functions of the Council are solely advisory in nature.

    The Council consists of not more than 25 members. Council members are selected from prominent community leaders with particular expertise in, or knowledge of, matters concerning HIV and AIDS, public health, global health, philanthropy, marketing or business, as well as other national leaders held in high esteem from other sectors of society. Council members are appointed by the Secretary or designee, in consultation with the White House Office on National AIDS Policy. The agenda for the upcoming meeting will be posted on the Council's Web site at www.aids.gov/pacha. PACHA was established by Executive Order 12963, dated June 14, 1995 as amended by Executive Order 13009, dated June 14, 1996. The Council was established to provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Secretary regarding programs and policies to promote effective prevention and cure of HIV disease and AIDS. The functions of the Council are solely advisory in nature.

    The Council consists of not more than 25 members. Council members are selected from prominent community leaders with particular expertise in, or knowledge of, matters concerning HIV and AIDS, public health, global health, philanthropy, marketing or business, as well as other national leaders held in high esteem from other sectors of society. Council members are appointed by the Secretary or designee, in consultation with the White House Office on National AIDS Policy. The agenda for the upcoming meeting will be posted on the AIDS.gov Web site at www.aids.gov/pacha.

    Public attendance at the meeting is limited to space available. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify Caroline Talev at [email protected] Due to space constraints, pre-registration for public attendance is advisable and can be accomplished by contacting Caroline Talev at [email protected] by close of business on January 21, 2016. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide comments at the meeting. Any individual who wishes to participate in the public comment session must register with Caroline Talev at [email protected] by close of business on January 21, 2016; registration for public comment will not be accepted by telephone. Individuals are encouraged to provide a written statement of any public comment(s) for accurate minute taking purposes. Public comment will be limited to two minutes per speaker. Any members of the public who wish to have printed material distributed to PACHA members at the meeting are asked to submit, at a minimum, 1 copy of the material(s) to Caroline Talev, no later than close of business on January 21, 2016.

    Dated: December 17, 2015. B. Kaye Hayes, Executive Director, Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33158 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4150-43-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: Center for Scientific Review Special Emphasis Panel; PAR15-162: Pilot and Feasibility Clinical Research Grants in Urologic Disorders.

    Date: January 29, 2016.

    Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Ryan G Morris, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4205, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1501, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Risk, Prevention and Health Behavior Integrated Review Group; Behavioral Medicine, Interventions and Outcomes Study Section.

    Date: February 1-2, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: The Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.

    Contact Person: Lee S Mann, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 3224, MSC 7808, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-0677, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Bioengineering Sciences & Technologies Integrated Review Group; Biodata Management and Analysis Study Section.

    Date: February 1-2, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Courtyard Long Beach Downtown, 500 East First Street, Long Beach, CA 90802.

    Contact Person: Mark Caprara, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5156, MSC 7844, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1042, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Cell Biology Integrated Review Group; Nuclear and Cytoplasmic Structure/Function and Dynamics Study Section.

    Date: February 1-2, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Residence Inn Bethesda, 7335 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814.

    Contact Person: David Balasundaram, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5189, MSC 7840, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-1022, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Surgical Sciences, Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering Integrated Review Group; Biomedical Imaging Technology A Study Section.

    Date: February 1-2, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Bahia Resort Hotel, 998 West Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109.

    Contact Person: Ruth Grossman, DDS, Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 5215, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-2409, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Integrated Review Group; Lung Injury, Repair, and Remodeling Study Section.

    Date: February 1-2, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 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: Ghenima Dirami, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 4122, MSC 7814, Bethesda, MD 20892, 240-498-7546, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Oncology 2—Translational Clinical Integrated Review Group; Cancer Biomarkers Study Section.

    Date: February 2, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica Hotel, 530 West Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405.

    Contact Person: Lawrence Ka-Yun Ng, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 6152, MSC 7804, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-357-9318, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences Integrated Review Group; Lung Cellular, Molecular, and Immunobiology Study Section.

    Date: February 3-4, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Admiral Fell Inn, 888 South Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231.

    Contact Person: George M Barnas, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Room 2180, MSC 7818, Bethesda, MD 20892, 301-435-0696, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: Brain Disorders and Clinical Neuroscience Integrated Review Group; Clinical Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Study Section.

    Date: February 3-4, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Handlery Union Square Hotel, 351 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

    Contact Person: Alessandra C Rovescalli, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, National Institutes of Health, Center for Scientific Review, 6701 Rockledge Drive, Rm 5205 MSC7846, Bethesda, MD 20892, (301) 435-1021, [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: December 29, 2015. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33085 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute: Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NCI Omnibus SEP-10.

    Date: February 16, 2016.

    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Cancer Institute Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W122, Rockville, MD 20850, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Shakeel Ahmad, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Research Programs Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W122, Bethesda, MD 20892-9750, 240-276-6349, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; Informatics Technologies (ITCR).

    Date: February 23-24, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Nicholas J. Kenney, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Research Technology and Contract Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W246, Rockville, MD 20850, 240-276-6458, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.392, Cancer Construction; 93.393, Cancer Cause and Prevention Research; 93.394, Cancer Detection and Diagnosis Research; 93.395, Cancer Treatment Research; 93.396, Cancer Biology Research; 93.397, Cancer Centers Support; 93.398, Cancer Research Manpower; 93.399, Cancer Control, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 29, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33094 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meetings.

    The meetings will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The grant applications and the discussions could disclose confidential trade secrets or commercial property such as patentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; NCI Omnibus SEP-14.

    Date: March 1, 2016.

    Time: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Cancer Institute Shady Grove, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W608, Rockville, MD 20850, (Telephone Conference Call).

    Contact Person: Wlodek Lopaczynski, MD, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Research Programs Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W608, Rockville, MD 20850, 240-276-6458, [email protected]

    Name of Committee: National Cancer Institute Special Emphasis Panel; Cancer Systems Biology Consortium, U54, U24.

    Date: March 22-23, 2016.

    Time: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852.

    Contact Person: Adriana Stoica, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Resources and Training Review Branch, Division of Extramural Activities, National Cancer Institute, NIH, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 7W234, Rockville, MD 20850, 240-276-6368, [email protected]

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.392, Cancer Construction; 93.393, Cancer Cause and Prevention Research; 93.394, Cancer Detection and Diagnosis Research; 93.395, Cancer Treatment Research; 93.396, Cancer Biology Research; 93.397, Cancer Centers Support; 93.398, Cancer Research Manpower; 93.399, Cancer Control, National Institutes of Health, HHS)
    Dated: December 29, 2015. Melanie J. Gray, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33084 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development: Notice of Closed Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following 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 atentable material, and personal information concerning individuals associated with the grant applications, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Special Emphasis Panel; Multivariate Genetics & Genomics of Reading Comprehension & Related Cognition.

    Date: January 6, 2016.

    Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852, (Telephone Conference).

    Contact Person: Marita R. Hopmann, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5B01, Bethesda, MD 20892-9304, (301) 435-6911, [email protected]

    This notice is being published less than 15 days prior to the meeting due to the limitations imposed by the review and funding cycle.

    Name of Committee: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Special Emphasis Panel; NICHD T32 Review.

    Date: January 7, 2016.

    Time: 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    Agenda: To review and evaluate grant applications.

    Place: National Institutes of Health, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20852, (Telephone Conference).

    Contact Person: Cathy J. Wedeen, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, 6100 Executive Boulevard, Room 5B01, Bethesda, MD 20892-9304, (301) 435-6878, [email protected]

    This notice is being published less than 15 days prior to the meeting due to the limitations imposed by the review and funding cycle.

    (Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Nos. 93.864, Population Research; 93.865, Research for Mothers and Children; 93.929, Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research; 93.209, Contraception and Infertility Loan Repayment Program, National Institutes of Health, HHS) imposed by the review and funding cycle.
    Dated: December 29, 2015. Michelle Trout, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33086 Filed 1-4-16; 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 Meeting

    Pursuant to section 10(d) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App.), notice is hereby given of the following meeting.

    The meeting will be closed to the public in accordance with the provisions set forth in sections 552b(c)(4) and 552b(c)(6), title 5 U.S.C., as amended. The 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: January 27, 2016.

    Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 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: Yong Gao, Ph.D., Scientific Review Officer, Scientific Review Program, Division of Extramural Activities, Room #3G13B, National Institutes of Health/NIAID, 5601 Fishers Lane, MSC 9823, Rockville, MD 20892-7616, (240) 669-5048, [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: December 29, 2015. Natasha M. Copeland, Program Analyst, Office of Federal Advisory Committee Policy.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33087 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4140-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4245-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2015-0002] Texas; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster Declaration AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice amends the notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Texas (FEMA-4245-DR), dated November 25, 2015, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 24, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The notice of a major disaster declaration for the State of Texas is hereby amended to include the Public Assistance program for the following areas among those areas determined to have been adversely affected by the event declared a major disaster by the President in his declaration of November 25, 2015.

    Bastrop, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays, Hidalgo, Liberty, Navarro, Travis, Willacy, and Wilson Counties for Public Assistance (already designated for Individual Assistance). Bosque, Hill, Jasper, Newton, and Walker Counties for Public Assistance. The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households In Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050 Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant. W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33200 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4246-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2015-0002] Idaho; Major Disaster and Related Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This is a notice of the Presidential declaration of a major disaster for the State of Idaho (FEMA-4246-DR), dated December 23, 2015, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 23, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that, in a letter dated December 23, 2015, the President issued a major disaster declaration under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”), as follows:

    I have determined that the damage in certain areas of the State of Idaho resulting from a severe storm and straight-line winds on November 17, 2015, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant a major disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”). Therefore, I declare that such a major disaster exists in the State of Idaho.

    In order to provide Federal assistance, you are hereby authorized to allocate from funds available for these purposes such amounts as you find necessary for Federal disaster assistance and administrative expenses.

    You are authorized to provide Public Assistance in the designated areas and Hazard Mitigation throughout the State. Consistent with the requirement that Federal assistance be supplemental, any Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Hazard Mitigation will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs. Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Public Assistance also will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs, with the exception of projects that meet the eligibility criteria for a higher Federal cost-sharing percentage under the Public Assistance Alternative Procedures Pilot Program for Debris Removal implemented pursuant to section 428 of the Stafford Act.

    Further, you are authorized to make changes to this declaration for the approved assistance to the extent allowable under the Stafford Act.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice that pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator, under Executive Order 12148, as amended, Thomas J. Dargan, of FEMA is appointed to act as the Federal Coordinating Officer for this major disaster.

    The following areas of the State of Idaho have been designated as adversely affected by this major disaster:

    Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, and Kootenai Counties and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe for Public Assistance.

    All areas within the State of Idaho are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33199 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Federal Emergency Management Agency [Internal Agency Docket No. FEMA-4247-DR; Docket ID FEMA-2015-0002] Oklahoma; Major Disaster and Related Determinations AGENCY:

    Federal Emergency Management Agency, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This is a notice of the Presidential declaration of a major disaster for the State of Oklahoma (FEMA-4247-DR), dated December 29, 2015, and related determinations.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: December 29, 2015.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dean Webster, Office of Response and Recovery, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 646-2833.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Notice is hereby given that, in a letter dated December 29, 2015, the President issued a major disaster declaration under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”), as follows:

    I have determined that the damage in certain areas of the State of Oklahoma resulting from severe winter storms and flooding during the period of November 27-29, 2015, is of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant a major disaster declaration under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq. (the “Stafford Act”). Therefore, I declare that such a major disaster exists in the State of Oklahoma.

    In order to provide Federal assistance, you are hereby authorized to allocate from funds available for these purposes such amounts as you find necessary for Federal disaster assistance and administrative expenses.

    You are authorized to provide Public Assistance in the designated areas and Hazard Mitigation throughout the State. Consistent with the requirement that Federal assistance be supplemental, any Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Hazard Mitigation will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs. Federal funds provided under the Stafford Act for Public Assistance also will be limited to 75 percent of the total eligible costs, with the exception of projects that meet the eligibility criteria for a higher Federal cost-sharing percentage under the Public Assistance Alternative Procedures Pilot Program for Debris Removal implemented pursuant to section 428 of the Stafford Act.

    Further, you are authorized to make changes to this declaration for the approved assistance to the extent allowable under the Stafford Act.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hereby gives notice that pursuant to the authority vested in the Administrator, under Executive Order 12148, as amended, William J. Doran III, of FEMA is appointed to act as the Federal Coordinating Officer for this major disaster.

    The following areas of the State of Oklahoma have been designated as adversely affected by this major disaster:

    Alfalfa, Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Canadian, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Grady, Grant, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Major, Oklahoma, Roger Mills, Washita, and Woods Counties for Public Assistance.

    All areas within the State of Oklahoma are eligible for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

    The following Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers (CFDA) are to be used for reporting and drawing funds: 97.030, Community Disaster Loans; 97.031, Cora Brown Fund; 97.032, Crisis Counseling; 97.033, Disaster Legal Services; 97.034, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA); 97.046, Fire Management Assistance Grant; 97.048, Disaster Housing Assistance to Individuals and Households in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas; 97.049, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance—Disaster Housing Operations for Individuals and Households; 97.050, Presidentially Declared Disaster Assistance to Individuals and Households—Other Needs; 97.036, Disaster Grants—Public Assistance (Presidentially Declared Disasters); 97.039, Hazard Mitigation Grant.

    W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33204 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111-23-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5907-N-01] Federal Property Suitable as Facilities to Assist the Homeless AGENCY:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    This Notice identifies unutilized, underutilized, excess, and surplus Federal property reviewed by HUD for suitability for possible use to assist the homeless.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Juanita Perry, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 7262, Washington, DC 20410; telephone (202) 402-3970; TTY number for the hearing- and speech-impaired (202) 708-2565, (these telephone numbers are not toll-free), or call the toll-free Title V information line at 800-927-7588.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    In accordance with the December 12, 1988 court order in National Coalition for the Homeless v. Veterans Administration, No. 88-2503-OG (D.D.C.), HUD publishes a Notice, on a weekly basis, identifying unutilized, underutilized, excess and surplus Federal buildings and real property that HUD has reviewed for suitability for use to assist the homeless. Today's Notice is for the purpose of announcing that no additional properties have been determined suitable or unsuitable this week.

    Dated: December 30, 2015. Brian P. Fitzmaurice, Director, Division of Community Assistance, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33188 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR-5843-N-12] Privacy Act of 1974; Notice of a Computer Matching Program Between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) AGENCY:

    Office of Administration, HUD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of a Computer Matching Program between U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA).

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended by the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (Pub. L. 100-503), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Guidelines on the Conduct of Matching Programs (54 FR 25818 (June 19, 1989); and OMB Bulletin 89-22, “Instructions on Reporting Computer Matching Programs to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Congress and the Public,” HUD is issuing a public notice of its intent to conduct a recurring computer matching program with SBA for the purpose of incorporating SBA debtor files into the Credit Alert Verification Reporting System (CAIVRS), which is a HUD computer information system.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: The effective date of the matching program shall begin February 4, 2016, or at least 40 days from the date that copies of the Computer Matching Agreement, signed by both HUD and SBA Data Integrity Boards (DIBs), are sent to OMB and Congress, whichever is later, provided that no comments that would result in a contrary determination are received.

    Comments Due Date: February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this notice to the Rules Docket Clerk, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 10110, Washington, DC 20410. Communications should refer to the above docket number and title. A copy of each communication submitted will be available for public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the above address.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    The “Recipient Agency,” Acting Departmental Privacy Officer, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410-0001; telephone number 202-402-6147, or the “Source Agency” U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW., Suite 8300, Washington, DC, telephone number 202-205-7736. (These are not a toll-free numbers). Persons who are deaf or hard hard hearing and person with speech impairments can assess these numbers through TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339 (This is a toll free number).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    HUD's CAIVRS database includes delinquent debt information from the U.S. Departments of Veteran's Affairs (VA), Education (ED), Justice (DOJ), Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). This data match will allow the prescreening of applicants for Federal direct loans or federally guaranteed loans, for the purpose of determining the applicant's credit worthiness, by ascertaining whether the applicant is delinquent or in default on a loan owed directly to, or federally guaranteed by, the Federal Government. Lending Federal agencies and authorized private lending institutions will be able to use the CAIVRS debtor file to verify that the loan applicant is not in default, or delinquent on a Federal direct or federally guaranteed loan, prior to granting the applicant a loan. The CAIVRS database contains Personally Identifiable Information (PII) contributed by participating Federal agencies, including Social Security numbers (SSNs) and other records of borrowers delinquent or in default on debts owed to, or guaranteed by HUD and other Federal agencies. Authorized users may not deny, terminate, or make a final decision concerning any loan assistance to an applicant or take other adverse action against such applicant based on the information produced by data matches conducted under CAIVRS, until such authorized users have independently verified such adverse information.

    Reporting of Matching Program

    In accordance with Public Law 100-503, the Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 as amended, and OMB Bulletin 89-22, “Instructions on Reporting Computer Matching Programs to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Congress and the Public,” copies of this notice and report are being provided to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight Government Reform, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and OMB.

    Authority

    HUD has authority to collect and review mortgage data pursuant to the National Housing Act, as amended, 12 U.S.C. 1701 et seq., and related laws. This computer matching will be conducted pursuant to Public Law 100-503, “The Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988,” as amended, and OMB Circulars A-129 (Managing Federal Credit Programs). One of the purposes of all Executive departments and agencies is to implement efficient management practices for Federal credit programs. OMB Circular A-129 was issued under the authority of the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended; the Budget and Accounting Act of 1950, as amended; the Debt Collection Act of 1982, as amended by the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996; section 2653 of Public Law 98-369; the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as amended; the Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act of 1990, the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended; Executive Order 8248; the Cash Management Improvement Act Amendments of 1992; and preexisting common law authority to charge interest on debts and to offset payments to collect debts administratively.

    Objectives To Be Met by the Matching Program

    The objective of this matching program is to give program agencies access to a system that allows them to prescreen applicants for loans made or loans guaranteed by the Federal Government, to ascertain if the applicant is delinquent in paying a debt owed to or guaranteed by the Federal Government. As part of this process, HUD will be provided access to SBA's debtor data, for prescreening purposes.

    The use of CAIVRS will allow HUD to better monitor its credit programs and to reduce the credit extended to individuals with outstanding delinquencies on debts owed to HUD and other Federal agencies. SBA expects to achieve savings through risk reduction and debt recovery. By the very nature of debt prevention, expected savings must be the subject of some assumptions, including the anticipated behavior of the matching subjects. SBA also participates in CAIVRS as a cooperative effort in a Governmentwide credit plan that may benefit other agencies as much, if not more, than SBA.

    Under this computer matching program, HUD/CAIVRS receives limited information on borrowers who have defaulted on loans administered by participating Federal agencies each month. The information includes: Borrower ID Number—The Social Security Number (SSN), Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of the borrower on a delinquent or defaulted Federal direct loan or federally guaranteed loan. Federal agency personnel and authorized lenders must enter a user authorization code followed by either an SSN or EIN to access CAIVRS. Only the following information is returned or displayed:

    • Yes/No as to whether the holder of that SSN/EIN is in default on a Federal loan; and

    • If Yes, then CAIVRS provides to the lender:

    ○ Loan case number;

    ○ Record type (claim, default, foreclosure, or judgment);

    ○ Agency administering the loan program;

    ○ Phone number at the applicable Federal agency (to call to clear up the default); and

    ○ Confirmation code associated with the query.

    Federal law mandates the suspension of the processing of applications for Federal credit benefits (such as Government-insured loans) if the applicants are delinquent on Federal or federally guaranteed debt. Processing may continue only after the borrower satisfactorily resolves the debt (e.g., pays in full or renegotiates a new payment plan). To remove a CAIVRS sanction, the borrower must contact the Federal agency that reported their SSN or EIN to HUD/CAIVRS, using the information provided.

    Records To Be Matched

    HUD will use records from the Single Family Default Monitoring System (SFDMS/F42D) (72 FR 65350, November 20, 2007, and Single Family Insurance System—Claims Subsystem, CLAIMS, A43C (79 FR 10825, February 26, 2014), as combined in CAIVRS to provide an up-to-date dataset to be used in records matching. SFDMS maintains data on mortgages that are 90 or more days delinquent. The mortgagee or servicer must submit a Monthly Delinquent Loan Report (form HUD-92068-A) to HUD on a monthly basis until the mortgage status has been completed by all mortgagees, or is otherwise terminated or deleted. Mortgagees and servicers provide default data to HUD via the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or using the Internet via FHA Connection, through which the data is sorted, prescreened, key entered, edited, and otherwise processed. Reports are generated for HUD Headquarters and field offices to review.

    CLAIMS provides automated receipt, tracking, and processing of form HUD-27011, “Single Family Application for Insurance Benefits.” CLAIMS provides online update and inquiry capability to Single Family Insurance and Claims databases, and to cumulative history files. Claims payments are made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), via a Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) platform (IBM mainframe/Treasury interface), on a daily basis.

    For the actual data match, SBA will use records from the system of records entitled Disaster Loan Case File (SBA 20) and the Loan System (SBA 21).

    Notice Procedures

    HUD and SBA have separate procedures for notifying individuals that their records will be matched to determine whether they are delinquent or in default on a Federal debt. HUD will notify individuals at the time of application for a HUD/FHA mortgage, and SBA will notify individuals at the time of application for SBA loan services. SBA may disclose information from the applications to other Federal agencies under a published “routine use,” without the applicants' consent, as permitted by law.

    HUD and SBA published notices concerning routine use disclosures in the Federal Register to inform individuals that a computer match may be performed to determine a loan applicant's credit status with the Federal Government. The Privacy Act also requires that a copy of each computer matching agreement entered into with a recipient agency shall be available, upon request, to the public.

    Categories of Records/Individuals Involved

    Data elements disclosed in computer matching governed by this Agreement are PII from the specified SBA system of record. The data elements supplied by SBA to CAIVRS are the following:

    • Borrower ID Number—The SSN, EIN, or TIN of the borrower on a delinquent or defaulted Federal direct loan or Federally guaranteed loan.

    • Case Number—A reference number issued by the reporting agency for the delinquent or defaulted Federal direct loan or federally guaranteed loan.

    • Agency Code—A code assigned to the reporting agency.

    • Type Code—A code that indicates the type of record claim, default, foreclosure, or judgment.

    • Borrower ID Type—A code that indicates whether the Borrower ID Number is a SSN, an EIN, or a TIN.

    Period of the Match

    Matching will begin at least 40 days from the date that copies of the computer, matching agreement, signed by HUD and SBA Data Integrity Boards, are sent to both Houses of Congress and to OMB or at least 30 days from the date this notice is published in the Federal Register, whichever is later, provided that no comments that would result in a contrary determination are received. The matching program will be in effect and continue for 18 months, with an option to renew for 12 additional months, unless one of the Parties to the Agreement advises the other in writing to terminate or modify the Agreement.

    Dated: December 28, 2015. Patricia A. Hoban-Moore, Chief Administrative Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33195 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210-67-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R8-ES-2016-N242; FXES11130800000-167-FF08E00000] Endangered Species Recovery Permit Applications AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of receipt of permit applications; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. With some exceptions, the Endangered Species Act (Act) prohibits activities with endangered and threatened species unless a Federal permit allows such activity. The Act also requires that we invite public comment before issuing recovery permits to conduct certain activities with endangered species.

    DATES:

    Comments on these permit applications must be received on or before February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written data or comments should be submitted to the Endangered Species Program Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 8, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2606, Sacramento, CA 95825 (telephone: 916-414-6464; fax: 916-414-6486). Please refer to the respective permit number for each application when submitting comments.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Daniel Marquez, Fish and Wildlife Biologist; see ADDRESSES (telephone: 760-431-9440; fax: 760-431-9624).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The following applicants have applied for scientific research permits to conduct certain activities with endangered species under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). We seek review and comment from local, State, and Federal agencies and the public on the following permit requests.

    Applicants Permit No. TE-82102B-0 Applicant: Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego, California

    The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, conduct nest monitoring, release, collect biological samples, fit with radio transmitters, transport, band, captive rear, display publically, and conduct daily husbandry) the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) in conjunction with captive rearing, research, reintroduction into the wild, and survey activities throughout the range of the species for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-82155B Applicant: Johanna Page, Pasadena, California

    The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, release, collect adult vouchers, and collect branchiopod cysts) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis), Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni), and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-096745 Applicant: Scott Larson, Oakhurst, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, release, collect adult vouchers, and collect branchiopod cysts) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis), Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni), and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi), and to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the California tiger salamander (Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment (DPS)) (Ambystoma californiense) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-134370 Applicant: Brant Primrose, San Marcos, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-17827A Applicant: Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, Sparks, Nevada

    The applicant requests a permit amendment to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, collect and sacrifice for diet and isotope analysis, collect scales, implant passive integrated transponder (PIT) and visible implant elastomer (VIE) tags, and release) the Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi) in conjunction with surveys and population studies within the Summit Lake Paiute Reservation, Nevada, for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-839078 Applicant: Spencer Langdon, San Pedro, California

    The applicant requests a permit amendment and renewal to take (harass by survey and locate and monitor nests) the California least tern (Sternula antillarum browni) (Sterna a. browni) in conjunction with surveys and population studies throughout the range of the species in Los Angeles County, California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-797665 Applicant: RECON Environmental, Inc., San Diego, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, release, collect adult vouchers, and collect branchiopod cysts) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis), Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni), and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi); take (locate and monitor nests, and remove brown-headed cowbird eggs and chicks from parasitized nests) the least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus); take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the Pacific pocket mouse (Perognathus longimembris pacificus) and San Bernardino Merriam's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus); take (harass by survey, capture, handle, collect hair samples, and release) the Stephens' kangaroo rat (Dipodomys stephensi); and take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in conjunction with survey and population monitoring activities throughout the range of each of the species in California; take (harass by survey, locate and monitor nests, and remove brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater) eggs and chicks from parasitized nests) the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) in conjunction with survey and population monitoring activities throughout the range of the species in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; and to remove/reduce to possession the following species on Federal lands, in conjunction with surveys and population studies throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival:

    Pogogyne abramsii (San Diego mesa-mint) Orcuttia californica (California orcutt grass) Eryngium aristulatum var. parishii (San Diego button-celery) Pogogyne nudiuscula (Otay mesa-mint) Deinandra conjugens (Hemizonia c.) (Otay tarplant) Allium munzii (Munz's onion) Arctostaphylos glandulosa subsp. crassifolia (Del Mar manzanita) Monardella viminea (M. linoides subsp. v.) (willowy monardella) Ambrosia pumila (San Diego ambrosia) Permit No. TE-002243 Applicant: Bighorn Institute, Palm Desert, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (capture, handle, collect biological samples, radio-collar, survey, euthanize critically ill or injured wild or captive-reared individuals unable to recover, and release) the Nelson bighorn sheep (Peninsular Ranges distinct population segment; Peninsular bighorn sheep) (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) in conjunction with surveys and population studies throughout the range of the species for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-005535 Applicant: Gilbert Goodlett, Ridgecrest, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) and Delhi Sands flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-052159 Applicant: Jeff Ahrens, Irvine, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (harass by survey) the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) in conjunction with surveys and population studies throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-83957B Applicant: Monica Brick, San Luis Obispo, California

    The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, release) the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens) and Tipton kangaroo rat (Dipodomys nitratoides nitratoides) in conjunction with surveys throughout the range the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-83958B Applicant: Jared Elia, Concord, California

    The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the California tiger salamander (Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment (DPS)) (Ambystoma californiense) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-785564 Applicant: Bumgardner Biological Consulting, Gold River, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, mark, collect tissue samples, and release) the California tiger salamander (Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County DPS) (Ambystoma californiense); take (harass by survey) the California Ridgway's rail (California clapper r.) (Rallus obsoletus obsoletus) (R. longirostris o.) in conjunction with surveys and population studies throughout the range of the species in California; and take (harass by survey) the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) in conjunction with surveys and population studies throughout the range of the species in Arizona, California, and Nevada for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-090990 Applicant: Santa Catalina Island Conservancy, Avalon, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal and amendment to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, measure, implant PIT tags, radio-collar, vaccinate, collect and test biological samples, transport, maintain in captivity, release to the wild, and euthanize for humane reasons) the Santa Catalina Island fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae) in conjunction with survey and research activities throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-031850 Applicant: Gretchen Cummings, Ramona, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (survey by pursuit) the Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-97450A Applicant: James Hobbs, Davis, California

    The applicant requests a permit amendment to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, release, and collect) the delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) in conjunction with scientific research throughout the range of the species in Petaluma River and Sonoma Creek, Sonoma County; Napa River and Napa-Sonoma Marsh Wildlife Area in Napa County; San Pablo Bay in Alameda and Marin Counties; Suisun Bay and Suisun Marsh in Alameda and Solano Counties; and the Bay Delta in Sacramento, Yolo, and San Joaquin Counties in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-84031B Applicant: Jessica Self, Riverside, California

    The applicant requests a permit to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, release, collect adult vouchers, and collect branchiopod cysts) the Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio), longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna), San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis), Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni), and vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi) and take (harass by survey) the Casey's June beetle (Dinacoma caseyi) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Permit No. TE-48149A Applicant: Tammy Lim, Oakland, California

    The applicant requests a permit renewal to take (harass by survey, capture, handle, and release) the California tiger salamander (Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment (DPS)) (Ambystoma californiense) and take (harass by survey, capture, handle, mark, and release) the San Francisco garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) in conjunction with survey activities throughout the range of the species in California for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival.

    Public Comments

    We invite public review and comment on each of these recovery permit applications. Comments and materials we receive will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

    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.

    Michael Long, Acting Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, California.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33146 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS-R8-ES-2016-N240; FXES11120800000-145-FF08EVEN00] Habitat Conservation Plan for the Operation, Repair, Maintenance, and Replacement of State Water Pipeline and Facilities From the Polonio Pass Water Treatment Plant, San Luis Obispo County to Lake Cachuma, Santa Barbara County, California AGENCY:

    Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Central Coastal Water Authority (CCWA) for a 30-year incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The application addresses the potential for “take” of the federally endangered San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) and federally threatened California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) and California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) that may occur incidental to the operations and maintenance of an existing potable water delivery system from near Polonio Pass in northeastern San Luis Obispo County to Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara. We invite comments from the public on the application for an incidental take permit, which includes the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This proposed action has been determined to be eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA).

    DATES:

    To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may download a copy of the draft HCP and draft environmental action statement and low-effect screening form on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/ventura/, or you may request copies of the documents by U.S. mail or phone (see below). Please address written comments to Stephen P. Henry, Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003. You may alternatively send comments by facsimile to (805) 644-3958.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Julie M. Vanderwier, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, at the above address, or by calling (805) 644-1766, extension 222.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    We invite comments from the public on the draft HCP and our NEPA compliance.

    Background

    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing regulations (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) prohibit the take of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. “Take” is defined under the Act to include the following activities: “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct” (16 U.S.C. 1532). However, under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, we may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. The Act defines “incidental take” as take that is not the purpose of carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides those regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22. Issuance of an incidental take permit must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed fish, wildlife, or plant species.

    The Applicant's Proposed Project

    Measures to minimize the amount and severity of take proposed by the applicant are discussed in detail in section 2.10 of the draft HCP. Mitigation for unavoidable take of California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander includes the purchase of credits in the Palo Prieto Conservation Bank in San Luis Obispo County, with an additional credit for California tiger salamander purchased in the La Purisima Conservation Bank in Santa Barbara County. Mitigation for San Joaquin kit fox was provided at the time of project construction as part of its compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and its terms memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding between applicant and the California Department of Fish and Game (now California Department of Fish and Wildlife). The mitigation requirements were included in the project description of our biological opinion 1-8-93-F-20. As such, no additional mitigation is deemed necessary for San Joaquin kit fox.

    The draft HCP provides for, and discusses, five alternatives to the proposed project: No Project, No Action, Maintenance Alternative, Minimum Conservation, and Maximum Conservation. These are discussed in detail in section 9 of the HCP.

    Our Preliminary Determination

    We are requesting comments on our preliminary determination that the HCP qualifies for processing as a low-effect HCP as defined by our Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). Three criteria form the basis for our determination: (1) Implementation of the proposed project as described in the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and/or candidate species and their habitats; (2) implementation of the HCP would result in minor negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) HCP impacts, considered together with those of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects, would not result in cumulatively significant effects. It is our preliminary determination that HCP approval and ITP issuance qualify for categorical exclusion under the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 2 and 516 DM 8); however, we may revise our determination based upon review of public comments received in response to this notice.

    Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application, including the HCP, and comments we receive to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the ITP would comply with section 7(a)(2) of the Act regarding jeopardy for federally listed fish, wildlife, or plant species by conducting an intra-Service consultation pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Act.

    Public Review

    We are requesting comments on our determination that the applicant's proposal will have a minor or negligible effect on the San Joaquin kit fox, California red-legged frog, and California tiger salamander and that the plan qualifies as a low-effect HCP. We will evaluate the permit application, including the HCP and comments we receive, to make a final determination regarding whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. We will use the results of our intra-Service consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether to issue the ITP. If all permit issuance requirements are met, we will issue the permit to the applicant to authorize incidental take of San Joaquin kit fox, California red-legged frog, and California tiger salamander. We will make the final permit decision no sooner than 30 days after the date of this notice.

    Public Comments

    If you wish to comment on the HCP and associated documents, you may submit comments by any one of the methods provided in ADDRESSES.

    Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public view, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act and the NEPA public involvement regulations (40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1500.2(d), and 1506.6).

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Stephen P. Henry, Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, Ventura, California.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33148 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Bureau of Labor Statistics Proposed Collection, Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c) (2)(A)]. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the “Veterans Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS),” to be conducted in August 2016, August 2017, and August 2018.

    A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the individual listed below in the Addresses section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the Addresses section of this notice on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to Erin Good, BLS Clearance Officer, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4080, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE., Washington, DC 20212. Written comments also may be transmitted by fax to 202-691-5111 (this is not a toll free number).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Erin Good, BLS Clearance Officer, 202-691-7763 (this is not a toll free number). (See Addresses section.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The CPS has been the principal source of official Government statistics on employment and unemployment since 1940 (75 years). Collection of labor force data through the CPS is necessary to meet the requirements in Title 29, United States Code, Sections 1 and 2. The Veterans Supplement provides information on the labor force status of veterans with a service-connected disability, combat veterans, past or present National Guard and Reserve members, and recently discharged veterans. Also, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Vietnam veterans are identified by location of service. Data are provided by period of service and a range of demographic characteristics. The supplement also provides information on veterans' participation in various transition and employment and training programs. The data collected through this supplement will be used by the Veterans Employment and Training Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine policies that better meet the needs of our Nation's veteran population.

    II. Current Action

    Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for the Veterans Supplement to the CPS. An extension without change of a currently approved collection is needed to continue to provide the Nation with timely information about the labor force status of veterans with a service-connected disability, combat veterans, past or present National Guard and Reserve members, recently discharged veterans, and veterans who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Vietnam.

    III. Desired Focus of Comments

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics 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.

    • 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 submissions of responses.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection.

    Agency: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Title: Veterans Supplement to the CPS.

    OMB Number: 1220-0102.

    Affected Public: Households.

    Total Respondents: 9,000.

    Frequency: Annually.

    Total Responses: 9,000.

    Average Time per Response: Approximately 2 minutes.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 300 hours.

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): $0.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): $0.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 29th day of December 2015. Kimberly D. Hill, Chief, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33143 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-24-P
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Bureau of Labor Statistics Proposed Collection, Comment Request ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a pre-clearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA95) [44 U.S.C. 3506(c) (2)(A)]. This program helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments concerning the proposed extension of the “Eating and Health Supplement to the American Time Use Survey.”

    A copy of the proposed information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the individual listed below in the Addresses section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the Addresses section of this notice on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments to Erin Good, BLS Clearance Officer, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4080, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE., Washington, DC 20212. Written comments also may be transmitted by fax to 202-691-5111 (this is not a toll free number).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Erin Good, BLS Clearance Officer, at 202-691-7763 (this is not a toll free number). (See Addresses section.)

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Background

    The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) is the Nation's first federally administered, continuous survey on time use in the United States. It measures, for example, time spent with children, working, sleeping, or doing leisure activities. In the United States, several existing Federal surveys collect income and wage data for individuals and families, and analysts often use such measures of material prosperity as proxies for quality of life. Time-use data substantially augment these quality-of-life measures. The data also can be used in conjunction with wage data to evaluate the contribution of non-market work to national economies. This enables comparisons of production between nations that have different mixes of market and non-market activities.

    The ATUS is used to develop nationally representative estimates of how people spend their time. This is done by collecting a time diary about the activities survey respondents did over a 24-hour period “yesterday,” from 4 a.m. on the day before the interview until 4 a.m. on the day of the interview. In the one-time interview, respondents also report who was with them during the activities, where they were, how long each activity lasted, and if they were paid. All of this information has numerous practical applications for sociologists, economists, educators, government policymakers, businesspersons, health researchers, and others.

    Time use data allows researchers to analyze the choices people make in how they spend their time, along with the time and income constraints they face. The data from the proposed Eating and Health module supplement can be used for research on the inter-relations and inter-associations of time use patterns and body mass index (BMI), food assistance participation, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. These data enhance the understanding of peoples' overall well-being.

    The Eating and Health module supplement includes questions about peoples' eating and drinking behaviors, food assistance participation, grocery and meal shopping, food preparation, and food sufficiency. It also includes questions on general health and physical exercise. Information collected in the supplement will be published as a public use data set to facilitate research on numerous topics, such as: The association between eating patterns, physical activity, and BMI; time-use patterns of food assistance program participants and low-income nonparticipants; and how time-use varies by health status. Sponsored by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the supplement is asked of respondents immediately upon their completion of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS).

    The Eating and Health supplement supports the mission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics by providing relevant information on economic and social issues, specifically the association between time-use patterns and eating and physical activity behavior and health. The data from the Eating and Health Module Supplement also closely support the mission of its sponsor, ERS, to improve the nation's nutrition and health. The supplement surveys individuals aged 15 and up from a nationally representative sample of approximately 2,190 sample households each month.

    II. Current Action

    Office of Management and Budget clearance is being sought for the Eating and Health Supplement to the American Time Use Survey. An extension without change of a currently approved collection is needed to continue collecting data on time-use and how it relates to BMI, food assistance participation, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. Fielding the Eating and Health Module Supplement in calendar year 2016 will allow researchers to monitor changes in Americans' time use patterns along with changes in Americans' eating activities, BMI values, and food assistance participation.

    III. Desired Focus of Comments

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics 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.

    • 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 submissions of responses.

    Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved collection.

    Agency: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Title: Eating and Health Supplement to the American Time Use Survey.

    OMB Number: 1220-0187.

    Affected Public: Individuals or Households.

    Total Respondents: 11,200.

    Frequency: One time.

    Total Responses: 11,200.

    Average Time per Response: 5 minutes.

    Estimated Total Burden Hours: 933 hours.

    Total Burden Cost (capital/startup): $0.

    Total Burden Cost (operating/maintenance): $0.

    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they also will become a matter of public record.

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 29th day of December 2015. Kimberly D. Hill, Chief, Division of Management Systems, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33142 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4510-24-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Copyright Royalty Board [Docket No. 16-CRB-0001-SR/PSSR (2018-2022)] Determination of Rates and Terms for Satellite Radio and “Preexisting” Subscription Services (SDARS III 1 )

    1 SDARS stands for Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service.

    AGENCY:

    Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Notice announcing commencement of proceeding with request for Petitions to Participate.

    SUMMARY:

    The Copyright Royalty Judges announce commencement of a proceeding to determine reasonable rates and terms for the digital performance of sound recordings and the making of ephemeral recordings by satellite radio and “preexisting” subscription services 2 for the period beginning January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2022. The Copyright Royalty Judges also announce the date by which a party wishing to participate in the rate determination proceeding must file its Petition to Participate and the accompanying $150 filing fee.

    2 Only subscription digital audio transmission services in operation on or before July 31, 1998, qualify as and continue to be called “preexisting” subscription services. See 17 U.S.C. 114(j)(11); see also 114(d)(2)(B).

    DATES:

    Petitions to Participate and the filing fee are due no later than February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    This notice and request is also posted on the agency's Web site (www.loc.gov/crb) and on Regulations.gov (www.regulations.gov). Parties who plan to participate should see How to Submit Petitions to Participate in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for physical addresses and further instructions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    LaKeshia Keys, CRB Program Specialist, by telephone at (202) 707-7658 or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the Copyright Act, the Copyright Royalty Judges (Judges) must commence a proceeding every five years to determine reasonable rates and terms to license the digital transmission of sound recordings and the making of ephemeral recordings to facilitate those transmissions by preexisting subscription services and preexisting satellite digital audio radio services. See 17 U.S.C. 112 (e), 114(d)(2), 804(b)(3)(B), 803(b)(1)(A)(i)(III). This notice commences the rate determination proceeding for the license period 2018-2022.

    Petitions To Participate

    Parties with a significant interest in the outcome of the rate proceeding must file Petitions to Participate in accordance with § 351.1(b) of the Judges' regulations. See 37 CFR 351.1(b). Parties must send the $150 filing fee with each Petition to Participate. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will not accept payment by cash; therefore, parties must pay the filing fee with a check or money order made payable to “Copyright Royalty Board.” If a check received in payment of the filing fee is returned for lack of sufficient funds, the Judges will dismiss the corresponding Petition to Participate.

    Only attorneys who are admitted to the bar in one or more states or the District of Columbia and are members in good standing will be allowed to represent parties before the Judges. Only an individual may represent herself or himself and appear without legal counsel. 37 CFR 350.2.

    How To Submit Petitions To Participate

    Any party wishing to participate in the proceeding to determine cable royalty rates for 2015 through 2019 must submit to the Copyright Royalty Board the filing fee (U.S. $150), an original (paper) Petition to Participate, five paper copies, and an electronic copy on a CD or other portable memory device in Portable Document Format (PDF) that contains searchable, accessible text (not a scanned image of text). Participants should conform all filed electronic documents to the Judges' Guidelines for Electronic Documents posted on the Copyright Royalty Board Web site at www.loc.gov/crb/docs/Guidelinesfor_Electronic_Documents.pdf. Participants shall deliver Petitions to Participate to only one of the following addresses.

    U.S. mail: Copyright Royalty Board, P.O. Box 70977, Washington, DC 20024-0977; or

    Overnight service (only USPS Express Mail is acceptable): Copyright Royalty Board, P.O. Box 70977, Washington, DC 20024-0977; or

    Commercial courier: Address package to: Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, LM-403, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000. Deliver to: Congressional Courier Acceptance Site, 2nd Street NE. and D Street NE., Washington, DC; or

    Hand delivery: Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Suzanne M. Barnett, Chief Copyright Royalty Judge.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33119 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-72-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Copyright Royalty Board [Docket No. 16-CRB-0003-PR (2018-2022)] Determination of Rates and Terms for Making and Distributing Phonorecords (Phonorecords III) AGENCY:

    Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Notice announcing commencement of proceeding with request for Petitions to Participate.

    SUMMARY:

    The Copyright Royalty Judges announce commencement of a proceeding to determine reasonable rates and terms for making and distributing phonorecords for the period beginning January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2022. The Copyright Royalty Judges also announce the date by which a party wishing to participate in the rate determination proceeding must file its Petition to Participate and the accompanying $150 filing fee.

    DATES:

    Petitions to Participate and the filing fee are due no later than February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    This notice and request is also posted on the agency's Web site (www.loc.gov/crb) and on Regulations.gov (www.regulations.gov). Parties who plan to participate should see How to Submit Petitions to Participate in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for physical addresses and further instructions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    LaKeshia Keys, CRB Program Specialist, by telephone at (202) 707-7658 or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Copyright Act provides that the Copyright Royalty Judges (Judges) commence a proceeding every fifth year to determine rates and terms for making and distributing phonorecords pursuant to the statutory license in 17 U.S.C. 115. 17 U.S.C. See 803(b)(1)(A)(i)(V); 804(b)(4). This notice commences the rate determination proceeding for the license period 2018-2022, inclusive.

    Petitions To Participate

    Parties with a significant interest in the outcome of the phonorecords royalty rate proceeding must file Petitions to Participate in accordance with § 351.1(b) of the Judges' regulations. See 37 CFR 351.1(b). Parties must send the $150 filing fee with each Petition to Participate. The Copyright Royalty Board will not accept payment by cash. Parties must pay the filing fee with a check or money order made payable to the “Copyright Royalty Board.” If a check received in payment of the filing fee is returned for lack of sufficient funds, the Judges will dismiss the corresponding Petition to Participate.

    Only attorneys admitted to the bar in one or more states or the District of Columbia and members in good standing will be allowed to represent parties before the Judges. Only an individual may represent herself or himself and appear without legal counsel. 37 CFR 350.2.

    How To Submit Petitions To Participate

    Any party wishing to participate in the proceeding to determine phonorecord royalty rates for 2018 through 2022 must submit to the Copyright Royalty Board the filing fee (US $150), an original (paper) Petition to Participate, five paper copies, and an electronic copy on a CD or other portable memory device in Portable Document Format (PDF) that contains searchable, accessible text (not a scanned image of text). Participants should conform all filed electronic documents to the Judges' Guidelines for Electronic Documents posted on the Copyright Royalty Board Web site at www.loc.gov/crb/docs/Guidelinesfor_Electronic_Documents.pdf. Participants shall deliver Petitions to Participate to only one of the following addresses.

    U.S. mail: Copyright Royalty Board, P.O. Box 70977, Washington, DC 20024-0977; or

    Overnight service (only USPS Express Mail is acceptable): Copyright Royalty Board, P.O. Box 70977, Washington, DC 20024-0977; or

    Commercial courier: Address package to: Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, LM-403, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000. Deliver to: Congressional Courier Acceptance Site, 2nd Street NE. and D Street NE., Washington, DC; or

    Hand delivery: Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Suzanne M. Barnett, Chief Copyright Royalty Judge.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33118 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-72-P
    LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Copyright Royalty Board [Docket No. 16-CRB-0002-PBR (2018-2022)] Determination of Rates and Terms for Public Broadcasting (PB III) 1

    1 The case name for this proceeding differs in format from the prior two proceedings for this license. The prior names used “noncommercial educational broadcasting” and related acronyms. “Public broadcasting” is more accurate.

    AGENCY:

    Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress.

    ACTION:

    Notice announcing commencement of proceeding with request for Petitions to Participate.

    SUMMARY:

    The Copyright Royalty Judges announce commencement of a proceeding to determine reasonable rates and terms for the use of certain copyrighted works by public broadcasting entities 2 for the period beginning January 1, 2018, and ending December 31, 2022. The Copyright Royalty Judges also announce the date by which a party wishing to participate in the rate determination proceeding must file its Petition to Participate and the accompanying $150 filing fee.

    2 “Public broadcasting entity” is defined in 17 U.S.C. 118(f).

    DATES:

    Petitions to Participate and the filing fee are due no later than February 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    This notice and request is also posted on the agency's Web site (www.loc.gov/crb) and on Regulations.gov (www.regulations.gov). Parties who plan to participate should see How to Submit Petitions to Participate in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for physical addresses and further instructions.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    LaKeshia Keys, CRB Program Specialist, by telephone at (202) 707-7658 or email at [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Copyright Act provides that the Copyright Royalty Judges (Judges) commence a proceeding every fifth year to determine rates and terms for the reproduction, distribution, performance or display of certain works by public broadcasting entities (as defined in 17 U.S.C. 118(f)) in the course of the activities described in 17 U.S.C. 118(c). 17 U.S.C. 803(b)(1)(A)(i)(V); see also 804(b)(6). This notice commences the rate determination proceeding for the license period 2018-2022, inclusive.

    Petitions To Participate

    Parties with a significant interest in the outcome of this royalty rate proceeding must file Petitions to Participate in accordance with 351.1(b) of the Judges' regulations. See 37 CFR 351.1(b). Parties must send the $150 filing fee with each Petition to Participate. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will not accept payment by cash; therefore, parties must pay the filing fee with a check or money order made payable to the “Copyright Royalty Board.” If a check received in payment of the filing fee is returned for lack of sufficient funds, the Judges will dismiss the corresponding Petition to Participate.

    Only attorneys who are admitted to the bar in one or more states or the District of Columbia and are members in good standing will be allowed to represent parties before the Judges. Only an individual may represent herself or himself and appear without legal counsel. 37 CFR 350.2.

    How To Submit Petitions To Participate

    Any party wishing to participate in the proceeding to determine cable royalty rates for 2015 through 2019 must submit to the Copyright Royalty Board the filing fee (US $150), an original (paper) Petition to Participate, five paper copies, and an electronic copy on a CD or other portable memory device in Portable Document Format (PDF) that contains searchable, accessible text (not a scanned image of text). Participants should conform all filed electronic documents to the Judges' Guidelines for Electronic Documents posted on the Copyright Royalty Board Web site at www.loc.gov/crb/docs/Guidelinesfor_Electronic_Documents.pdf. Participants shall deliver Petitions to Participate to only one of the following addresses.

    U.S. mail: Copyright Royalty Board, P.O. Box 70977, Washington, DC 20024-0977; or

    Overnight service (only USPS Express Mail is acceptable): Copyright Royalty Board, P.O. Box 70977, Washington, DC 20024-0977; or

    Commercial courier: Address package to: Copyright Royalty Board, Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, LM-403, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000. Deliver to: Congressional Courier Acceptance Site, 2nd Street NE. and D Street NE., Washington, DC; or

    Hand delivery: Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000.

    Dated: December 29, 2015. Suzanne M. Barnett, Chief Copyright Royalty Judge.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33120 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1410-72-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2015-0288] Biweekly Notice; Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving No Significant Hazards Considerations AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    Biweekly notice.

    SUMMARY:

    Pursuant to Section 189a.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is publishing this regular biweekly notice. The Act requires the Commission to publish notice of any amendments issued, or proposed to be issued, and grants the Commission the authority to issue and make immediately effective any amendment to an operating license or combined license, as applicable, upon a determination by the Commission that such amendment involves no significant hazards consideration, notwithstanding the pendency before the Commission of a request for a hearing from any person.

    This biweekly notice includes all notices of amendments issued, or proposed to be issued from December 8, 2015, to December 21, 2015. The last biweekly notice was published on December 22, 2015.

    DATES:

    Comments must be filed by February 4, 2016. A request for a hearing must be filed March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specific subject):

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0288. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-3463; email: [email protected].

    Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mable Henderson, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-3760, email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0288 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0288.

    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]. The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    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.

    B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2015-0288, facility name, unit number(s), application date, and subject in your comment submission.

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC posts all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov, as well as entering the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

    II. Notice of Consideration of Issuance of Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses and Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination

    The Commission has made a proposed determination that the following amendment requests involve no significant hazards consideration. Under the Commission's regulations in § 50.92 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), this means that operation of the facility in accordance with the proposed amendment would not (1) involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated, (2) create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated, or (3) involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. The basis for this proposed determination for each amendment request is shown below.

    The Commission is seeking public comments on this proposed determination. Any comments received within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice will be considered in making any final determination.

    Normally, the Commission will not issue the amendment until the expiration of 60 days after the date of publication of this notice. The Commission may issue the license amendment before expiration of the 60-day period provided that its final determination is that the amendment involves no significant hazards consideration. In addition, the Commission may issue the amendment prior to the expiration of the 30-day comment period should circumstances change during the 30-day comment period such that failure to act in a timely way would result, for example in derating or shutdown of the facility. Should the Commission take action prior to the expiration of either the comment period or the notice period, it will publish in the Federal Register a notice of issuance. Should the Commission make a final No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, any hearing will take place after issuance. The Commission expects that the need to take this action will occur very infrequently.

    A. Opportunity To Request a Hearing and Petition for Leave To Intervene

    Within 60 days after the date of publication of this notice, any person(s) whose interest may be affected by this action may file a request for a hearing and a petition to intervene with respect to issuance of the amendment to the subject facility operating license or combined license. Requests for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene shall be filed in accordance with the Commission's “Agency Rules of Practice and Procedure” in 10 CFR part 2. Interested person(s) should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.309, which is available at the NRC's PDR, located at One White Flint North, Room O1-F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852. The NRC's regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/. If a request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed within 60 days, the Commission or a presiding officer designated by the Commission or by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, will rule on the request and/or petition; and the Secretary or the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will issue a notice of a hearing or an appropriate order.

    As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the petitioner in the proceeding, and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding. The petition should specifically explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following general requirements: (1) The name, address, and telephone number of the requestor or petitioner; (2) the nature of the requestor's/petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (3) the nature and extent of the requestor's/petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (4) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the requestor's/petitioner's interest. The petition must also set forth the specific contentions which the requestor/petitioner seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.

    Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the requestor/petitioner shall provide a brief explanation of the bases for the contention and a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinion which support the contention and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely in proving the contention at the hearing. The requestor/petitioner must also provide references to those specific sources and documents of which the petitioner is aware and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. The petition must include sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact. Contentions shall be limited to matters within the scope of the amendment under consideration. The contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the requestor/petitioner to relief. A requestor/petitioner who fails to satisfy these requirements with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

    Those permitted to intervene become parties to the proceeding, subject to any limitations in the order granting leave to intervene, and have the opportunity to participate fully in the conduct of the hearing with respect to resolution of that person's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence and to submit a cross-examination plan for cross-examination of witnesses, consistent with NRC regulations, policies and procedures.

    Petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this notice. Requests for hearing, petitions for leave to intervene, and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the 60-day deadline will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(iii).

    If a hearing is requested, and the Commission has not made a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration. The final determination will serve to decide when the hearing is held. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration, the Commission may issue the amendment and make it immediately effective, notwithstanding the request for a hearing. Any hearing held would take place after issuance of the amendment. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves a significant hazards consideration, then any hearing held would take place before the issuance of any amendment unless the Commission finds an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, in which case it will issue an appropriate order or rule under 10 CFR part 2.

    A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof, may submit a petition to the Commission to participate as a party under 10 CFR 2.309(h)(1). The petition should state the nature and extent of the petitioner's interest in the proceeding. The petition should be submitted to the Commission by March 7, 2016. The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in the “Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)” section of this document, and should meet the requirements for petitions for leave to intervene set forth in this section, except that under § 2.309(h)(2) a State, local governmental body, or Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof does not need to address the standing requirements in 10 CFR 2.309(d) if the facility is located within its boundaries. A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof may also have the opportunity to participate under 10 CFR 2.315(c).

    If a hearing is granted, any person who does not wish, or is not qualified, to become a party to the proceeding may, in the discretion of the presiding officer, be permitted to make a limited appearance pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.315(a). A person making a limited appearance may make an oral or written statement of position on the issues, but may not otherwise participate in the proceeding. A limited appearance may be made at any session of the hearing or at any prehearing conference, subject to the limits and conditions as may be imposed by the presiding officer. Persons desiring to make a limited appearance are requested to inform the Secretary of the Commission by March 7, 2016.

    B. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)

    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at [email protected], or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to request (1) a digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/getting-started.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in the NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the agency's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.

    If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

    Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.

    A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to [email protected], or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

    Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.

    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd1.nrc.gov/ehd/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. However, in some instances, a request to intervene will require including information on local residence in order to demonstrate a proximity assertion of interest in the proceeding. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.

    Petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this notice. Requests for hearing, petitions for leave to intervene, and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the 60-day deadline will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(iii).

    For further details with respect to these license amendment applications, see the application for amendment which is available for public inspection in ADAMS and at the NRC's PDR. For additional direction on accessing information related to this document, see the “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” section of this document.

    DTE Electric Company, Docket No. 50-341, Fermi 2, Monroe County, Michigan

    Date of amendment request: September 24, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15268A149.

    Description of amendment request: The amendment would modify technical specification requirements to address Generic Letter 2008-01, “Managing Gas Accumulation in Emergency Core Cooling, Decay Heat Removal, and Containment Spray Systems,” as described in TSTF-523, Revision 2, “Generic Letter 2008-01, Managing Gas Accumulation.”

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Does the proposed change involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed change revises or adds Surveillance Requirement(s) (SRs) that require verification that the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS), the Residual Heat Removal (RHR) System, and the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) System are not rendered inoperable due to accumulated gas and to provide allowances which permit performance of the revised verification. Gas accumulation in the subject systems is not an initiator of any accident previously evaluated. As a result, the probability of any accident previously evaluated is not significantly increased. The proposed SRs ensure that the subject systems continue to be capable to perform their assumed safety function and are not rendered inoperable due to gas accumulation. Thus, the consequences of any accident previously evaluated are not significantly increased.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed change create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed change revises or adds SRs that require verification that the ECCS, the RHR System, and the RCIC System are not rendered inoperable due to accumulated gas and to provide allowances which permit performance of the revised verification. The proposed change does not involve a physical alteration of the plant (i.e., no new or different type of equipment will be installed) or a change in the methods governing normal plant operation. In addition, the proposed change does not impose any new or different requirements that could initiate an accident. The proposed change does not alter assumptions made in the safety analysis and is consistent with the safety analysis assumptions.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Does the proposed change involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The proposed change revises or adds SRs that require verification that the ECCS, the RHR System, and the RCIC System are not rendered inoperable due to accumulated gas and to provide allowances which permit performance of the revised verification. The proposed change adds new requirements to manage gas accumulation in order to ensure the subject systems are capable of performing their assumed safety functions. The proposed SRs are more comprehensive than the current SRs and will ensure that the assumptions of the safety analysis are protected. The proposed change does not adversely affect any current plant safety margins or the reliability of the equipment assumed in the safety analysis. Therefore, there are no changes being made to any safety analysis assumptions, safety limits or limiting safety system settings that would adversely affect plant safety as a result of the proposed change.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Jon P. Christinidis, DTE Energy, Expert Attorney—Regulatory, 688 WCB, One Energy Plaza, Detroit, MI 48226.

    NRC Branch Chief: David L. Pelton.

    Duke Energy Progress Inc., Docket No. 50-400, Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant (HNP), Unit 1, New Hill, North Carolina

    Date of amendment request: October 29, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15302A542.

    Description of amendment request: The amendment would revise several HNP, Unit 1, Technical Specifications (TSs) to allow the `A' Emergency Service Water (ESW) pump to be inoperable for 14 days to allow for the replacement of the `A' Train ESW pump. The proposed license amendment request (LAR) would be applicable on a one-time basis.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    The `B' Train ESW supply and supported equipment will remain fully operable during the 14 day completion time. The `A' ESW pump and supported equipment function as accident mitigators. Removing the `A' Train ESW pump from service for a limited period of time does not affect any accident initiator and therefore cannot change the probability of an accident. The proposed changes and the `A' Train ESW pump replacement activity have been evaluated to assess their impact on the systems affected and upon the design basis safety functions.

    The activities covered by this LAR also include defense-in-depth actions. Weather patterns will be monitored and this activity schedule will be adjusted if tornado/high wind conditions become imminent.

    In addition, completing the lineups required by the operations work procedure (OWP) for the Service Water (SW) system, OWP-SW, “Service Water,” which is necessary when an ESW pump is inoperable, provides defense in depth for prevention of core damage and containment failure. The lineup steps for time periods when the `A' ESW pump is inoperable include the lifting of leads to disable the Safety Injection (SI) close signal to service water valve `1SW-39' and service water valve `SW-276.' This allows the breakers to be maintained on and allows expeditious isolation capability in the event of a SW leak in the Reactor Auxiliary Building. This lineup also defeats the SI signal to service water valve `SW-276' to maintain it open. As long as service water valves `1SW-274' and `1SW-40' are operable, the `B' Train ESW header is isolable, and operable. The simplified flow diagrams provided in Attachment 5 (enclosed in original document) illustrate the flow paths affected by the valves discussed above. Quantitative measures and qualitative measures will be taken during the planned ESW pump replacement, which are identified in Attachment 7 (enclosed in original document) as Regulatory Commitments.

    There will be no effect on the analysis of any accident or the progression of the accident since the operable ESW `B' train is capable of serving 100 percent of all the required heat loads. As such, there is no impact on consequence mitigation for any transient or accident.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed amendment create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    The proposed amendment is a one-time extension of the required completion times from 72 hours for the Charging Pumps, Emergency Core Cooling Systems Subsystems, Containment Spray System, Spray Additive System, Containment Cooling System, Auxiliary Feedwater System, Component Cooling Water System, ESW System, Essential Services Chilled Water System, and AC [Alternating Current] Sources systems to 336 hours. Additionally, proposed amendment is a one-time extension of the required completion times from 7 days for the Control Room Emergency Filtration System and the Reactor Auxiliary Building Emergency Exhaust Systems to 336 hours. The requested change does not involve the addition or removal of any plant system, structure, or component.

    The proposed temporary TS changes do not affect the basic design, operation, or function of any of the systems associated with the TS impacted by the amendment. Implementation of the proposed amendment will not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from that previously evaluated.

    HNP intends to isolate and replace the `A' ESW pump. During the period in which the `A' Train ESW pump is not available, the (NSW System will remain available to supply the `A' Train ESW loads and the `B' Train ESW Train will be operable.

    Throughout the pump replacement project, compensatory measures will be in place to provide additional assurance that the affected systems will continue to be capable of performing their intended safety functions.

    In conclusion, this proposed LAR does not impact any plant systems that are accident initiators and does not impact any safety analysis.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety?

    Margin of safety is related to the confidence in the ability of the fission product barriers to perform their design functions during and following an accident situation. These barriers include the fuel cladding, the reactor coolant system, and the containment system. The performance of the fuel cladding, reactor coolant, and containment systems will not be impacted by the proposed LAR.

    Additionally, the proposed amendment does not involve a change in the operation of the plant. The activity only extends the amount of time the `A' Train ESW system is allowed to be inoperable for the replacement of the `A' ESW pump to improve design margin.

    The estimated incremental conditional core damage probability (ICCDP) during the 14 day completion time extension is much less than the limits presented in Regulatory Guide 1.177. Therefore, it is concluded that the proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Lara S. Nichols, Deputy General Counsel, Duke Energy Corporation, 550 South Tryon Street, Mail Code DEC45A, Charlotte, NC 28202.

    NRC Branch Chief: Benjamin G. Beasley.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. 50-317 and 50-318, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, Calvert County, Maryland

    Date of amendment request: November 5, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15310A064.

    Description of amendments request: The amendments would revise the Calvert Cliffs Technical Specifications (TSs) to relocate certain Surveillance Requirements Frequencies to the previously approved Surveillance Frequency Control Program.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below, with NRC staff revisions provided in [brackets]:

    1. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed License Amendment Request is an administrative change. The proposed change relocates the specified [f]requencies for periodic Surveillance Requirements [SRs] to licensee control under the SFCP. Surveillance Frequencies (SF) are not an initiator to any accident previously evaluated. As a result, the probability of any accident previously evaluated is not significantly increased. The systems and components required by the TS for which the SF are relocated are still required to be operable, meet the acceptance criteria for the SR, and be capable of performing any mitigation function assumed in the accident analysis. As a result, the consequences of any accident previously evaluated are not significantly increased.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed amendment create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed License Amendment Request is an administrative change. The proposed change relocates the specified [f]requencies for periodic SR to licensee control under the SFCP. No new or different accidents result from utilizing the proposed change. The change does not involve a physical alteration of the plant (i.e., no new or different type of equipment will be installed) or a change in the methods governing normal plant operation. In addition, the change does not impose any new or different requirements. The change does not alter assumptions made in the safety analysis. The proposed change is consistent with the safety analysis assumptions and current plant operating practice.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The proposed License Amendment Request is an administrative change. The proposed change relocates the specified [f]requencies for periodic SR to licensee control under the SFCP. The design, operation, testing methods, and acceptance criteria for systems, structures, and components, specified in applicable codes and standards (or alternatives approved for use by the NRC) will continue to be met as described in the plant licensing basis (including the Final Safety Analysis Report and Bases to TS), since these are not affected by [relocating] the SF[s]. Similarly, there is no impact to safety analysis acceptance criteria as described in the plant licensing basis.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendments request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Tamra Domeyer, Associate General Counsel, Exelon Generation Company, LLC, 4300 Winfield Road, Warrenville, IL 60555.

    NRC Branch Chief: Travis L. Tate.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket No. 50-220, Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Unit 1, Oswego County, New York

    Date of amendment request: March 26, 2015. This Notice is regarding the application dated May 12, 2015, which superseded the application dated March 26, 2015, ADAMS Accession Nos. ML15089A231 and ML15089A233. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15134A232.

    Description of amendment request: The NRC staff has previously made a proposed determination that the amendment request dated March 26, 2015, involves no significant hazards consideration (80 FR 58518; September 29, 2015). Subsequently, by application dated May 12, 2015, the licensee superseded the March 26, 2015, amendment request in its entirety. Accordingly, this Notice of the May 12, 2015, application supersedes the previous Notice in its entirety.

    This amendment request involves the adoption of approved changes to NUREG-1433, “Standard Technical Specifications [STS] General Electric BWR/4 Plants,” Revision 4.0, to allow relocation of specific Technical Specifications (TS) surveillance frequencies to a licensee-controlled program. The proposed changes are described in Technical Specification Task Force (TSTF) Traveler 425 “Relocate Surveillance Frequencies to Licensee Control—RITSTF [Risk Informed TSTF] Initiative 5b,” Revision 3 (TSTF-425) ADAMS Accession No. ML090850642, and are described in the Notice of Availability published in the FR on July 6, 2009 (74 FR 31996). The proposed changes are consistent with NRC-approved TSTF-425. The proposed changes relocate surveillance frequencies to a licensee-controlled program, the Surveillance Frequency Control Program (SFCP). The changes are applicable to licensees using probabilistic risk guidelines contained in NRC-approved NEI (Nuclear Energy Institute) 04-10, “Risk-Informed Technical Specifications Initiative 5b, Risk-Informed Method for Control of Surveillance Frequencies” (ADAMS Accession No. ML071360456).

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Do the proposed changes involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes relocate the specified frequencies for periodic surveillance requirements to licensee control under a new Surveillance Frequency Control Program. Surveillance frequencies are not an initiator to any accident previously evaluated. As a result, the probability of any accident previously evaluated is not significantly increased. The systems and components required by the technical specifications for which the surveillance frequencies are relocated are still required to be operable, meet the acceptance criteria for the surveillance requirements, and be capable of performing any mitigation function assumed in the accident analysis. As a result, the consequences of any accident previously evaluated are not significantly increased.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Do the proposed changes create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    No new or different accidents result from utilizing the proposed changes. The changes do not involve a physical alteration of the plant (i.e., no new or different type of equipment will be installed) or a change in the methods governing normal plant operation. In addition, the LAR changes do not impose any new or different requirements. The changes do not alter assumptions made in the safety analysis. The proposed changes are consistent with the safety analysis assumptions and current plant operating practice.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Do the proposed changes involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The design, operation, testing methods, and acceptance criteria for systems, structures, and components (SSCs), specified in applicable codes and standards (or alternatives approved for use by the NRC) will continue to be met as described in the plant licensing basis (including the final safety analysis report and bases to TS), since these are not affected by changes to the surveillance frequencies. Similarly, there is no impact to safety analysis acceptance criteria as described in the plant licensing basis. To evaluate a change in the relocated surveillance frequency, Exelon will perform a probabilistic risk evaluation using the guidance contained in NRC approved NEI 04-10, Rev. 1, in accordance with the TS SFCP. NEI 04-10, Rev. 1, methodology provides reasonable acceptance guidelines and methods for evaluating the risk increase of proposed changes to surveillance frequencies consistent with Regulatory Guide 1.177.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Tamra Domeyer, Associate General Counsel, Exelon Generation Company, LLC, 4300 Winfield Road, Warrenville, IL 60555.

    NRC Branch Chief: Travis L. Tate.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. 50-220 and 50-410, Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Units 1 and 2, Oswego County, New York

    Date of amendment request: October 8, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15281A028.

    Description of amendment request: The amendments would allow the proposed changes to Nine Mile Point, Unit 1 (NMP1) and Nine Mile Point, Unit 2 (NMP2) TSs to provide an allowance for brief, inadvertent, simultaneous opening of redundant secondary containment personnel access doors during normal entry and exit conditions. Specifically, NMP1 Limiting Condition for Operation (LCO) 3.4.3 and Surveillance Requirement (SR) 4.4.3 are modified to acknowledge that secondary containment access openings may be open for entry and exit. Further, the definition for Reactor Building Integrity, specified in NMP1 TS Definition 1.12, is revised for consistency to reflect the changes proposed to TS Section 3.4.3 LCO and SR 4.4.3. The NMP2 SR 3.6.4.1.3 is modified to acknowledge that secondary containment access openings may be open for entry and exit.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Do the proposed changes involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes address temporary conditions during which the secondary containment SRs are not met. The secondary containment is not an initiator of any accident previously evaluated. As a result, the probability of any accident previously evaluated is not increased. The consequences of an accident previously evaluated while using the proposed changes are not impacted and are bounded by the existing design bases calculations and analyses. As a result, the consequences of an accident previously evaluated are not significantly increased.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Do the proposed changes create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes do not alter the protection system design, create new failure modes, or change any modes of operation. The proposed changes do not involve a physical alteration of the plant, and no new or different kind of equipment will be installed. Consequently, there are no new initiators that could result in a new or different kind of accident.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Do the proposed changes involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes would provide an allowance for brief, inadvertent, simultaneous opening of redundant secondary containment personnel access doors during normal entry and exit conditions. The allowance for both an inner and outer secondary containment access door to be open simultaneously for entry and exit does not affect the safety function of secondary containment as the doors are promptly closed after entry or exit, thereby restoring the secondary containment boundary. In addition, brief, inadvertent, simultaneous opening and closing of redundant secondary containment personnel access doors during entry and exit conditions does not affect the ability of the Emergency Ventilation System (NMP1) or the Standby Gas Treatment (SGT) System (NMP2) to establish the required secondary containment vacuum.

    Therefore, the safety function of the secondary containment is not affected.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Tamra Domeyer, Associate General Counsel, Exelon Generation Company, LLC, 4300 Winfield Road, Warrenville, IL 60555.

    NRC Branch Chief: Travis L. Tate.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC and PSEG Nuclear LLC, Docket Nos. 50-277 and 50-278, Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3, York and Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania

    Date of amendment request: December 15, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15349A800.

    Description of amendment request: The proposed amendments would reduce the reactor steam dome pressure stated in the Technical Specifications (TSs) for the reactor core safety limits. The proposed change addresses a 10 CFR part 21 issue concerning the potential to violate the safety limits during a pressure regulator failure maximum demand (open) (PRFO) transient.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Does the proposed change involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed change to the reactor steam dome pressure in Reactor Core Safety Limits 2.1.1.1 and 2.1.1.2 does not alter the use of the analytical methods used to determine the safety limits that have been previously reviewed and approved by the NRC. The proposed change is in accordance with an NRC approved critical power correlation methodology, and as such, maintains required safety margins. The proposed change does not adversely affect accident initiators or precursors, nor does it alter the design assumptions, conditions, or configuration of the facility or the manner in which the plant is operated and maintained.

    The proposed change does not alter or prevent the ability of structures, systems, and components (SSCs) from performing their intended function to mitigate the consequences of an initiating event within the assumed acceptance limits. The proposed change does not require any physical change to any plant SSCs nor does it require any change in systems or plant operations. The proposed change is consistent with the safety analysis assumptions and resultant consequences.

    Lowering the value of reactor steam dome pressure in the TS has no physical effect on plant equipment and therefore, no impact on the course of plant transients. The change is an analytical exercise to demonstrate the applicability of correlations and methodologies. There are no known operational or safety benefits.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed change create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed reduction in the reactor dome pressure safety limit from 785 psig [pounds per square inch gauge] to 685 psig is a change based upon previously approved documents and does not involve changes to the plant hardware or its operating characteristics. As a result, no new failure modes are being introduced. There are no hardware changes nor are there any changes in the method by which any plant systems perform a safety function. No new accident scenarios, failure mechanisms, or limiting single failures are introduced as a result of the proposed change.

    The proposed change does not introduce any new accident precursors, nor does it involve any physical plant alterations or changes in the methods governing normal plant operation. Also, the change does not impose any new or different requirements or eliminate any existing requirements. The change does not alter assumptions made in the safety analysis.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Does the proposed change involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The margin of safety is established through the design of the plant structures, systems, and components, and through the parameters for safe operation and setpoints for the actuation of equipment relied upon to respond to transients and design basis accidents. Evaluation of the 10 CFR part 21 condition by General Electric determined that since the Minimum Critical Power Ratio improves during the PRFO transient, there is no decrease in the safety margin and therefore there is no threat to fuel cladding integrity. The proposed change in reactor steam dome pressure supports the current safety margin, which protects the fuel cladding integrity during a depressurization transient, but does not change the requirements governing operation or availability of safety equipment assumed to operate to preserve the margin of safety. The change does not alter the behavior of plant equipment, which remains unchanged.

    The proposed change to Reactor Core Safety Limits 2.1.1.1 and 2.1.1.2 is consistent with and within the capabilities of the applicable NRC approved critical power correlation for the fuel designs in use at PBAPS Units 2 and 3. No setpoints at which protective actions are initiated are altered by the proposed change. The proposed change does not alter the manner in which the safety limits are determined. This change is consistent with plant design and does not change the TS operability requirements; thus, previously evaluated accidents are not affected by this proposed change.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Tamra Domeyer, Associate General Counsel, Exelon Generation Company, LLC, 4300 Winfield Rd., Warrenville, IL 60555.

    NRC Branch Chief: Douglas A. Broaddus.

    PSEG Nuclear LLC, Docket Nos. 50-272 and 50-311, Salem Nuclear Generating Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, Salem County, New Jersey

    Date of amendment request: September 11, 2015, as supplemented by letter dated November 5, 2015. Publicly-available versions are in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML15254A387 and ML15309A750, respectively.

    Description of amendment request: The amendments would revise the technical specifications to support planned plant modifications to implement chiller replacements and for performing maintenance on common line components.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Do the proposed changes involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The Auxiliary Building Chilled Water (AB CH) system will continue to meet the design cooling requirements for both normal and accident conditions. The Two chiller and Cross Tied configuration analyses verify the capability of the system to perform its design function. The configuration analyses were performed assuming that one of the required chillers is out of service for the supplying unit to account for a possible failure of a chiller, demonstrating that only the remaining required chillers are required to be operating for normal operation and accident conditions. This supports operating with the required chillers available and the potential loss of a chiller during an accident as the single failure, or the unexpected loss of a chiller during normal operation.

    The AB CH system is not an initiator or precursor to any anticipated (or abnormal) operational transients or postulated design basis accidents. Operating with only two chillers required does not alter the design requirements of the system; the required cooling capability is still met. The AB CH systems for Salem Unit 1 and Unit 2 are designed to allow the systems to be cross-tied; allowing for the pumps and chillers of one Unit to cool the heat loads of both Units. In cross-tie configuration the analyses demonstrate the system will continue to provide required cooling capability to the control room and safety related areas during normal operation and in the event of an accident.

    Therefore there is no increase in the probability of any previously evaluated accident.

    Two Chiller or Cross-Tied operation has no effect on the consequences of any previously analyzed accident. Evaluations were performed assuming that one of the required chillers is out of service to account for a possible failure of a chiller. The two chiller analyses determined that certain heat loads are required to be isolated, certain environmental conditions are required, and that single filtration alignment of the CREACS [Control Room Emergency Air Conditioning System] must be restricted. The cross-tied analyses determined that certain heat loads are required to be isolated, certain environmental conditions are required, and both trains of the CREACS must be in service. The proposed TS changes incorporate these restrictions ensuring the design requirements of the system will continue to be met. The temperatures of the Control Area Rooms continue to be below the acceptance criteria during AB CH system Two Chiller and Cross-Tied operations for both normal operation and accident conditions.

    Therefore this proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Do the proposed changes create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes to the TS permitting AB CH system Two Chiller and Cross-Tied operation do not introduce any new accident initiators or create any new failure mechanisms or malfunctions. The analyses demonstrate the system continues to perform its design functions for both normal and accident conditions. To ensure the system has adequate cooling capability, restrictions are placed in TS isolating non-safety related loads, verifying certain environmental conditions, and restricting single filtration train alignment operation. These restrictions do not cause the system to be operated outside its design basis and therefore do not create any new failure mechanisms.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated.

    3. Do the proposed changes involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The proposed amendment does not alter setpoints or limits established or assumed by any accident analyses. The proposed change does not exceed or alter a design basis or safety limit (i.e., Control Room Area temperatures remain below design requirements), therefore it does not significantly reduce the margin of safety. In Two Chiller and Cross-Tied configuration, restrictions are placed in the TS ensuring the AB CH system will continue to provide adequate cooling during normal and accident conditions. The Control Room area ambient air temperature will not exceed the allowable temperature for continuous duty rating for the equipment and instrumentation and the control room will remain habitable for operations personnel during and following all credible accident conditions.

    The sharing of the AB CH system between Units in the Cross-Tied configuration does not impair its ability to perform its safety function for both normal and accident conditions. Design cooling requirements for the accident condition unit continue to be met, and the operating unit cooling requirements are also met such that there can be an orderly shutdown and cool down.

    Therefore, these changes do not involve a significant reduction in the margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Jeffrie J. Keenan, PSEG Nuclear LLC—N21, P.O. Box 236, Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038.

    PSEG Nuclear LLC, Docket Nos. 50-272 and 50-311, Salem Nuclear Generating Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, Salem County, New Jersey

    Date of amendment request: October 12, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15285A014.

    Description of amendment request: The amendments would revise the Salem Nuclear Generating Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, Technical Specification (TS) 3.6.2.3, “Containment Cooling System,” to correct a discrepancy between TS mode applicability and the shutdown mode in the associated action statements. The request also proposes changes to the Unit Nos. 1 and 2, TS 3.7.1.1, “Safety Valves,” to correct discrepancies between TS mode applicability and action statement shutdown modes.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    Neither the Containment Fan Cooling Units (CFCUs) nor the MSSVs [main steam line code safety valves] are accident initiators. These proposed changes will not increase the probability of occurrence of any design basis accident since the corrections to the affected Technical Specifications, in and of themselves, cannot initiate an accident. Should a previously evaluated accident occur, the proposed changes will ensure that the plant equipment is operable in all required applicable modes of operation and that the Technical Specification action statements are consistent with those applicable modes. There will be no impact on the source term or pathways assumed in accidents previously evaluated. No design functions of structures, systems and components required to mitigate the consequences of an accident are affected. Therefore, the consequences of an accident previously evaluated are not significantly increased.

    Therefore, the proposed change does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed amendment create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed amendment does not involve physical changes (installing new equipment or modifying existing equipment) related to the design functions or operations of the CFCUs or MSSVs. In addition, the proposed changes to the affected Technical Specification applicability modes and action statement modes will not create the potential for any new initiating events or transients to occur in the physical plant.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any previously evaluated.

    3. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes, which correct a non-conservative TS and eliminate an inconsistency between applicability mode and action statement, do not exceed or alter a setpoint, design basis or safety limit.

    Therefore, the proposed amendment does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Jeffrie J. Keenan, PSEG Nuclear LLC—N21, P.O. Box 236, Hancocks Bridge, NJ 08038.

    NRC Branch Chief: Douglas A. Broaddus.

    South Carolina Electric and Gas Company Docket Nos. 52-027 and 52-028, Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station, Units 2 and 3, Fairfield County, South Carolina

    Date of amendment request: September 30, 2015. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15273A115.

    Description of amendment request: The proposed change, if approved, would depart from certain plant-specific Tier 1 information by adding two turbine building sump pumps to accommodate the increased flow that will be experienced during condensate polishing system rinsing operations. The proposed change also indicates that there is more than one main turbine building sump. Because flow into the turbine building sumps may be radiologically contaminated, the turbine building sump pumps will cease operation if a high radiation signal is present. The proposed changes to Tier 1 would have corresponding changes to the Combined License (COL) Appendix C, however there are no associated Tier 2 changes required.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes to identify that there is more than one turbine building sump and to add two turbine building sump pumps (WWS-MP-07A and B) to [combined license] COL Appendix C, Section 2.3.29, and corresponding Table 2.3.29-1 will provide consistency within the current licensing basis. The main turbine building sumps and sump pumps are not safety-related components and do not interface with any systems, structures, or components (SSC) accident initiator or initiating sequence of events; thus, the probability of accidents evaluated within the plant-specific [Updated Final Safety Analysis Report] UFSAR are not affected. The proposed changes do not involve a change to the predicted radiological releases due to accident conditions, thus the consequences of accidents evaluated in the UFSAR are not affected.

    Therefore, the proposed amendment does not involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed amendment create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes to identify that there is more than one turbine building sump and to add two turbine sump pumps to the non-safety waste water system (WWS) do not affect any safety-related equipment, nor does it add any new interface to safety-related SSCs. No system or design function or equipment qualification is affected by this change. The changes do not introduce a new failure mode, malfunction, or sequence of events that could affect safety or safety-related equipment.

    Therefore, the proposed amendment does not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident.

    3. Does the proposed amendment involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The WWS is a non-safety-related system that does not interface with any safety-related equipment. The proposed changes to identify that there is more than one turbine building sump and to add two turbine building sump pumps do not affect any design code, function, design analysis, safety analysis input or result, or design/safety margin. No safety analysis or design basis acceptance limit/criterion is challenged or exceeded by the proposed change.

    Therefore, the proposed amendment does not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: Ms. Kathryn M. Sutton, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLC, 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004-2514.

    NRC Branch Chief: Lawrence J. Burkhart.

    Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Docket Nos. 50-259, 50-260, and 50-296, Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units (BFN) 1, 2, and 3, Limestone County, Alabama

    Date of amendment request: September 16, 2015 (ADAMS Accession No. ML15260B125).

    Description of amendment request: The amendments would revise the Technical Specifications (TSs) for Units 1 and 2, by adding a new Specification (i.e., TS 3.3.8.3) to consolidate the requirements governing the safety functions for the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) Preferred Pump Logic, Common Accident Signal (CAS) Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic and for Unit 3, by adding a new Specification (i.e., TS 3.3.8.3) to consolidate the requirements governing the safety functions for the CAS Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic for consistency with the changes to the, Units 1 and 2 TSs. The proposed change would relocate the existing requirements for the CAS Logic from Units 1, 2, and 3, TS 3.8.1, “AC Sources—Operating,” to the proposed TS 3.3.8.3. In addition, TS 3.3.5.1, Table 3.3.5.1-1, “Emergency Core Cooling System Instrumentation,” would be revised to incorporate references to the proposed TS 3.3.8.3.

    Basis for proposed no significant hazards consideration determination: As required by 10 CFR 50.91(a), the licensee has provided its analysis of the issue of no significant hazards consideration, which is presented below:

    1. Does the proposed change involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes relocate and clarify the requirements currently addressed in the BFN TS governing the safety functions for the ECCS Preferred Pump Logic (BFN, Units 1 and 2 only), Common Accident Signal Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic. Requirements are neither added nor deleted. The proposed TS 3.3.8.3 continues to provide LCO [Limiting Condition for Operation], Required Actions and Completion Times, and Surveillance Requirements for ECCS Preferred Pump Logic (BFN, Units 1 and 2 only), Common Accident Signal Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic. A TVA risk assessment has determined that the risk of changing the Completion Time for the ECCS Preferred Pump Logic from 24 hours to seven days, and maintaining the current Surveillance Test Intervals as the current Surveillance Test Interval for the rest of the ECCS Instrumentation in the technical specifications is acceptable. Because the proposed changes do not require modification of the plant or change the way the logic systems are used, the proposed changes do not affect the current LOCA [loss-of-coolant accident] analysis of record.

    Based on the above discussions, the proposed changes do not involve an increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated.

    2. Does the proposed change create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes relocate and clarify the requirements currently addressed in the BFN TS governing the safety functions for the ECCS Preferred Pump Logic (BFN, Units 1 and 2 only), Common Accident Signal Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic. Requirements are neither added nor deleted. The proposed TS 3.3.8.3 continues to provide LCO, Required Actions and Completion Times, and Surveillance Requirements for ECCS Preferred Pump Logic (BFN, Units 1 and 2 only), Common Accident Signal Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic. The proposed changes result in no physical change to the plant configuration or method of operation.

    Therefore, the proposed changes do not create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated.

    3. Does the proposed change involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety?

    Response: No.

    The proposed changes relocate and clarify the requirements currently addressed in the BFN TS governing the safety functions for the ECCS Preferred Pump Logic (BFN, Units 1 and 2 only), Common Accident Signal Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic. Requirements are neither added nor deleted. The proposed TS 3.3.8.3 continues to provide LCO, Required Actions and Completion Times, and Surveillance Requirements for ECCS Preferred Pump Logic (BFN, Units 1 and 2 only), Common Accident Signal Logic, and the Unit Priority Re-Trip Logic. A TVA risk assessment has determined that the risk of changing the Completion Time for the ECCS Preferred Pump Logic from 24 hours to seven days, and maintaining the current Surveillance Test Intervals as the current Surveillance Test Interval for the rest of the ECCS Instrumentation in the technical specifications is acceptable.

    Accordingly, the proposed changes do not involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety.

    The NRC staff has reviewed the licensee's analysis and, based on this review, it appears that the three standards of 10 CFR 50.92(c) are satisfied. Therefore, the NRC staff proposes to determine that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration.

    Attorney for licensee: General Counsel, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, 6A West Tower, Knoxville, TN 37902.

    NRC Branch Chief: Benjamin G. Beasley.

    III. Previously Published Notices of Consideration of Issuance of Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses, Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Opportunity for a Hearing

    The following notices were previously published as separate individual notices. The notice content was the same as above. They were published as individual notices either because time did not allow the Commission to wait for this biweekly notice or because the action involved exigent circumstances. They are repeated here because the biweekly notice lists all amendments issued or proposed to be issued involving no significant hazards consideration.

    For details, see the individual notice in the Federal Register on the day and page cited. This notice does not extend the notice period of the original notice.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. 50-237 and 50-249, Dresden Nuclear Power Station (DNPS), Units 2 and 3, Grundy County, Illinois

    Date of amendment request: December 30, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated May 8, and July 30, 2015. Publicly-available versions are in ADAMS under Accession Nos. ML14364A100, ML15128A305, and ML15215A336, respectively.

    Brief description of amendment request: The NRC is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-19 and DPR-25, issued to Exelon Generation Company, LLC (the licensee), for operation of DNPS, Units 2 and 3. The proposed amendment uses a new Criticality Safety Analysis (CSA) methodology for performing the criticality safety evaluation for legacy fuel types in addition to the new ATRIUM 10XM fuel design in the DNPS spent fuel pools. In addition, the licensee's amendment request proposes a change to the DNPS Technical Specification (TS) 4.3.1, “Criticality,” in support of the new CSA.

    Date of publication of individual notice in Federal Register : November 5, 2015 (80 FR 68573).

    Expiration date of individual notice: December 7, 2015 (public comments); January 5, 2015 (hearing requests).

    IV. Notice of Issuance of Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses

    During the period since publication of the last biweekly notice, the Commission has issued the following amendments. The Commission has determined for each of these amendments that the application complies with the standards and requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and the Commission's rules and regulations. The Commission has made appropriate findings as required by the Act and the Commission's rules and regulations in 10 CFR Chapter I, which are set forth in the license amendment.

    A notice of consideration of issuance of amendment to facility operating license or combined license, as applicable, proposed no significant hazards consideration determination, and opportunity for a hearing in connection with these actions, was published in the Federal Register as indicated.

    Unless otherwise indicated, the Commission has determined that these amendments satisfy the criteria for categorical exclusion in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22. Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared for these amendments. If the Commission has prepared an environmental assessment under the special circumstances provision in 10 CFR 51.22(b) and has made a determination based on that assessment, it is so indicated.

    For further details with respect to the action see (1) the applications for amendment, (2) the amendment, and (3) the Commission's related letter, Safety Evaluation and/or Environmental Assessment as indicated. All of these items can be accessed as described in the “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” section of this document.

    Duke Energy Florida, Inc. and Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc., Docket No. 50-302, Crystal River, Unit 3 Nuclear Generating Plant, Citrus County, Florida

    Date of application for amendment: May 7, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendment revised Technical Specifications 5.1.1, 5.2.1.b, 5.3.2, and 5.6.2.3 by changing the title of the position with overall responsibility for the safe handling and storage of nuclear fuel and licensee initiated changes to the Offsite Dose Calculation Manual from either the Plant Manager or the Decommissioning Director to the General Manager Decommissioning.

    Date of issuance: November 27, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of its issuance and shall be implemented within 30 days of issuance.

    Amendment No.: 249. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15261A452; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Facility Operating License No. DPR-72: Amendment revised the Facility Operating License and Technical Specifications.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : July 21, 2015 (80 FR 43127).

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated August 11, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Entergy Operations, Inc., System Energy Resources, Inc., South Mississippi Electric Power Association, and Entergy Mississippi, Inc., Docket No. 50-416, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station, Unit 1, Claiborne County, Mississippi

    Date of application for amendment: December 15, 2014 as supplemented by letters dated May 6, October 12, November 6, and November 24, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendment modified Surveillance Requirement (SR) 3.6.4.3.1 of TS 3.6.4.3, “Standby Gas Treatment (SBT) System”; SR 3.7.3.1 of TS 3.7.3 “Control Room Fresh Air (CRFA) System”; and TS 5.5.7, “Ventilation Filter Testing Program (VFTP).” The changes to SRs 3.6.4.3.1 and 3.7.3.1 are consistent with the adoption of Technical Specifications Task Force (TSTF) Standard Technical Specification (STS) Traveler TSTF-522, “Revise Ventilation System Surveillance Requirements to Operate for 10 hours per Month.” Additionally, the change to TS 5.5.7 provided consistency with the above TS changes that was not addressed in TSTF-522.

    Date of issuance: December 17, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 90 days of issuance.

    Amendment No: 208. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15336A256; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Facility Operating License No. NPF-29: The amendment revised the Facility Operating License and Technical Specifications.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : April 28, 2015 (80 FR 23603). The supplemental letters dated May 6, October 12, November 6, and November 24, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 17, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Docket No. 50-271, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VY), Vernon, Vermont

    Date of amendment request: June 12, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated October 21, 2014; February 5, 2015; June 18, 2015; and July 16, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendment revised the permanently defueled emergency plan and emergency action level (EAL) scheme to reflect the reduced scope of offsite and onsite emergency planning and the significantly reduced spectrum of credible accidents that can occur for the permanently defueled condition.

    Date of issuance: December 11, 2015.

    Effective date: As of April 15, 2016, and shall be implemented within 90 days of the amendment effective date.

    Amendment No.: 264. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15233A166; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR-28: The amendment revised the VY permanently defueled emergency plan and EAL scheme.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : December 9, 2014 (79 FR 73109). The supplemental letters dated October 21, 2014; February 5, 2015; June 18, 2015; and July 16, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of this amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 11, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: Yes. The Safety Evaluation dated December 11, 2015, provides the discussion of the comments received from the State of Vermont and the public.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. STN 50-456 and STN 50-457, Braidwood Station, Units 1 and 2, Will County, Illinois Docket Nos. STN 50-454 and STN 50-455, Byron Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, Ogle County, Illinois

    Date of application for amendment: December 14, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated June 25, and September 16, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The changes increase the voltage limit for the diesel generator full load rejection test specified by technical specification (TS) and surveillance requirement (SR) 3.8.1.10. Additionally, the proposed amendment adds Note 3 to TS SR 3.8.1.10 that allows for full load reject testing.

    Date of issuance: December 17, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 90 days from the date of issuance.

    Amendment No(s).: 187/187, and 194/194. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15293A589. Documents related to these amendments are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendments.

    Facility Operating License Nos.NPF-72 and NPF-77 and Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-37 and NPF-66: The amendments revise the TSs and License.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : March 17, 2015 (80 FR 13907). The June 25, and September 16, 2015, supplements contained clarifying information and did not change the scope of the proposed action or affect the NRC staff's initial proposed finding of no significant hazards consideration.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendments is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 17, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket No. 50-461, Clinton Power Station, Unit 1, DeWitt County, Illinois

    Date of application for amendment: November 17, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated April 21, June 24, and November 16, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendment revises Technical Specification (TS) 5.5.2, “Primary Coolant Sources Outside Containment,” The approved change requires integrated leak testing to be performed at least once per 24 months and adds a provision to apply surveillance requirement 3.0.2 to TS 5.5.2 requirements.

    Date of issuance: December 18, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 30 days from the date of issuance.

    Amendment No: 208. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15251A584; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Facility Operating License No. NPF-62: The amendment revised the Technical Specifications and License.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : February 17, 2015 (80 FR 8361). The April 21, 2015 supplement, contained clarifying information, which changed the NRC staff's initial proposed finding that the amendments involve no significant hazards consideration, therefore the notice was later supplemented on May 12, 2015 (80 FR 27197). The June 24, and November 16, 2015 supplements did not affect the revised no significant hazards consideration.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 18, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. STN 50-456 and STN 50-457, Braidwood Station, Units 1 and 2, Will County, Illinois and Docket Nos. STN 50-454 and STN 50-455, Byron Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, Ogle County, Illinois

    Date of application for amendment: April 24, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated April 30, 2015, and October 9, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendments add new low degraded voltage relays and timers, with appropriate settings, on each engineered safety features bus. The technical specifications and surveillance requirements are changed to add appropriate operational and testing requirements for the new relays and timers.

    Date of issuance: December 21, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented during subsequent refueling outages as specified in the amendments.

    Amendment No(s).: 188/188 and 195/195. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15307A776. Documents related to these amendments are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendments.

    Facility Operating License Nos.NPF-72 and NPF-77 and Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. NPF-37 and NPF-66: The amendments revises the Technical Specifications and License.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : September 2, 2014 (79 FR 52065).

    The April 30, 2015, and October 9, 2015, supplements contained clarifying information and did not change the NRC staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 21, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. 50-237 and 50-249, Dresden Nuclear Power Station, Units 2 and 3, Grundy County, Illinois Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. 50-373 and 50-374, LaSalle County Station, Units 1 and 2, LaSalle County, Illinois Exelon Generation Company, LLC, Docket Nos. 50-254 and 50-265, Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station, Units 1 and 2, Rock Island County, Illinois

    Date of application for amendments: December 22, 2014, as supplemented by letter dated September 29, 2015.

    Brief description of amendments: The amendments add a new Technical Specification (TS) 3.10.8, “Inservice Leak and Hydrostatic Testing,” to allow reactor operations to remain in Mode 4 for specified testing with reactor coolant temperatures above the Mode 4 limit. TS 3.10.8 may only be used for (1) performance of an inservice leak or hydrostatic test, (2) as a consequence of maintaining adequate pressure for an inservice leak or hydrostatic test, or (3) as a consequence of maintaining adequate pressure for control rod scram time testing initiated in conjunction with an inservice leak or hydrostatic test.

    Date of issuance: December 17, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 60 days from the date of issuance.

    Amendment Nos.: 248, 241, 219, 205, 261, and 256. Publicly-available versions can be found in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15324A439; documents related to these amendments are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendments.

    Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-19, DPR-25, NPF-11, NPF-18, DPR-29, and DPR-30: The amendments revised the Technical Specifications and the Licenses.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : March 31, 2015 (80 FR 17089). The supplemental letter dated September 29, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendments is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 17, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, et al., Docket Nos. 50-334 and 50-412, Beaver Valley Power Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2 (BVPS-1 and BVPS-2), Beaver County, Pennsylvania

    Date of amendment request: April 1, 2015, as supplemented by letter dated August 10, 2015.

    Brief description of amendments: The amendments revised the BVPS-1 and BVPS-2 Renewed Facility Operating Licenses (RFOLs) and Technical Specifications (TSs). Specifically, the license amendments revised various sections associated with steam generators, including changes consistent with the guidance provided in Technical Specification Task Force Traveler-510, Revision 2, “Revision to Steam Generator Program Inspection Frequencies and Tube Sample Selection” (ADAMS Accession No. ML110610350).

    Date of issuance: December 16, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 60 days of issuance.

    Amendment Nos.: 296 (Unit 1) and 184 (Unit 2). A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15294A439; documents related to these amendments are listed in the Safety Evaluation (SE) enclosed with the amendments.

    RFOL Nos. DPR-66 and NPF-73: Amendments revised the RFOLs and TSs.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : May 12, 2015 (80 FR 27198). The supplemental letter dated August 10, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in an SE dated December 16, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Indiana Michigan Power Company, Docket Nos. 50-315 and 50-316, Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2, Berrien County, Michigan

    Date of amendment request: December 17, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated July 9, 2015, and October 30, 2015.

    Brief description of amendments: The amendments revise the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2, technical specifications to allow surveillance testing of the onsite standby emergency diesel generators during modes in which it was previously restricted. Specifically, the changes remove the mode restrictions in the notes of the surveillance requirements 3.8.1.10, EDG single largest load rejection test, 3.8.1.11, EDG full load rejection test, and 3.8.1.15, EDG endurance run.

    Date of issuance: December 11, 2015.

    Effective date: These amendments are effective as of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 140 days of issuance.

    Amendment No(s).: 330 for Unit 1 and 311 for Unit 2. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15327A217; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-58 and DPR-74: The amendments revise the Renewed Facility Operating Licenses and the Technical Specifications.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : March 17, 2015 (80 FR 13909). The supplemental letters dated July 9, 2015, and October 30, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 11, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Omaha Public Power District, Docket No. 50-285, Fort Calhoun Station, Unit No. 1, Washington County, Nebraska

    Date of amendment request: December 26, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated September 11, September 18, November 2, and December 8, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendment revised the current emergency action level scheme to a scheme based on Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) 99-01, Revision 6, “Development of Emergency Action Levels for Non-Passive Reactors,” November 2012.

    Date of issuance: December 15, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented by June 30, 2016.

    Amendment No.: 285. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15288A005; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR-40: The amendment revised the operating license.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : February 3, 2015 (80 FR 5801). The supplemental letters dated September 11, September 18, November 2, and December 8, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 15, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: No.

    Tennessee Valley Authority, Docket Nos. 50-259, 50-260, and 50-296, Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2 and 3, Limestone County, Alabama

    Date of amendment request: December 11, 2014, as supplemented by letter dated September 30, 2015.

    Brief description of amendments: The amendments revised the stored diesel fuel oil and lube oil numerical volume requirements in the Technical Specifications (TSs) by replacing them with diesel operating time requirements consistent with Technical Specifications Task Force Traveler-501, Revision 1, “Relocate Stored Fuel Oil and Lube Oil Volume Values to Licensee Control.”

    Date of issuance: December 14, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 60 days of issuance.

    Amendment No(s).: 292 (Unit 1), 317 (Unit 2), and 275 (Unit 3). A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15324A247; documents related to these amendments are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendments.

    Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-33, DPR-52, and DPR-68: Amendments revised the Renewed Facility Operating Licenses and TSs.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : March 31, 2015 (80 FR 17104). The supplemental letter dated September 30, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 14, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: A comment was received on the initial Federal Register notice regarding a Grand Gulf amendment, but the comment was unrelated to this licensing action.

    Tennessee Valley Authority, Docket Nos. 50-259, 50-260, and 50-296, Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3, Limestone County, Alabama

    Date of amendment request: December 11, 2014, as supplemented by letters dated June 3, 2015, and July 30, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendments revised Technical Specification (TS) 2.1.1, “Reactor Core SLs [Safety Limits],” to lower the value of the reactor steam dome pressure safety limit from the current 785 pounds per square inch gauge (psig) to 585 psig. Lowering of this safety limit will effectively expand the validity range for the units' critical power correlations and the calculation of the minimum critical power ratio. Specifically, the revised value of 585 psig is consistent with the lower range of the critical power correlations currently in use at the units. The revised value will also adequately bound a pressure regulator failure open transient event. No hardware, design or operational change is involved with this amendment.

    Date of issuance: December 16, 2015.

    Effective date: As of its date of issuance and shall be implemented within 60 days.

    Amendment Nos.: 293 (Unit 1), 318 (Unit 2), and 276 (Unit 3). A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15287A213; documents related to these amendments are listed in the Safety Evaluation (SE) enclosed with the amendments.

    Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-33, DPR-52, and DPR-68: Amendments revised the Renewed Facility Operating Licenses and TSs.

    Date of initial notice in Federal Register : May 5, 2015 (80 FR 25721). The supplemental letters dated June 3, 2015, and July 30, 2015, provided additional information that clarified the application, did not expand the scope of the application as originally noticed, and did not change the staff's original proposed no significant hazards consideration determination as published in the Federal Register.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment is contained in an SE dated December 16, 2015.

    No significant hazards consideration comments received: Yes. The comment received on Amendment Nos. 293, 318, and 276 is addressed in the SE dated December 16, 2015.

    V. Notice of Issuance of Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses and Final Determination of No Significant Hazards Consideration and Opportunity for a Hearing (Exigent Public Announcement or Emergency Circumstances)

    During the period since publication of the last biweekly notice, the Commission has issued the following amendments. The Commission has determined for each of these amendments that the application for the amendment complies with the standards and requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), and the Commission's rules and regulations. The Commission has made appropriate findings as required by the Act and the Commission's rules and regulations in 10 CFR Chapter I, which are set forth in the license amendment.

    Because of exigent or emergency circumstances associated with the date the amendment was needed, there was not time for the Commission to publish, for public comment before issuance, its usual notice of consideration of issuance of amendment, proposed no significant hazards consideration determination, and opportunity for a hearing.

    For exigent circumstances, the Commission has either issued a Federal Register notice providing opportunity for public comment or has used local media to provide notice to the public in the area surrounding a licensee's facility of the licensee's application and of the Commission's proposed determination of no significant hazards consideration. The Commission has provided a reasonable opportunity for the public to comment, using its best efforts to make available to the public means of communication for the public to respond quickly, and in the case of telephone comments, the comments have been recorded or transcribed as appropriate and the licensee has been informed of the public comments.

    In circumstances where failure to act in a timely way would have resulted, for example, in derating or shutdown of a nuclear power plant or in prevention of either resumption of operation or of increase in power output up to the plant's licensed power level, the Commission may not have had an opportunity to provide for public comment on its no significant hazards consideration determination. In such case, the license amendment has been issued without opportunity for comment. If there has been some time for public comment but less than 30 days, the Commission may provide an opportunity for public comment. If comments have been requested, it is so stated. In either event, the State has been consulted by telephone whenever possible.

    Under its regulations, the Commission may issue and make an amendment immediately effective, notwithstanding the pendency before it of a request for a hearing from any person, in advance of the holding and completion of any required hearing, where it has determined that no significant hazards consideration is involved.

    The Commission has applied the standards of 10 CFR 50.92 and has made a final determination that the amendment involves no significant hazards consideration. The basis for this determination is contained in the documents related to this action. Accordingly, the amendments have been issued and made effective as indicated.

    Unless otherwise indicated, the Commission has determined that these amendments satisfy the criteria for categorical exclusion in accordance with 10 CFR 51.22. Therefore, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.22(b), no environmental impact statement or environmental assessment need be prepared for these amendments. If the Commission has prepared an environmental assessment under the special circumstances provision in 10 CFR 51.12(b) and has made a determination based on that assessment, it is so indicated.

    For further details with respect to the action see (1) the application for amendment, (2) the amendment to Facility Operating License or Combined License, as applicable, and (3) the Commission's related letter, Safety Evaluation and/or Environmental Assessment, as indicated. All of these items can be accessed as described in the “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” section of this document.

    A. Opportunity To Request a Hearing and Petition for Leave To Intervene

    The Commission is also offering an opportunity for a hearing with respect to the issuance of the amendment. Within 60 days after the date of publication of this notice, any person(s) whose interest may be affected by this action may file a request for a hearing and a petition to intervene with respect to issuance of the amendment to the subject facility operating license or combined license. Requests for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene shall be filed in accordance with the Commission's “Agency Rules of Practice and Procedure” in 10 CFR part 2. Interested person(s) should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.309, which is available at the NRC's PDR, located at One White Flint North, Room O1-F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852. The NRC's regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/. If a request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed within 60 days, the Commission or a presiding officer designated by the Commission or by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, will rule on the request and/or petition; and the Secretary or the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will issue a notice of a hearing or an appropriate order.

    As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the petitioner in the proceeding, and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding. The petition should specifically explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following general requirements: (1) The name, address, and telephone number of the requestor or petitioner; (2) the nature of the requestor's/petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (3) the nature and extent of the requestor's/petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (4) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the requestor's/petitioner's interest. The petition must also set forth the specific contentions which the requestor/petitioner seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.

    Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the requestor/petitioner shall provide a brief explanation of the bases for the contention and a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinion which support the contention and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely in proving the contention at the hearing. The requestor/petitioner must also provide references to those specific sources and documents of which the petitioner is aware and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. The petition must include sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact. Contentions shall be limited to matters within the scope of the amendment under consideration. The contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the requestor/petitioner to relief. A requestor/petitioner who fails to satisfy these requirements with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

    Those permitted to intervene become parties to the proceeding, subject to any limitations in the order granting leave to intervene, and have the opportunity to participate fully in the conduct of the hearing with respect to resolution of that person's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence and to submit a cross-examination plan for cross-examination of witnesses, consistent with NRC regulations, policies and procedures.

    Petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this notice. Requests for hearing, petitions for leave to intervene, and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the 60-day deadline will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(iii).

    If a hearing is requested, and the Commission has not made a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration. The final determination will serve to decide when the hearing is held. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration, the Commission may issue the amendment and make it immediately effective, notwithstanding the request for a hearing. Any hearing held would take place after issuance of the amendment. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves a significant hazards consideration, then any hearing held would take place before the issuance of any amendment unless the Commission finds an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, in which case it will issue an appropriate order or rule under 10 CFR part 2.

    A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof, may submit a petition to the Commission to participate as a party under 10 CFR 2.309(h)(1). The petition should state the nature and extent of the petitioner's interest in the proceeding. The petition should be submitted to the Commission by March 7, 2016. The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in the “Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)” section of this document, and should meet the requirements for petitions for leave to intervene set forth in this section, except that under § 2.309(h)(2) a State, local governmental body, or Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof does not need to address the standing requirements in 10 CFR 2.309(d) if the facility is located within its boundaries. A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian Tribe, or agency thereof may also have the opportunity to participate under 10 CFR 2.315(c).

    If a hearing is granted, any person who does not wish, or is not qualified, to become a party to the proceeding may, in the discretion of the presiding officer, be permitted to make a limited appearance pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.315(a). A person making a limited appearance may make an oral or written statement of position on the issues, but may not otherwise participate in the proceeding. A limited appearance may be made at any session of the hearing or at any prehearing conference, subject to the limits and conditions as may be imposed by the presiding officer. Persons desiring to make a limited appearance are requested to inform the Secretary of the Commission by March 7, 2016.

    B. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)

    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the Internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at [email protected], or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to request (1) a digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/getting-started.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in the NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the agency's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.

    If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

    Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.

    A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to [email protected], or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

    Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists.

    Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC's electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http://ehd1.nrc.gov/ehd/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. However, in some instances, a request to intervene will require including information on local residence in order to demonstrate a proximity assertion of interest in the proceeding. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission.

    STP Nuclear Operating Company, Docket No. 50-498, South Texas Project, Unit 1, Matagorda County, Texas

    Date of amendment request: December 3, 2015, as supplemented by letter dated December 9, 2015.

    Brief description of amendment: The amendment added a footnote to Technical Specification (TS) 5.3.2, “Control Rod Assemblies,” to permit operation with 56 full-length control rods during Unit 1 Cycle 20 instead of the normal 57 full-length control rod assemblies. This extension will allow completion of plans to repair or replace a single unreliable control rod. This amendment was necessitated by the discovery of the unreliable control rod during start up testing following the recently completed Unit 1 refueling outage.

    Date of issuance: December 11, 2015.

    Effective date: As of the date of issuance and shall be implemented within 24 hours of its date of issuance.

    Amendment No.: Unit 1—208. A publicly-available version is in ADAMS under Accession No. ML15343A128; documents related to this amendment are listed in the Safety Evaluation enclosed with the amendment.

    Facility Operating License No. NPF-76: The amendment revised the Facility Operating License and TSs.

    Public comments requested as to proposed no significant hazards consideration (NSHC): No.

    The Commission's related evaluation of the amendment, finding of emergency circumstances, state consultation, and final NSHC determination are contained in a Safety Evaluation dated December 11, 2015.

    Attorney for licensee: Steve Frantz, Esq., Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20004.

    NRC Branch Chief: Robert J. Pascarelli.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 29th day of December, 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Anne T. Boland, Director, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
    [FR Doc. 2015-33260 Filed 1-4-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590-01-P
    NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC-2015-0277] Applications and Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses Involving Proposed No Significant Hazards Considerations and Containing Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and Order Imposing Procedures for Access to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information AGENCY:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    ACTION:

    License amendment request; opportunity to comment, request a hearing, and petition for leave to intervene; order.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received and is considering approval of two amendment requests. The amendment requests are for Limerick Generating Station, Unit 1, and Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1. The NRC proposes to determine that the amendment requests involve no significant hazards consideration. In addition, each amendment request contains sensitive unclassified non-safeguards information (SUNSI).

    DATES:

    Comments must be filed by February 4, 2016. A request for a hearing must be filed by March 7, 2016. Any potential party as defined in § 2.4 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), who believes access to SUNSI is necessary to respond to this notice must request document access by January 15, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specific subject):

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0277. 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.

    • Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see “Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments” in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Janet Burkhardt, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-1384, email: [email protected].

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0277 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this action by any of the following methods:

    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0277.

    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]. The ADAMS accession number for each document referenced (if it is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

    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.

    B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2015-0277, facility name, unit number(s), application date, and subject in your comment submission.

    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC posts all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as entering the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information.

    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

    II. Background

    Pursuant to Section 189a.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (the Act), the NRC is publishing this notice. The Act requires the Commission to publish notice of any amendments issued, or proposed to be issued and grants the Commission the authority to issue and make immediately effective any amendment to an operating license or combined license, as applicable, upon a determination by the Commission that such amendment involves no significant hazards consideration, notwithstanding the pendency before the Commission of a request for a hearing from any person.

    This notice includes notices of amendments containing SUNSI.

    III. Notice of Consideration of Issuance of Amendments to Facility Operating Licenses and Combined Licenses, Proposed No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, and Opportunity for a Hearing

    The Commission has made a proposed determination that the following amendment requests involve no significant hazards consideration. Under the Commission's regulations in 10 CFR 50.92, this means that operation of the facility in accordance with the proposed amendment would not (1) involve a significant increase in the probability or consequences of an accident previously evaluated, or (2) create the possibility of a new or different kind of accident from any accident previously evaluated, or (3) involve a significant reduction in a margin of safety. The basis for this proposed determination for each amendment request is shown below.

    The Commission is seeking public comments on this proposed determination. Any comments received within 30 days after the date of publication of this notice will be considered in making any final determination.

    Normally, the Commission will not issue the amendment until the expiration of 60 days after the date of publication of this notice. The Commission may issue the license amendment before expiration of the 60-day period provided that its final determination is that the amendment involves no significant hazards consideration. In addition, the Commission may issue the amendment prior to the expiration of the 30-day comment period should circumstances change during the 30-day comment period such that failure to act in a timely way would result, for example, in derating or shutdown of the facility. Should the Commission take action prior to the expiration of either the comment period or the notice period, it will publish a notice of issuance in the Federal Register. Should the Commission make a final No Significant Hazards Consideration Determination, any hearing will take place after issuance. The Commission expects that the need to take this action will occur very infrequently.

    A. Opportunity To Request a Hearing and Petition for Leave To Intervene

    Within 60 days after the date of publication of this notice, any person(s) whose interest may be affected by this action may file a request for a hearing and a petition to intervene with respect to issuance of the amendment to the subject facility operating license or combined license. Requests for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene shall be filed in accordance with the Commission's “Agency Rules of Practice and Procedure” in 10 CFR part 2. Interested person(s) should consult a current copy of 10 CFR 2.309, which is available at the NRC's PDR, located at One White Flint North, Room O1-F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852. The NRC's regulations are accessible electronically from the NRC Library on the NRC's Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/. If a request for a hearing or petition for leave to intervene is filed within 60 days, the Commission or a presiding officer designated by the Commission or by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel, will rule on the request and/or petition; and the Secretary or the Chief Administrative Judge of the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will issue a notice of a hearing or an appropriate order.

    As required by 10 CFR 2.309, a petition for leave to intervene shall set forth with particularity the interest of the petitioner in the proceeding, and how that interest may be affected by the results of the proceeding. The petition should specifically explain the reasons why intervention should be permitted with particular reference to the following general requirements: (1) The name, address, and telephone number of the requestor or petitioner; (2) the nature of the requestor's/petitioner's right under the Act to be made a party to the proceeding; (3) the nature and extent of the requestor's/petitioner's property, financial, or other interest in the proceeding; and (4) the possible effect of any decision or order which may be entered in the proceeding on the requestor's/petitioner's interest. The petition must also set forth the specific contentions which the requestor/petitioner seeks to have litigated at the proceeding.

    Each contention must consist of a specific statement of the issue of law or fact to be raised or controverted. In addition, the requestor/petitioner shall provide a brief explanation of the bases for the contention and a concise statement of the alleged facts or expert opinion which support the contention and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely in proving the contention at the hearing. The requestor/petitioner must also provide references to those specific sources and documents of which the petitioner is aware and on which the requestor/petitioner intends to rely to establish those facts or expert opinion. The petition must include sufficient information to show that a genuine dispute exists with the applicant on a material issue of law or fact. Contentions shall be limited to matters within the scope of the amendment under consideration. The contention must be one which, if proven, would entitle the requestor/petitioner to relief. A requestor/petitioner who fails to satisfy these requirements with respect to at least one contention will not be permitted to participate as a party.

    Those permitted to intervene become parties to the proceeding, subject to any limitations in the order granting leave to intervene, and have the opportunity to participate fully in the conduct of the hearing with respect to resolution of that person's admitted contentions, including the opportunity to present evidence and to submit a cross-examination plan for cross-examination of witnesses, consistent with NRC regulations, policies and procedures.

    Petitions for leave to intervene must be filed no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this notice. Requests for hearing, petitions for leave to intervene, and motions for leave to file new or amended contentions that are filed after the 60-day deadline will not be entertained absent a determination by the presiding officer that the filing demonstrates good cause by satisfying the three factors in 10 CFR 2.309(c)(1)(i)-(iii).

    If a hearing is requested, and the Commission has not made a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration, the Commission will make a final determination on the issue of no significant hazards consideration. The final determination will serve to decide when the hearing is held. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves no significant hazards consideration, the Commission may issue the amendment and make it immediately effective, notwithstanding the request for a hearing. Any hearing held would take place after issuance of the amendment. If the final determination is that the amendment request involves a significant hazards consideration, then any hearing held would take place before the issuance of any amendment unless the Commission finds an imminent danger to the health or safety of the public, in which case it will issue an appropriate order or rule under 10 CFR part 2.

    A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian tribe, or agency thereof, may submit a petition to the Commission to participate as a party under 10 CFR 2.309(h)(1). The petition should state the nature and extent of the petitioner's interest in the proceeding. The petition should be submitted to the Commission by March 7, 2016. The petition must be filed in accordance with the filing instructions in the “Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)” section of this document, and should meet the requirements for petitions for leave to intervene set forth in this section, except that under § 2.309(h)(2) a State, local governmental body, or Federally-recognized Indian tribe, or agency thereof does not need to address the standing requirements in 10 CFR 2.309(d) if the facility is located within its boundaries. A State, local governmental body, Federally-recognized Indian tribe, or agency thereof may also have the opportunity to participate under 10 CFR 2.315(c).

    If a hearing is granted, any person who does not wish, or is not qualified, to become a party to the proceeding may, in the discretion of the presiding officer, be permitted to make a limited appearance pursuant to the provisions of 10 CFR 2.315(a). A person making a limited appearance may make an oral or written statement of position on the issues, but may not otherwise participate in the proceeding. A limited appearance may be made at any session of the hearing or at any prehearing conference, subject to the limits and conditions as may be imposed by the presiding officer. Persons desiring to make a limited appearance are requested to inform the Secretary of the Commission by March 7, 2016.

    B. Electronic Submissions (E-Filing)

    All documents filed in NRC adjudicatory proceedings, including a request for hearing, a petition for leave to intervene, any motion or other document filed in the proceeding prior to the submission of a request for hearing or petition to intervene, and documents filed by interested governmental entities participating under 10 CFR 2.315(c), must be filed in accordance with the NRC's E-Filing rule (72 FR 49139; August 28, 2007). The E-Filing process requires participants to submit and serve all adjudicatory documents over the internet, or in some cases to mail copies on electronic storage media. Participants may not submit paper copies of their filings unless they seek an exemption in accordance with the procedures described below.

    To comply with the procedural requirements of E-Filing, at least 10 days prior to the filing deadline, the participant should contact the Office of the Secretary by email at [email protected], or by telephone at 301-415-1677, to request (1) a digital identification (ID) certificate, which allows the participant (or its counsel or representative) to digitally sign documents and access the E-Submittal server for any proceeding in which it is participating; and (2) advise the Secretary that the participant will be submitting a request or petition for hearing (even in instances in which the participant, or its counsel or representative, already holds an NRC-issued digital ID certificate). Based upon this information, the Secretary will establish an electronic docket for the hearing in this proceeding if the Secretary has not already established an electronic docket.

    Information about applying for a digital ID certificate is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals/getting-started.html. System requirements for accessing the E-Submittal server are detailed in the NRC's “Guidance for Electronic Submission,” which is available on the agency's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC's E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software.

    If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC's online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC's Web site. Further information on the Web-based submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html.

    Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC's E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC's Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system.

    A person filing electronically using the NRC's adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the “Contact Us” link located on the NRC's public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/e-submittals.html, by email to [email protected], or by a toll-free call at 1-866-672-7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays.

    Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the