Federal Register Vol. 81, No.23,

Federal Register Volume 81, Issue 23 (February 4, 2016)

Page Range5881-6155
FR Document

81_FR_23
Current View
Page and SubjectPDF
81 FR 6036 - Changes in Certain Multifamily Mortgage Insurance PremiumsPDF
81 FR 5896 - Student Pilot Application RequirementsPDF
81 FR 6002 - Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular MeetingPDF
81 FR 6096 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Every People Under Heaven: Jerusalem, 1000-1400” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 6096 - Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition Determinations: “Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty” ExhibitionPDF
81 FR 5993 - Sunshine Act MeetingsPDF
81 FR 5969 - Negotiated Rulemaking Committee; Negotiator Nominations and Schedule of Committee MeetingsPDF
81 FR 6088 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 6003 - Schedule Change to Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 6005 - Sunshine Act NoticePDF
81 FR 6094 - Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements Under OMB ReviewPDF
81 FR 6095 - Alabama Disaster #AL-00060PDF
81 FR 6095 - Washington Disaster #WA-00063PDF
81 FR 6037 - Invasive Species Advisory Committee; Call for NominationsPDF
81 FR 5906 - Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as AmendedPDF
81 FR 6036 - 60 Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: ConnectHome Use and Benefits Telephone SurveyPDF
81 FR 6035 - 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Housing Counseling Training Grant ProgramPDF
81 FR 6055 - Sunshine Act MeetingPDF
81 FR 6101 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Pilot Schools-FAR 141PDF
81 FR 6099 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Aviation Maintenance Technical SchoolsPDF
81 FR 6096 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: B4UFLY Smartphone AppPDF
81 FR 6102 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Changes in Permissible Stage 2 Airplane OperationsPDF
81 FR 6095 - Mississippi Disaster Number MS-00082PDF
81 FR 6097 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Dealer's Aircraft Registration Certificate ApplicationPDF
81 FR 6102 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Operating Requirements: Commuter and On-Demand OperationPDF
81 FR 6097 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Requests for Comments; Clearance of Renewed Approval of Information Collection: Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight ParticipantsPDF
81 FR 6094 - Missouri Disaster #MO-00078PDF
81 FR 6053 - NASA Advisory Council; Science Committee; Heliophysics Subcommittee; Meeting.PDF
81 FR 5989 - Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2014PDF
81 FR 5986 - Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014PDF
81 FR 5990 - Quarterly Update to Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies on Articles of Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of DutyPDF
81 FR 5985 - Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Expedited First Sunset Review of the Countervailing Duty OrderPDF
81 FR 6103 - Hazardous Materials: Public Meeting Notice for the Research and Development ForumPDF
81 FR 6055 - Quarterly Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 5981 - Information Collection: Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations Ride-Along ProgramPDF
81 FR 5982 - National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory CouncilPDF
81 FR 6038 - Notice of Temporary Closures of Selected Public Lands in La Paz County, ArizonaPDF
81 FR 5881 - Importation of Orchids in Growing Media From TaiwanPDF
81 FR 6052 - Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH)PDF
81 FR 6050 - Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (FACOSH)PDF
81 FR 6004 - Notice of Termination; 10264 Community Security Bank; New Prague, MNPDF
81 FR 6004 - Notice of Termination; 10360 Cortez Community Bank; Brooksville, FloridaPDF
81 FR 6004 - Notice to All Interested Parties of the Termination of the Receivership of; 10292 The Peoples Bank; Winder, GeorgiaPDF
81 FR 6005 - Notice of Termination; 10203 State Bank of Aurora; Aurora, MinnesotaPDF
81 FR 6004 - Notice of Termination; 10033 Suburban Federal Savings Bank; Crofton, MarylandPDF
81 FR 6057 - Mallinckrodt, LLC.PDF
81 FR 6043 - Louis Watson, M.D.; Decision and OrderPDF
81 FR 6047 - Kenneth H. Bull, M.D.; Decision and OrderPDF
81 FR 6044 - Bulk Manufacturer of Controlled Substances Application: Pharmacore, Inc.PDF
81 FR 6045 - David W. Bailey, M.D.; Decision and OrderPDF
81 FR 6028 - Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee MeetingPDF
81 FR 6050 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed eCollection eComments Requested; Reinstatement, With Change, of a Previously Approved Collection for Which Approval has Expired: 2016 Supplemental Victimization Survey (SVS)PDF
81 FR 6033 - Cooperative Research and Development Agreement Opportunity With the Department of Homeland Security for the International Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine and Diagnostics Field TrialPDF
81 FR 6055 - LR-ISG-2015-01, Changes to Buried and Underground Piping and Tank RecommendationsPDF
81 FR 6056 - Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes: Meeting NoticePDF
81 FR 6026 - The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Strategic Visioning: Draft Strategic Research Priorities; Request for CommentsPDF
81 FR 6022 - Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Public Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 6024 - Health IT Policy Committee Advisory Meeting; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 6023 - Health IT Standards Committee Advisory Meeting; Notice of MeetingPDF
81 FR 6025 - National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics: MeetingPDF
81 FR 6023 - National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics: Meeting Standards SubcommitteePDF
81 FR 6059 - Excepted ServicePDF
81 FR 5943 - Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity, Long-Term Debt, and Clean Holding Company Requirements for Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies and Intermediate Holding Companies of Systemically Important Foreign Banking Organizations; Regulatory Capital Deduction for Investments in Certain Unsecured Debt of Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
81 FR 5995 - Notice of Public Hearings for the Draft Northern Pass Transmission Line Project Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0463)PDF
81 FR 5991 - Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public MeetingsPDF
81 FR 6040 - Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement, Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and VirginiaPDF
81 FR 6009 - Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Quarterly Listing of Program Issuances-October Through December 2015PDF
81 FR 5983 - Madison Ranger District, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest; Montana; South Gravelly Allotment Management PlanPDF
81 FR 6104 - Application of Elite Airways, LLC for Certificate AuthorityPDF
81 FR 5993 - Notice of Intent To Grant a Partially Exclusive License; Optio Labs, Inc.PDF
81 FR 5983 - Assessment Report of Ecological, Economic and Social Conditions, Trends and Sustainability for the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Carbon, Carter, Gallatin, Madison, Meagher, Park, Powder River, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Counties, Montana, and Harding County, South DakotaPDF
81 FR 5981 - Gallatin County Resource Advisory CommitteePDF
81 FR 5937 - Organization and Delegation of DutiesPDF
81 FR 5916 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; James River, Isle of Wight and Newport News, VAPDF
81 FR 5916 - Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Columbia River, Vancouver, WAPDF
81 FR 5967 - Special Local Regulation, Daytona Beach Grand Prix of the Seas; Atlantic Ocean, Daytona Beach, FLPDF
81 FR 6103 - Notice and Request for CommentsPDF
81 FR 6038 - Notice of Public Meeting: Bureau of Land Management Nevada Resource Advisory Councils; PostponementPDF
81 FR 6037 - Trinity River Adaptive Management Working Group; Public MeetingPDF
81 FR 5979 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Dolphin and Wahoo Resources of the Atlantic; Commercial Dolphin Fishery of the Atlantic; Control DatePDF
81 FR 5978 - Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, and Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management Plans of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin IslandsPDF
81 FR 6104 - Proposed Collection; Comment Request for Persons Providing Remittance Forwarding Services to CubaPDF
81 FR 6105 - Health Services Research and Development Service, Scientific Merit Review Board; Notice of MeetingsPDF
81 FR 6006 - Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding CompaniesPDF
81 FR 6005 - Change in Bank Control Notices; Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding CompanyPDF
81 FR 6055 - Notice of Meetings; Proposal ReviewPDF
81 FR 6008 - Request for Nominations of Candidates To Serve on the Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)PDF
81 FR 6007 - Subcommittee on Procedures Review (SPR), Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health MeetingPDF
81 FR 6006 - Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices MeetingPDF
81 FR 6007 - Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel: Initial ReviewPDF
81 FR 5999 - Mr. Adam R. Rousselle, II; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing ApplicationsPDF
81 FR 5998 - Notice of Commission Staff AttendancePDF
81 FR 5997 - Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP; Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Coastal Bend Header ProjectPDF
81 FR 5996 - Golden Pass Products, LLC; Golden Pass Pipeline, LLC; Revised Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Golden Pass Liquefied Natural Gas Export ProjectPDF
81 FR 5998 - Combined Notice of Filings #2PDF
81 FR 5999 - Combined Notice of Filings #1PDF
81 FR 5996 - San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. Sellers of Energy and Ancillary Services Into Markets Operated by the California Independent System Operator Corporation and the California Power Exchanges; Notice of Compliance FilingPDF
81 FR 6001 - Mark Henson; Notice of Declaration of Intention and Soliciting Comments, Protests, and Motions To IntervenePDF
81 FR 6049 - Notice of Lodging of Proposed Partial Consent Decree Under the Clean Water ActPDF
81 FR 6042 - Truck and Bus Tires From China; Institution of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Investigations and Scheduling of Preliminary Phase InvestigationsPDF
81 FR 6064 - Susa Registered Fund, LLC and Susa Fund Management LLP; Notice of ApplicationPDF
81 FR 6084 - Notice of Applications for Deregistration Under Section 8(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940PDF
81 FR 6085 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; NYSE Arca, Inc.; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change Amending the NYSE Arca Equities Schedule of Fees and Charges for Exchange ServicesPDF
81 FR 6088 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board; Notice of Filing of a Proposed Rule Change Consisting of Proposed Amendments to Rule A-3, on Membership on the BoardPDF
81 FR 6066 - In the Matter of the Application of ISE Mercury, LLC for Registration as a National Securities Exchange; Findings, Opinion, and Order of the CommissionPDF
81 FR 6063 - Self-Regulatory Organizations; ICE Clear Credit LLC; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change To Revise the ICC Risk Management FrameworkPDF
81 FR 5990 - Marine Mammals; File No. 19225PDF
81 FR 6022 - Notice of Availability: 2015 EditionTest Tools and Test Procedures Approved by the National Coordinator for the ONC Health IT Certification ProgramPDF
81 FR 5917 - State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)PDF
81 FR 6028 - National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 6027 - Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed MeetingsPDF
81 FR 6028 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 6026 - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 6027 - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases; Notice of Closed MeetingPDF
81 FR 6024 - Meeting of the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee; UpdatePDF
81 FR 6099 - Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee-New TaskPDF
81 FR 6005 - Notice of Agreements FiledPDF
81 FR 5902 - Amendment of Class E Airspace for the following New York Towns; Ithaca, NY; Poughkeepsie, NYPDF
81 FR 6105 - Sanctions Actions Pursuant to Executive Orders 13224PDF
81 FR 5905 - Amendment of Class E Airspace; Rapid City, SDPDF
81 FR 5903 - Amendment of Class E Airspace; Minot, NDPDF
81 FR 5946 - Proposed Establishment of Class E Airspace; Hollis, OKPDF
81 FR 5901 - Amendment of Class E Airspace for Lynchburg, VAPDF
81 FR 6031 - Washington; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 6034 - Office of the Chief Information Officer; Homeland Security Information Network Advisory Committee Meeting NoticePDF
81 FR 6030 - Michigan; Emergency and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 6032 - Mississippi; Amendment No. 2 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 6030 - Missouri; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 5948 - Proposed Establishment of Class E Airspace; Beach, NDPDF
81 FR 6031 - Idaho; Amendment No. 1 to Notice of a Major Disaster DeclarationPDF
81 FR 5949 - Proposed Amendment of Class D and Class E Airspace; Hagerstown, MDPDF
81 FR 5898 - Establishment of Multiple Air Traffic Service (ATS) Routes; Western United StatesPDF
81 FR 6032 - Alabama; Major Disaster and Related DeterminationsPDF
81 FR 6098 - Noise Exposure Map Notice; Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, MTPDF
81 FR 5984 - Estimates of the Voting Age Population for 2015PDF
81 FR 6041 - Certain Variable Valve Actuation Devices and Automobiles Containing the Same; Commission Determination Not To Review an Initial Determination Terminating the Investigation; Termination of the InvestigationPDF
81 FR 6054 - Notice of Information CollectionPDF
81 FR 6003 - Information Collection Being Submitted for Review and Approval to the Office of Management and BudgetPDF
81 FR 5920 - Numbering Policies for Modern Communications, IP-Enabled Services, Telephone Number Requirements for IP-Enabled, Services Providers, Telephone Number Portability et al.PDF
81 FR 6040 - Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2016 Annual ReportPDF
81 FR 6006 - Request for Health Information Technology Policy Committee NominationsPDF
81 FR 6002 - Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment RequestPDF
81 FR 5992 - Compliance Bulletin-The FCRA's Requirement That Furnishers Establish and Implement Reasonable Written Policies and Procedures Regarding the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to All Consumer Reporting AgenciesPDF
81 FR 5993 - Board on Coastal Engineering Research MeetingPDF
81 FR 5994 - Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Nanushuk Project; Located 7.5 Miles Northeast of Nuiqsut, AlaskaPDF
81 FR 5944 - Airworthiness Directives; DG Flugzeugbau GmbH GlidersPDF
81 FR 5908 - Allocation of Creditable Foreign TaxesPDF
81 FR 5966 - Allocation of Creditable Foreign TaxesPDF
81 FR 5893 - Airworthiness Directives; the Boeing Company AirplanesPDF
81 FR 5951 - Offer Caps in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System OperatorsPDF
81 FR 6107 - AssessmentsPDF
81 FR 5971 - Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and MenusPDF
81 FR 5921 - Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and MenusPDF
81 FR 5889 - Airworthiness Directives; Airbus AirplanesPDF

Issue

81 23 Thursday, February 4, 2016 Contents Agriculture Agriculture Department See

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

See

Forest Service

Animal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service RULES Importation of Orchids in Growing Media from Taiwan, 5881-5888 2016-02141 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection NOTICES Compliance Bulletin: Requirement that Furnishers Establish and Implement Reasonable Written Policies and Procedures Regarding the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to All Consumer Reporting Agencies, 5992 2016-01987 Centers Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NOTICES Meetings: Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 6006-6007 2016-02080 Disease, Disability, and Injury Prevention and Control Special Emphasis Panel, 6007 2016-02079 Subcommittee on Procedures Review, Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 6007-6008 2016-02081 Requests for Nominations: Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health, 6008-6009 2016-02082 Centers Medicare Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services RULES State Health Insurance Assistance Program, 5917-5920 2016-02055 NOTICES Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Quarterly Listing of Program Issuances -- October through December 2015, 6009-6021 2016-02108 Coast Guard Coast Guard RULES Drawbridge Operations: Columbia River, Vancouver, WA, 5916 2016-02098 James River, Isle of Wight and Newport News, VA, 5916-5917 2016-02099 PROPOSED RULES Special Local Regulations: Daytona Beach Grand Prix of the Seas; Atlantic Ocean, Daytona Beach, FL, 5967-5969 2016-02097 NOTICES Meetings: Chemical Transportation Advisory Committee, 6028-6030 2016-02126 Commerce Commerce Department See

International Trade Administration

See

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTICES Estimates of the Voting Age Population for 2015, 5984-5985 2016-02019
Consumer Product Consumer Product Safety Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 5993 2016-02227 Defense Department Defense Department See

Engineers Corps

NOTICES Partially Exclusive Licenses: Optio Labs, Inc., 5993 2016-02105
Drug Drug Enforcement Administration NOTICES Decisions and Orders: David W. Bailey, M.D., 6045-6047 2016-02127 Kenneth H. Bull, M.D., 6047-6049 2016-02129 Louis Watson, M.D., 6043-6044 2016-02130 Manufacturer of Controlled Substances; Applications: Pharmacore, Inc.; High Point, NC, 6044-6045 2016-02128 Education Department Education Department PROPOSED RULES Establishment of a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, 5969-5971 2016-02224 Energy Department Energy Department See

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Draft Northern Pass Transmission Line Project; Public Hearings, 5995-5996 2016-02111
Engineers Engineers Corps NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Nanushuk Project; 7.5 miles northeast of Nuiqsut, AK, 5994-5995 2016-01973 Meetings: Board on Coastal Engineering Research, 5993-5994 2016-01974 Export Import Export-Import Bank NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 6002 2016-01988 Farm Credit Farm Credit Administration NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 6002-6003 2016-02295 Federal Aviation Federal Aviation Administration RULES Airworthiness Directives: Airbus Airplanes, 5889-5893 2016-00379 The Boeing Company Airplanes, 5893-5896 2016-01827 Amendment of Class E Airspace: Ithaca, NY; Poughkeepsie, NY, 5902-5903 2016-02040 Lynchburg, VA, 5901-5902 2016-02033 Lisbon, ND, 5901-5902 2016-02033 Minot, ND, 5903-5905 2016-02036 Rapid City, SD, 5905-5906 2016-02037 Establishment of Multiple Air Traffic Service (ATS) Routes; Western United States, 5898-5901 2016-02022 Student Pilot Application Requirements, 5896-5897 C1--2016--00199 PROPOSED RULES Airworthiness Directives: DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Gliders, 5944-5946 2016-01962 Amendment of Class D and Class E Airspace: Hagerstown, MD, 5949-5951 2016-02023 Establishment of Class E Airspace: Beach, ND, 5948-5949 2016-02025 Hollis, OK, 5946-5948 2016-02034 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Aviation Maintenance Technical Schools, 6099 2016-02163 B4UFLY Smartphone App, 6096-6097 2016-02162 Changes in Permissible Stage 2 Airplane Operations, 6102-6103 2016-02160 Dealer's Aircraft Registration Certificate Application, 6097 2016-02158 Human Space Flight Requirements for Crew and Space Flight Participants, 6097-6098 2016-02156 Operating Requirements -- Commuter and On-Demand Operation, 6102 2016-02157 Pilot Schools -- FAR 141, 6101 2016-02170 Noise Exposure Maps: Great Falls International Airport, Great Falls, MT, 6098-6099 2016-02020 Task Assignments: Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, 6099-6101 2016-02046 Federal Communications Federal Communications Commission RULES Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus, 5921-5937 2016-00929 Numbering Policies for Modern Communications, IP-Enabled Services, Telephone Number Requirements for IP-Enabled, Services Providers, Telephone Number Portability et al., 5920 2016-02013 PROPOSED RULES Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus, 5971-5978 2016-00930 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 6003-6004 2016-02014 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 6003 2016-02215 Federal Deposit Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation PROPOSED RULES Assessments, 6108-6155 2016-01448 NOTICES Terminations of Receivership: Community Security Bank New Prague, MN, 6004 2016-02138 Cortez Community Bank Brooksville, FL, 6004 2016-02137 State Bank of Aurora Aurora, MN, 6005 2016-02135 Suburban Federal Savings Bank Crofton, MD, 6004 2016-02134 The Peoples Bank Winder, GA, 6004 2016-02136 Federal Emergency Federal Emergency Management Agency NOTICES Emergency and Related Determinations: Michigan, 6030 2016-02028 Major Disaster and Related Determinations: Alabama, 6032-6033 2016-02021 Missouri, 6030-6031 2016-02026 Washington, 6031 2016-02030 Major Disaster Declarations: Idaho; Amendment No. 1, 6031-6032 2016-02024 Mississippi; Amendment No. 2, 6032 2016-02027 Federal Energy Federal Energy Regulatory Commission PROPOSED RULES Offer Caps in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, 5951-5965 2016-01813 NOTICES Combined Filings, 5998-6001 2016-02073 2016-02074 Compliance Filings: San Diego Gas and Electric Co. v. Sellers of Energy and Ancillary, et al., 5996-5997 2016-02072 Declaration of Intention Applications: Mark Henson, 6001-6002 2016-02071 Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Gulf South Pipeline Co., LP; Coastal Bend Header Project, 5997 2016-02076 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Golden Pass Products, LLC, 5996 2016-02075 Preliminary Permit Applications: Mr. Adam R. Rousselle, II, 5999 2016-02078 Staff Attendances, 5998 2016-02077 Federal Maritime Federal Maritime Commission NOTICES Agreements Filed, 6005 2016-02044 Federal Mine Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 6005 2016-02214 Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System PROPOSED RULES Regulatory Capital Deduction for Investments in Certain Unsecured Debt of Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies: Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity, Long-Term Debt, and Clean Holding Company Requirements for Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies and Intermediate Holding Companies of Systemically Important Foreign Banking Organizations, 5943 2016-02113 NOTICES Changes in Bank Control: Acquisitions of Shares of a Bank or Bank Holding Company, 6005-6006 2016-02086 Formations of, Acquisitions by, and Mergers of Bank Holding Companies, 6006 2016-02088 Fish Fish and Wildlife Service NOTICES Meetings: Trinity River Adaptive Management Working Group, 6037 2016-02094 Foreign Assets Foreign Assets Control Office NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Comment Request for Persons Providing Remittance Forwarding Services to Cuba, 6104-6105 2016-02091 Blocking or Unblocking of Persons and Properties, 6105 2016-02038 Forest Forest Service NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations Ride-Along Program, 5981-5982 2016-02144 Assessment Report of Ecological, Economic and Social Conditions, Trends and Sustainability for the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Carbon, Carter, Gallatin, Madison, Meagher, Park, Powder River, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Counties, Montana, and Harding County, SD, 5983-5984 2016-02104 Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Madison Ranger District, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest; Montana; South Gravelly Allotment Management Plan, 5983 2016-02107 Meetings: Gallatin County Resource Advisory Committee, 5981 2016-02103 National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, 5982 2016-02143 Government Accountability Government Accountability Office NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Health Information Technology Policy Committee, 6006 2016-02009 Health and Human Health and Human Services Department See

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

See

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

See

National Institutes of Health

RULES State Health Insurance Assistance Program, 5917-5920 2016-02055 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 6022 2016-02119 Availabilities: 2015 EditionTest Tools and Test Procedures Approved by the National Coordinator for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Certification Program, 6022-6023 2016-02057 Meetings: Health IT Policy Committee Advisory, 6024-6025 2016-02118 Health IT Standards Committee Advisory, 6023 2016-02117 National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, 6025 2016-02116 National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards, 6023-6024 2016-02115 Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee; Update, 6024 2016-02047
Homeland Homeland Security Department See

Coast Guard

See

Federal Emergency Management Agency

NOTICES Cooperative Research and Development Agreement Opportunity: International Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine and Diagnostics Field Trial, 6033-6034 2016-02123 Meetings: Homeland Security Information Network Advisory Committee, 6034-6035 2016-02029
Housing Housing and Urban Development Department NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: ConnectHome Use and Benefits Telephone Survey, 6036 2016-02180 Housing Counseling Training Grant Program, 6035-6036 2016-02179 Changes in Certain Multifamily Mortgage Insurance Premiums, 6036-6037 C1--2016--01511 Interior Interior Department See

Fish and Wildlife Service

See

Land Management Bureau

See

National Park Service

NOTICES Requests for Nominations: Invasive Species Advisory Committee, 6037-6038 2016-02192
Internal Revenue Internal Revenue Service RULES Allocation of Creditable Foreign Taxes, 5908-5916 2016-01949 PROPOSED RULES Allocation of Creditable Foreign Taxes, 5966-5967 2016-01948 International Trade Adm International Trade Administration NOTICES Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Investigations, Orders, or Reviews: Certain Lined Paper Products from India, 5986-5989 2016-02150 Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe from the People's Republic of China, 5989-5990 2016-02151 Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe from the People's Republic of China, 5985-5986 2016-02147 Quarterly Update to Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies on Articles of Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of Duty, 5990 2016-02149 International Trade Com International Trade Commission NOTICES Investigations; Determinations, Modifications, and Rulings, etc.: Certain Variable Valve Actuation Devices and Automobiles Containing the Same, 6041-6042 2016-02018 Truck and Bus Tires from China, 6042-6043 2016-02066 Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade, 2016 Annual Report, 6040-6041 2016-02012 Justice Department Justice Department See

Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals: 2016 Supplemental Victimization Survey, 6050 2016-02125 Lodging of Proposed Partial Consent Decree under the Clean Water Act, 6049-6050 2016-02068
Labor Department Labor Department See

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Land Land Management Bureau NOTICES Temporary Closures of Selected Public Lands: La Paz County, AZ, 6038-6040 2016-02142 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 6054-6055 2016-02016 Meetings: NASA Advisory Council; Science Committee; Heliophysics Subcommittee, 6053-6054 2016-02152 National Highway National Highway Traffic Safety Administration RULES Organization and Delegation of Duties, 5937-5942 2016-02101 NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 6103 2016-02096 National Institute National Institutes of Health NOTICES Draft Strategic Research Priorities: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Strategic Visioning, 6026-6027 2016-02120 Meetings: Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, 6027-6028 2016-02049 Center for Scientific Review, 6027 2016-02053 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 6026, 6028 2016-02050 2016-02051 2016-02052 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 6028 2016-02054 National Oceanic National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration PROPOSED RULES Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, and Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management Plans of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 5978-5979 2016-02092 Dolphin and Wahoo Resources of the Atlantic; Commercial Dolphin Fishery of the Atlantic; Control Date, 5979-5980 2016-02093 NOTICES Meetings: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 5991 2016-02110 Permits: Marine Mammals; File No. 19225, 5990-5991 2016-02059 National Park National Park Service NOTICES Environmental Impact Statements; Availability, etc.: Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia, 6040 2016-02109 National Science National Science Foundation NOTICES Meetings: Proposal Review, 6055 2016-02083 National Transportation National Transportation Safety Board NOTICES Meetings; Sunshine Act, 6055 2016-02176 National Women's National Women's Business Council NOTICES Meetings: National Women's Business Council, 6055 2016-02145 Nuclear Regulatory Nuclear Regulatory Commission NOTICES Environmental Assessments; Availability, etc.: Mallinckrodt, LLC, 6057-6059 2016-02131 Guidance: Changes to Buried and Underground Piping and Tank Recommendations, 6055-6056 2016-02122 Meetings: Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes, 6056-6057 2016-02121 Occupational Safety Health Adm Occupational Safety and Health Administration NOTICES Meetings: Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, 6050-6052 2016-02139 Requests for Nominations: Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, 6052-6053 2016-02140 Personnel Personnel Management Office NOTICES Excepted Service, 6059-6062 2016-02114 Pipeline Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration NOTICES Meetings: Research and Development Forum, 6103-6104 2016-02146 Securities Securities and Exchange Commission NOTICES Applications: Susa Registered Fund, LLC and Susa Fund Management, LLP, 6064-6066 2016-02065 Deregistrations; Applications, 6084-6085 2016-02064 Meetings; Sunshine Act, 6088 2016-02221 Registrations as National Securities Exchanges; Applications: ISE Mercury, LLC, 6066-6084 2016-02061 Self-Regulatory Organizations; Proposed Rule Changes: ICE Clear Credit, LLC, 6063-6064 2016-02060 Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, 6088-6094 2016-02062 NYSE Arca, Inc., 6085-6088 2016-02063 Small Business Small Business Administration NOTICES Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals, 6094 2016-02202 Disaster Declarations: Alabama, 6095-6096 2016-02195 Mississippi; Amendment 1, 6095 2016-02159 Missouri, 6094-6095 2016-02154 Washington, 6095 2016-02194 State Department State Department RULES Visas -- Documentation of Nonimmigrants under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended, 5906-5908 2016-02191 NOTICES Culturally Significant Objects Imported for Exhibition: Edgar Degas -- A Strange New Beauty, 6096 2016-02262 Every People under Heaven -- Jerusalem, 1000-1400, 6096 2016-02265 Transportation Department Transportation Department See

Federal Aviation Administration

See

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

See

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

NOTICES Application for Certificate Authority: Elite Airways, LLC, 6104 2016-02106
Treasury Treasury Department See

Foreign Assets Control Office

See

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81 23 Thursday, February 4, 2016 Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 7 CFR Part 319 [Docket No. APHIS-2014-0041] RIN 0579-AE01 Importation of Orchids in Growing Media From Taiwan AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the regulations governing the importation of plants and plant products to add orchid plants of the genus Oncidium from Taiwan to the list of plants that may be imported into the United States in an approved growing medium, subject to specified growing, inspection, and certification requirements. We are taking this action in response to a request from the Taiwanese Government and after determining that the plants could be imported, under certain conditions, without resulting in the introduction into, or the dissemination within, the United States of a quarantine plant pest.

DATES:

Effective March 7, 2016.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Heather Coady, Regulatory Policy Specialist, Plants for Planting Policy, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737; (301) 851-2076.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

The regulations in 7 CFR part 319 prohibit or restrict the importation of certain plants and plant products into the United States to prevent the introduction of quarantine plant pests. The regulations contained in “Subpart—Plants for Planting,” §§ 319.37 through 319.37-14 (referred to below as the regulations), prohibit or restrict, among other things, the importation of living plants, plant parts, and seeds for propagation or planting.

The regulations differentiate between prohibited articles and restricted articles. Prohibited articles are plants for planting whose importation into the United States is not authorized due to the risk the articles present of introducing or disseminating plant pests. Restricted articles are articles authorized for importation into the United States, provided that the articles are subject to measures to address such risk.

Conditions for the importation into the United States of restricted articles in growing media are found in § 319.37-8. Within that section, the introductory text of paragraph (e) lists taxa of restricted articles that may be imported into the United States in approved growing media, subject to the provisions of a systems approach. Paragraph (e)(1) of § 319.37-8 lists the approved growing media, while paragraph (e)(2) contains the provisions of the systems approach. Within paragraph (e)(2), paragraphs (i) through (viii) contain provisions that are generally applicable to all the taxa listed in the introductory text of paragraph (e). Paragraphs (i) through (viii) collectively:

• Require the plants to be grown in accordance with written agreements between the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the national plant protection organization (NPPO) of the country where the plants are grown and between the foreign NPPO and the grower;

• Require the plants to be rooted and grown in a greenhouse that meets certain requirements for quarantine pest exclusion and that is used only for plants being grown in compliance with § 319.37-8(e);

• Restrict the source of the seeds or parent plants used to produce the plants, and require grow-out or treatment of parent plants imported into the exporting country from another country;

• Specify the sources of water that may be used on the plants, the height of the benches on which the plants must be grown, and the conditions under which the plants must be stored and packaged; and

• Require that the plants be inspected in the greenhouse and found free of evidence of quarantine plant pests no more than 30 days prior to the exportation of the plants to the United States.

A phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of the country in which the plants were grown that declares that the above conditions have been met must accompany the plants at the time of importation. These conditions have been used successfully to mitigate the risk of quarantine pest introduction associated with the importation into the United States of approved plants established in growing media.

In response to a request from the NPPO of Taiwan, we prepared a pest risk analysis (PRA) in order to identify the quarantine plant pests that could follow the importation of orchid plants of the genus Oncidium in approved growing media from Taiwan into the United States. (Under § 319.37-1 of the regulations, a quarantine plant pest is a plant pest that is of potential economic importance to the United States and not yet present in the United States, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled.)

Based on the findings of the PRA, we prepared a risk management document (RMD) to determine whether phytosanitary measures exist that would address this quarantine plant pest risk. The RMD suggested that the risk would be addressed if the plants met the general conditions of § 319.37-8(e)(2).

As a result, on December 3, 2014, we published in the Federal Register (79 FR 71703-71705, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0041) a proposal 1 to amend the regulations by adding Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan to the list of plants for planting in approved growing media that may be imported into the United States.

1 To view the proposed rule, its supporting documents, and the comments we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2014-0041.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending February 2, 2015. We reopened and extended the deadline for comments until March 18, 2015, in a document published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2015 (80 FR 12954, Docket No. APHIS-2014-0041). We received 50 comments on the proposed rule by that date. They were from members of Congress, representatives of State governments, industry organizations, and private citizens. Seven comments were supportive. Two commenters were generally opposed to the proposal but included no detailed objections to the action. The remainder of the comments are discussed below by topic.

General Comments

A number of commenters stated that the specific orchid species that fall into the Oncidium genus, and that would therefore be authorized for importation from Taiwan under the proposed rule, were not clear. They pointed out that the Oncidium genus was recently rearranged based on an analysis of the boundaries of that genus. The commenters said that we must clarify which orchids are considered to be part of the genus Oncidium for purposes of the proposed rule, and that such clarification must be reflected in all supporting documents.

We agree with the commenters that the genus Oncidium has been subject to revision, and some taxa previously classified as Oncidium spp. have been relocated into different genera. For purposes of this rule, Oncidium species are those species currently agreed upon by the international taxonomic community to belong to the genus Oncidium, as well as interspecies hybrids within that genus. However, since the supporting documents that accompanied the proposed rule considered all the species that remain in the genus after the revision, as well as interspecies hybrids, we do not consider it necessary to revise the supporting documents as the commenters requested.

Several commenters stated that, because bare-rooted Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan are already authorized for importation into the United States, it is not necessary to authorize the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in growing media.

Under the regulations in 7 CFR 319.5, the NPPO of a foreign country may request that APHIS authorize the importation of a plant or plant product that is not allowed importation into the United States, and APHIS will consider the request if it includes all the categories of information specified in § 319.5 for such requests. The NPPO of Taiwan made such a request for Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media.

Several commenters stated that the rule appears to be the byproduct of bilateral negotiations between the United States and Taiwan, and that the rule was linked to agreements authorizing the export of certain U.S. commodities to Taiwan. Because of this, the commenters expressed concern that APHIS did not adequately consider the risk associated with the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan in growing media. Similarly, other commenters stated that we issued the proposed rule solely because large-scale U.S. importers of orchids requested it.

While political and economic interests may stimulate consideration of the expansion of trade of agricultural commodities between countries, these did not lead us to issue the proposed rule. The United States is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and a signatory to the WTO's Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). In these capacities, the United States has agreed that any prohibitions it places on the importation of plants for planting will be based on scientific evidence, and will not be maintained without sufficient scientific evidence indicating that the prohibitions are necessary to protect plant life and health within the United States.

The PRA and RMD that accompanied the proposed rule evaluated the quarantine plant risk associated with the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan into the United States. These documents provided scientific evidence that a prohibition on the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media is not necessary in order to protect plant life and health in the United States, and the risk associated with such importation could be addressed by requiring the orchids and growing media to be produced in accordance with § 319.37-8(e). This led us to issue the proposed rule.

We prepared the PRA and RMD in accordance with IPPC standards 2 and our own guidelines, and we are confident that they adequately evaluated the plant pest risk associated with the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan into the United States.

2 For the relevant IPPC standards, see International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 11, found at http://www.acfs.go.th/sps/downloads/34163_ISPM_11_E.pdf.

One commenter stated that certain life stages of quarantine plant pests can be difficult to detect at ports of entry into the United States, as can quarantine plant pests with unique feeding habits. For this reason, the commenter stated that we should prohibit the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media into the United States.

If the provisions of the proposed rule are adhered to, there will be a negligible risk that Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan that are imported into the United States will harbor quarantine plant pests.

That being said, pursuant to §§ 319.37-3 and 319.37-11 of the regulations, lots of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan that consist of 13 or more plants must be imported to a United States Department of Agriculture plant inspection station for entry into the United States—we anticipate that almost all lots of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan that are exported to the United States will consist of more than 13 plants. Personnel at plant inspection stations are trained to detect plant pests and signs and symptoms of plant pests, including those that are difficult to detect, and have access to personnel with scientific expertise in identifying plant pests.

One commenter stated that Taiwan cannot be trusted to adhere to the provisions of the proposed rule.

Like the United States, Taiwan is a signatory to the SPS Agreement. As such, it has agreed to respect the phytosanitary measures the United States imposes on the importation of plants and plant products from Taiwan when the United States demonstrates the need to impose these measures in order to protect plant health within the United States. The PRA that accompanied the proposed rule provided evidence of such a need.

One commenter stated that the NPPO of Taiwan should have to demonstrate adherence to the proposed systems approach with small shipments of orchids before we allow more widespread export of Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan under the provisions of the systems approach.

We do not consider this sort of provisional authorization necessary. We authorize the importation of many plants and plant products from Taiwan into the United States, and have not encountered any issues to suggest the NPPO of Taiwan will not or cannot adhere to the requirements of our export programs for such commodities.

Comments Regarding the Pest Risk Analysis General Comment

As we mentioned above, we prepared a PRA in support of the proposed rule. The purpose of the PRA was to identify the quarantine plant pests that could follow the importation of Oncidium spp. orchid plants in approved growing media from Taiwan to the United States.

One commenter pointed out that the PRA was completed in May of 2012. The commenter asked whether there have been any additional quarantine pests associated with Oncidium spp. orchids detected in Taiwan since it was completed.

There have not been any such detections.

Comments Regarding the Pest List

As part of the PRA, we prepared a list of plant pests that are associated with Oncidium spp. orchids and that we determined to occur in Taiwan.

One commenter asked why we limited the list to plant pests. The commenter asked whether APHIS had considered whether zoonotic diseases could follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in growing media, and, more generally, whether APHIS had considered the potential risks to human and animal health associated with such importation.

We limit our PRAs to evaluating plant pest risk; this is consistent with our PRA guidelines related to this specific class of plant commodity and also with IPPC standards. However, the environmental assessment that accompanied the proposed rule evaluated the potential environmental consequences associated with authorizing the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media. This includes potential human or animal health risks.

Several commenters pointed out that, while some plant pests on the list were identified to the species level, others were identified only to the genus level. The commenters stated that certain species within a genus of plant pests can be significantly more destructive than other species within that genus, and asked us to revise the pest list to identify all plant pests of Oncidium spp. orchids that we believe to occur in Taiwan to the species level.

The commenters are correct that certain plant pest species within a particular genus can be significantly more destructive than other species in the same genus. For this reason, as we stated in the PRA, the taxonomic level for organisms listed in our PRAs is usually the species. This is consistent with both our standards as well as with the IPPC standards for PRAs, which suggest that, within PRAs, the identity of the organism should be clearly defined to ensure that the assessment is being conducted on distinct organisms.3

3 See ISPM No. 11.

Accordingly, within the PRA, all plant pests that we determined to be associated with Oncidium spp. orchids in growing media and to occur in Taiwan were identified to the species level. If we listed the genus or family level of the pest in the PRA, this is because a pest in that genus or family was intercepted on bare-rooted Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan, but we could not identify the genus or family as occurring in Taiwan or being associated with Oncidium spp. orchids. We included entries for these genera and families in the PRA for the sake of transparency and completeness, but do not consider further classification of the intercepted pests to be necessary.

One commenter pointed out that our PRA included not only a pest list, but also a list of plant pests that have been intercepted on bare-rooted Oncidium spp. orchids at ports of entry into the United States between 1985 and 2010. The commenter asked why the pest list did not include all pests listed on this latter list.

If the pest list did not include a particular plant pest for which we have pest interception records, it was because we could either find no evidence that the pest occurs in Taiwan, or could find no additional evidence suggesting the pest is associated with Oncidium spp. orchids.

Several commenters expressed concern that the pest list may be incomplete, and that unidentified quarantine pests could be introduced into the United States through the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan in approved growing media.

We compiled the pest list in the PRA from multiple sources, including information provided by the NPPO of Taiwan, pest detection records, and our own review of scientific literature. We are confident that the list has identified all quarantine pests associated with Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media that occur in Taiwan.

A commenter expressed concern that, if quarantine pests of Oncidium spp. orchids that were not listed in the PRA are subsequently detected in Taiwan, the systems approach in the proposed rule may not contain measures that mitigate these plant pest risks.

If this occurs, we will take appropriate measures to address such risk. This could include additional restrictions on the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in growing media from Taiwan and/or suspension of the export program for Oncidium spp. orchids in growing media from Taiwan until APHIS and the NPPO of Taiwan jointly agree that the risk has been addressed.

One commenter pointed out that no nematodes were included in the pest list. The commenter asked us to explain their omission.

As we mentioned above, the list was of plant pests that are associated with Oncidium spp. and that we determined to occur in Taiwan. There are no species of nematodes that meet these two criteria.

A commenter pointed out that the pest list had only included one species of Fusarium (a genus of pathogenic fungi), Fusarium oxysporum. The commenter stated that APHIS had previously indicated that multiple species of Fusarium occur in Taiwan, but that we lack diagnostic tools to identify all of these species conclusively. The commenter questioned this discrepancy.

At this time, we are aware that multiple species of Fusarium occur in Taiwan. However, only one of these Fusarium species—F. oxysporum—is known to be associated with Oncidium spp. orchids.

The same commenter stated that we had also previously indicated that we take no action at ports of entry to the United States on commodities determined to be affected with Fusarium spp., and questioned this policy.

Under the Plant Protection Act (PPA, 7 U.S.C. 7711 et seq.), with limited exceptions, we may apply remedial measures to plants or plant products that are in the process of being imported into the United States only in order to prevent the dissemination of a plant pest that is new or not known to be widely prevalent or distributed within and throughout the United States. When we have detected Fusarium spp. on commodities at ports of entry into the United States, the species detected have been ones that are widely prevalent within the United States.

One commenter pointed out that the PRA stated that we have intercepted springtails of the family Sminthuridae on bare-rooted Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan. The commenter asked whether we had intercepted Sminthurus viridis, the Lucerne earth flea. If so, the commenter suggested that we should add S. viridis to the pest list.

We have not intercepted S. viridis. Moreover, there is no evidence that S. viridis exists in Taiwan or is associated with Oncidium spp. orchids.

Several commenters pointed out that biting midges (Ceratopoginidae =Culicoides spp., Forcipomyia spp.) were not included on the pest list in the PRA. The commenters stated that biting midges occur in Taiwan, and could be imported in sphagnum moss, which is listed in § 319.37-8 as an approved growing medium. The commenters stated that midges can vector arboviruses, filarial worms, other parasites, and, while prevalent in the United States, are not established throughout their geographical range. The commenters stated that immature midges could enter greenhouses where Oncidium spp. orchids intended for export to the United States are produced and develop in sphagnum moss, and would be able to survive transit from Taiwan to the United States in moist sphagnum. The commenters asked that the pest list be revised to include biting midges, and biting midge-specific mitigations be added to the systems approach of the proposed rule.

We disagree that sphagnum moss is a hospitable host for biting midges, and that biting midges are likely to follow the pathway on such moss when it is used as a growing medium for plants for planting. We approved the use of sphagnum moss as a growing medium for plants for planting in 1980 (45 FR 31572-31597). Given the worldwide prevalence of biting midges, we would expect to have detected biting midges during port-of-entry inspections of orchids and other plants for planting in sphagnum moss by this time. We have had no such detections.

Additionally, we note that there is no evidence that biting midges are plant pests.

Similarly, a commenter stated that sphagnum moss and organic fibers, which are also listed as an approved growing medium, can harbor nematodes and species of fire ants of quarantine significance, and that these pests could therefore follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids imported from Taiwan in such material and become established in the United States. The same commenter also stated that sphagnum moss can harbor microorganisms that cause significant disease in plants. The commenter asked us to revise the pest list accordingly.

We have no evidence that sphagnum moss or organic fibers are a pathway for the pests mentioned by the commenter, nor did the commenter supply any such evidence. Since sphagnum moss and organic fibers were approved as growing media for plants for planting in 1980, there have been no detections of quarantine plant pests on these growing media that would suggest these growing media are a pathway for the introduction of quarantine plant pests.

Several commenters stated that many quarantine plant pests that are not associated with Oncidium spp. orchids are associated with bark, which is often used as a growing medium for Oncidium spp. orchids, and the pest list should be revised to take this into consideration.

Bark is not listed in § 319.37-8 as an approved growing medium.

Finally, several commenters stated that we should revise the pest list to indicate that several of the plant pests listed, while not quarantine plant pests, are not known to occur in Hawaii.

This practice would be inconsistent with IPPC standards for PRAs, which suggest that pests should be classified based on whether or not they are quarantine pests.4 It would also be inconsistent with our own PRA guidelines and regulatory practices.

4 See ISPM No. 11.

Comments Regarding the List of Quarantine Pests

Based on the pest list, the PRA identified 14 quarantine pests as occurring in Taiwan and potentially following the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media:

Tetranychus kanzawai Kishida, a spider mite.

Amsacta lactinea Cramer, a tiger moth.

Spodoptera litura (Fabricius), the Oriental leafworm moth.

Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood, the chili thrips.

Thrips palmi Karny, the melon thrips.

Lissachatina fulica (Bowdich), a snail.

Deroceras laeve (Muller), the marsh slug.

Parmarion martensi Simroth, a semislug.

Petalochlamys vesta (Pfeiffer), a snail.

Meghimatium bilineatus (Benson), a slug.

Meghimatium pictum Stoliczka, a slug.

Laevicaulis alte (Férussac), the tropical leatherleaf.

Pectobacterium cypripedii (Hori) Brenner et al., a bacterial leaf-disease of orchids.

Bipolaris zizaniae (Y. Nisik.) Shoemaker, a fungus.

One commenter stated that L. fulica is a high-risk pest, and could cause significant damage to domestic agriculture if it became established throughout the United States. The commenter opined we should therefore not authorize the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media because of this plant pest risk.

We agree that L. fulica is a high risk pest. However, if the provisions of the proposed rule are adhered to, there is a negligible risk that L. fulica will be introduced into the United States through the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan.

One commenter stated that several of the pests that were listed on the pest list, but not identified as quarantine pests, are known to occur in Hawaii. The commenter pointed out that APHIS' regulations in 7 CFR 318.13-1 impose a general prohibition on the interstate movement of plants for planting from Hawaii in order to prevent the introduction or further dissemination of plant pests within the United States. The commenter further pointed out that § 318.13-1 refers to this prohibition as a quarantine. The commenter concluded that, because of this quarantine, all plant pests of Oncidium spp. orchids that occur in Hawaii are quarantine pests. The commenter asked us to reevaluate the pest list in light of this consideration, and to revise the list of quarantine pests of Oncidium spp. orchids that occur in Taiwan and potentially could follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media accordingly.

While we agree with the commenter that § 318.13-1 imposes a general quarantine on the interstate movement of plants for planting from Hawaii, including the interstate movement of Oncidium spp. orchids, we disagree that this means that all plant pests of Oncidium spp. orchids that occur in Hawaii are therefore quarantine plant pests. As we mentioned above, in order to meet our definition of a quarantine plant pest, a plant pest that is present in the United States must not be widely distributed and must be officially controlled. The general quarantine in § 318.13-1 does not constitute an official control program of all plant pests that occur in Hawaii.

Comments Regarding the Analysis of Quarantine Pests

The PRA also analyzed the likelihood that each of the 14 quarantine pests listed above would be introduced into the United States through the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan, as well as the consequences of such introduction.

One commenter stated that the PRA should be revised to evaluate the likelihood that snails and slugs in the families of Achatinidae, Succineidae, Philomycidae, Subulinidae, Veronicellidae, Camanidae, Helicarionidae, and Ariophantidae that occur in Taiwan will follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media into the United States, as well as the consequences of such introduction.

The PRA contained an evaluation of the likelihood that quarantine snails and slugs that occur in Taiwan and are associated with Oncidium spp. orchids will follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media to the United States. If the snails or slugs were considered to potentially follow the pathway, the PRA evaluated the likelihood of their introduction into the United States through this pathway, and the consequences of this introduction. However, evaluating the likelihood and consequences of the introduction into the United States of snails and slugs that occur in Taiwan and are associated with Oncidium spp. orchids, but are not of quarantine significance, is inconsistent with IPPC standards, as well as our own PRA guidelines. Moreover, evaluating the likelihood and consequences of introduction of quarantine snails and slugs that occur in Taiwan but are not associated with Oncidium spp.orchids is unnecessary. Such snails and slugs will not follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media to the United States.

Several commenters stated that the PRA should have evaluated the likelihood of introduction and establishment in Hawaii of all plant pests on the pest list that could potentially follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids and are not known to occur in Hawaii, regardless of whether the plant pests are of quarantine significance.

The PRA evaluated the likelihood of introduction and establishment in Hawaii of all quarantine plant pests that could potentially follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media to the United States, as well as the consequences of such establishment. Evaluating the likelihood and consequences of establishment in Hawaii of plant pests that could potentially follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. into the United States but are not quarantine plant pests is inconsistent with IPPC standards, as well as our own PRA guidelines.

One commenter assumed that it was incumbent on the State of Hawaii to conduct an evaluation of the likelihood and consequences of establishment in Hawaii of plant pests that could potentially follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. into the United States but are not quarantine plant pests, but stated that, if the State were to conduct such an evaluation and identify potentially significant adverse consequences, the State had no recourse under the PPA to request Federal restrictions on the movement of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan into Hawaii.

We disagree with the commenter. Pursuant to section 7711 of the PPA, APHIS has established the Federally Recognized State Managed Phytosanitary Program (FRSMP). Under the program, States may petition APHIS to recognize State-managed phytosanitary programs that are developed to eradicate, exclude, or contain plant pests that are of limited distribution within that State and that APHIS does not consider to be of quarantine significance.5 If APHIS grants a State's FRSMP petition, when we determine that an article imported into the United States is infested with a FRSMP pest and destined for the State that submitted the petition, we will take appropriate remedial measures to address this plant pest risk.

5 Criteria for a FRSMP petition are located here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/frsmp/downloads/petition_guidelines.pdf.

Finally, a commenter who co-authored an article 6 referred to in this section of the PRA stated that we had cited the article in an erroneous manner. Whereas we suggested that the article indicates that approved growing media are not a conducive host for snails, the commenter stated that Hollingsworth and Sewake only evaluated the growing media in and of themselves, and not when they are used in association with plants for planting. The commenter stated that Hollingsworth and Sewake in fact included evidence suggesting that snail eggs can remain viable on coir, which is listed in § 319.37-8 as an approved growing medium, when the coir is used as a growing medium for orchids.

6 Hollingsworth, R.G., and K.T. Sewake. 2002. The Orchid Snail as a Pest of Orchids in Hawaii. Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Referred to in this preamble as Hollingsworth and Sewake.

We agree that we should not have cited the article as evidence that approved growing media are not a conducive host for snails. We also agree that Hollingsworth and Sewake provides evidence that snail eggs can remain viable on coir, when coir is used as a growing medium for orchids. For these reasons, we will not cite the article in future PRAs as evidence that approved growing media are not a conducive host for snails.

However, Hollingsworth and Sewake did not evaluate growing media used in connection with the importation of plants for planting in accordance with § 319.37-8(e), but rather growing media that are either located in the natural environment of Hawaii or commercially produced in Hawaii and available to Hawaiian producers. There is no evidence that growing media used in connection with the importation of plants for planting in accordance with § 319.37-8(e) is a conducive host for snail eggs, or that immature snails could follow the pathway on approved growing media imported to the United States in accordance with § 319.37-8(e).

Comments Regarding the Proposed Systems Approach

We proposed that the Oncidium spp. orchids would have to be grown in a greenhouse in which sanitary procedures adequate to exclude quarantine pests are always employed. We proposed that, at a minimum, the greenhouse would have to be free from sand and soil, have screenings with openings of not more than 0.6 mm on all vents and openings except entryways, have entryways equipped with automatic closing doors, regularly clean and disinfect floors, benches, and tools, and use only rainwater that has been boiled or pasteurized, clean well water, or with potable water to water the plants.

One commenter expressed concern that screenings with openings of 0.6 mm would not preclude T. palmi from entering the greenhouses. The commenter cited studies indicating that 40 to 50 percent of T. palmi that attempt to pass through such an opening can do so.

We agree that screenings with openings of 0.6 mm may not preclude all T. palmi from entering the greenhouse. However, in order to comply with the provisions of the systems approach, growers will have to employ sanitary procedures that are jointly sufficient to exclude quarantine pests from the Oncidium spp. orchids intended for export to the United States. Accordingly, growers in areas where T. palmi are present will be expected to develop a pest management plan for T. palmi to address incursions of this pest into the greenhouse; the plan must have sufficient safeguards to prevent Oncidium spp. orchids intended for export to the United States from becoming infested with T. palmi.

One commenter assumed that certain growers would have to implement such pest management plans in order for their greenhouses to always employ sanitary procedures adequate to exclude quarantine pests from the Oncidium spp. orchids grown in the greenhouses. However, the commenter expressed concern that growers may not be able to implement or maintain mitigations specified in the plans, or may not be able to identify equivalent mitigations if the initial mitigations prove insufficient, without guidance or oversight from individuals with phytosanitary training.

Under paragraph (e)(2) of § 319.37-8, the NPPO of Taiwan must enter into an agreement with APHIS to enforce the export program for Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media to the United States, and each grower who wishes to export Oncidium spp. orchids must enter into an agreement with the NPPO of Taiwan. In this latter agreement, the NPPO of Taiwan will specify how the producer may meet the requirements of § 319.37-8, and will require the grower to agree to allow the NPPO of Taiwan access to greenhouses at any time to monitor compliance with the agreement and the provisions of § 319.37-8. Because of these requirements, growers will have the oversight and guidance of the NPPO of Taiwan to assess the efficacy of their pest management plans.

One commenter stated that APHIS should conduct monitoring of the development and implementation of these pest management plans, in addition to the NPPO of Taiwan.

We reserve the right to conduct such monitoring. Additionally, as we discuss below, APHIS inspectors may inspect the orchids prior to export. However, we do not consider it necessary for us to require APHIS to monitor the development and implementation of each pest management plan. For other export programs for plants and plant products from Taiwan to the United States, we have exercised joint monitoring responsibilities with the NPPO of Taiwan, and we have not encountered any issues that suggest we should modify this practice.

Several commenters surmised that most pest management plans would include the application of pesticides. They stated that Taiwan authorizes the use of pesticides that are prohibited for use within the United States, and that are significantly more potent than pesticides used within the United States. The commenters expressed concern that certain quarantine plant pests of Oncidium spp. orchids that occur in Taiwan may have developed tolerances to U.S. pesticides.

The commenter assumes that quarantine plant pests will be introduced into the United States through the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan. As we stated previously in this document, if the provisions of the systems approach are adhered to, there is a negligible risk that this will occur.

Additionally, we have no evidence that any of the quarantine plant pests of Oncidium spp. that are known to occur in Taiwan and may follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media to the United States are resistant to U.S. pesticides.

We proposed that the orchids would have to be inspected in the greenhouse and found free from evidence of quarantine pests by an APHIS inspector or an inspector of the NPPO of Taiwan no more than 30 days prior to the date of export to the United States.

Several commenters stated that visual inspections, in and of themselves, are not sufficient to address the quarantine plant pest risk associated with the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan.

We agree. This is why we proposed to require the orchids to be produced in accordance with the systems approach of § 319.37-8(e).

Several commenters stated visual inspections are not always able to detect signs of bacterial or viral infection. The commenters suggested that the orchids should have to be tested for bacterial and viral pathogens prior to export to the United States.

We do not consider viral testing to be necessary. The PRA did not identify any quarantine viruses that occur in Taiwan and are associated with Oncidium spp. orchids.

Although we did identify one quarantine bacterium, P. cypripedii, to exist in Taiwan and potentially follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids to the United States, inspection is not the sole mitigation for P. cypripedii within the systems approach. We also require the orchids to be grown on benches raised at least 46 centimeters off the ground; to be watered only with rainwater that has been boiled or pasteurized, with clean well water, or with potable water; to be rooted and grown in approved media; and to be grown in greenhouses that are free from sand and soil. Because P. cypripedii is primarily spread through compost or soil admixed with plant debris, as well as water contaminated with soil, these mitigations are jointly sufficient to preclude P. cypripedii from being introduced to the orchids, and we do not consider testing for P. cypripedii to be necessary.

One commenter pointed out that the RMD that accompanied the proposed rule appeared to require growers to employ bactericides for Oncidium spp. orchids that are determined to be infected with P. cypripedii. The commenter stated that bactericides are not effective mitigations for plants that are visibly infected with P. cypripedii. The commenter suggested that plants at a greenhouse that are visibly infected with P. cypripedii should be removed from the greenhouse and destroyed.

We agree with the commenter. In the event that Oncidium spp. orchids infected with P. cypripedii are detected at the greenhouse, these plants must be removed from the greenhouse and destroyed. We note, however, that we consider it unlikely that Oncidium spp. orchids at these greenhouses will become infected with P. cypripedii, for the reasons specified immediately above.

As we mentioned earlier in this document, we noted that lots of 13 or more Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan would have to be imported to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant inspection station for entry into the United States.

Several commenters asked that we explain the inspection protocol at plant inspection stations.

At least 2 percent of the plants in each consignment of Oncidium spp. orchids in growing media will be inspected for plant pests, as well as signs and symptoms of such pests. Inspecting 2 percent of the plants will detect plant pest infestation in 5 percent of the lot with 95 percent confidence. We note, moreover, that we may set a higher inspection rate, as warranted.

If there are any pests detected, or any signs or symptoms of pests, inspectors at the stations will have recourse to pest identifiers and diagnostic testing to positively identify the pests. APHIS will take appropriate remedial measures if any consignments are determined to be infested with quarantine pests.

Finally, one commenter stated that the provisions of the proposed rule did not comply with the intent of Executive Order 13112, which instructs Federal agencies not to carry out actions that the agencies believe are likely to result in the introduction of invasive species.

The commenter's stated assumptions were that the provisions of the rule would not mitigate for T. palmi, that quarantine viral pathogens would follow the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan, and that visual inspection would be the sole mitigation for the quarantine pests identified by the PRA as potentially following the pathway on Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan.

For the reasons discussed previously in this document, we regard these assumptions to be incorrect.

Comments Regarding Phalaenopsis Spp. Orchids

A number of commenters drew parallels between this proposed rule and a previous rule (69 FR 24916-24936, Docket No. 98-038-5) that authorized the importation of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan. The commenters stated that, for that rule, APHIS had grossly underestimated the number of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media that would be imported into the United States annually. Several of the commenters stated that the volume of imports had overwhelmed APHIS' capacity to inspect the Phalaenopsis spp. orchid shipments. Several of the commenters also stated that a disproportionate amount of the Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media exported to the United States have been infested with quarantine plant pests, including a number of quarantine plant pests that we had not considered likely to follow the pathway on Phalaenopsis spp. orchids to the United States. Similarly, several commenters stated that the importation of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in growing media had resulted in the introduction of plant pests into the United States. Given these considerations, the commenters stated that the systems approach in § 319.37-8 appears to be ineffective for orchids from Taiwan, and inquired on what basis we assumed that the number of Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan in approved growing media imported annually to the United States would be significantly fewer than the number of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids from Taiwan imported annually; on what basis we assumed that we have sufficient resources to inspect shipments of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media at plant inspection stations; and on what basis we concluded that the importation of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan into the United States would not result in the introduction of plant pests into the United States.

We consider the export market for Phalaenopsis spp. orchids from Taiwan to be significantly different from the export market for Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan. For the latter genus, Taiwan has a large and established market in Japan, and would have to divert a significant amount of their current exports from Japan to the United States for the number of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media exported to the United States annually to be commensurate with the number of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids exported to the United States annually. We do not consider such diversion likely, and discuss the matter at greater length in the economic analysis that accompanies this final rule.

We disagree with the commenters who stated that we have lacked sufficient resources to inspect Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan. Since we authorized their importation into the United States, we have inspected all shipments of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media in accordance with the inspection protocol discussed earlier in this document. Accordingly, even if import levels of Oncidium spp. in approved growing media from Taiwan were to be equivalent to those of Phalaenopsis spp. in approved growing media—a scenario that, again, we regard to be unlikely—we would have sufficient resources to inspect all consignments of Oncidium spp. in approved growing media exported to the United States.

We also disagree with the commenters who stated that the number of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media that have been determined to be infested with quarantine pests has been disproportionately high. Since we authorized the importation of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan, an average of 23 consignments have been determined to be infested annually. Insofar as an estimated 20 million Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media are exported from Taiwan to the United States each year, we do not consider this number to be statistically significant or disproportionate, or to provide a basis for questioning the efficacy of the systems approach in § 319.37-8 with regard to the importation of orchids from Taiwan.

Finally, we have no evidence that any plant pests have been introduced into the United States through the importation of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in growing media from Taiwan.

One commenter stated that a 2007 survey of Phalaenopsis growers in Taiwan found that more than 50 percent had orchids that were determined to be infected with viral or bacterial pathogens. The commenter asked us why we considered Oncidium spp. orchids produced for the export program to the United States to be unlikely to become infected with bacterial or viral plant pathogens.

We have confidence that the list of viral and bacterial pathogens of Oncidium spp. orchids in the PRA is complete, and thus that we have correctly identified the likelihood that Oncidium spp. orchids from Taiwan could become infected with viral or bacterial plant pests. If the conclusions of our PRA are accurate, then the provisions of the proposed rule, which were based on these conclusions, adequately address the viral and bacterial plant pest risk associated with the importation into the United States of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan.

We do not consider the survey referenced by the commenter to call into question the accuracy of our PRA; only Phalaenopsis spp. orchid growers in Taiwan were surveyed. Nor do we consider it to call into question the efficacy of the systems approach in § 319.37-8(e). The survey appears to have surveyed all Phalaenopsis spp. orchid growers in Taiwan, and not merely those associated with the export program for Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media to the United States.

Finally, one commenter requested that “all of the pleadings and comments from the 2007 HOGA (Hawai'i Orchid Growers Association) versus USDA legal challenge on the importation of Taiwan Phalaenopsis” be included in the administrative record for the proposed rule.

In the lawsuit referenced by the commenter, which was commenced in 2005, HOGA challenged actions related to our consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) regarding our 2004 final rule authorizing the importation of Phalaenopsis spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan into the United States. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment in favor of USDA and FWS, and dismissed the HOGA case in 2006. That decision was affirmed by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2007.

The pleadings and comments from the HOGA lawsuit predate, and do not address, the proposed rule regarding the importation into the United States of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan. Moreover, it is premature and unnecessary to determine the scope of the documents that should be included in an administrative record for this rule that may be compiled in the future.

Comments Regarding the Economic Analysis and Environmental Assessment

In support of the proposed rule, we prepared an initial economic analysis and draft environmental assessment. We received several comments regarding both documents. These are discussed in the final economic analysis and environmental assessment that accompany this rule.

Miscellaneous

In preparing this final rule, we noticed an error in § 319.7-4, which contains general conditions regarding the withdrawal, cancellation, and revocation of various permits for plants and plant products.

Paragraph (b) of that section deals with cancellation of a permit that has been issued to a permittee, at the permittee's request. However, the section had erroneously stated that, upon receipt of such a request, APHIS will withdraw the individual's application, rather than cancel his or her permit. We have corrected this error.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, with the changes discussed in this document.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, we have analyzed the potential economic effects of this action on small entities. The analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are available on the Regulations.gov Web site (see footnote 1 in this document for a link to Regulations.gov) or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

APHIS is amending the regulations in 7 CFR 319.37-8(e), which restrict the importation of orchids of the genus Oncidium to those plants that are free of sand, soil, earth, and other growing media. This rule amends the regulations to include Oncidium spp. from Taiwan on the list of plants that may enter the United States established in approved growing media, subject to specified growing, inspection, and certification requirements.

Eliminating the requirement that Oncidium spp. from Taiwan must be bare-rooted is expected to increase the number and quality of these plants imported by U.S. growers, who then finish the plants for the retail market. It is also expected to reduce the production time for growers. However, gains due to improved product quality and reduced production time are likely to lead to compensating price adjustments, assuming a competitive market.

Oncidium spp. represent an unknown but small portion of the orchid market and orchid trade. While many of the entities that may be affected by the final rule, such as importers of orchids for the potted plant market, are small by Small Business Administration (SBA) standards, we expect any impact to be minimal, given Oncidium spp. having a small share of the U.S. orchid market and a small share of total orchid imports from Taiwan. Allowing importation of Oncidium spp. from Taiwan in growing media could also lead to an expanded market for this genus. The variety's range of unusual appearances appeals to collectors and other niche markets, but could also result in mass market demand.

Under these circumstances, the Administrator has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

An environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact have been prepared for this final rule. The environmental assessment provides a basis for the conclusion that the importation into the United States of Oncidium spp. orchids in approved growing media from Taiwan, subject to a required systems approach, will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment in the United States. Based on the finding of no significant impact, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact were prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site. Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are also available for public inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 799-7039 to facilitate entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no new information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 319

Coffee, Cotton, Fruits, Imports, Logs, Nursery stock, Plant diseases and pests, Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Rice, Vegetables.

Accordingly, we are amending 7 CFR part 319 as follows:

PART 319—FOREIGN QUARANTINE NOTICES 1. The authority citation for part 319 continues to read as follows: Authority:

7 U.S.C. 450, 7701-7772, and 7781-7786; 21 U.S.C. 136 and 136a; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.3.

§ 319.7-4 [Amended]
2. In § 319.7-4, in paragraph (b), the words “withdrawal of the application” are removed, and the words “cancellation of the permit” are added in their place.
§ 319.37-8 [Amended]
3. Section 319.37-8 (e), introductory text, is amended as follows: a. By adding, in alphabetical order, an entry for “Oncidium spp. from Taiwan”. b. In footnotes 9 and 10, by removing the words “footnote 9” and adding the words “footnote 8” in their place. Done in Washington, DC, this 29th day of January 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-02141 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-34-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1417; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-159-AD; Amendment 39-18369; AD 2016-01-10] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; Airbus Airplanes AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are superseding Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2004-20-14, for all Airbus Model A300 B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes; and all Airbus Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R series airplanes. AD 2004-20-14 required repetitive inspections to detect cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage frame (FR) 47 between stringers 24 and 26 (left- and right-hand sides), and corrective actions if necessary. This new AD reduces the inspection compliance time and repetitive inspection intervals, and adds Airbus Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes to the applicability. This AD was prompted by a determination that the inspection compliance time and repetitive inspection interval must be reduced to allow timely detection of cracks in the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47; such cracking could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

DATES:

This AD becomes effective March 10, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in this AD as of March 10, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of certain other publications listed in this AD as of November 17, 2004 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004).

ADDRESSES:

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-1417; or in person at the Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC.

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1417.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 to supersede AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), which superseded AD 2001-03-14, Amendment 39-12118 (66 FR 10957, February 21, 2001). AD 2004-20-14 applied to all Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R (collectively called Model A300-600) series airplanes; and all Model A300 B4 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on May 14, 2015 (80 FR 27607). The NPRM was prompted by a determination that the inspection compliance time and repetitive inspection interval must be reduced to allow timely detection of cracks in the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47. The NPRM proposed to continue to require repetitive inspections to detect cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47 between stringers 24 and 26 (left- and right-hand sides), and corrective actions if necessary. The NPRM also proposed to reduce the inspection compliance time and repetitive inspection intervals, and add Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes to the applicability. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47; such cracking could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Union, has issued EASA Airworthiness Directive 2013-0184R1, dated August 22, 2013 (referred to after this as the Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information, or “the MCAI”), to correct an unsafe condition for all Model A300 B4-600, B4-600R, and F4-600R (collectively called Model A300-600) series airplanes; all Model A300 B4 series airplanes; and all Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes. The MCAI states:

In order to prevent crack development in the fastener holes at Frame (FR) 47 splicing joint on A300 aeroplanes, Airbus developed modification (Mod) 5890 for aeroplanes in production and issued corresponding Service Bulletin (SB) A300-53-0199 for aeroplanes in service.

Subsequently, cracks were found on FR47 splice fitting between stringers (STRG) 24 and 26 on A300 aeroplanes previously modified by SB A300-53-0199.

This condition, if not detected and corrected, could reduce the structural integrity of the aeroplane.

To address this potential unsafe condition, DGAC [Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile] France issued AD 2002-184 http://ad.easa.europa.eu/blob/2002184tb_superseded.pdf/AD_F-2002-184_2 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)], superseding [DGAC France] AD 85-152-069 and [DGAC France] AD 1999-515-298 [which corresponds to FAA AD 2001-03-14, Amendment 39-12118 (66 FR 10957, February 21, 2001)], to require repetitive High Frequency Eddy Current (HFEC) rotating probe inspections of the splice fitting between STRG 24 and 26 and, depending on findings, corrective action(s). DGAC France AD 2002-184(B) expanded the applicability to A300-600 aeroplanes, which have the same design.

Since that [DGAC France] AD was issued, a fleet survey and updated Fatigue and Damage Tolerance analyses have been performed in order to substantiate the second A300-600 Extended Service Goal (ESG2) exercise. The results of these analyses have determined that the inspection threshold and intervals for A300-600 aeroplanes must be reduced to allow timely detection of these cracks and the accomplishment of an applicable corrective action.

For the reasons described above, [EASA] AD 2013-0184 retains the requirements of DGAC France AD 2002-184, which is superseded, but requires accomplishment of the actions for A300-600 aeroplanes within the new thresholds and intervals introduced with Revision 05 of Airbus SB [service bulletin] A300-53-6123 [dated August 1, 2011].

This [EASA] AD was revised to correct the splices Part Numbers (P/N) in Table 4 of Appendix 1 of this [EASA] AD. Also, reference is now made to Airbus SB A300-53-6123 Revision 06 [dated September 28, 2011], which corrected this mistake compared to Revision 05.

You may examine the MCAI in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2015-1417-0002.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM (80 FR 27607, May 14, 2015) and the FAA's response to each comment.

Request To Revise Compliance Times To Match Service Information

United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx Express requested that we revise the compliance times in paragraph (k) of the proposed AD (80 FR 27607, May 14, 2015) to match the compliance times in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011, and EASA AD 2013-0184R1, dated August 22, 2013.

We agree with the commenters' requests to revise the compliance times in paragraph (k) of this AD to reflect the compliance times in EASA AD 2013-0184R1, dated August 22, 2013. We have revised paragraph (k) of this AD accordingly. The changes extend the inspection interval and do not add an additional burden on operators.

Request To Retain Inspection Intervals in AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)

UPS requested that we revise paragraph (k) of the proposed AD (80 FR 27607, May 14, 2015) to retain the inspection intervals in AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), until the airplanes have reached their design service goal (DSG). UPS stated that acceleration of the inspection interval on airplanes that have less than 33 percent of the original DSG does not enhance safety. UPS explained that the proposed inspection interval reduction introduces additional opportunities for fastener hole damage due to the inspection process, thus increasing the risk for subsequent fatigue damage.

We disagree with the commenter's request. Since AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), was issued, Airbus conducted a fleet survey and an analysis to extend the DSG. In consideration of this information, we determined that the inspection interval and thresholds needed to be reduced to support timely detection of cracks. The Airbus analysis for the extension of the DSG and other data was used to determine the compliance thresholds and intervals for this AD. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Request To Revise Repetitive Inspection Interval

FedEx Express requested that we revise the flight-cycle compliance time in paragraph (k)(1) of the proposed AD (80 FR 27607, May 14, 2015) from 2,000 flight cycles to 2,200 flight cycles so that the inspections can consistently be performed at the same interval as a C-check. FedEx Express stated that it considers the 2,200-flight-cycle interval to be conservative. FedEx Express submitted service experience from the previous inspections showing relatively few findings.

We do not agree with the commenter's request. The inspections are dependent upon various configurations and average flight times (AFTs). The commenter did not identify the applicable configuration for the requested 2,200-flight-cycle interval. Operators may request approval of a different interval under the provisions of paragraph (o)(1) of this AD if sufficient specific information is submitted to substantiate that the compliance time will provide an acceptable level of safety. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Request To Remove Average Flight Time Classifications

UPS request that we revise the compliance times to remove the AFT classifications. UPS stated that it considers that the inspection interval difference with regard to the AFT adds a level of compliance complication that does not enhance fleet safety.

We disagree with the commenter's request. The compliance time thresholds and intervals using AFTs were developed by Airbus using fleet experience and analysis. Once we issue this AD, the commenter may request approval of a different interval under the provisions of paragraph (o)(1) of this AD. Sufficient data must be submitted to substantiate that the compliance time will provide an acceptable level of safety. We have not changed this AD in this regard.

Conclusion

We reviewed the available data, including the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the changes described previously and minor editorial changes. We have determined that these changes:

• Are consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 27607, May 14, 2015) for correcting the unsafe condition; and

• Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM (80 FR 27607, May 14, 2015).

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

Airbus has issued the following service information:

• Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 03, including Appendix 03, dated July 26, 2007. This service bulletin describes procedures for inspections to detect cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47 between stringers 24 and 26, and corrective actions.

• Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011. This service bulletin describes procedures for inspections for cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47 between stringers 24 and 26, and corrective actions.

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.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 72 airplanes of U.S. registry.

We also estimate that it will take up to 14 work-hours per product to comply with the basic requirements of this AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work hour. Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this AD on U.S. operators to be $85,680, or $1,190 per product.

In addition, we estimate that any necessary follow-on actions will take up to 204 work-hours and require parts costing up to $37,000, for a cost of up to $54,340 per product. We have no way of determining the number of aircraft that might need these actions.

Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

Regulatory Findings

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

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

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; 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.

Examining the AD Docket

You may examine the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2015-1417; 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 Operations office (telephone 800-647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section.

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 removing Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), and adding the following new AD: 2016-01-10 Airbus: Amendment 39-18369; Docket No. FAA-2015-1417; Directorate Identifier 2013-NM-159-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD becomes effective March 10, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

This AD replaces AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004).

(c) Applicability

This AD applies to the Airbus airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(5) of this AD, certificated in any category, all manufacturer serial numbers.

(1) Airbus Model A300 B4-2C, B4-103, and B4-203 airplanes.

(2) Airbus Model A300 B4-601, B4-603, B4-620, and B4-622 airplanes.

(3) Airbus Model A300 B4-605R and B4-622R airplanes.

(4) Airbus Model A300 F4-605R and F4-622R airplanes.

(5) Airbus Model A300 C4-605R Variant F airplanes.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 53, Fuselage.

(e) Reason

This AD was prompted by a determination that the inspection compliance time and repetitive inspection interval specified in AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), must be reduced to allow timely detection of cracks in the splice fitting at fuselage frame (FR) 47. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47; such cracking could result in reduced structural integrity of the airplane.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Retained Repetitive Inspections for Airplanes Defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, Dated November 12, 2002, With New Service Information

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (a) of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), with new service information. For airplanes defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, dated November 12, 2002: Do a high frequency eddy current (HFEC) inspection to detect cracking of the splice fitting at fuselage FR 47 between stringers 24 and 26 (left- and right-hand sides), at the applicable times specified in paragraph (g)(1) or (g)(2) of this AD. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the earlier of the flight-cycle/flight-hour intervals specified in the applicable column in Table 2 of Figure 1 and Sheet 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002. Do the inspections in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002; or Revision 03, excluding Appendix 01, dated July 26, 2007. As of the effective date of this AD, use only Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 03, excluding Appendix 01, dated July 26, 2007.

(1) For airplanes that have accumulated 20,000 or more total flight cycles as of November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)): Do the initial inspection at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(1)(i) and (g)(1)(ii) of this AD.

(i) At the earlier of the flight-cycle/flight-hour intervals after November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)), as specified in the applicable column in Table 1 of Figure 1 and Sheet 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002.

(ii) Within 750 flight cycles or 1,500 flight hours after November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)), whichever is first.

(2) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 20,000 total flight cycles as of November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)): Do the initial inspection at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (g)(2)(i) and (g)(2)(ii) of this AD.

(i) At the earlier of the flight-cycle/flight-hour intervals after November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)), as specified in the applicable column in Table 1 of Figure 1 and Sheet 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002.

(ii) Within 1,800 flight cycles or 3,000 flight hours after November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)), whichever is first.

(h) Retained Repetitive Inspections for Airplanes Defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, Dated November 12, 2002, With New Service Information

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (b) of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), with new service information. For airplanes defined in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, dated November 12, 2002: Do the HFEC inspection required by paragraph (g) of this AD at the applicable times specified in paragraph (h)(1) or (h)(2) of this AD. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the earlier of the flight-cycle/flight-hour intervals specified in the applicable column in Table 2 of Figure 1 and Sheet 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002. Do the inspections in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002; or Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011. Accomplishment of the actions required by paragraph (j) of this AD terminates the requirements of this paragraph.

(1) For airplanes that have accumulated 10,000 or more total flight cycles as of November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)): Do the initial inspection within 750 flight cycles or 1,900 flight hours after November 17, 2004, whichever is first.

(2) For airplanes that have accumulated fewer than 10,000 total flight cycles as of November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)): Do the initial inspection at the later of the times specified in paragraphs (h)(2)(i) and (h)(2)(ii) of this AD.

(i) At the earlier of the flight-cycle/flight-hour intervals after November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-2-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)), as specified in the applicable column in Table 1 of Figure 1 and Sheet 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002.

(ii) Within 1,500 flight cycles or 3,800 flight hours after November 17, 2004 (the effective date of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004)), whichever is first.

(i) Retained Repair, With Revised Repair Instructions

This paragraph restates the requirements of paragraph (c) of AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004), with revised repair instructions. Repair any cracking found during any inspection required by paragraphs (g) and (h) this AD before further flight, in accordance with Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002; as applicable. Where Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002; specifies to contact Airbus in case of certain crack findings, this AD requires that a repair be accomplished before further flight using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate; or the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) (or its delegated agent); or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); or Airbus's EASA Design Organization Approval (DOA).

(j) New Requirement of this AD: Repetitive Inspections

For airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(5) of this AD: At the applicable time specified in paragraph (j)(1) or (j)(2) of this AD, remove the fasteners and accomplish an HFEC rotating probe inspection for cracking of the splice fitting between stringer 24 and 26, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the applicable intervals specified in paragraphs (k)(1) through (k)(4) of this AD. If no cracking is found: Before further flight after each inspection, install new fasteners, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011. Accomplishment of the initial inspection required by this paragraph terminates the requirements of paragraph (h) of this AD for that airplane.

(1) For airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 or the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have not been done: At the applicable time specified in paragraphs (j)(1)(i) and (j)(1)(ii) of this AD.

(i) For airplanes that have an average flight time (AFT) that is more than 1.5 hours: At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (j)(1)(i)(A) and (j)(1)(i)(B) of this AD.

(A) Before the accumulation of 2,500 total flight cycles or 5,500 total flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(B) Within 800 flight cycles or 1,750 flight hours, whichever occurs first after the effective date of this AD.

(ii) For airplanes that have an AFT that is equal to or less than 1.5 hours: At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (j)(1)(ii)(A) and (j)(1)(ii)(B) of this AD.

(A) Before the accumulation of 2,700 total flight cycles or 4,100 total flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(B) Within 800 flight cycles or 1,750 flight hours, whichever occurs first after the effective date of this AD.

(2) For airplanes that have accomplished Airbus Modification 5890 or have accomplished the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131: At the applicable time specified in paragraph (j)(2)(i) or (j)(2)(ii) of this AD.

(i) For airplanes that have an AFT that is more than 1.5 hours: At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (j)(2)(i)(A) and (j)(2)(i)(B) of this AD.

(A) Before the accumulation of 6,800 total flight cycles or 14,700 total flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(B) Within 800 flight cycles or 1,750 flight hours, whichever occurs first after the effective date of this AD.

(ii) For airplanes that have an AFT that is equal to or less than 1.5 hours: At the later of the times specified in paragraphs (j)(2)(ii)(A) and (j)(2)(ii)(B) of this AD.

(A) Before the accumulation of 7,300 total flight cycles or 11,000 total flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(B) Within 800 flight cycles or 1,750 flight hours, whichever occurs first after the effective date of this AD.

(k) New Requirement of This AD: Repetitive Inspection Intervals for Actions Specified in Paragraph (j) of This AD

For airplanes identified in paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(5) of this AD: Repeat the inspection required by paragraph (j) of this AD at the applicable time specified in paragraphs (k)(1) through (k)(4) of this AD.

(1) For airplanes that have an AFT of more than 1.5 hours and meet the applicable conditions specified in paragraphs (k)(1)(i) through (k)(1)(iv) of this AD: Inspect at intervals not to exceed 2,000 flight cycles or 4,300 flight hours, whichever occurs first.

(i) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 has not been accomplished.

(ii) Airplanes on which the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have not been accomplished.

(iii) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 has been accomplished and have splice part number (P/N) A53834139-202/-203 installed.

(iv) Airplanes on which the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have been accomplished and have splice P/N A53834139-202/-203 installed.

(2) For airplanes that have an AFT that is equal to or less than 1.5 hours and meet the applicable conditions specified in paragraphs (k)(2)(i) through (k)(2)(iv) of this AD: Inspect at intervals not to exceed 2,100 flight cycles or 3,200 flight hours.

(i) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 has not been accomplished.

(ii) Airplanes on which the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have not been accomplished.

(iii) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 has been accomplished and have splice P/N A53834139-202/-203 installed.

(iv) Airplanes on which the actions described in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have been accomplished and have splice P/N A53834139-202/-203 installed.

(3) For airplanes that have an AFT of more than 1.5 hours and meet the applicable conditions specified in paragraphs (k)(3)(i) and (k)(3)(ii) of this AD: Inspect at intervals not to exceed 1,600 flight cycles or 3,500 flight hours.

(i) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 has been accomplished and have splice P/N A53812635-200/-201/-202/-203 installed.

(ii) Airplanes on which the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have been accomplished and have splice P/N A53812635-200-201/-202/-203 installed.

(4) For the airplanes that have an AFT that is equal to or less than 1.5 hours and meet the applicable conditions specified in paragraphs (k)(4)(i) and (k)(4)(ii) of this AD: Inspect at intervals not to exceed 1,700 flight cycles or 2,600 flight hours.

(i) Airplanes on which Airbus Modification 5890 has been accomplished and have splice P/N A53812635-200/-201/-202/-203 installed.

(ii) Airplanes on which the actions specified in Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6131 have been accomplished and have splice P/N A53812635-200/-201/-202/-203 installed.

(l) New Requirement of This AD: Corrective Actions

If, during any inspection required by paragraph (j) or (k) of this AD, any crack is found: Before further flight, do the applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011, except as provided by paragraph (m) of this AD.

(m) New Requirement of This AD: Exception to Service Information

If any crack is found during any inspection required by paragraph (j) or (k) of this AD and Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011; or Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 03, dated July 26, 2007; specifies to contact Airbus: Before further flight, repair the crack using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA.

(n) Credit for Previous Actions

This paragraph provides credit for actions required by paragraphs (j) and (l) of this AD, if those actions were performed before the effective date of this AD using the applicable service information specified in paragraphs (n)(1) through (n)(6) of this AD.

(1) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2001, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(2) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002, which was incorporated by reference in AD 2004-20-14, Amendment 39-13819 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004).

(3) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 01, dated December 18, 2001, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(4) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 03, dated August 20, 2004, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(5) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 04, dated April 25, 2008, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(6) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 05, dated August 1, 2011, which is not incorporated by reference in this AD.

(o) Other FAA AD Provisions

The following provisions also apply to this AD:

(1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, 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 International Branch, send it to ATTN: Dan Rodina, Aerospace Engineer, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA 98057-3356; telephone 425-227-2125; fax 425-227-1149. Information may be emailed to: [email protected] 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. The AMOC approval letter must specifically reference this AD.

(2) Contacting the Manufacturer: As of the effective date of this AD, for any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer, the action must be accomplished using a method approved by the Manager, International Branch, ANM-116, Transport Airplane Directorate, FAA; or the EASA; or Airbus's EASA DOA. If approved by the DOA, the approval must include the DOA-authorized signature.

(p) Related Information

(1) Refer to Mandatory Continuing Airworthiness Information (MCAI) Airworthiness Directive 2013-0184R1, dated August 22, 2013, for related information. This MCAI may be found in the AD docket on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1417.

(2) Service information identified in this AD that is not incorporated by reference is available at the addresses specified in paragraphs (q)(5) and (q)(6) of this AD.

(q) 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 this AD specifies otherwise.

(3) The following service information was approved for IBR on March 10, 2016.

(i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-0350, Revision 03, dated July 26, 2007.

(ii) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 06, dated September 28, 2011.

(4) The following service information was approved for IBR on November 17, 2004 (69 FR 60809, October 13, 2004).

(i) Airbus Service Bulletin A300-53-6123, Revision 02, excluding Appendix 01, dated November 12, 2002.

(ii) Reserved.

(5) For service information identified in this AD, contact Airbus SAS, Airworthiness Office—EAW, 1 Rond Point Maurice Bellonte, 31707 Blagnac Cedex, France; telephone +33 5 61 93 36 96; fax +33 5 61 93 44 51; email [email protected]; Internet http://www.airbus.com.

(6) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

(7) 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 Renton, Washington, on December 31, 2015. Phil Forde, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-00379 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1983; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-020-AD; Amendment 39-18388; AD 2016-03-01] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; the Boeing Company Airplanes AGENCY:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. This AD was prompted by a report of a crack of the forward leg of the left front spar lower chord and cracks on the lower wing skin at three fastener holes common to the nacelle outboard side load fitting. This AD requires repetitive inspections for cracks on the front spar lower chord, inspar skin, and wing skin, and corrective action if necessary. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the forward leg of the front spar lower chord, inspar skin, and wing skin common to the nacelle outboard side load fitting, which could adversely affect the structural integrity of the wing.

DATES:

This AD is effective March 10, 2016.

The Director of the Federal Register approved the incorporation by reference of a certain publication listed in this AD as of March 10, 2016.

ADDRESSES:

For service information identified in this final rule, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com. You may view this referenced service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221. It is also available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1983.

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-2015-1983; 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 address for the Docket Office (phone: 800-647-5527) is Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jennifer Tsakoumakis, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5264; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Discussion

We issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 14 CFR part 39 by adding an AD that would apply to all The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes. The NPRM published in the Federal Register on June 24, 2015 (80 FR 36258) (“the NPRM”). The NPRM was prompted by a report of a crack of the forward leg of the left front spar lower chord and cracks on the lower wing skin at three fastener holes common to the nacelle outboard side load fitting. The NPRM proposed to require repetitive inspections for cracks on the front spar lower chord, inspar skin, and wing skin, and corrective action if necessary. We are issuing this AD to correct the unsafe condition on these products.

Comments

We gave the public the opportunity to participate in developing this AD. The following presents the comments received on the NPRM and the FAA's response to each comment.

Support for the NPRM

Boeing stated that it concurs with the NPRM.

Effect of Winglets on Accomplishment of the NPRM

Southwest Airlines (SWA) requested clarification whether the installation of Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) has any affect to the ability of accomplishment of the action of this proposed AD (80 FR 36258, June 24, 2015). APB stated that the installation of winglets per STC ST01219SE does not affect the accomplishment of the manufacturer's service instructions.

We concur with APB's comment and agree to clarify. We have redesignated paragraph (c) of the proposed AD (80 FR 36258, June 24, 2015) as paragraph (c)(1) and added new paragraph (c)(2) to this AD to state that installation of STC ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a “change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

Request for Critical Design Configuration Control Limitation (CDCCL) Instructions

SWA requested that we add instructions to paragraph (i) of the proposed AD (80 FR 36258, June 24, 2015) to specify that important CDCCL information must be observed during access and close-up while performing the actions specified in paragraph (i) of the proposed AD. SWA explained that Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, does not contain any references to CDCCLs, despite the required access to the fuel tank, in order to perform either option 1 or option 2 non-destructive test inspection requirements. SWA stated that the access and close-up steps indicate, as a reference, the maintenance planning document (section 4), which does not provide a clear path to the airplane maintenance manual section that addresses CDCCL requirements.

We agree with the commenter's request. Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, does not contain any references to CDCCLs that are part of the airworthiness limitations (AWLs). All applicable AWLs must still be observed while performing the actions mandated by this AD. We have revised paragraph (i) of this AD to state that while accomplishing the actions required by paragraph (i) of this AD, operators must ensure that all applicable CDCCLs are complied with.

Conclusion

We reviewed the relevant data, considered the comments received, and determined that air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD with the changes described previously and minor editorial changes. We have determined that these minor changes:

• Αre consistent with the intent that was proposed in the NPRM for correcting the unsafe condition; and

• Do not add any additional burden upon the public than was already proposed in the NPRM.

We also determined that these changes will not increase the economic burden on any operator or increase the scope of this AD.

Related Service Information Under 1 CFR Part 51

We reviewed Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014. The service information describes procedures for repetitive inspections for cracks on the left and right wing front spar lower chord, inspar skin, and wing skin, and corrective action. The 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.

Costs of Compliance

We estimate that this AD affects 331 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 Inspection (28 Group 2 airplanes) 7 work-hours × $85 per hour = $595 per inspection cycle $0 $595 per inspection cycle $16,660 per inspection cycle. Inspection and fastener installation (302 Group 3 airplanes) Up to 94 work-hours × $85 per hour = $7,990 per inspection cycle 0 Up to $7,990 per inspection cycle Up to $2,412,980 per inspection cycle.

We have received no definitive data that will enable us to provide cost estimates for the actions specified for the Group 1 airplane in this AD.

We also have received no definitive data that will enable us to provide cost estimates for the on-condition actions specified in this AD.

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): 2016-03-01 the Boeing Company: Amendment 39-18388; Docket No. FAA-2015-1983; Directorate Identifier 2015-NM-020-AD. (a) Effective Date

This AD is effective March 10, 2016.

(b) Affected ADs

None.

(c) Applicability

(1) This AD applies to all The Boeing Company Model 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 series airplanes, certificated in any category.

(2) Installation of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST01219SE (http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgstc.nsf/0/ebd1cec7b301293e86257cb30045557a/$FILE/ST01219SE.pdf) does not affect the ability to accomplish the actions required by this AD. Therefore, for airplanes on which STC ST01219SE is installed, a ”change in product” alternative method of compliance (AMOC) approval request is not necessary to comply with the requirements of 14 CFR 39.17.

(d) Subject

Air Transport Association (ATA) of America Code 57, Wings.

(e) Unsafe Condition

This AD was prompted by a report of a crack in the forward leg of the left front spar lower chord and cracks on the lower wing skin at three fastener holes common to the nacelle outboard side load fitting. We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the forward leg of the front spar lower chord, inspar skin, and wing skin common to the nacelle outboard side load fitting, which could adversely affect the structural integrity of the wing.

(f) Compliance

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

(g) Inspections and Corrective Actions for Group 1 Airplanes

For Group 1 airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014: Within 120 days after the effective date of this AD, do inspections of the left and right wing front spar lower chord and inspar skin, and the left and right wing nacelle outboard side load fitting fastener holes common to the front spar lower chord and skin, and do all applicable corrective actions, using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (k) of this AD.

(h) Repetitive Detailed Inspections and Corrective Actions

For Group 2 and 3 airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014: Except as provided by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in Table 1 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, do a detailed inspection for cracks on the left and right wing front spar lower chord and inspar skin, and do all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, except as specified in paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight. Repeat the inspection thereafter at the applicable interval specified in Table 1 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, except in areas repaired in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (k) of this AD.

(i) Repetitive High Frequency Eddy Current (HFEC) Inspections and Corrective Actions

For Group 3 airplanes identified in Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014: Except as provided by paragraph (j)(1) of this AD, at the applicable time specified in Table 2 or Table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, do the actions specified in paragraphs (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this AD. Repeat the inspection specified in either paragraph (i)(1) or (i)(2) of this AD thereafter at the applicable interval specified in Table 2 or Table 3 of paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014. While accomplishing the actions required by this paragraph, ensure that all applicable critical design configuration control limitations are complied with.

(1) Do an HFEC open hole probe inspection for cracks of the left and right wing nacelle outboard side load fitting fastener holes common to the front spar lower chord and skin, and perform all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with Part 2, Option 1 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, except as provided by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight.

(2) Do an HFEC surface probe inspection for cracks in the wing inspar skin, and perform all applicable corrective actions, in accordance with Part 2, Option 2 of the Accomplishment Instructions of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, except as provided by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD. Do all applicable corrective actions before further flight.

(j) Exceptions to Service Information Specifications

(1) Where paragraph 1.E., “Compliance,” of Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, specifies a compliance time “after the original issue date of this service bulletin,” this AD requires compliance within the specified compliance time “after the effective date of this AD.”

(2) Although Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014, specifies to contact Boeing for repair instructions, and specifies that action as “RC” (Required for Compliance), this AD requires repair before further flight using a method approved in accordance with the procedures specified in paragraph (k) of this AD.

(k) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs)

(1) The Manager, Los Angeles Aircraft Certification Office (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 (l) of this AD. Information may be emailed to: [email protected]

(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.

(3) An AMOC that provides an acceptable level of safety may be used for any repair, modification, or alteration required by this AD if it is approved by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) that has been authorized by the Manager, Los Angeles ACO, to make those findings. To be approved, the repair method, modification deviation, or alteration deviation must meet the certification basis of the airplane, and the approval must specifically refer to this AD.

(4) Except as required by paragraph (j)(2) of this AD: For service information that contains steps that are labeled as Required for Compliance (RC), the provisions of paragraphs (k)(4)(i) and (k)(4)(ii) apply.

(i) The steps labeled as RC, including substeps under an RC step and any figures identified in an RC step, must be done to comply with the AD. An AMOC is required for any deviations to RC steps, including substeps and identified figures.

(ii) Steps not labeled as RC may be deviated from using accepted methods in accordance with the operator's maintenance or inspection program without obtaining approval of an AMOC, provided the RC steps, including substeps and identified figures, can still be done as specified, and the airplane can be put back in an airworthy condition.

(l) Related Information

For more information about this AD, contact Jennifer Tsakoumakis, Aerospace Engineer, Airframe Branch, ANM-120L, FAA, Los Angeles ACO, 3960 Paramount Boulevard, Lakewood, CA 90712-4137; phone: 562-627-5264; fax: 562-627-5210; email: [email protected]

(m) 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) Boeing Alert Service Bulletin 737-57A1323, dated December 5, 2014.

(ii) Reserved.

(3) For Boeing service information identified in this AD, contact Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Attention: Data & Services Management, P.O. Box 3707, MC 2H-65, Seattle, WA 98124-2207; telephone 206-544-5000, extension 1; fax 206-766-5680; Internet https://www.myboeingfleet.com.

(4) You may view this service information at the FAA, Transport Airplane Directorate, 1601 Lind Avenue SW., Renton, WA. For information on the availability of this material at the FAA, call 425-227-1221.

(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 Renton, Washington, on January 25, 2016. Michael Kaszycki, Acting Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-01827 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Parts 61 and 183 [Docket No.: FAA-2010-1127; Amdt. Nos. 61-135 and 183-15] RIN 2120-AJ42 Student Pilot Application Requirements Correction

In rule document 2016-00199 beginning on page 1292 in the issue of Tuesday, January 12, 2016, make the following correction:

1. On pages 1293-1294, table “B. Student Pilot Application Requirements: Summary of Current, Proposed, and Finalized Provisions” is corrected as set forth below.

B. Student Pilot Application Requirements: Summary of Current, Proposed, and Finalized Provisions

Scenario Current regulations 2010 NPRM Final rule
  • requirements
  • Digital Photos on all Pilot Certificates • No photo on pilot certificate
  • • Pilot must have photo identification on the person and in the physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft when exercising the privileges of the pilot certificate or authorization
  • • Photo on pilot certificate
  • • Pilot must carry pilot certificate with photo according to proposed implementation schedule
  • • No change from current regulations.
    Application and Certificate Issuance • A student pilot typically obtains a combination medical certificate and student pilot certificate from an aviation medical examiner (AME)
  • • A student pilot applicant may obtain a student pilot certificate from an aviation safety inspector (ASI) or aviation safety technician (AST) located at a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) throughout the country
  • • A student pilot applicant may obtain a student pilot certificate from a designated pilot examiner (DPE)
  • • A student pilot applicant would not be issued a student pilot certificate at the time of application
  • • A student pilot must obtain a student pilot certificate that is issued by the Civil Aviation Registry prior to exercising the privileges of the student pilot certificate
  • • An AME would not issue a combination medical certificate and student pilot certificate or accept an application for a student pilot certificate
  • • A student pilot applicant could apply in person with an ASI or AST at a FSDO
  • • A student pilot applicant could apply in person with a DPE
  • • A student pilot applicant could apply in person at a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC)
  • • A student pilot will not be issued a student pilot certificate at the time of application.
  • • A student pilot must obtain a student pilot certificate that is issued by the Civil Aviation Registry prior to exercising the privileges of the student pilot certificate
  • • An AME will not issue a combination medical certificate and student pilot certificate or accept an application for a student pilot certificate
  • • A student pilot applicant may apply in person with an ASI or AST at a FSDO
  • • A student pilot applicant may apply in person through a DPE
  • • A student pilot applicant may apply in person with an airman certification representative (ACR) associated with a part 141 pilot school
  • • A student pilot applicant may apply in person with a certified flight instructor (CFI).
  • Implementation Schedule • None previously required. Proposals were based upon the implementation of digital photos on all pilot certificates • A 5-year phased implementation schedule that included a “trigger-based” approach to issue pilot certificates with photos to people interacting with the FAA and a “non-trigger based” approach that required pilots to obtain a pilot certificate with a photo during a 3-, 4-, or 5-year period depending on the type of certificate
  • • An effective date of 180 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register
  • • An effective date of the first day of the calendar month following 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register
  • • Current student pilot certificate holders may continue exercising the privileges of the student pilot certificate until the certificate expires according to its current terms.
  • Fees • The FAA charges a $2 fee for replacement, duplicate, or facsimile of a pilot certificate • The FAA would charge $22 for initial issuance or renewal of a pilot certificate • The FAA will charge a $2 fee for replacement of a pilot certificate including a student pilot certificate which is consistent with existing § 187.5 Expiration date • The student pilot certificate is valid for a period of 24 or 60 calendar months after the date of issuance, depending on the age of the student pilot • The student pilot certificate would have no expiration date, although the photo would need to be updated every 8 years to continue exercising privileges of the student pilot certificate • The student pilot certificate has no expiration date. Student Pilot Endorsements • Flight Instructor endorses the student pilot certificate and the student's logbook • Flight Instructor would endorse the student's logbook • Flight Instructor endorses the student's logbook.
    [FR Doc. C1-2016-00199 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 1505-01-D
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1345; Airspace Docket No. 14-AWP-13] RIN 2120-AA66 Establishment of Multiple Air Traffic Service (ATS) Routes; Western United States AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action establishes 13 high altitude Area Navigation (RNAV) routes (Q-routes) in the western United States. The routes promote operational efficiencies for users and provide connectivity to current and proposed RNAV en route and terminal procedures. The low altitude RNAV route, T-326, published in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, requires more coordination and is removed from this rule.

    DATES:

    Effective date 0901 UTC, March 31, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under title 1 Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call (202) 741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jason Stahl, Airspace Policy Group, Office of Airspace Services, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: (202) 267-8783.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority.

    This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would modify the route structure in the western U.S. to preserve the safe and efficient flow of air traffic within the NAS.

    History

    On June 5, 2015, the FAA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish 13 RNAV Q-routes and one T-route originating in Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center's (ARTCC) airspace (80 FR 32074). Interested parties were invited to participate in this rulemaking effort by submitting written comments on the proposal. No comments were received.

    The development of new RNAV Standard Instrument Departure (SID) and Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) routes requires incorporation of these Q routes into the NAS Route Structure in order to maximize the benefits of increased safety in high volume en route sectors.

    The Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) currently does not have routes that join the Performance Based Navigation (PBN) arrival and departure procedures. The existing conventional jet route structure does not serve the new SID/STAR designs. Routes made up of ground based navigational aids are not capable of delivering aircraft onto the RNAV based arrival and departure procedures in an efficient manner. Developing these predictable and repeatable flight paths through a complex area confined by restricted areas will improve throughput and safety for Los Angeles ARTCC.

    This first phase of a two phase project will align a network of Q-Routes with the new SIDs and STARs. The Q-Route structure is projected to optimize descent/climb profiles to/from several airports in southern California and create segregated arrival/departure paths to reduce airspace complexity.

    High altitude United States RNAV routes are published in paragraph 2006 and high altitude Canadian RNAV routes are published in paragraph 2007 of FAA Order 7400.9Z dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The high altitude United States RNAV routes (Q-routes) and high altitude Canadian RNAV routes listed in this document would be subsequently published in the Order.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Z, airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    Differences From the NPRM

    This rule has several changes from the NPRM. First, the NPRM proposed to establish a low altitude RNAV route, T-326. Due to additional coordination required for low altitude routes, T-326 will not be included in this final rule, but will be finalized at a later date. Second, in the state of Nevada, BEALE waypoint was moved from lat. 36°10′56.60″ N., long. 114°49′34.81″ W. to lat. 36°10′56.83″ N., long. 114°49′34.09″ W., to properly connect to a Standard Instrument Departure procedure. In the state of Idaho, HELLS waypoint is removed from Q-73. Also in Idaho, CORDU waypoint is moved from lat. 48°10′46.10″ N., long. 116°40′21.84″ W., to lat. 48°10′46.41″ N., long. 116°40′21.84″ W., to align with a future polar Q route. And finally, LAKKR waypoint, listed under Q-73, was erroneously shown in the state of Arizona, but is actually located in Nevada.

    The Rule

    The FAA is amending Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to establish U.S. RNAV routes Q-70, Q-73, Q-74, Q-78, Q-86, Q-88, Q-90, Q-94, Q-96, Q-98, Q-114, Q-168, and Q-842, which is an extension of a current Canadian RNAV route and therefore retains the Canadian numbering. The routes will connect to new SID and STAR procedures as designed in the Southern California area. The routes are outlined below.

    Q-70: Q-70 is from the HAILO, CA, waypoint (WP) to the SAKES, UT, WP to support departures from Los Angeles basin airports to the northeast.

    Q-73: Q-73 is established from the MOMAR, CA, WP to the CORDU, ID, WP to accommodate arrivals to San Diego airport.

    Q-74: Q-74 is from the NATEE, NV, WP to the DEANN, UT, WP and supports arrivals to John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports from the northeast.

    Q-78: Q-78 is established from the MARUE, NV, WP to the TOADD, AZ, WP to support arrivals to John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports from the east and northeast.

    Q-86: Q-86 is from the TTRUE, AZ, WP to the PLNDL, AZ, WP for arrivals to San Diego and Ontario airports from the east.

    Q-88: Q-88 is established from the HAKMN, NV, WP to the CHESZ, UT, WP to support Los Angeles airport arrivals from the northeast.

    Q-90: Q-90 is from the DNERO, CA, WP to the JASSE, AZ, WP and will be the primary RNAV route to Los Angeles from Denver ARTCC.

    Q-94: Q-94 is from the WELUM, NV, WP to the ROOLL, AZ, WP to support Denver ARTCC arrivals to Burbank, Van Nuys, Camarillo and Oxnard airports.

    Q-96: Q-96 is established from the PURSE, NV, WP to the KIMMR, UT, WP to support arrivals to Burbank, Van Nuys, Camarillo and Oxnard airports from the Salt Lake ARTCC.

    Q-98: Q-98 is from the HAKMN, NV, WP to the PEEWE, AZ, WP to support Denver ARTCC arrivals to Los Angeles and San Diego airports.

    Q-114: Q-114 extends from the NATEE, NV, WP to the BUGGG, UT, WP to support Salt Lake ARTCC arrivals to Long Beach, Ontario and Orange County airports.

    Q-168: Q-168 extends from the FNNDA, CA, WP to the JASSE, AZ, WP and will be the primary arrival route for Los Angeles airport from the Denver ARTCC.

    Q-842: Existing Canadian route Q-842 is extended south into U.S. airspace. The route will begin at the BEALE, NV, WP and extend north to the existing TOVUM, AB, WP in Canada. This will provide routing for departures from Los Angeles, Long Beach, Ontario and Orange County airports to airports in Calgary and Edmonton, Canada.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under Department of Transportation (DOT) Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policy and Procedures” paragraph 5-6.5.a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Rule

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 2006 United States Area Navigation Routes. Q-70 HAILO, CA to SAKES, UT (New) HAILO, CA WP (Lat. 35°38′14.00″ N., long. 115°58′16.00″ W.) LAS, NV VOR (Lat. 36°04′46.93″ N., long. 115°09′35.27″ W.) IFEYE, NV WP (Lat. 36°24′56.04″ N., long. 114°47′49.32″ W.) BLIPP, NV WP (Lat. 36°42′41.31″ N., long. 114°28′26.45″ W.) EEVUN, UT WP (Lat. 37°02′52.90″ N., long. 113°42′42.56″ W.) BLOBB, UT WP (Lat. 37°17′45.63″ N., long. 113°06′52.16″ W.) BAWER, UT WP (Lat. 37°38′06.68″ N., long. 112°16′45.89″ W.) SAKES, UT WP (Lat. 38°50′00.51″ N., long. 110°16′16.52″ W.) *    *    *    *    * Q-73 MOMAR, CA to CORDU, ID (New) MOMAR, CA WP (Lat. 33°30′54.13″ N., long. 115°56′40.14″ W.) CABIC, CA WP (Lat. 33°46′17.01″ N., long. 115°49′28.71″ W.) CHADT, CA WP (Lat. 33°55′18.49″ N., long. 115°45′03.26″ W.) LVELL, CA WP (Lat. 34°12′37.38″ N., long. 115°36′53.25″ W.) HAKMN, NV WP (Lat. 35°30′28.31″ N., long. 115°04′47.04″ W.) ZZYZX, NV WP (Lat. 35°39′53.52″ N., long. 114°51′54.99″ W.) LAKRR, NV WP (Lat. 36°05′07.72″ N., long. 114°17′09.16″ W.) GUNTR, AZ WP (Lat. 36°24′39.65″ N., long. 114°02′11.55″ W.) ZAINY, AZ WP (Lat. 36°39′24.73″ N., long. 113°54′03.50″ W.) EEVUN, UT WP (Lat. 37°02′52.90″ N., long. 113°42′42.56″ W.) WINEN, UT WP (Lat. 37°56′00.00″ N., long. 113°30′00.00″ W.) CRITO, NV WP (Lat. 39°18′00.00″ N., long. 114°33′00.00″ W.) BROPH, ID WP (Lat. 42°43′15.71″ N., long. 114°52′31.80″ W.) DERSO, ID FIX (Lat. 43°21′42.63″ N., long. 115°08′01.66″ W.) SAWTT, ID WP (Lat. 44°37′35.52″ N., long. 115°43′55.55″ W.) ZATIP, ID WP (Lat. 46°13′17.48″ N., long. 116°31′37.57″ W.) CORDU, ID WP (Lat. 48°10′46.41″ N., long. 116°40′21.84″ W.) Q-74 NATEE, NV to DEANN, UT (New) NATEE, NV WP (Lat. 35°37′14.00″ N., long. 115°22′26.00″ W.) BLD, NV VOR (Lat. 35°59′44.84″ N., long. 114°51′48.88″ W.) ZAINY, AZ WP (Lat. 36°39′24.73″ N., long. 113°54′03.50″ W.) FIZZL, AZ WP (Lat. 36°56′03.37″ N., long. 113°16′23.91″ W.) GARDD, UT WP (Lat. 37°03′12.91″ N., long. 112°37′54.38″ W.) DEANN, UT WP (Lat. 37°12′34.00″ N., long. 111°42′47.00″ W.) Q-78 MARUE, NV to TOADD, AZ (New) MARUE, NV WP (Lat. 35°15′23.00″ N., long. 114°52′55.00″ W.) DUGGN, AZ WP (Lat. 35°44′06.83″ N., long. 113°23′24.52″ W.) TOADD, AZ WP (Lat. 36°17′45.60″ N., long. 111°30′37.21″ W.) *    *    *    *    * Q-86 TTRUE, AZ to PLNDL, AZ (New) TTRUE, AZ WP (Lat. 34°38′01.53″ N., long. 114°23′05.05″ W.) YORRK, AZ WP (Lat. 34°52′03.23″ N., long. 113°55′58.14″ W.) SCHLS, AZ WP (Lat. 35°14′18.55″ N., long. 113°09′42.77″ W.) CUTRO, AZ WP (Lat. 35°36′16.98″ N., long. 112°23′00.00″ W.) VALEQ, AZ WP (Lat. 35°44′01.73″ N., long. 112°06′31.44″ W.) PLNDL, AZ WP (Lat. 35°50′17.43″ N., long. 111°52′40.71″ W.) Q-88 HAKMN, NV to CHESZ, UT (New) HAKMN, NV WP (Lat. 35°30′28.31″ N., long. 115°04′47.04″ W.) ZZYZX, NV WP (Lat. 35°39′53.52″ N., long. 114°51′54.99″ W.) LAKRR, NV WP (Lat. 36°05′07.72″ N., long. 114°17′09.16″ W.) NOOTN, AZ WP (Lat. 36°37′32.63″ N., long. 113°20′40.25″ W.) GARDD, UT WP (Lat. 37°03′12.91″ N., long. 112°37′54.38″ W.) VERKN, UT WP (Lat. 37°23′00.05″ N., long. 112°04′21.69″ W.) PROMT, UT WP (Lat. 37°30′06.70″ N., long. 111°52′12.94″ W.) CHESZ, UT WP (Lat. 38°16′59.03″ N., long. 110°02′11.31″ W.) Q-90 DNERO, CA to JASSE, AZ (New) DNERO, CA WP (Lat. 35°02′07.14″ N., long. 114°54′16.39″ W.) ESGEE, NV WP (Lat. 35°08′00.50″ N., long. 114°37′21.64″ W.) AREAF, AZ WP (Lat. 35°36′31.77″ N., long. 113°13′50.46″ W.) JASSE, AZ WP (Lat. 36°04′15.53″ N., long. 111°48′45.81″ W.) Q-94 WELUM, NV to ROOLL, AZ (New) WELUM, NV WP (Lat. 35°22′56.00″ N., long. 114°55′59.00″ W.) MNGGO, AZ WP (Lat. 35°51′13.55″ N., long. 113°28′23.59″ W.) ROOLL, AZ WP (Lat. 36°27′37.93″ N., long. 111°28′54.98″ W.) Q-96 PURSE, NV to KIMMR, UT (New) PURSE, NV WP (Lat. 35°34′54.00″ N., long. 115°11′53.00″ W.) DODDL, NV WP (Lat. 35°49′28.80″ N., long. 114°51′51.29″ W.) BFUNE, AZ WP (Lat. 36°06′10.73″ N., long. 114°28′40.09″ W.) GUNTR, AZ WP (Lat. 36°24′39.65″ N., long. 114°02′11.55″ W.) PIIXR, AZ WP (Lat. 36°36′29.27″ N., long. 113°45′02.40″ W.) FIZZL, AZ WP (Lat. 36°56′03.37″ N., long. 113°16′23.91″ W.) BAWER, UT WP (Lat. 37°38′06.68″ N., long. 112°16′45.89″ W.) ROCCY, UT WP (Lat. 37°49′41.63″ N., long. 111°59′59.84″ W.) SARAF, UT WP (Lat. 38°36′03.84″ N., long. 110°53′24.20″ W.) KIMMR, UT WP (Lat. 39°13′45.24″ N., long. 109°57′30.10″ W.) Q-98 HAKMN, NV to PEEWE, AZ (New) HAKMN, NV WP (Lat. 35°30′28.31″ N., long. 115°04′47.04″ W.) ZZYZX, NV WP (Lat. 35°39′53.52″ N., long. 114°51′54.99″ W.) LAKRR, NV WP (Lat. 36°05′07.72″ N., long. 114°17′09.16″ W.) DUZIT, AZ WP (Lat. 36°24′51.20″ N., long. 113°24′51.53″ W.) EEEZY, AZ WP (Lat. 36°44′33.18″ N., long. 112°21′40.77″ W.) PEEWE, AZ WP (Lat. 36°58′08.69″ N., long. 111°36′40.81″ W.) *    *    *    *    * Q-114 NATEE, NV to BUGGG, UT (New) NATEE, NV WP (Lat. 35°37′14.00″ N., long. 115°22′26.00″ W.) BLD, NV VOR (Lat. 35°59′44.84″ N., long. 114°51°48.88″ W.) ZAINY, AZ WP (Lat. 36°39′24.73″ N., long. 113°54′03.50″ W.) AHOWW, UT WP (Lat. 37°07′14.56″ N., long. 113°11′34.04″ W.) BAWER, UT WP (Lat. 37°38′06.68″ N., long. 112°16′45.89″ W.) BUGGG, UT WP (Lat. 38°39′18.31″ N., long. 109°29′48.01″ W.) *    *    *    *    * Q-168 FNNDA, CA to JASSE, AZ (New) FNNDA, CA WP (Lat. 34°45′14.96″ N., long. 114°45′18.49″ W.) SHIVA, AZ WP (Lat. 34°58′12.28″ N., long. 114°17′24.65″ W.) KRINA, AZ WP (Lat. 35°28′02.52″ N., long. 113°11′35.60″ W.) JASSE, AZ WP (Lat. 36°04′15.53″ N., long. 111°48′45.81″ W.) *    *    *    *    * Paragraph 2007 Canadian Area Navigation Routes. Q-842 BEALE, NV to TOVUM, AB Canada (New) BEALE, NV WP (Lat. 36°10′56.83″ N., long. 114°49′34.09″ W.) BLIPP, NV WP (Lat. 36°42′41.31″ N., long. 114°28′26.45″ W.) WINEN, UT WP (Lat. 37°56′00.00″ N., long. 113°30′00.00″ W.) TABLL, UT WP (Lat. 38°39′56.31″ N., long. 113°10′35.15″ W.) PICHO, UT WP (Lat. 39°58′00.00″ N., long. 112°35′00.00″ W.) PATIO, UT WP (Lat. 41°16′00.00″ N., long. 112°32′00.00″ W.) PROXI, UT WP (Lat. 41°58′20.81″ N., long. 112°31′33.79″ W.) VAANE, ID WP (Lat. 45°18′12.53″ N., long. 112°44′58.36″ W.) KEETA, MT WP (Lat. 47°20′39.01″ N., long. 112°52′51.46″ W.) TOVUM, AB, Canada WP (Lat. 49°14′29.00″ N., long. 112°48′53.00″ W.) Excluding the airspace within Canada.
    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2016. Randy Willis, Acting Manager, Airspace Policy Group.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02022 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-6231; Airspace Docket No. 15-AEA-12] Amendment of Class E Airspace for Lynchburg, VA AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action amends Class E Airspace at Lynchburg, VA, by adjusting the geographic coordinates at Lynchburg Regional-Preston Glenn Field Airport and Falwell Airport, to be in concert with the FAA's aeronautical database.

    DATES:

    Effective 0901 UTC, March 31, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/airtraffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.0.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Fornito, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, Georgia 30320; telephone (404) 305-6364.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part, A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it amends Class E airspace at Lynchburg Regional-Preston Glenn Field Airport and Falwell Airport, Lynchburg, VA.

    History

    In a review of the airspace, the FAA found the geographic coordinates for Lynchburg Regional-Preston Glenn Field Airport and Falwell Airport as published in FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, do not match the FAA's charting information. This administrative change coincides with the FAA's aeronautical database for Class E Surface Airspace.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6002 of FAA Order 7400.9Z dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR part 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Rule

    This action amends Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 71 by adjusting the geographic coordinates at Lynchburg Regional-Preston Glenn Field Airport and Falwell Airport, Lynchburg, VA, to be in concert with the FAA's aeronautical database.

    This is an administrative change and does not affect the boundaries, or operating requirements of the airspace, therefore, notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are unnecessary.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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

    Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Adoption of the Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71 —DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120, E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6002  Class E Surface Area Airspace. AEA VA E2 Lynchburg, VA [Amended] Lynchburg Regional-Preston Glenn Field Airport, Lynchburg, VA (Lat. 37°19′31″ N., long. 79°12′04″ W.) Lynchburg VORTAC (Lat. 37°15′17″ N., long. 79°14′11″ W.) Falwell Airport, VA

    (Lat. 37°22′41″ N., long. 79°07′20″ W.)

    Within a 4.5-mile radius of Lynchburg Regional-Preston Glenn Field Airport; and that airspace extending upward from the surface within 2.7 miles each side of the Lynchburg VORTAC 020° and 200° radials extending from the 4.5-mile radius to 1-mile south of the VORTAC, and within 1.8 miles each side of the Lynchburg VORTAC 022° radial extending from the 4.5-mile radius to 11.3 miles northeast of the VORTAC, excluding the portion within a .5-mile radius of Falwell Airport. This Class E airspace area is effective during the specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be published continuously in the Airport/Facility Directory.

    Issued in College Park, Georgia, on January 27, 2016. Ryan W. Almasy, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Air Traffic Organization.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02033 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-4532; Airspace Docket No. 15-AEA-10] Amendment of Class E Airspace for the following New York Towns; Ithaca, NY; Poughkeepsie, NY AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action amends Class E Airspace at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, Ithaca, NY; and Kingston VORTAC, Poughkeepsie, NY, by eliminating the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) part time status of the Class E surface airspace designated as an extension at the Ithaca and Poughkeepsie locations. This action also adds Dutchess County Airport to the Kingston VORTAC designation, updates the geographic coordinates of each navigation aid and Ithaca Tompkins Regional to coincide with the FAA's aeronautical database, and recognizes the airport name for Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. This is an administrative change to coincide with the FAA's aeronautical database.

    DATES:

    Effective 0901 UTC, March 31, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/airtraffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Fornito, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, Georgia 30320; telephone (404) 305-6364.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part, A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it amends Class E airspace at the New York airports listed in this final rule.

    History

    In a review of the airspace, the FAA found the airspace description for Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, Ithaca, NY, formerly Tompkins County Airport, and Kingston VORTAC, Poughkeepsie, NY, as published in FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, does not match the FAA's charting information. This administrative change coincides with the FAA's aeronautical database for Class E Airspace Designated as an Extension to a Class D Surface Area.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraphs 6004 of FAA Order 7400.9Z dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Rule

    This action amends Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 71 by eliminating the NOTAM information that reads “This Class E airspace area is effective during the specific dates and time established in advance by Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.” from the regulatory text of the Class E airspace designated as an extension to Class D at Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, Ithaca, NY; and the Kingston VORTAC, Poughkeepsie, NY. Also, as Dutchess County Airport, Poughkeepsie, NY, is supported by the Kingston VORTAC, it is included in the VORTAC designation.

    Additionally, the geographic coordinates for the listed navaids and Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport are updated to be in concert with the FAA's aeronautical database. The FAA also recognizes the airport's name change from Tompkins County Airport, Ithaca, NY, to Ithaca Tomkins Regional Airport, Ithaca, NY.

    This is an administrative change amending the description for the above New York airports, to be in concert with the FAAs aeronautical database, and does not affect the boundaries, or operating requirements of the airspace, therefore, notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are unnecessary.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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

    Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Adoption of the Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for Part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120, E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6004 Class E Airspace Designated as an Extension to a Class D Surface Area. AEA NY E4 Ithaca, NY [Amended] Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, Ithaca, NY (Lat. 42°29′29″ N., long. 76°27′31″ W.) Ithaca VOR/DME (Lat. 42°29′43″ N., long. 76°27′35″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface from the 4-mile radius of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to the 5.7-mile radius of the airport clockwise from the 329° bearing to the 081° bearing from the airport, and that airspace from the 4-mile radius of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to the 8.7-mile radius of the airport extending clockwise from the 081° bearing to the 137° bearing from the airport, and that airspace from the 4-mile radius of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to the 6.6-mile radius of the airport extending clockwise from the 137° bearing to the 170° bearing from the airport, and that airspace from the 4-mile radius to the 5.7-mile radius of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport extending clockwise from the 170° bearing to the 196° bearing from the airport, and that airspace within 2.7 miles each side of the Ithaca VOR/DME 305° radial extending from the 4-mile radius of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to 7.4 miles northwest of the Ithaca VOR/DME.

    AEA NY E4 Poughkeepsie, NY [Amended] Dutchess County Airport, Poughkeepsie, NY (Lat. 41°37′36″ N., long. 73°53′03″ W.) Kingston VORTAC (Lat. 41°39′56″ N., long. 73°49′20″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface within 3.1 miles each side of the Kingston VORTAC 025° radial extending from the VORTAC to 8.3 miles northeast of the VORTAC and within 1.8 miles each side of the Kingston VORTAC 231° radial extending from the 4-mile radius to 9.2 miles southwest of the VORTAC and within 3.1 miles each side of the Kingston VORTAC 050° radial extending from the VORTAC to 9.2 miles northeast of the VORTAC.

    Issued in College Park, Georgia, on January 27, 2016. Ryan W. Almasy, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Air Traffic Organization.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02040 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-7485; Airspace Docket No. 15-AGL-25] Amendment of Class E Airspace; Minot, ND AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action amends the legal description of the Class E surface area airspace and Class E airspace designated as an extension at Minot International Airport, Minot, ND, eliminating the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) part-time status, and brings current the geographic coordinates of Minot International Airport to coincide with the FAA's database.

    DATES:

    Effective 0901 UTC, March 31, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under Title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeffrey Claypool, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Central Service Center, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone (817) 222-5711.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it amends controlled airspace at Minot International Airport, Minot, ND.

    History

    In a review of the airspace, the FAA found the airspace for Minot International Airport, Minot, ND as published in FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, does not require part time status. This is an administrative change removing the part time NOTAM information from the legal description for the airport, and also amends the geographic coordinates of the airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6002 and 6004, respectively, of FAA Order 7400.9Z dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR part 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Rule

    This action amends Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 by eliminating the NOTAM information that reads, “This Class E airspace is effective during the specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.” From the regulatory text of Class E surface area airspace and Class E airspace designated as an extension to Class D, at Minot International Airport, Minot, ND. Additionally, the geographic coordinates of the airport are being updated to coincide with the FAA's aeronautical database.

    This is an administrative change amending the description for Minot International Airport to be in concert with the FAA's aeronautical database, and does not affect the boundaries, or operating requirements of the airspace; therefore, notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are unnecessary.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5.a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Adoption of the Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6002 Class E Airspace Designated as Surface Areas. AGL ND E2 Minot, ND (Amended) Minot International Airport, ND (Lat. 48°15′28″ N., long. 101°16′41″ W.) Minot VORTAC (Lat. 48°15′37″ N., long. 101°17′13″ W.)

    Within a 4.2-mile radius of Minot International Airport and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 129° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius of the airport to 7 miles southeast of the VORTAC, and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 260° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius of the airport to 7 miles west of the VORTAC, and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 327° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius of the airport to 7 miles northwest of the VORTAC, and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 097° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius to 7 miles east of the VORTAC, excluding the portion which overlies the Minot AFB, ND, Class D airspace area.

    Paragraph 6004 Class E Airspace Areas Designated as an Extension to a Class D or Class E Surface Area. AGL ND E4 Minot, ND (Amended) Minot International Airport, ND (Lat. 48°15′28″ N., long. 101°16′41″ W.) Minot VORTAC (Lat. 48°15′37″ N., long. 101°17′13″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 129° radial extending from the 4.2-mile radius of the airport to 7 miles southeast of the VORTAC, and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 260° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius of the airport to 7 miles west of the VORTAC, and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 327° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius of the airport to 7 miles northwest of the VORTAC, and within 3.5 miles each side of the Minot VORTAC 097° radial, extending from the 4.2-mile radius to 7 miles east of the VORTAC, excluding the portion which overlies the Minot AFB, ND, Class D airspace area.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 27, 2016. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02036 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-7492; Airspace Docket No. 15-AGL-27] Amendment of Class E Airspace; Rapid City, SD AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This action amends the legal description of the Class E airspace area at Rapid City Regional Airport, Rapid City, SD, eliminating the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) part-time status of the Class E surface area airspace, and Class E airspace designated as an extension, at the airport. This is an administrative change to coincide with the FAA's aeronautical database.

    DATES:

    Effective 0901 UTC, March 31, 2016. The Director of the Federal Register approves this incorporation by reference action under Title 1, Code of Federal Regulations, part 51, subject to the annual revision of FAA Order 7400.9 and publication of conforming amendments.

    ADDRESSES:

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jeffrey Claypool, Federal Aviation Administration, Operations Support Group, Central Service Center, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX, 76177; telephone (817) 222-5711.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it amends controlled airspace at Rapid City Regional Airport, Rapid City, SD.

    History

    In a review of the airspace, the FAA found the airspace for Rapid City Regional Airport, Rapid City, SD, as published in FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, does not require part time status. This is an administrative change removing the part time NOTAM information from the legal description for the airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in paragraph 6002 and 6004 of FAA Order 7400.9Z dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR part 71.1. The Class E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document amends FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Rule

    This action amends Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 by eliminating the NOTAM information that reads, “This Class E airspace is effective during the specific dates and times established in advance by a Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.” from the regulatory text of Class E surface area airspace, and Class E airspace designated as an extension to Class D, at Rapid City Regional Airport, Rapid City, SD.

    This is an administrative change amending the description for Rapid City Regional Airport to be in concert with the FAA's aeronautical database, and does not affect the boundaries, or operating requirements of the airspace; therefore, notice and public procedure under 5 U.S.C. 553(b) are unnecessary.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that only affects air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    The FAA has determined that this action qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures,” paragraph 5-6.5.a. This airspace action is not expected to cause any potentially significant environmental impacts, and no extraordinary circumstances exist that warrant preparation of an environmental assessment.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    Adoption of the Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration amends 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 6002  Class E Airspace designated as surface areas. AGL SD E2 Rapid City, SD (Amended) Rapid City Regional Airport, SD (Lat. 44°02′43″ N., long. 103°03′27″ W.) Ellsworth AFB, SD (Lat. 44°08′42″ N., long. 103°06′13″ W.) Rapid City VORTAC (Lat. 43°58′34″ N., long. 103°00′44″ W.)

    Within a 4.4-mile radius of the Rapid City Regional Airport, excluding the portion north of a line between the intersection of the Rapid City Regional Airport 4.4-mile radius and the Ellsworth AFB 4.7-mile radius, and that airspace extending upward from the surface within 2.6 miles each side of the Rapid City VORTAC 155°/335°. radials extending from the 4.4-mile radius of the Rapid City Regional Airport to 7 miles southeast of the VORTAC, excluding that airspace within the Rapid City, SD, Class D airspace area.

    Paragraph 6004 Class E Airspace Areas Designated as an Extension to a Class D or Class E Surface Area. AGL SD E4 Rapid City, SD (Amended) Rapid City Regional Airport, SD (Lat. 44°02′43″ N., long. 103°03′27″ W.) Rapid City VORTAC (Lat. 43°58′34″ N., long. 103°00′44″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface within 2.6 miles each side of the Rapid City VORTAC 155°/335° radials extending from the 4.4-mile radius of the Rapid City Regional Airport to 7 miles southeast of the VORTAC, excluding that airspace within the Rapid City, SD, Class D airspace area.

    Issued in Fort Worth, Texas, on January 27, 2016. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02037 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Part 41 [Public Notice: 9428] RIN 1400-AD17 Visas: Documentation of Nonimmigrants Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended AGENCY:

    Department of State.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    As a result of this rule, a passport and a visa will be required of a British, French, or Netherlands national, or of a national of Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, who has residence in British, French, or Netherlands territory located in the adjacent islands of the Caribbean area, or has residence in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, if the alien is proceeding to the United States as an agricultural worker. In light of past experience, and to promote consistency of treatment across H-2A agricultural workers, prudent border management requires these temporary workers to obtain a visa along with most other H-2A agricultural workers.

    The previous rule allowing temporary workers from these countries to enter the United States without a visa presented a vulnerability. Temporary workers from these countries now require H-2A visas to enter the United States.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective February 19, 2016. Comment period: The Department will accept comments until April 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    • Interested parties may submit comments at any time by any of the following methods:

    Mail: U.S. Department of State, Visa Services, Legislation and Regulations Division, 600 19th Street NW., Room 12-526B, Washington, DC 20006 ATTN: Paul-Anthony L. Magadia.

    • If you have access to the Internet you may submit comments by going to http://www.regulations.gov/#!home and searching for Public Notice number XXXX.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Paul-Anthony L. Magadia, U.S. Department of State, Visa Services, Legislation and Regulations Division, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 485-7641, Email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Why is the Department promulgating this rule?

    The Department of State (the Department) is amending the previous rule to alleviate fraud and security concerns that have developed subsequent to that rule's publication. The previous rule, 22 CFR 41.2(e)(1), allowed nationals of certain Caribbean countries, as well as nationals of certain other countries who have residence in such countries' territories in the Caribbean, to enter the United States as temporary agricultural workers without visas. The amended rule requires that temporary workers from these countries obtain H-2A visas to enter the United States.

    What is the current rule?

    Currently, British, French, and Netherlands nationals and nationals of Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, who have their residence in British, French, or Netherlands territory located in the adjacent islands of the Caribbean area or in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, or Trinidad and Tobago, are not required to obtain visas before traveling to the United States as H-2A agricultural workers.

    What will prospective H-2A agricultural workers be required to do?

    The amended rule requires these prospective H-2A agricultural workers to obtain a visa prior to traveling to the United States. Any spouses or children of these workers also will have to obtain a visa. To obtain a visa, these nonimmigrant aliens will have to be in possession of a valid passport, submit a visa application to and appear for an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and undergo the Department's visa screening process.

    Will the amended rule ensure that prospective H-2A agricultural workers are properly screened prior to their arrival in the United States?

    Requiring these prospective H-2A agricultural workers to obtain visas will ensure that they are sufficiently screened prior to arrival in the United States. This will lessen the possibility that persons who pose security risks to the United States and other potential immigration violators may improperly gain admission to the United States. At the same time, requiring that these applicants appear before consular officers will provide greater opportunities to prescreen for potential employment fraud and will promote compliance with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) H-2A rules.

    How will the amended rule further the national security interests of the United States?

    The Department, in conjunction with DHS, has determined that the visa exemption provided a loophole that could potentially be exploited by terrorists and other persons seeking to engage in unlawful activities in the United States and threatens the security interests of the United States. This visa exemption is outdated in the post-9/11 environment and inconsistent with the visa requirement for other H-2A agricultural workers from other countries. The Department and DHS have determined that eliminating this visa exemption furthers the national security interests of the United States.

    How will the amended rule affect the Department's visa issuance process?

    The application of the general visa requirement to the class of Caribbean agricultural workers described above will ensure that these applicants for admission, like other H-2A agricultural workers, are properly screened through the Department's visa issuance process prior to arrival in the United States. This will lessen the possibility that persons who pose security risks to the United States and other potential immigration violators may improperly gain admission to the United States.

    Moreover, extending the visa requirement to these Caribbean H-2A agricultural workers will better ensure that such workers are protected from certain employment and recruitment-based abuses. It also will ensure that agricultural workers have been informed, and are aware of, their rights and responsibilities before departing from their home countries to engage in H-2A agricultural work.

    What other changes is the Department making in this rule?

    Redesignated paragraph (e)(2)(iv) is being amended to reflect that The Royal Virgin Islands Police Department has been renamed the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

    Will DHS be publishing a parallel amendment?

    DHS is publishing a parallel amendment to 8 CFR 212.1(b).

    Regulatory Findings Administrative Procedure Act

    The publication of this rule as an interim final rule, with provisions for post-promulgation public comments, is based on the good cause exception found in section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). There is reasonable concern that publication of the rule as a proposed rule, which would permit continuation of the current visa exemption, could lead to an increase in applications for admission in bad faith by persons who would otherwise have been denied visas and are seeking to avoid the visa requirement and consular screening process during the period between the publication of a proposed and a final rule. Accordingly, the Department finds that it is impracticable and contrary to the public interest to publish this rule with prior notice and comment period. Under the good cause exception, this rule is exempt from the notice and comment and delayed effective date requirements of the APA.

    In addition, the Department is of the opinion that eliminating the visa exemption and requiring a visa for Caribbean H-2A agricultural workers, and the spouses or children accompanying or following these workers, is a foreign affairs function of the U.S. government. As this rule implements this function, the Department is of the opinion that, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(1), this rule is exempt from the requirements of 5 U.S.C. 553, including the notice and comment and 30-day delayed effective date requirements. The Department is nevertheless providing the opportunity for the public to provide comments for 60 days.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act/Executive Order 13272: Small Business

    Because this interim final rule is exempt from notice and comment rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553, it is exempt from the regulatory flexibility analysis requirements set forth at sections 603 and 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 603 and 604). Nonetheless, consistent with section 605(b) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), the Department certifies that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rulemaking regulates individual aliens who seek consideration for nonimmigrant visas and does not affect any small entities, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6).

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, Public Law 104-4, 109 Stat. 48, 2 U.S.C. 1532, generally requires agencies to prepare a statement before proposing any rule that may result in an annual expenditure of $100 million or more by state, local, or tribal governments, or by the private sector. This rule will not result in any such expenditure, nor will it significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804, for purposes of congressional review of agency rulemaking under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, Public Law 104-121.

    Executive Order 12866: Regulatory Review

    The costs of this rulemaking are discussed in the companion DHS rule, RIN 1651-AB09, included elsewhere in this edition of the Federal Register. That discussion is incorporated by reference herein. The Department has reviewed the costs and benefits of this rule to ensure its consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in Executive Order 12866 and has determined that the benefits of this interim final rule justify its costs.

    Executive Order 13563

    The Department has considered this rule in light of Executive Order 13563, dated January 18, 2011, and affirms that this regulation is consistent with the guidance therein.

    Executive Orders 12372 and 13132: Federalism

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government; nor will the rule have federalism implications warranting the application of Executive Orders 12372 and 13132.

    Executive Order 13175 Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments

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

    Executive Order 12988: Civil Justice Reform

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

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new information collections subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C., Chapter 35. The Department anticipates between 100 and 4,100 additional nonimmigrant visa applicants per year as a result of this rulemaking. The current burden for this information collection (OMB Control No. 1405-0182) is 13,875,345 hours, with 11,100,276 respondents. The burden per response is 75 minutes. The top estimate for the number of additional respondents would add approximately 5,000 hours to a burden that is almost 14 million hours. Therefore, the addition of these respondents does not significantly increase the burden associated with this information collection.

    List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 41

    Aliens, Foreign officials, Immigration, Nonimmigrants, Passports and visas.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of State is amending 22 CFR part 41 to read as follows:

    PART 41—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 41 is revised to read as follows: Authority:

    22 U.S.C. 2651a; 8 U.S.C. 1104; Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-795 through 2681-801; 8 U.S.C. 1185 note (section 7209 of Pub. L. 108-458, as amended by section 546 of Pub. L. 109-295).

    2. Amend § 41.2 as follows: a. Remove paragraph (e). b. Redesignate paragraphs (f) through (m) as paragraphs (e) through (l). c. Revise redesignated paragraph (e)(2)(iv).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 41.2 Exemption or waiver by Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security of passport and/or visa requirements for certain categories of nonimmigrants.

    (e) * * *

    (2) * * *

    (iv) Presents a current certificate issued by the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force indicating that he or she has no criminal record.

    Dated: January 22, 2016. David T. Donahue, Acting Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Department of State.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02191 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [TD 9748] RIN 1545-BM57 Allocation of Creditable Foreign Taxes AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Final and temporary regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    This document contains temporary regulations that provide guidance relating to the allocation by a partnership of creditable foreign tax expenditures. These temporary regulations are necessary to improve the operation of an existing safe harbor rule that is used for determining whether allocations of creditable foreign tax expenditures are deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership. The text of these temporary regulations also serves as the text of the proposed regulations set forth in the notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-100861-15) published in the Proposed Rules section in this issue of the Federal Register. These regulations affect partnerships that pay or accrue foreign income taxes, and their partners.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: These regulations are effective on February 4, 2016.

    Applicability Dates: For dates of applicability, see §§ 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1) and (b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Suzanne M. Walsh, (202) 317-4908 (not a toll-free call).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Background and Explanation of Provisions

    Allocations of creditable foreign tax expenditures (“CFTEs”) do not have substantial economic effect, and accordingly a CFTE must be allocated in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership. See § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii). Section 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii) provides a safe harbor under which CFTE allocations are deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership. In general, the purpose of the safe harbor is to match allocations of CFTEs with the income to which the CFTEs relate.

    In order to apply the safe harbor, a partnership must (1) determine the partnership's “CFTE categories,” (2) determine the partnership's net income in each CFTE category, and (3) allocate the partnership's CFTEs to each category. Section 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2) requires a partnership to assign its income to activities and provides for the grouping of a partnership's activities into one or more CFTE categories based generally on whether net income from the activities is allocated to partners in the same sharing ratios. Section 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) provides rules for determining the partnership's net income (for U.S. federal income tax purposes) in a CFTE category, including rules for allocating and apportioning expenses, losses, and other deductions to gross income. Section 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d) assigns CFTEs to the CFTE category that includes the related income under the principles of § 1.904-6, with certain modifications. In order to satisfy the safe harbor, partnership allocations of CFTEs in a CFTE category must be in proportion to the allocations of the partnership's net income in the CFTE category.

    I. Effect of Section 743(b) Adjustments

    Section 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(i) of the current final regulations provides that a partnership determines its net income in a CFTE category by taking into account all partnership items attributable to the relevant activity or group of activities, including items of gross income, gain, loss, deduction, and expense, and items allocated pursuant to section 704(c). The current final regulations do not state whether an adjustment under section 743(b) is taken into account in computing the partnership's net income in a CFTE category.

    In the case of a transfer of a partnership interest that results in an adjustment under section 743(b) (because the partnership has a section 754 election in effect, or because there is a substantial built-in loss (as defined in section 743(d)) in the partnership), the partnership must adjust the basis of partnership property with respect to the transferee partner only (a section 743(b) adjustment). No adjustment is made to the common basis of partnership property, and the section 743(b) adjustment has no effect on the partnership's computation of any item under section 703. § 1.743-1(j)(1).

    The Treasury Department and the IRS believe that a transferee partner's section 743(b) adjustment with respect to its interest in a partnership should not be taken into account in computing such partnership's net income in a CFTE category because the basis adjustment is unique to the transferee partner and because the basis adjustment ordinarily would not be taken into account by a foreign jurisdiction in computing its foreign taxable base. As such, taking a transferee partner's section 743(b) adjustment into account for purposes of computing the partnership's net income in a CFTE category could change the partners' relative shares of net income in a CFTE category and their allocable shares of CFTEs under the safe harbor solely as a result of the transfer of the partnership interest and not as a result of a change to the allocation of any partnership items under the partnership agreement. Accordingly, § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(i) of these temporary regulations provides that, for purposes of computing a partnership's net income in a CFTE category, the partnership determines its items without regard to any section 743(b) adjustments that its partners may have to the basis of property of the partnership.

    A partnership that is a transferee partner may have a section 743(b) adjustment in its capacity as a direct or indirect partner in a lower-tier partnership. Under § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(i), such section 743(b) adjustment of the partnership is taken into account in determining the partnership's net income in a CFTE category. Nevertheless, in the case of a section 743(b) adjustment of a partnership that is a transferee partner, it may be appropriate to alter the way in which the section 743(b) adjustment is taken into account in determining the partnership's net income in a CFTE category when the section 743(b) adjustment gives rise to basis differences subject to section 901(m). The Treasury Department and the IRS intend to address section 901(m) in a separate guidance project.

    No inference is intended from § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(i) as to how a section 743(b) adjustment is taken into account for other federal income tax purposes. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments regarding whether final regulations should provide further guidance on how to compute a partnership's net income in a CFTE category, including how other types of items or adjustments to distributive shares that are specific to a partner should be taken into account in computing a partnership's net income in a CFTE category (for example, where property is contributed with a built-in loss and the built-in loss is taken into account only in determining the amount of items allocated to the contributing partner under section 704(c)(1)(C)). The Treasury Department and the IRS also request comments on whether, and the extent to which, the application of the safe harbor should differ with respect to CFTEs that are determined by taking into account partner-specific adjustments that are similar to those that apply for U.S. tax purposes in computing the foreign taxable base of a partnership.

    II. Special Rules for Deductible Allocations and Nondeductible Guaranteed Payments

    For purposes of the safe harbor, § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) provides, among other rules, a special rule that reduces the partnership's net income in a CFTE category to the extent foreign law allows a deduction for an allocation (or payment of an allocated amount) to a partner, for example, because foreign law characterizes a preferential allocation of gross income as deductible interest expense. The basis for this rule is that a CFTE category should not include income of the partnership that has not been included in a foreign taxable base due to the fact that an allocation (or payment of an allocated amount) to a partner of that income results in a foreign law deduction. Because the income out of which the allocation is made was not included in the taxable base of the foreign jurisdiction that allowed the deduction, no CFTEs are imposed on that income; therefore, the allocation of that income should not be taken into account in testing whether allocations of CFTEs of that jurisdiction match related income allocations for purposes of the safe harbor.

    Deductible guaranteed payments under section 707(c) reduce the partnership's net income in a CFTE category. Therefore, in the case of a guaranteed payment that results in a deduction under both U.S. and foreign law, no special rule reducing the partnership's net income in a CFTE category is necessary. However, to the extent that foreign law does not allow a deduction for a guaranteed payment that is deductible under U.S. law, § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) provides another special rule that requires an upward adjustment to the partnership's net income in a CFTE category (this rule, together with the special rule described in the preceding paragraph, are referred to in this preamble as the “special rules”). Adding the amount of a guaranteed payment that is not deductible under foreign law to the partnership's net income in a CFTE category results in CFTEs attributable to tax imposed on the income out of which the guaranteed payment is made following the payment for purposes of the safe harbor. An additional rule in § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4) treats the guaranteed payment as a distributive share of the partnership's net income in a CFTE category to the extent of the upward adjustment. Together, these rules for guaranteed payments provide a more appropriate matching under the safe harbor of CFTEs and the income to which they relate.

    However, the current final regulations do not expressly address situations in which an allocation or distribution of an allocated amount or guaranteed payment gives rise to a deduction for purposes of one foreign tax, but is made out of income subject to another tax imposed by the same or a different foreign jurisdiction. For example, a partnership may make a preferential allocation of gross income that is deductible in the foreign jurisdiction in which the partnership is a resident (foreign jurisdiction X) but that is made out of income earned by a disregarded entity or branch owned by the partnership that is subject to net basis tax in the jurisdiction in which the disregarded entity or branch is located (foreign jurisdiction Y). In this case, the Treasury Department and the IRS are aware that some taxpayers have suggested that § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) may be interpreted to provide that the income related to the preferential allocation should not be included in a CFTE category because it is not included in the foreign jurisdiction X base, even though there are foreign jurisdiction Y CFTEs that clearly relate to the income out of which the preferential allocation is made. This interpretation is inconsistent with the purpose of the special rules to apply the safe harbor in a manner that matches income with the related CFTEs.

    The special rules were not intended to permit taxpayers to adjust or fail to adjust income in a CFTE category in a manner that distorts a partner's share of the income to which the CFTEs assigned to that category relate. Therefore, these temporary regulations revise the special rules to address situations in which allocations (or distributions of allocated amounts) and guaranteed payments that give rise to foreign law deductions are made out of income with related CFTEs. Specifically, § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) provides that a partnership's net income in a CFTE category from which a guaranteed payment that is not deductible in a foreign jurisdiction is made shall be increased by the amount of the guaranteed payment that is deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and such amount shall be treated as an allocation to the recipient of the guaranteed payment for purposes of determining the partners' shares of income in the CFTE category, but only for purposes of testing allocations of CFTEs attributable to a foreign tax that does not allow a deduction for the guaranteed payment. However, for purposes of testing allocations of CFTEs attributable to a foreign tax that does allow a deduction for the guaranteed payment, a partnership's net income in a CFTE category is increased only to the extent that the amount of the guaranteed payment that is deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes exceeds the amount allowed as a deduction for purposes of that foreign tax, and such excess is treated as an allocation to the recipient of the guaranteed payment for purposes of determining the partners' shares of income in the CFTE category.

    Similarly, § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(iii) provides that, to the extent that a foreign tax allows a deduction from its taxable base for an allocation (or distribution of an allocated amount) to a partner, then solely for purposes of testing allocations of CFTEs attributable to that foreign tax, the partnership's net income in the CFTE category from which the allocation is made is reduced by the amount of the foreign law deduction, and that amount is not treated as an allocation for purposes of determining the partners' shares of income in the CFTE category. For purposes of testing allocations of CFTEs attributable to a foreign tax that does not allow a deduction for an allocation (or distribution of an allocated amount) to a partner, the partnership's net income in a CFTE category is not reduced.

    Finally, the current final regulations provide that the adjustment to income attributable to an activity for a preferential allocation depends on whether the allocation of the item of income (or payment thereof) “results” in a deduction under foreign law. This rule was intended to apply even if the foreign law deduction occurred in a different taxable year (for example, because the foreign jurisdiction allowed a deduction only upon a subsequent payment of accrued interest). These temporary regulations at § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) and (iii) clarify that a guaranteed payment or preferential allocation is considered deductible under foreign law for purposes of the special rules if the foreign jurisdiction allows a deduction from its taxable base either in the current year or in a different taxable year.

    III. Inter-Branch Payments

    For taxable years beginning before January 1, 2012, the special rules under § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) included a cross-reference confirming that certain inter-branch payments that were described in § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(3) (the “inter-branch payment rule”) were not subject to the special rules. On February 14, 2012, temporary regulations (TD 9577) were published in the Federal Register (77 FR 8127) addressing situations in which foreign income taxes have been separated from the related income. As part of those regulations, the inter-branch payment rule was removed because it allowed taxpayers to separate foreign income taxes and related income. In conjunction with the removal of the inter-branch payment rule, the cross-reference to the eliminated rule was removed from § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii).

    The Treasury Department and the IRS have become aware that some taxpayers claim that the inclusion and subsequent removal of the cross-reference created uncertainty regarding the application of the special rules under § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) to disregarded payments among branches of a partnership. As explained above, the purpose of the special rules is to match preferential allocations and guaranteed payments to partners with CFTEs that relate to the income out of which the allocation or guaranteed payment is made, and also to ensure proper testing of CFTE allocations when no CFTEs relate to such income. The special rules accomplish this matching by treating preferential allocations and guaranteed payments as distributive shares of income, but only for purposes of allocating CFTEs attributable to taxes imposed by a foreign jurisdiction that does not allow deductions for such allocations and payments. Because an inter-branch payment is not made to a partner, it can never be treated as a distributive share, and is outside the scope of the special rules. By its terms, current § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) applies only to partnership allocations that are deductible under foreign law, guaranteed payments that are not deductible under foreign law, and (not discussed herein) income that is excluded from a foreign tax base as a result of the status of a partner. The inclusion and subsequent removal of the cross-reference did not change the purpose of current § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) or expand its scope to provide for reductions in income in a CFTE category if a partnership makes a disregarded payment that is deductible under foreign law. These regulations under § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(iii) clarify that the special rule for preferential allocations applies only to allocations (or distributions of allocated amounts) to a partner that are deductible under foreign law, and not to other items that give rise to deductions under foreign law. For example, the special rule does not apply to reduce income in a CFTE category by reason of a disregarded inter-branch payment, even if the income out of which the inter-branch payment is made is not subject to tax in any foreign jurisdiction.

    In addition, the Treasury Department and the IRS are aware of transactions involving serial disregarded payments in which taxpayers take the position that withholding taxes assessed on the first payment in a series of back-to-back disregarded payments do not need to be apportioned among the CFTE categories that include the income out of which the payment is made. These regulations include new examples clarifying that under § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) withholding taxes must be apportioned among the CFTE categories that include the related income. See § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 36 and Example 37.

    IV. Other Non-Substantive Clarifications

    These regulations make certain organizational and other non-substantive changes that clarify how items of income under U.S. federal income tax law are assigned to an activity and how a partnership's net income in a CFTE category is determined.

    For the avoidance of doubt, § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) is revised to more clearly describe when income from a divisible part of a single activity must be treated as income from a separate activity. Section 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) provides that whether a partnership has one or more activities, and the scope of each activity, is determined in a reasonable manner taking into account all the facts and circumstances, with the principal consideration being whether the proposed determination has the effect of separating CFTEs from the related foreign income. The rule also provides that income from a divisible part of a single activity is treated as income from a separate activity if necessary to prevent separating CFTEs from the related foreign income. Example 24(iii) of § 1.704-1(b)(5) illustrates that if a partnership agreement makes a special allocation of income earned by a disregarded entity (DE1) in order to reflect a disregarded inter-branch payment paid by DE1 to a second disregarded entity, then the payment is treated as a divisible part of an activity and treated as a separate activity. These regulations confirm this result by adding language in § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) clarifying that income from a divisible part of a single activity is treated as income from a separate activity whenever the income is subject to different allocations.

    These regulations also confirm in § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) that a guaranteed payment or preferential allocation of income that is determined by reference to all the income from a single activity generally will not result in dividing a single activity into separate activities. This clarification is consistent with the rule in § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii), which generally provides that a guaranteed payment, gross income allocation, or other preferential allocation that is determined by reference to income from all of the partnership's activities does not result in different allocations of income from separate activities. For an illustration of the application of § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) prior to this clarification, see § 1.704-1(b)(5) Example 22 and Example 25, the latter of which has also been updated as part of these temporary regulations.

    In order to more clearly explain how the rules for determining a partnership's net income in a CFTE category operate and to assist taxpayers in applying these rules, these temporary regulations reorganize § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) and provide an introductory paragraph at § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(i) that describes the steps for computing a partnership's net income in a CFTE category.

    The current final regulations provide that only items of gross income recognized by a branch for U.S. income tax purposes are taken into account to determine net income attributable to any activity of a branch. Example 24 in § 1.704-1(b)(5) further illustrates that a disregarded inter-branch payment does not move income from one activity to another. These temporary regulations confirm at § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(iv) that disregarded payments are never taken into account in determining the amount of net income attributable to an activity (although, as noted above, a special allocation of income used to make a disregarded payment may result in that income being treated as a divisible part of the activity giving rise to the income), and that therefore an item of gross income is assigned to the activity that generates the item of income that is recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

    In addition, the current final regulations use the term “distributive share of income,” which has a general meaning under subchapter K but is used for a different purpose under § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4). To avoid confusion, these temporary regulations at § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(i) revise the term “distributive share of income” to “CFTE category share of income.” No difference in meaning or purpose is intended by the change in terminology. The Treasury Department and the IRS will update Examples 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, and 27 in § 1.704-1(b)(5) (which are not revised under these temporary regulations) to reflect the new terminology when these temporary regulations are finalized. In the interim, any reference to “distributive share of income” under the current final regulations should be treated as a reference to a “CFTE category share of income” as defined in § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(i).

    V. Effective Date

    These temporary regulations apply for partnership taxable years that both begin on or after January 1, 2016, and end after February 4, 2016. The temporary regulations also modify an existing transition rule with respect to certain inter-branch payments for partnerships whose agreements were entered into prior to February 14, 2012. The current transition rule provides that if there has been no material modification to their partnership agreements on or after February 14, 2012, then, for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2012, these partnerships may apply the provisions of §§ 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) and 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(3) (revised as of April 1, 2011). That transition rule is modified to provide that for tax years that both begin on or after January 1, 2016, and end after February 4, 2016, these partnerships may continue to apply the provisions of § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(3) (revised as of April 1, 2011) but must apply the provisions of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii). See § 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B). For purposes of this transition rule, any change in ownership constitutes a material modification to the partnership agreement. This transition rule does not apply to any taxable year (and all subsequent taxable years) in which persons bearing a relationship to each other that is specified in section 267(b) or section 707(b) collectively have the power to amend the partnership agreement without the consent of any unrelated party.

    No inference is intended as to the application of the provisions amended by these temporary regulations under current law. The IRS may, where appropriate, challenge transactions, including those described in these temporary regulations and this preamble, under currently applicable Code or regulatory provisions or judicial doctrines.

    Special Analyses

    Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory impact assessment is not required. It has also been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because the regulations do not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Code, these regulations have been submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

    Drafting Information

    The principal author of these regulations is Suzanne M. Walsh of the Office of Chief Counsel (International). However, other personnel from the Treasury Department and the IRS participated in their development.

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

    Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is amended as follows:

    PART 1—INCOME TAXES

    Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in part as follows:

    Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

    Par. 2. Section 1.704-1 is amended as follows: 1. In Paragraph (b)(0): i. Add an entry for § 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1). ii. Revise the entries for § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(1) through (4) and (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1). 2. Revise paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(b)(1), (b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B), (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) and (iii), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) and (4), (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1), and Example 25 of paragraph (b)(5). 3. Add Examples 36 and 37 to paragraph (b)(5).

    The revisions and additions read as follows:

    § 1.704-1 Partner's distributive share.

    (b) Determination of partner's distributive share-(0) Cross-references.

    Heading Section *    *    *    *    * [Reserved] 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1) *    *    *    *    * [Reserved] 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(1) [Reserved] 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2) [Reserved] 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) [Reserved] 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4) *    *    *    *    * [Reserved] 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) *    *    *    *    *

    (1) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (b) Rules relating to foreign tax expenditures. (1) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1).

    (3) * * *

    (B) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B).

    (4) * * *

    (viii) * * *

    (a) * * *

    (1) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(a)(1).

    (c) Income to which CFTEs relate. (1) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(1).

    (2) * * *

    (ii) and (iii) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) and (iii).

    (3) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3).

    (4) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4).

    (d) Allocation and apportionment of CFTEs to CFTE categories. (1) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(d)(1).

    (5) * * *

    Example 25.

    [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 25.

    Example 36.

    [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 36.

    Example 37.

    [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 37.

    Par. 3. Section 1.704-1T is added to read as follows:
    § 1.704-1T Partner's distributive share (temporary).

    (a) through (b)(1)(ii)(a) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(a) through (b)(1)(ii)(a).

    (b) Rules relating to foreign tax expenditures—(1) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(b)(1), the provisions of paragraphs (b)(3)(iv) and (b)(4)(viii) of this section (regarding the allocation of creditable foreign taxes) apply for partnership taxable years beginning on or after October 19, 2006. The rules that apply to allocations of creditable foreign taxes made in partnership taxable years beginning before October 19, 2006 are contained in § 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1) and (b)(4)(xi) as in effect prior to October 19, 2006 (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2005). However, taxpayers may rely on the provisions of paragraphs (b)(3)(iv) and (b)(4)(viii) of this section for partnership taxable years beginning on or after April 21, 2004. The provisions of paragraphs (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) and (iii), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) and (4), (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1), and Examples 25, 36, and 37 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section apply for partnership taxable years that both begin on or after January 1, 2016, and end after February 4, 2016. For the rules that apply to partnership taxable years beginning on or after October 19, 2006, and before January 1, 2016, and to taxable years that both begin on or after January 1, 2016, and end on or before February 4, 2016, see § 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b), (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) and (iii), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) and (4), (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1), and (b)(5), Example 25 (as contained in 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2015).

    (b)(1)(ii)(b)(2) through (b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(A) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b)(2) through (b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(A).

    (B) Transition rule. Transition relief is provided herein to partnerships whose agreements were entered into prior to February 14, 2012. In such cases, if there has been no material modification to the partnership agreement on or after February 14, 2012, then, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2012, and before January 1, 2016, and for taxable years that both begin on or after January 1, 2012, and end on or before February 4, 2016, these partnerships may apply the provisions of § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2011) and § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(3) (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2011). For taxable years that both begin on or after January 1, 2016, and end after February 4, 2016, these partnerships may apply the provisions of § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(3) (see 26 CFR part 1 revised as of April 1, 2011). For purposes of this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(b)(3), any change in ownership constitutes a material modification to the partnership agreement. This transition rule does not apply to any taxable year in which persons bearing a relationship to each other that is specified in section 267(b) or section 707(b) collectively have the power to amend the partnership agreement without the consent of any unrelated party (and all subsequent taxable years).

    (b)(1)(iii) through (b)(4)(viii)(a) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(1)(iii) through (b)(4)(viii)(a).

    (1) The CFTE is allocated (whether or not pursuant to an express provision in the partnership agreement) to each partner and reported on the partnership return in proportion to the partners' CFTE category shares of income to which the CFTE relates; and

    (b)(4)(viii)(a)(2) through (b)(4)(viii)(b) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(a)(2) through (b)(4)(viii)(b).

    (c) Income to which CFTEs relate—(1) In general. For purposes of paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a) of this section, CFTEs are related to net income in the partnership's CFTE category or categories to which the CFTE is allocated and apportioned in accordance with the rules of paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(d) of this section. Paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2) of this section provides rules for determining a partnership's CFTE categories. Paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) of this section provides rules for determining the net income in each CFTE category. Paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4) of this section provides rules for determining a partner's CFTE category share of income, including rules that require adjustments to net income in a CFTE category for purposes of determining the partners' CFTE category share of income with respect to certain CFTEs. Paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(5) of this section provides a special rule for allocating CFTEs when a partnership has no net income in a CFTE category.

    (2)(i) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(i).

    (ii) Different allocations. Different allocations of net income (or loss) generally will result from provisions of the partnership agreement providing for different sharing ratios for net income (or loss) from separate activities. Different allocations of net income (or loss) from separate activities generally will also result if any partnership item is shared in a different ratio than any other partnership item. A guaranteed payment described in paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) of this section, gross income allocation, or other preferential allocation will result in different allocations of net income (or loss) from separate activities only if the amount of the payment or the allocation is determined by reference to income from less than all of the partnership's activities.

    (iii) Activity. Whether a partnership has one or more activities, and the scope of each activity, is determined in a reasonable manner taking into account all the facts and circumstances. In evaluating whether aggregating or disaggregating income from particular business or investment operations constitutes a reasonable method of determining the scope of an activity, the principal consideration is whether the proposed determination has the effect of separating CFTEs from the related foreign income. Relevant considerations include whether the partnership conducts business in more than one geographic location or through more than one entity or branch, and whether certain types of income are exempt from foreign tax or subject to preferential foreign tax treatment. In addition, income from a divisible part of a single activity is treated as income from a separate activity if necessary to prevent separating CFTEs from the related foreign income, such as when income from divisible parts of a single activity is subject to different allocations. A guaranteed payment, gross income allocation, or other preferential allocation of income that is determined by reference to all the income from a single activity generally will not result in the division of an activity into divisible parts. See Examples 22 and 25 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section. The partnership's activities must be determined consistently from year to year absent a material change in facts and circumstances.

    (3) Net income in a CFTE category—(i) In general. A partnership computes net income in a CFTE category as follows: First, the partnership determines for U.S. federal income tax purposes all of its partnership items, including items of gross income, gain, loss, deduction, and expense, and items allocated pursuant to section 704(c). For this purpose, the items of the partnership are determined without regard to any adjustments under section 743(b) that its partners may have to the basis of property of the partnership. However, if the partnership is a transferee partner that has a basis adjustment under section 743(b) in its capacity as a direct or indirect partner in a lower-tier partnership, the partnership does take such basis adjustment into account. Second, the partnership must assign those partnership items to its activities pursuant to paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(ii) of this section. Third, partnership items attributable to each activity are aggregated within the relevant CFTE category as determined under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2) of this section in order to compute the net income in a CFTE category.

    (ii) Assignment of partnership items to activities. The items of gross income attributable to an activity must be determined in a consistent manner under any reasonable method taking into account all the facts and circumstances. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(iii) of this section, expenses, losses, or other deductions must be allocated and apportioned to gross income attributable to an activity in accordance with the rules of §§ 1.861-8 and 1.861-8T. Under these rules, if an expense, loss, or other deduction is allocated to gross income from more than one activity, such expense, loss, or deduction must be apportioned among each such activity using a reasonable method that reflects to a reasonably close extent the factual relationship between the deduction and the gross income from such activities. See § 1.861-8T(c). For the effect of disregarded payments in determining the amount of net income attributable to an activity, see paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(iv) of this section.

    (iii) Interest expense and research and experimental expenditures. The partnership's interest expense and research and experimental expenditures described in section 174 may be allocated and apportioned under any reasonable method, including but not limited to the methods prescribed in §§ 1.861-9 through 1.861-13T (interest expense) and § 1.861-17 (research and experimental expenditures).

    (iv) Disregarded payments. An item of gross income is assigned to the activity that generates the item of income that is recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Consequently, disregarded payments are not taken into account in determining the amount of net income attributable to an activity, although a special allocation of income used to make a disregarded payment may result in the subdivision of an activity into divisible parts. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) of this section and Examples 24, 36, and 37 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section (relating to inter-branch payments).

    (4) CFTE category share of income—(i) In general. CFTE category share of income means the portion of the net income in a CFTE category, determined in accordance with paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) of this section as modified by paragraphs (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) through (iv) of this section, that is allocated to a partner. To the extent provided in paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) of this section, a guaranteed payment is treated as an allocation to the recipient of the guaranteed payment for this purpose. If more than one partner receives positive income allocations (income in excess of expenses) from a CFTE category, which in the aggregate exceed the total net income in the CFTE category, then such partner's CFTE category share of income equals the partner's positive income allocation from the CFTE category, divided by the aggregate positive income allocations from the CFTE category, multiplied by the net income in the CFTE category. Paragraphs (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) through (iv) of this section require adjustments to the net income in a CFTE category for purposes of determining the partners' CFTE category share of income if one or more foreign jurisdictions impose a tax that provides for certain exclusions or deductions from the foreign taxable base. Such adjustments apply only with respect to CFTEs attributable to the taxes that allow such exclusions or deductions. Thus, net income in a CFTE category may vary for purposes of applying paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to different CFTEs within that CFTE category.

    (ii) Guaranteed payments. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii), solely for purposes of applying the safe harbor provisions of paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section, net income in the CFTE category from which a guaranteed payment (within the meaning of section 707(c)) is made is increased by the amount of the guaranteed payment that is deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and such amount is treated as an allocation to the recipient of such guaranteed payment for purposes of determining the partners' CFTE category shares of income. If a foreign tax allows (whether in the current or in a different taxable year) a deduction from its taxable base for a guaranteed payment, then solely for purposes of applying the safe harbor provisions of paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to allocations of CFTEs that are attributable to that foreign tax, net income in the CFTE category is increased only to the extent that the amount of the guaranteed payment that is deductible for U.S. federal income tax purposes exceeds the amount allowed as a deduction for purposes of the foreign tax, and such excess is treated as an allocation to the recipient of the guaranteed payment for purposes of determining the partners' CFTE category shares of income. See Example 25 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

    (iii) Preferential allocations. To the extent that a foreign tax allows (whether in the current or in a different taxable year) a deduction from its taxable base for an allocation (or distribution of an allocated amount) to a partner, then solely for purposes of applying the safe harbor provisions of paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to allocations of CFTEs that are attributable to that foreign tax, the net income in the CFTE category from which the allocation is made is reduced by the amount of the allocation, and that amount is not treated as an allocation for purposes of determining the partners' CFTE category shares of income. See Example 25 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

    (iv) Foreign law exclusions due to status of partner. If a foreign tax excludes an amount from its taxable base as a result of the status of a partner, then solely for purposes of applying the safe harbor provisions of paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to allocations of CFTEs that are attributable to that foreign tax, the net income in the relevant CFTE category is reduced by the excluded amounts that are allocable to such partners. See Example 27 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

    (b)(4)(viii)(c)(5) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(5).

    (d) Allocation and apportionment of CFTEs to CFTE categories—(1) In general. CFTEs are allocated and apportioned to CFTE categories in accordance with the principles of § 1.904-6. Under these principles, a CFTE is related to income in a CFTE category if the income is included in the base upon which the foreign tax is imposed. See Examples 36 and 37 of paragraph (b)(5) of this section, which illustrate the application of this paragraph in the case of serial disregarded payments subject to withholding tax. In accordance with § 1.904-6(a)(1)(ii) as modified by this paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(d), if the foreign tax base includes income in more than one CFTE category, the CFTEs are apportioned among the CFTE categories based on the relative amounts of taxable income computed under foreign law in each CFTE category. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(d), references in § 1.904-6 to a separate category or separate categories mean “CFTE category” or “CFTE categories” and the rules in § 1.904-6(a)(1)(ii) are modified as follows:

    (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1)(i) through (b)(5) Example 24 [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(1)(i) through (b)(5) Example 24.

    Example 25.

    (i) A contributes $750,000 and B contributes $250,000 to form AB, a country X eligible entity (as defined in § 301.7701-3(a) of this chapter) treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. AB operates business M in country X. Country X imposes a 20 percent tax on the net income from business M, which tax is a CFTE. In 2016, AB earns $300,000 of gross income, has deductible expenses of $100,000, and pays or accrues $40,000 of country X tax. Pursuant to the partnership agreement, the first $100,000 of gross income each year is specially allocated to A as a preferred return on excess capital contributed by A. All remaining partnership items, including CFTEs, are split evenly between A and B (50 percent each). The gross income allocation is not deductible in determining AB's taxable income under country X law. Assume that allocations of all items other than CFTEs are valid.

    (ii) AB has a single CFTE category because all of AB's net income is allocated in the same ratio. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2) of this section. Under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) of this section, the net income in the single CFTE category is $200,000. The $40,000 of taxes is allocated to the single CFTE category and, thus, is related to the $200,000 of net income in the single CFTE category. In 2016, AB's partnership agreement results in an allocation of $150,000 or 75 percent of the net income to A ($100,000 attributable to the gross income allocation plus $50,000 of the remaining $100,000 of net income) and $50,000 or 25 percent of the net income to B. AB's partnership agreement allocates the country X taxes in accordance with the partners' shares of partnership items remaining after the $100,000 gross income allocation. Therefore, AB allocates the country X taxes 50 percent to A ($20,000) and 50 percent to B ($20,000). AB's allocations of country X taxes are not deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership under paragraph (b)(4)(viii) of this section because they are not in proportion to the allocations of the CFTE category shares of income to which the country X taxes relate. Accordingly, the country X taxes will be reallocated according to the partners' interests in the partnership. Assuming that the partners do not reasonably expect to claim a deduction for the CFTEs in determining their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, a reallocation of the CFTEs under paragraph (b)(3) of this section would be 75 percent to A ($30,000) and 25 percent to B ($10,000). If the reallocation of the CFTEs causes the partners' capital accounts not to reflect their contemplated economic arrangement, the partners may need to reallocate other partnership items to ensure that the tax consequences of the partnership's allocations are consistent with their contemplated economic arrangement over the term of the partnership.

    (iii) The facts are the same as in paragraph (i) of this Example 25, except that country X allows a deduction for the $100,000 allocation of gross income and, as a result, AB pays or accrues only $20,000 of foreign tax. Under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(iii) of this section, the net income in the single CFTE category is $100,000, determined by reducing the net income in the CFTE category by the $100,000 of gross income that is allocated to A and for which country X allows a deduction in determining AB's taxable income. Pursuant to the partnership agreement, AB allocates the country X tax 50 percent to A ($10,000) and 50 percent to B ($10,000). This allocation is in proportion to the partners' CFTE category shares of the $100,000 net income. Accordingly, AB's allocations of country X taxes are deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a) of this section.

    (iv) The facts are the same as in paragraph (iii) of this Example 25, except that, in addition to $20,000 of country X tax, AB is subject to $30,000 of country Y withholding tax with respect to the $300,000 of gross income that it earns in 2016. Country Y does not allow any deductions for purposes of determining the withholding tax. As described in paragraph (ii) of this Example 25, there is a single CFTE category with respect to AB's net income. Both the $20,000 of country X tax and the $30,000 of country Y withholding tax relate to that income and are therefore allocated to the single CFTE category. Under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(iii) of this section, however, net income in a CFTE category is reduced by the amount of an allocation for which a deduction is allowed in determining a foreign taxable base, but only for purposes of applying paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a) of this section to allocations of CFTEs that are attributable to that foreign tax. Accordingly, because the $100,000 allocation of gross income is deductible for country X tax purposes but not for country Y tax purposes, the allocations of the CFTEs attributable to country X tax and country Y tax are analyzed separately. For purposes of applying paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to allocations of the CFTEs attributable to the $20,000 tax imposed by country X, the analysis described in paragraph (iii) of this Example 25 applies. For purposes of applying paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to allocations of the CFTEs attributable to the $30,000 tax imposed by country Y, which did not allow a deduction for the $100,000 gross income allocation, the net income in the single CFTE category is $200,000. Pursuant to the partnership agreement, AB allocates the country Y tax 50 percent to A ($15,000) and 50 percent to B ($15,000). These allocations are not deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership under paragraph (b)(4)(viii) of this section because they are not in proportion to the partners' CFTE category shares of the $200,000 of net income in the category, which is allocated 75 percent to A and 25 percent to B under the partnership agreement. Accordingly, the country Y taxes will be reallocated according to the partners' interests in the partnership as described in paragraph (ii) of this Example 25.

    (v) The amount of net income in the single CFTE category of AB for purposes of applying paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) of this section to allocations of CFTEs would be the same as in the fact patterns described in paragraphs (ii), (iii) and (iv) if, rather than being a preferential gross income allocation, the $100,000 was a guaranteed payment to A within the meaning of section 707(c). See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(4)(ii) of this section.

    (b)(5) Examples 26 through 35 [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(b)(5) Examples 26 through 35.

    Example 36.

    (i) A, B, and C form ABC, an eligible entity (as defined in § 301.7701-3(a) of this chapter) treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. ABC owns three entities, DEX, DEY, and DEZ, which are organized in, and treated as corporations under the laws of, countries X, Y, and Z, respectively, and as disregarded entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes. DEX operates business X in country X, DEY operates business Y in country Y, and DEZ operates business Z in country Z. Businesses X, Y, and Z relate to the licensing and sublicensing of intellectual property owned by DEZ. During 2016, DEX earns $100,000 of royalty income from unrelated payors on which it pays no withholding taxes. Country X imposes a 30 percent tax on DEX's net income. DEX makes royalty payments of $90,000 during 2016 to DEY that are deductible by DEX for country X purposes and subject to a 10 percent withholding tax imposed by country X. DEY earns no other income in 2016. Country Y does not impose income or withholding taxes. DEY makes royalty payments of $80,000 during 2016 to DEZ. DEZ earns no other income in 2016. Country Z does not impose income or withholding taxes. The royalty payments from DEX to DEY and from DEY to DEZ are disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

    As a result of these payments, DEX has taxable income of $10,000 for country X purposes on which $3,000 of taxes are imposed, and DEY has $90,000 of income for country X withholding tax purposes on which $9,000 of withholding taxes are imposed. Pursuant to the partnership agreement, all partnership items from business X, excluding CFTEs paid or accrued by business X, are allocated 80 percent to A and 10 percent each to B and C. All partnership items from business Y, excluding CFTEs paid or accrued by business Y, are allocated 80 percent to B and 10 percent each to A and C. All partnership items from business Z, excluding CFTEs paid or accrued by business Z, are allocated 80 percent to C and 10 percent each to A and B. Because only business X has items that are regarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes (the $100,000 of royalty income), only business X has partnership items. Accordingly A is allocated 80 percent of the income from business X ($80,000) and B and C are each allocated 10 percent of the income from business X ($10,000 each). There are no partnership items of income from business Y or Z to allocate.

    (ii) Because the partnership agreement provides for different allocations of partnership net income attributable to businesses X, Y, and Z, the net income attributable to each of businesses X, Y, and Z is income in separate CFTE categories. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2) of this section. Under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3)(iv) of this section, an item of gross income that is recognized for U.S. federal income tax purposes is assigned to the activity that generated the item, and disregarded inter-branch payments are not taken into account in determining net income attributable to an activity. Consequently, all $100,000 of ABC's income is attributable to the business X activity for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and no net income is in the business Y or Z CFTE category. Under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) of this section, the $3,000 of country X taxes imposed on DEX is allocated to the business X CFTE category. The additional $9,000 of country X withholding tax imposed with respect to the inter-branch payment to DEY is also allocated to the business X CFTE category because for U.S. federal income tax purposes the related $90,000 of income on which the country X withholding tax is imposed is in the business X CFTE category. Therefore, $12,000 of taxes ($3,000 of country X income taxes and $9,000 of the country X withholding taxes) is related to the $100,000 of net income in the business X CFTE. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(1) of this section. The allocations of country X taxes will be in proportion to the CFTE category shares of income to which they relate and will be deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership if such taxes are allocated 80 percent to A and 10 percent each to B and C.

    Example 37.

    (i) Assume that the facts are the same as in paragraph (i) of Example 36 of this section, except that in order to reflect the $90,000 payment from DEX to DEY and the $80,000 payment from DEY to DEZ, the partnership agreement treats only $10,000 of the gross income as attributable to the business X activity, which the partnership agreement allocates 80 percent to A and 10 percent each to B and C. Of the remaining $90,000 of gross income, the partnership agreement treats $10,000 of the gross income as attributable to the business Y activity, which the partnership agreement allocates 80 percent to B and 10 percent each to A and C; and the partnership agreement treats $80,000 of the gross income as attributable to the business Z activity, which the partnership agreement allocates 80 percent to C and 10 percent each to A and B. In addition, the partnership agreement allocates the country X taxes among A, B, and C in accordance with which disregarded entity is considered to have paid the taxes for country X purposes. The partnership agreement allocates the $3,000 of country X income taxes 80 percent to A and 10 percent to each of B and C, and allocates the $9,000 of country X withholding taxes 80 percent to B and 10 percent to each of A and C. Thus, ABC allocates the country X taxes $3,300 to A (80 percent of $3,000 plus 10 percent of $9,000), $7,500 to B (10 percent of $3,000 plus 80 percent of $9,000), and $1,200 to C (10 percent of $3,000 plus 10 percent of $9,000).

    (ii) In order to prevent separating the CFTEs from the related foreign income, the special allocations of the $10,000 and $80,000 treated under the partnership agreement as attributable to the business Y and the business Z activities, respectively, which do not follow the allocation ratios that otherwise apply under the partnership agreement to items of income in the business X activity, are treated as divisible parts of the business X activity and, therefore, as separate activities. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) of this section. Because the divisible part of the business X activity attributable to the portion of the disregarded payment received by DEY and not paid on to DEZ ($10,000) and the net income from the business Y activity ($0) are both shared 80 percent to B and 10 percent each to A and C, that divisible part of the business X activity and the business Y activity are treated as a single CFTE category. Because the divisible part of the business X activity attributable to the disregarded payment paid to DEZ ($80,000) and the net income from the business Z activity ($0) are both shared 80 percent to C and 10 percent each to A and B, that divisible part of the business X activity and the business Z activity are also treated as a single CFTE category. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(i) of this section. Accordingly, $10,000 of net income attributable to business X is in the business X CFTE category, $10,000 of net income of business X attributable to the net disregarded payments of DEY is in the business Y CFTE category, and $80,000 of net income of business X attributable to the disregarded payment to DEZ is in the business Z CFTE category. Under paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) of this section, the $3,000 of country X tax imposed on DEX's income is allocated to the business X CFTE category. Because the $90,000 on which the country X withholding tax is imposed is split between the business Y CFTE category and the business Z CFTE category, those withholding taxes are allocated on a pro rata basis, $1,000 [$9,000 × ($10,000/$90,000)] to the business Y CFTE category and $8,000 [$9,000 × ($80,000/$90,000)] to the business Z CFTE category. See paragraph (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) of this section. To satisfy the safe harbor of paragraph (b)(4)(viii) of this section, the $3,000 of country X taxes allocated to the business X CFTE category must be allocated in proportion to the CFTE category shares of income to which they relate, and therefore would be deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership if such taxes were allocated 80 percent to A and 10 percent each to B and C. The allocation of the $1,000 of country X withholding taxes allocated to the business Y CFTE category would be in proportion to the CFTE category shares of income to which they relate, and therefore would be deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership if such taxes were allocated 80 percent to B and 10 percent each to A and C. The allocation of the $8,000 of country X withholding taxes allocated to the business Z CFTE category would be in proportion to the CFTE category shares of income to which they relate, and therefore would be deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership if such taxes were allocated 80 percent to C and 10 percent each to A and B. Thus, to satisfy the safe harbor, ABC must allocate the country X taxes $3,300 to A (80 percent of $3,000 plus 10 percent of $1,000 plus 10 percent of $8,000), $1,900 to B (10 percent of $3,000 plus 80 percent of $1,000 plus 10 percent of $8,000), and $6,800 to C (10 percent of $3,000 plus 10 percent of $1,000 plus 80 percent of $8,000). ABC's allocations of country X taxes are not deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership under paragraph (b)(4)(viii) of this section because they are not in proportion to the partners' CFTE category shares of income to which the country X taxes relate. Accordingly, the country X taxes will be reallocated according to the partners' interests in the partnership.

    (c) through (e) [Reserved]. For further guidance, see § 1.704-1(c) through (e).

    (f) Expiration date. The applicability of this section expires on February 4, 2019.

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement. Approved: January 14, 2016. Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury (Tax Policy).
    [FR Doc. 2016-01949 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0076] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Columbia River, Vancouver, WA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Bridge across the Columbia River, mile 105.6, at Vancouver, WA. This deviation is necessary to accommodate maintenance to replace movable rail joints. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed position during maintenance activities.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 7 a.m. on March 8, 2016, to 7 p.m. on March 17, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0076] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    If you have questions on this temporary deviation, call or email Mr. Steven Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District; telephone 206-220-7282, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    BNSF requested that the BNSF Swing Bridge across the Columbia River, mile 105.6, remain closed to vessel traffic to remove and replace rail joints. During this installation period, the swing span of the bridge will be in the closed-to-navigation position; however, the span may be opened for maritime emergencies, but any emergency opening will necessitate a time extension to the approved dates. The BNSF Swing Bridge, mile 105.6, provides 39 feet of vertical clearance above Columbia River Datum 0.0 while in the closed position. The current operations for the swing bridge is in 33 CFR 117.5. This deviation allows the swing span of the BNSF Railway Bridge across the Columbia River, mile 105.6, to remain in the closed-to-navigation position, and need not open for maritime traffic from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 8, March 10, March 15, March 16 and March 17, 2016. These dates coincide with the Columbia River Bonneville lock and the Dalles lock. The bridge shall operate in accordance to 33 CFR 117.5 at all other times. Waterway usage on this part of the Columbia River includes vessels ranging from commercial tug and tow vessels to recreational pleasure craft including cabin cruisers and sailing vessels.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed positions may do so at anytime. For the duration of the repair work, vessels will not be allowed to pass through the bridge. The bridge will be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The bridge can be opened for emergency vessels in response to a call, however, if an opening for emergencies is needed, an extension of this deviation will be required to complete the work. No immediate alternate route for vessels to pass is available on this part of the river.

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

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

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Steven M. Fischer, Bridge Administrator, Thirteenth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02098 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 117 [Docket No. USCG-2016-0057] Drawbridge Operation Regulation; James River, Isle of Wight and Newport News, VA AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of deviation from drawbridge regulation.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard has issued a temporary deviation from the operating schedule that governs the James River Bridge (US17) across the James River, mile 5.0, at Isle of Wight and Newport News, VA. The deviation is necessary to perform bridge maintenance and repairs. This deviation allows the bridge to remain in the closed-to-navigation position.

    DATES:

    This deviation is effective from 5 a.m. on February 7, 2016 to 7 p.m. on February 14, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The docket for this deviation, [USCG-2016-0057] is available at http://www.regulations.gov. Type the docket number in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH”. Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this deviation.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

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

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Virginia Department of Transportation, that owns and operates the James River Bridge (US17), has requested a temporary deviation from the current operating regulations to perform repairs to the aerial electrical cable connecting the north tower to the south tower. The bridge is a vertical lift draw bridge and has a vertical clearance in the closed position of 60 feet above mean high water.

    The current operating schedule is open on signal as set out in 33 CFR 117.5. Under this temporary deviation, the bridge will remain in the closed-to-navigation position from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. from February 7, 2016 through February 14, 2016. During this temporary deviation, the bridge will operate per 33 CFR 117.5 from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

    The James River is used by a variety of vessels including deep draft ocean-going vessels, U.S. government vessels, small commercial vessels, recreational vessels and tug and barge traffic. The Coast Guard has carefully coordinated the restrictions with waterway users.

    Vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so at any time. The bridge will not be able to open for emergencies and there is no immediate alternate route for vessels to pass. The Coast Guard will also inform the users of the waterways through our Local and Broadcast Notices to Mariners of the change in operating schedule for the bridge so that vessel operators can arrange their transit to minimize any impact caused by the temporary deviation.

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

    Dated: January 28, 2016. Hal R. Pitts, Bridge Program Manager, Fifth Coast Guard District.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02099 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Part 403 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 45 CFR Part 1331 RIN 0985-AA11 State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) AGENCY:

    Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS.

    ACTION:

    Interim final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    This rule implements a provision enacted by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 and reflects the transfer of the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in HHS. The previous regulations were issued by CMS under the authority granted by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA `90), Section 4360.

    DATES:

    Effective date: This interim final rule is effective on February 4, 2016.

    Comment date: To be assured of consideration, comments must be received by ACL electronically through www.regulations.gov no later than midnight Eastern Standard Time (E.S.T.) on April 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments in one of following ways (no duplicates, please): Written comments may be submitted through any of the methods specified below. Please do not submit duplicate comments.

    Federal eRulemaking Portal: You may (and we encourage you to) submit electronic comments on this regulation at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions under the “submit a comment” tab. Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or Excel; however, we prefer Microsoft Word.

    Regular, Express, or Overnight Mail: You may mail written comments to the following address ONLY: Administration for Community Living, Attention: SHIP Interim Rule, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC 20201. Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received before the close of the comment period.

    Individuals with a Disability: We will provide an appropriate accommodation, including alternative formats, upon request. To make such a request, please contact Marlina Moses-Gaither, (202) 357-3552 (Voice) or at [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Josh Hodges, Administration for Community Living, telephone (202) 795-7364 (Voice). This is not a toll-free number. This document will be made available in alternative formats upon request. Written correspondence can be sent to Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 330 C St. SW., Washington, DC 20201.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) was created under Section 4360 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-508). This section of the law authorized the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to make grants to States to establish and maintain health insurance advisory service programs for Medicare beneficiaries. Grant funds were made available to support information, counseling, and assistance activities relating to Medicare, Medicaid, and other related health insurance options such as: Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance, managed care options, and other health insurance benefit information. In January 2014, authorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, the SHIP program was transferred from CMS to the Administration for Community Living (ACL). This transfer reflects the existing formal and informal collaborations between the SHIP programs and the networks that ACL serves.

    II. Transfer of Language and Technical Amendments

    In this interim final rule, ACL transfers all provisions of the existing SHIP regulations at 42 CFR part 403 subpart E, §§ 403.500-403.512, to a new part at 45 CFR 1331.1-1331.7, and 42 CFR part 403 subpart E is reserved. This transfer positions the regulations governing the SHIP program alongside the other ACL regulations, reflecting the transfer of the program to ACL's administration.

    In addition, as Congress has transferred the entirety of the SHIP program to ACL, all references to CMS' administration of the program are changed in this rule to ACL.

    Finally, as HHS has promulgated new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards, codified at 45 CFR part 75 since the previous rule's implementation, this rule changes a reference to previous guidance in § 1331.7 Administration.

    III. Regulatory Analysis A. Executive Order 12866

    This rule is not being treated as a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

    B. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    The Secretary certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Pub. L. 96-354), that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The primary impact of this regulation is on entities applying for SHIP funding opportunities, specifically researchers, States, public or private agencies and organizations, institutions of higher education, and Indian tribes and Tribal organizations. The regulation does not have a significant economic impact on these entities.

    C. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Ch. 3506; 5 CFR 1320 Appendix A.1) (PRA), ACL and CMS have determined that there are no new collections of information contained in this interim final rule.

    D. Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking

    Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), ACL and CMS are required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking and provide the public with an opportunity to comment on proposed regulations prior to establishing a final rule unless it is determined for good cause that the notice and comment procedure is impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to public interest. 5 U.S.C. 553(b). As noted previously, Congress has already transferred the SHIP program to ACL under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. This interim final rule makes no changes other than aligning the location of the regulations within the Federal Register with other ACL programs; amending the name of the administering agency to ACL; and updating a reference to new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards, which have already undergone notice and comment rulemaking, therefore, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) for waiving proposed rulemaking as unnecessary.

    E. Waiver of Delayed Effective Date

    Agencies are required to delay the effective date of their final regulations by 30 days after publication, as required under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), unless an exception under subsection (d) applies. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(d), ACL and CMS may waive the delayed effective date requirement if they find good cause and explain the basis for the waiver in the final rulemaking document or if the regulations grant or recognize an exemption or relieve a restriction.

    In the present case, there is good cause to waive the delayed effective date for this interim final rule, because the substance of the regulation, other than the name of the administering agency, is identical to the current regulation.

    F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires that a covered agency prepare a budgetary impact statement before promulgating a rule that includes any Federal mandate that may result in expenditures by State, local, or Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million, adjusted for inflation, or more in any one year. ACL and CMS have determined that this rule does not result in the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal government in the aggregate or by the private sector of more than $100 million in any one year.

    G. Congressional Review

    This rule is not a major rule as defined in 5 U.S.C. Section 804(2).

    H. Assessment of Federal Regulations and Policies on Families

    Section 654 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1999 requires Federal agencies to determine whether a policy or regulation may affect family well-being. If the agency's conclusion is affirmative, then the agency must prepare an impact assessment addressing seven criteria specified in the law. These regulations do not have an impact on family well-being as defined in the legislation.

    I. Executive Order 13132

    Executive Order 13132 on “federalism” was signed August 4, 1999. The purposes of the Order are: “. . . to guarantee the division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the States that was intended by the Framers of the Constitution, to ensure that the principles of federalism established by the Framers guide the executive departments and agencies in the formulation and implementation of policies, and to further the policies of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act . . .” Executive Order 13132 applies to actions with federalism implications, which are actions that have substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the Federal government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. For actions that have federalism implications and preempt state law or have federalism implications and impose substantial compliance costs on states and local governments, the agency must consult with state and local officials before publishing the rule and include a federalism statement in the preamble.

    The Department certifies that this rule does not have a substantial direct effect on States, on the relationship between the Federal government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

    ACL and CMS are not aware of any specific state laws that would be preempted by the adoption of the regulation.

    List of Subjects 42 CFR Part 403

    Grant programs, Health insurance, Medicare, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    45 CFR Part 1331

    Grant programs, Health insurance, Medicare, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: December 17, 2015. Andrew M. Slavitt, Acting Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Dated: December 17, 2015. Kathy Greenlee, Administrator, Administration for Community Living. Approved: January 25, 2016. Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Regulatory Text

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS, and Department of Health and Human Services amend title 42, chapter IV and title 45, chapter XIII, subchapter C, of the Code of Federal Regulations, respectively, as follows:

    42 CFR CHAPTER IV PART 403—SPECIAL PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS 1. The authority citation for part 403 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 1395b-3 and Secs. 1102 and 1871 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1302 and 1395hh).

    Subpart E [Removed and Reserved] 2. Subpart E, consisting of §§ 403.500 through 403.512, is removed and reserved. 45 CFR CHAPTER XIII 3. Part 1331 is added to subchapter C read as follows: PART 1331—STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM Sec.  1331.1 Basis, scope, and definition.  1331.2 Eligibility for grants.  1331.3 Availability of grants.  1331.4 Number and size of grants.  1331.5 Limitations.  1331.6 Reporting requirements.  1331.7 Administration. Authority:

    42 U.S.C. 1395b-4.

    § 1331.1 Basis, scope, and definition.

    (a) Basis. This part implements, in part, the provisions of section 4360 of Public Law 101-508 by establishing a minimum level of funding for grants made to States for the purpose of providing information, counseling, and assistance relating to obtaining adequate and appropriate health insurance coverage to individuals eligible to receive benefits under the Medicare program.

    (b) Scope of part. This part sets forth the following:

    (1) Conditions of eligibility for the grant.

    (2) Minimum levels of funding for those States qualifying for the grants.

    (3) Reporting requirements.

    (c) Definition. For purposes of this subpart, the term “State” includes (except where otherwise indicated by the context) the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.

    § 1331.2 Eligibility for grants.

    To be eligible for a grant under this subpart, the State must have an approved Medicare supplemental regulatory program under section 1882 of the Act and submit a timely application to ACL that meets the requirements of—

    (a) Section 4360 of Public Law 101-508 (42 U.S.C. 1395b-4);

    (b) This subpart; and

    (c) The applicable solicitation for grant applications issued by ACL.

    § 1331.3 Availability of grants.

    ACL awards grants to States subject to availability of funds, and if applicable, subject to the satisfactory progress in the State's project during the preceding grant period. The criteria by which progress is evaluated and the performance standards for determining whether satisfactory progress has been made are specified in the terms and conditions included in the notice of grant award sent to each State. ACL advises each State as to when to make application, what to include in the application, and provides information as to the timing of the grant award and the duration of the grant award. ACL also provides an estimate of the amount of funds that may be available to the State.

    § 1331.4 Number and size of grants.

    (a) General. For available grant funds, up to and including $10,000,000, grants will be made to States according to the terms and formula in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. For any available grant funds in excess of $10,000,000, distribution of grants will be at the discretion of ACL, and will be made according to criteria that ACL will communicate to the States via grant solicitation. ACL will provide information to each State as to what must be included in the application for grant funds. ACL awards the following type of grants:

    (1) New program grants.

    (2) Existing program enhancement grants.

    (b) Grant award. Subject to the availability of funds, each eligible State that submits an acceptable application receives a grant that includes a fixed amount (minimum funding level) and a variable amount.

    (1) A fixed portion is awarded to States in the following amounts:

    (i) Each of the 50 States, $75,000.

    (ii) The District of Columbia, $75,000.

    (iii) Puerto Rico, $75,000.

    (iv) American Samoa, $25,000.

    (v) Guam, $25,000.

    (vi) The Virgin Islands, $25,000.

    (2) A variable portion which is based on the number and location of Medicare beneficiaries residing in the State is awarded to each State. The variable amount a particular State receives is determined as set forth in paragraph (c) of this section.

    (c) Calculation of variable portion of the grant. (1) ACL bases the variable portion of the grant on—

    (i) The amount of available funds, and

    (ii) A comparison of each State with the average of all of the States (except the State being compared) with respect to three factors that relate to the size of the State's Medicare population and where that population resides.

    (2) The factors ACL uses to compare States' Medicare populations comprise separate components of the variable amount. These factors, and the extent to which they each contribute to the variable amount, are as follows:

    (i) Approximately 75 percent of the variable amount is based on the number of Medicare beneficiaries living in the State as a percentage of all Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.

    (ii) Approximately 10 percent of the variable amount is based on the percentage of the State's total population who are Medicare beneficiaries.

    (iii) Approximately 15 percent of the variable amount is based on the percentage of the State's Medicare beneficiaries that reside in rural areas (“rural areas” are defined as all areas not included within a metropolitan Statistical Area).

    (3) Based on the foregoing four factors (that is, the amount of available funds and the three comparative factors), ACL determines a variable rate for each participating State for each grant period.

    (d) Submission of revised budget. A State that receives an amount of grant funds under this subpart that differs from the amount requested in the budget submitted with its application must submit a revised budget to ACL, along with its acceptance of the grant award, which reflects the amount awarded.

    § 1331.5 Limitations.

    (a) Use of grants. Except as specified in paragraph (b) of this section, and in the terms and conditions in the notice of grant award, a State that receives a grant under this subpart may use the grant for any reasonable expenses for planning, developing, implementing and/or operating the program for which the grant is made as described in the solicitation for application for the grant.

    (b) Maintenance of effort. A State that receives a grant to supplement an existing program (that is, an existing program enhancement grant)—

    (1) Must not use the grant to supplant funds for activities that were conducted immediately preceding the date of the initial award of a grant made under this subpart and funded through other sources (including in-kind contributions).

    (2) Must maintain the activities of the program at least at the level that those activities were conducted immediately preceding the initial award of a grant made under this subpart.

    § 1331.6 Reporting requirements.

    A State that receives a grant under this subpart must submit at least one annual report to ACL and any additional reports as ACL may prescribe in the notice of grant award. ACL advises the State of the requirements concerning the frequency, timing, and contents of reports in the notice of grant award that it sends to the State.

    § 1331.7 Administration.

    (a) General. Administration of grants will be in accordance with the provisions of this subpart, 45 CFR part 75 (“Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments”), the terms of the solicitation, and the terms of the notice of grant award. Except for the minimum funding levels established by § 1331.4(b)(1), in the event of conflict between a provision of the notice of grant award, any provision of the solicitation, or of any regulation enumerated in 45 CFR part 75, the terms of the notice of grant award control.

    (b) Notice. ACL provides notice to each applicant regarding ACL's decision on an application for grant funding under § 1331.4.

    (c) Appeal. Any applicant for a grant under this subpart has the right to appeal ACL's determination regarding its application. Appeal procedures are governed by the regulations at 45 CFR part 16 (Procedures of the Departmental Grant Appeals Board).

    [FR Doc. 2016-02055 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 52 [WC Docket Nos. 13-97, 04-36, 07-243, 10-90 and CC Docket No. 95-116, 01-92, and 99-200; FCC 15-70] Numbering Policies for Modern Communications, IP-Enabled Services, Telephone Number Requirements for IP-Enabled, Services Providers, Telephone Number Portability et al. AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule; announcement of effective date.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission announces that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved, for a period of three years, the information collection associated with the Commission's Report and Order establishing rules for an authorization process to enable interconnected VoIP providers that choose direct access to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. This document is consistent with the Report and Order, which stated that the Commission would publish a document in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval and the effective date of those rules.

    DATES:

    The amendments to 47 CFR 52.15(g)(2) and (g)(3) published at 80 FR 66454, October 29, 2015, are effective February 4, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Marilyn Jones, Competition Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, at (202) 418-1580, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This document announces that, on January 5, 2016, OMB approved the information collection requirements contained in the Commission's Report and Order, FCC 15-70, published at 80 FR 66454, October 29, 2015. The OMB Control Number is 3060-1214. The Commission publishes this notice as an announcement of the effective date of the rules. If you have any comments on the burden estimates listed below, or how the Commission can improve the collections and reduce any burdens caused thereby, please contact Cathy Williams, Federal Communications Commission, Room 1-C823, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. Please include the OMB Control Number, 3060-1214, in your correspondence. The Commission will also accept your comments via email at [email protected]

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

    Synopsis

    As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507), the FCC is notifying the public that it received final OMB approval on January 5, 2016, for the information collection requirements contained in the modifications to the Commission's rules in 47 CFR 52.15(g)(2)-(g)(3).

    Under 5 CFR part 1320, an agency may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless it displays a current, valid OMB Control Number.

    No person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act that does not display a current, valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number is 3060-1214.

    The foregoing notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13, October 1, 1995, and 44 U.S.C. 3507.

    The total annual reporting burdens and costs for the respondents are as follows:

    OMB Control Number: 3060-1214.

    OMB Approval Date: January 5, 2016.

    OMB Expiration Date: January 31, 2019.

    Title: Direct Access to Numbers Orders, FCC 15-70 Conditions.

    Form Number: N/A.

    Respondents: Business or other for-profit entities.

    Number of Respondents and Responses: 13 respondents; 13 responses.

    Estimated Time per Response: 120 hours.

    Frequency of Response: One-time, biennial and on-going reporting requirements.

    Obligation to Respond: Voluntary. The statutory authority for this information collection is contained in 47 U.S.C. 251(e)(1).

    Total Annual Burden: 1,560 hours.

    Total Annual Cost: No cost.

    Nature and Extent of Confidentiality: If respondents submit information which respondents believe is confidential, respondents may request confidential treatment of such information pursuant to section 0.459 of the Communication's rules, 47 CFR 0.459.

    Privacy Act: No impact(s).

    Needs and Uses: June 18, 2015, the Commission adopted a Report and Order establishing the Numbering Authorization Application process, which allows interconnected VoIP providers to apply for a blanket authorization from the FCC that, once granted, will allow them to demonstrate that they have the authority to provide service in specific areas, thus enabling them to request numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. This collection covers the information and certifications that applicants must submit in order to comply with the Numbering Authorization Application process. The data, information, and documents acquired through this collection will allow interconnected VoIP providers to obtain numbers with minimal burden or delay while also preventing providers from obtaining numbers without first demonstrating that they can deploy and properly utilize such resources. This information will also help the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) protect against number exhaust while promoting competitive neutrality among traditional telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers by allowing both entities to obtain numbers directly from the Numbering Administrators. It will further help the FCC to maintain efficient utilization of numbering resources and ensure that telephone numbers are not being stranded.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02013 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 79 [MB Docket No. 12-108; FCC 15-156] Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission adopts additional rules under the authority of Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), which mandate the accessibility of user interfaces on digital apparatus and navigation devices used to view video programming. First, the document adopts usability requirements for entities covered by Section 204 of the CVAA and information, documentation, and training requirements for entities covered by both Section 204 and Section 205 of the CVAA. The document also adopts rules that will require manufacturers of digital apparatus and navigation devices to publicize the availability of accessible devices on manufacturer Web sites that must be accessible to those with disabilities. These requirements will ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to information and documentation about the availability of accessible video devices and how to operate them. The document declines to adopt a requirement that multichannel video programming providers include more detailed program information for public, educational, and governmental channels in their video programming guides, finding that such a requirement is outside the scope of Section 205 of the CVAA. Finally, the document reconsiders guidance on which activation mechanisms for closed captioning are reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon.

    DATES:

    Effective March 7, 2016, except for §§ 79.107(a)(5), (d), and (e) and 79.108(d)(2) and (f), which contain information collection requirements subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget. The Commission will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date for those sections.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maria Mullarkey, [email protected], of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120. For additional information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements contained in this document, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918 or send an email to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration, FCC 15-156, adopted on November 18, 2015, and released on November 20, 2015. The full text of this document is available electronically via the FCC's Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) Web site at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/ or via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Web site athttp://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. This document is also available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an email to [email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    I. Introduction

    1. In October 2013, the Commission adopted rules that advance the important goal of making video programming accessible to individuals with disabilities on a wide range of consumer devices, allowing consumers who are blind or visually impaired and deaf or hard of hearing to more fully enjoy the benefits of such programming. In this Second Report and Order (Order) and Order on Reconsideration, we take additional steps to fulfill this goal by continuing the Commission's implementation of Sections 204 and 205 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”), which mandate the accessibility of user interfaces on digital apparatus and navigation devices used to view video programming.1

    1 Public Law 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751 (2010) (as codified at 47 U.S.C. 303(aa), 303(bb)). See also Amendment of Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 111-265, 124 Stat. 2795 (2010) (making technical corrections to the CVAA). The foregoing are collectively referred to herein as the CVAA.

    2. This Order addresses three areas in which the Commission sought comment in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Further NPRM”) that accompanied the first Report and Order issued in this proceeding.2 First, it implements Section 204's requirement that both the “appropriate built-in apparatus functions” and the “on-screen text menus or other visual indicators built in to the digital apparatus” to access such functions be “usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired” 3 by relying on the Commission's existing definition of “usable” in Section 6.3(l) of our rules.4 In addition, it adopts information, documentation, and training requirements comparable to those in Section 6.11 of our rules for entities covered by both Section 204 and Section 205 of the CVAA.5 Second, it adopts consumer notification requirements for equipment manufacturers of digital apparatus and navigation devices that will require manufacturers to publicize the availability of accessible devices on manufacturer Web sites that must be accessible to those with disabilities. While multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) are already subject to Web site notification requirements pursuant to the rules we adopted in the Report and Order, the Order also requires MVPDs, as well as manufacturers, to ensure that the contact office or person listed on their Web site is able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. Finally, the Order declines to adopt a requirement that MVPDs include more detailed program information for public, educational, and governmental (“PEG”) channels in their video programming guides, finding that such a requirement is outside the scope of Section 205 of the CVAA.

    2Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus; Accessible Emergency Information, and Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, MB Docket Nos. 12-108, 12-107, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 78 FR 77210, 78 FR 77074, paras. 138-52 (2013) (“Report and Order and Further NPRM”). The Commission also inquired in the Further NPRM whether to require manufacturers of apparatus covered by Section 203 of the CVAA to provide access to the secondary audio stream for audible emergency information by a mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon. Id. at paras. 145-47. The Commission addressed this issue in a recent order in MB Docket No. 12-107. See Accessible Emergency Information, and Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, MB Docket No. 12-107, Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 80 FR 39698, 80 FR 39722 (2015).

    3 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(1)-(2).

    4 47 CFR 6.3(l).

    5Id. § 6.11.

    3. Addressing a Petition for Reconsideration filed by several consumer and academic organizations,6 the Order on Reconsideration modifies our decision in the Report and Order by finding that, when a voice control is the sole means of activation for closed captioning, it will not be considered “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon” under Sections 204 or 205 due to the difficulty many people who are deaf and hard of hearing would encounter in using such an activation mechanism. At the same time, the Order finds that closed captioning and video description activation mechanisms relying on gesture control will be considered “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon” if they are simple and easy to use.

    6 Petition for Reconsideration of the National Association of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network, Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Inc., Hearing Loss Association of America, California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization, Technology Access Program Gallaudet University, filed Jan. 20, 2014 (“Consumer/Academic Groups Petition”). A substantially similar group of organizations, which included Telecommunication-RERC, but not Technology Access Program Gallaudet University, filed comments and reply comments in response to the Further NPRM (“Consumer/Academic Groups Comments” and “Consumer/Academic Groups Reply”). Hereinafter, both groups of organizations will be collectively referred to as the “Consumer/Academic Groups.”

    II. Background

    4. Among the CVAA's mandates is a requirement that the Commission adopt rules to ensure the accessibility of the user interfaces and video programming guides and menus for digital apparatus and navigation devices.7 The CVAA also required the Commission to establish an advisory committee known as the Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (“VPAAC”),8 which submitted its statutorily mandated report addressing user interfaces and video programming guides and menus to the Commission on April 9, 2012.9 The Commission issued an NPRM in this proceeding on May 30, 2013,10 and adopted the Report and Order and Further NPRM on October 29, 2013. In the NPRM and the Report and Order, the Commission provided extensive background information regarding the history of the applicable provisions of the CVAA and the VPAAC Second Report: User Interfaces. 11 The Report and Order and Further NPRM were published in the Federal Register on December 20, 2013.12 Covered entities must comply with the rules adopted in the Report and Order by December 20, 2016, subject to certain exceptions.13 Consumer/Academic Groups filed a timely petition for reconsideration within 30 days of the Federal Register publication date.14

    7 Public Law 111-260, secs. 204, 205.

    8Id. at sec. 201(e)(2). Section 201(e)(2) of the CVAA also required the report to include information related to the provision of emergency information and video description, which is part of a separate Commission rulemaking proceeding that addresses Sections 202 and 203 of the CVAA. See Accessible Emergency Information, and Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010; Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, MB Docket Nos. 12-107, 11-43, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 78 FR 31800, 78 FR 31769 (2013) (“Emergency Information/Video Description Order”).

    9Second Report of the Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee on the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010: User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus, Apr. 9, 2012, available at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7021913531 (“VPAAC Second Report: User Interfaces”).

    10See Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus, MB Docket No. 12-108, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 78 FR 36478 (2013) (“NPRM”).

    11NPRM, paras. 2-4; Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 8-11.

    12 Federal Communications Commission, 47 CFR part 79, Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus, Final Rule, 78 FR 77210 (Dec. 20, 2013); Federal Communications Commission, 47 CFR part 79, Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus; Accessible Emergency Information, and Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Proposed Rule, 78 FR 77074 (Dec. 20, 2013).

    13See 47 CFR 79.107(b), 79.108(b), 79.109(c). See also Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 111-19.

    14 47 CFR 1.429(d). The Consumer Electronics Association, Entertainment Software Association, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Telecommunications Industry Association each filed oppositions to the Petition for Reconsideration, and Consumer/Academic Groups filed a reply.

    III. Second Report and Order A. Usability and Information, Documentation, and Training Requirements

    5. Section 204 Digital Apparatus. We will rely on the Commission's existing definition of “usable” in Section 6.3(l) of our rules to implement Section 204's requirement that both the “appropriate built-in apparatus functions” and “on-screen text menus or other visual indicators built in to the digital apparatus” to access such functions be “usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” 15 Consistent with the language in Section 204 of the CVAA, the Commission required in the Report and Order that covered digital apparatus, “if achievable . . . be designed, developed, and fabricated so that control of appropriate built-in apparatus functions are accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” 16 The Commission also required, as mandated by Section 204 of the CVAA, that on-screen text menus or other visual indicators used to access the appropriate built-in apparatus functions “be accompanied by audio output . . . so that such menus or indicators are accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired in real-time.” 17 While the Report and Order specified accessibility requirements, i.e., how covered entities should make the appropriate built-in functions “accessible,” the Further NPRM sought comment on usability requirements, i.e., how covered entities should make the appropriate built-in functions “usable.” 18 Specifically, the Further NPRM inquired whether to adopt the definition of “usable” set forth in Section 6.3(l) of our rules and whether to impose information, documentation, and training requirements consistent with those set forth in Section 6.11 of our rules.19

    15 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(1)-(2).

    16Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 53. The appropriate built-in apparatus functions are those that are used for the reception, play back, or display of video programming and, at this time, include the following functions: Power on/off; volume adjust and mute; channel/program selection; display channel/program information; configuration—setup; configuration—CC control; configuration—CC options; configuration—video description control; display configuration info; playback functions; and input selection. Id. at para. 58; 47 CFR 79.107(a)(4)(i)-(xi). The Commission has stated that it “may revisit this list if and when technology evolves to a point where devices incorporate new user functions related to video programming that were not contemplated by the VPAAC.” Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 59.

    17Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 53.

    18Id. at para. 138.

    19Id. at paras. 138-39.

    6. Relying on the existing definition of usability in Section 6.3(l), we require manufacturers of Section 204 digital apparatus to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to information and documentation on the full functionalities of digital apparatus, including instructions, product information (including accessible feature information), documentation, bills, and technical support which are provided to individuals without disabilities.20 Industry and academic commenters were united in their support of our proposal to rely on the Section 6.3(l) usable definition to implement Section 204.21 As the Further NPRM stated, the Commission has relied on the Section 6.3(l) definition in other CVAA contexts,22 and, given the agreement in the record on this point, we see no reason to depart from that approach here. The Consumer Electronics Association (“CEA”) asks that we “clarify” that application of the usability requirement under Section 204 to the “appropriate” built-in functions of covered digital apparatus only applies “to the extent the apparatus includes those functions.” 23 We agree with CEA that such an approach would be consistent with the Commission's approach in the Report and Order and adopt it here. Under the standard set forth in the Report and Order when implementing Section 204, a digital apparatus manufacturer is required to make an “appropriate built-in apparatus function” of a digital apparatus accessible only to the extent such function is “included in the device.” 24 Similarly, a digital apparatus manufacturer will be required under Section 204 to make usable an “appropriate built-in apparatus function” 25 or an on-screen text menu or other visual indicator that is used to access such function 26 only to the extent it is included in the device.

    20 47 CFR 6.3(l). The Commission adopted the definition of “usable” in Section 6.3(l) of its rules pursuant to Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which requires telecommunications providers and equipment manufacturers to make their products “accessible to and usable by” persons with disabilities. See Implementation of Sections 255 and 251(a)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934, as Enacted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996; Access to Telecommunications Service, Telecommunications Equipment and Customer Premises Equipment by Persons with Disabilities, WT Docket No. 96-198, Report and Order and Further Notice of Inquiry, 16 FCC Rcd 6417, paras. 21-29 (1999).

    21See Comments of the Consumer Electronics Association at 2-3 (“CEA Comments”); Comments of DISH Network L.L.C. and EchoStar Technologies L.L.C. at 2 (“DISH/EchoStar Comments”); Reply Comments of Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies at 4 (“Wireless RERC Reply”).

    22Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 138 (discussing the Commission's reliance on the Section 6.3(l) usable definition when implementing Sections 255, 716, and 718 of the Communications Act).

    23 CEA Comments at 3.

    24Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 58. See also id. at para. 60 (“[A]n apparatus covered by Section 204 is not required to include all 11 functions deemed to be `appropriate,' understanding that some of these functions may not be provided for any users on certain devices. We agree with commenters that Section 204 `do[es] not mandate the inclusion of any specific functions' in the design of a covered apparatus. However, to the extent that an apparatus is designed to include an `appropriate' built-in apparatus function, such function must be made accessible in accordance with our rules.”) (citations omitted).

    25 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(1).

    26Id. at sec. 303(aa)(2).

    7. In addition to implementing the usability requirement of Section 204, we also adopt information, documentation, and training requirements consistent with those set forth in Section 6.11 of our rules. As noted in the Further NPRM, the Commission “adopted information, documentation, and training requirements when implementing Sections 716 and 718” of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (“Act”),27 which impose accessibility requirements on providers and manufacturers with respect to advanced communications services and equipment and Internet browsers on mobile phones and, like Section 204, require that covered products be “accessible to and usable by” individuals with disabilities.28 Section 6.11 requires that manufacturers ensure access to information and documentation it provides to its customers.29 Such information and documentation includes user guides, bills, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and product support communications, regarding both the product in general and the accessibility features of the product.30 In addition, Section 6.11 requires manufacturers to include the contact method for obtaining the information required by Section 6.11(a) in general product information, to consider certain accessibility-related topics when developing or modifying training programs, and to take other steps, as necessary.31 We agree with the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (“Wireless RERC”) that imposing these requirements in this context as well will provide a consistent experience for individuals with disabilities regardless of the product they are purchasing.32

    27Id. at secs. 617, 619. See also Public Law 111-260, sec. 104 (adding Sections 716 and 718 of the Act).

    28Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 139; 47 CFR 14.20(d).

    29 47 CFR 6.11(a).

    30Id.

    31Id. § 6.11(a)-(c).

    32See Wireless RERC Reply at 4. See also Comments of Verizon and Verizon Wireless at 3 (“Verizon Comments”).

    8. We disagree with the argument made by CEA and DISH Network L.L.C./EchoStar Technologies L.L.C. (“DISH/EchoStar”) that imposing information, documentation, and training requirements will be redundant with the usability requirements in Section 6.3(l) that we adopt herein.33 While Section 6.3(l) provides a definition of usability in the definitional section of our rules, Section 6.11 outlines the specific actions that covered entities must take to provide access by people with disabilities to information and documentation, as well as information to be considered for inclusion in an appropriate manufacturer training program.34 Thus, for example, Section 6.11 directs manufacturers to provide access to user guides, bills, installation guides and product support communications.35 In addition, it directs manufacturers to provide a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of the product upon request, including, as needed, in alternate formats or alternate modes at no additional charge,36 and to ensure usable customer and technical support in call centers and service centers at no additional charge.37 With respect to training, Section 6.11 states that manufacturers shall consider various topics, including the accessibility requirements of, and means of communicating with, people with disabilities; adaptive technology commonly used by people with disabilities; and designs and solutions for accessibility.38 Therefore, we find that the information, documentation, and training requirements found in Section 6.11 are not redundant with the usability requirements in Section 6.3(l), but set forth a more specific set of obligations to which the manufacturers of Section 204 apparatus must adhere. Thus, we apply these requirements to entities covered by Section 204.

    33 CEA Comments at 4; Reply Comments of the Consumer Electronics Association at 8-9 (“CEA Reply”); DISH/EchoStar Comments at 3.

    34 47 CFR 6.11.

    35Id. § 6.11(a).

    36Id. § 6.11(a)(1). Similarly, manufacturers must provide end-user product documentation in alternate formats or alternate modes upon request at no additional charge. Id. § 6.11(a)(2).

    37Id. § 6.11(a)(3).

    38Id. § 6.11(c).

    9. Section 205 Navigation Devices. We also adopt the information, documentation, and training requirements outlined in Section 6.11 of our rules as part of entities' obligations under Section 205. In the Further NPRM, we inquired whether we should impose Section 6.11 information, documentation, and training requirements on entities covered by Section 205, which applies to navigation devices, pursuant to our authority to “prescribe such regulations as are necessary to implement” the requirements of that section.39

    39Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 139. See also Public Law 111-260, sec. 205(b)(1).

    10. We find that Section 205 of the CVAA provides the Commission with sufficient authority to adopt information, documentation, and training requirements. CEA, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (“NCTA”), and the American Cable Association (“ACA”) point out that Section 205 does not include the Section 204 “accessible to and usable by” language that the Commission has relied upon in the past to adopt information, documentation, and training requirements and, therefore, they question the Commission's statutory authority to adopt such requirements in the Section 205 context.40 We disagree with industry's arguments. Section 205 requires that on-screen text menus and guides provided by navigation devices are “audibly accessible” by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.41 In addition, Section 205(b)(1) empowers the Commission to “prescribe such regulations as are necessary to implement” the requirements of Section 205.42 If consumers do not know how to access a feature then, as a practical matter, it is not “accessible.” 43 Information, documentation, and training requirements are thus necessary for individuals with disabilities to be able to operate navigation devices that are made accessible in accordance with the requirements of Section 205. As described above, such requirements ensure that persons with disabilities are provided with accessible product information and documentation, such as user guides, bills, installation guides, and product support communications, with a description of the accessibility features of the device upon request,44 and with customer and technical support in call centers and service centers.45 While we note that under the rule, covered entities are required to provide a description of accessibility features and product documentation “upon request” by the consumer,46 we will treat a consumer's request for an accessible navigation device pursuant to Section 205 to also constitute a request for a description of the accessibility features of the device and end-user product documentation in accessible formats so that the consumer is able to operate the device. Such requirements also ensure that manufacturers and service providers consider various accessibility-related topics when designing training programs.47 We believe that these requirements are necessary for individuals with disabilities to have access to the accessibility features and functionality of Section 205 accessible navigation devices and to fully obtain the benefits of these devices.48 While these requirements broadly outline the steps covered entities must take to ensure access to information, documentation, and training for persons with disabilities, covered entities have flexibility to implement these requirements within the guidelines set forth in the rule.

    40See CEA Comments at 5; CEA Reply at 9. See also Comments of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association at 7 (“NCTA Comments”); Reply Comments of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association at 8 (“NCTA Reply”); Reply Comments of the American Cable Association at 3-4 (“ACA Reply”).

    41 47 U.S.C. 303(bb)(1).

    42See Public Law 111-260, sec. 205(b)(1). See also Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 139.

    43 For these reasons, we reject ACA's argument that the Commission cannot rely on its authority to “prescribe such regulations as are necessary to implement” the requirements of Section 205 to adopt information, documentation, and training requirements, or that imposing such a requirement would lead to an inconsistent interpretation of the CVAA. See ACA Reply at 4 & n. 10.

    44 Specifically, Section 6.11(a) requires covered entities to provide a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of the product upon request, including, as needed, in alternate formats or alternate modes at no additional charge, and to provide end-user product documentation in alternate formats or alternate modes upon request at no additional charge. 47 CFR 6.11(a)(1)-(2).

    45Id. § 6.11(a)(1)-(3).

    46Id. § 6.11(a)(1)-(2).

    47Id. § 6.11(c).

    48See Wireless RERC Reply at 4-5.

    11. Further, we disagree with CEA, NCTA, and DISH/EchoStar's argument that information, documentation, and training requirements will not be necessary because Section 205 navigation devices are provided upon request and the notification requirements already adopted under Section 205 in the Report and Order will be sufficient to ensure that consumers are able to obtain accessible navigation devices.49 Those notification requirements focus on ensuring that consumers with disabilities are provided with information about the availability of accessible navigation devices and how to obtain such devices.50 In contrast, the information, documentation, and training requirements that we adopt herein focus on ensuring that consumers with disabilities are provided with information about how to operate the accessibility features and functions of such devices in an accessible format and are provided with appropriate customer support for such devices. Thus, we find that the notification requirements already adopted in the Report and Order do not obviate the need for adopting information, documentation, and training requirements as set forth in Section 6.11, and we apply these requirements to entities covered by Section 205.

    49See CEA Comments at 5; CEA Reply at 8; DISH/EchoStar Comments at 3-4; NCTA Comments at 7-8; NCTA Reply at 8.

    50 Under Section 205, MVPDs must notify consumers that navigation devices with the required accessibility features are available to consumers who are blind or visually impaired upon request. 47 CFR 79.108(d). Specifically, when providing information about equipment options in response to a consumer inquiry about service, accessibility, or other issues, MVPDs must clearly and conspicuously inform consumers about the availability of accessible navigation devices. Id. § 79.108(d)(1). In addition, MVPDs must provide notice on their official Web sites about the availability of accessible navigation devices. Id. § 79.108(d)(2).

    12. Achievability. We find that the usability requirement applicable to Section 204 devices and the information, documentation, and training requirements applicable to Section 204 and 205 devices adopted herein apply only “if achievable,” meaning “with reasonable effort or expense, as determined by the Commission.” 51 Section 303(aa)(1) of the Act indicates that apparatus covered by Section 204 are required to make appropriate built-in apparatus functions accessible to and usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired only “if achievable.” 52 Similarly, Section 303(bb)(1) requires on-screen text menus and guides for the display or selection of multichannel video programming on navigation devices covered by Section 205 to be audibly accessible by individuals who are blind or visually impaired only “if achievable.” 53 The Commission will determine whether compliance is “achievable” on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the approach adopted in the Report and Order.54 In particular, the Commission will consider the following factors in determining whether compliance with the usability and information, documentation, and training requirements are achievable in particular circumstances: (1) The nature and cost of the steps needed to meet the requirements of this section with respect to the specific equipment or service in question; (2) the technical and economic impact on the operation of the manufacturer or provider and on the operation of the specific equipment or service in question, including on the development and deployment of new communications technologies; (3) the type of operations of the manufacturer or provider; and (4) the extent to which the service provider or manufacturer in question offers accessible services or equipment containing varying degrees of functionality and features, and offered at differing price points.55

    51See 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(1), 303(bb)(1); 47 CFR 79.107(c), 79.108(c); Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 77 (citing 47 U.S.C. 617(g)).

    52 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(1).

    53Id. at sec. 303(bb)(1).

    54See Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 77-78.

    55Id. at para. 77; 47 CFR 79.107(c)(2)(i)-(iv), 79.108(c)(2)(i)-(iv).

    13. Compliance Deadlines. We continue to require the same compliance deadlines for the usability and information, documentation, and training requirements that the Commission adopted in the Report and Order for rules to ensure the accessibility of user interfaces and video programming guides and menus under Sections 204 and 205.56 We decline to provide additional time for entities to come into compliance with the usability requirements for Section 204 devices and the information, documentation, and training requirements for Section 204 and 205 devices adopted herein.57 With the exception of ACA, no commenter requested additional time to come into compliance with these requirements. ACA requests that small- and medium-sized cable operators receive an extended deadline to come into compliance with any information, documentation, and training requirements imposed on Section 205 entities.58 ACA contends that such operators “would likely lack the legal, technical, or financial ability to incorporate the [information, documentation, and training] requirements,” and, therefore, the Commission should provide them with an extended compliance deadline to alleviate these burdens.59 While we agree that providing some relief to small- and mid-sized operators is reasonable, we note that the Commission in the Report and Order already delayed the time by which mid-sized and smaller MVPD operators and small MVPD systems must comply with the requirements of Section 205 by two years.60 We believe that the delay already afforded to certain mid-sized and smaller MVPD operators and small MVPD systems will provide sufficient time in which to implement the information, documentation, and training requirements adopted herein.

    56 Covered entities must comply with these rules by December 20, 2016, subject to certain exceptions. See 47 CFR 79.107(b), 79.108(b), 79.109(c). See also Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 111-19.

    57See 47 CFR 79.107(b), 79.108(b).

    58See ACA Reply at 3-5.

    59Id. at 4-5.

    60See 47 CFR 79.108(b); Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 114-19. Specifically, (1) MVPD operators with 400,000 or fewer subscribers as of year-end 2012; and (2) MVPD systems with 20,000 or fewer subscribers that are not affiliated with an operator serving more than 10 percent of all MVPD subscribers as of year-end 2012, were afforded with a two-year delay of the compliance deadline. Id. These MVPDs must be in compliance with the rules by December 20, 2018. The Commission also committed to undertake a review of the marketplace after the December 20, 2016 compliance deadline for larger MVPDs to consider whether the delayed compliance deadline should be retained or extended (in whole or in part). Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 114.

    B. Notifications 1. Equipment Manufacturer Notifications Under Sections 204 and 205

    14. We adopt the Further NPRM's tentative conclusion to require manufacturers of navigation devices subject to Section 205 to inform consumers about the availability of audibly accessible devices and accessibility solutions.61 Specifically, consistent with our proposal in the Further NPRM, we require manufacturers subject to Section 205 to prominently display information about audibly accessible devices and other accessibility solutions on their official Web sites.62 We also adopt a similar notification requirement for manufacturers of digital apparatus that are subject to Section 204. However, we decline to adopt labeling requirements or other point of sale notifications for either Section 205 navigation devices or Section 204 digital apparatus.

    61See Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 150. We note that the deadlines adopted in the Report and Order apply to the notification requirements adopted herein. See 47 CFR 79.107(b), 79.108(b). No commenter requested additional time to come into compliance with these requirements.

    62Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 150.

    15. Pursuant to Section 205(b)(1) of the CVAA, we require equipment manufacturers subject to Section 205 to inform consumers about the availability of audibly accessible devices and accessibility solutions by prominently displaying accessibility information on their official Web sites, such as through a link on their home page.63 Our rules currently require MVPDs to notify consumers that navigation devices with the required accessibility features are available to consumers who are blind or visually impaired upon request, and, as part of these requirements, MVPDs must provide notice on their official Web sites about the availability of accessible navigation devices.64 In the Further NPRM, we inquired whether to impose similar requirements on manufacturers of navigation devices.65 Among the few commenters who addressed Web site notifications for manufacturers subject to Section 205, there appears to be general agreement that, at a minimum, equipment manufacturers should be required to prominently provide information about the availability of accessible devices on their Web sites.66 Further, we adopt our proposal in the Further NPRM to require manufacturers to convey through the Web site notice the means of making requests for accessible equipment and the specific person, office, or entity to which such requests are to be made.67 Because Section 205 allows covered entities to distribute accessible navigation devices “upon request” to blind and visually impaired individuals,68 we find that, similar to the requirement for MVPDs,69 the Web site notice provided by navigation device manufacturers must provide information on how individuals who are blind or visually impaired can request accessible equipment, as well as the specific person, office, or entity to which such requests are to be made. Although the Web site is required to contain information only about the availability of accessible devices and the means for making requests for such equipment, the contact office or person listed on the Web site must be able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features.70 In addition, as is required for MVPD Web site notices, the information required herein by navigation device manufacturers must be provided in a Web site format that is accessible to individuals with disabilities.71

    63See id.

    64 47 CFR 79.108(d)(1)-(2).

    65See Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 150.

    66See CEA Comments at 9-10; CEA Reply at 6-7; Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 12; Reply Comments of Montgomery County, Maryland at 35 (“Montgomery County Reply”) (arguing that Web site notifications may be a component of increasing consumer awareness of accessible devices, but should not be considered an “all-encompassing solution”).

    67See Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 150.

    68 47 U.S.C. 303(bb)(1).

    69See 47 CFR 79.108(d)(2); Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 134.

    70See Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 13 (“Too often have deaf and hard of hearing customers reached out to customer service representatives asking how to access the closed captioning features on products and encountered puzzled customer service representatives.”); Consumer/Academic Groups Reply at 5 (“[C]onsumers have told us that the sales people in stores as well as customer support people over the phone often are unfamiliar with the closed captioning features on their products.”); Wireless RERC Reply at 4-5 (“[C]ustomer service is central to providing information to people who have vision loss, as oftentimes the online and print information is not consistently accessible. . . . The common theme was that customer support agents simply did not have the required expertise to address specific inquiries made by people with disabilities, hence support was inadequate.”).

    71See 47 CFR 79.108(d)(2).

    16. Device manufacturers that produce Section 204 digital apparatus will also be required to provide prominent notification about the availability of accessible devices on their official Web sites as is required for Section 205 navigation devices. In the Further NPRM, we sought comment on whether to impose notification requirements on equipment manufacturers subject to Section 204 to ensure that consumers with disabilities are informed about which products contain the required accessibility features and, more specifically, whether we should require manufacturers to prominently display information about the availability of accessible devices and about which products contain the required accessibility features on their official Web sites, such as through a link on their home pages, and whether we should require a point of contact who can answer consumer questions about which products contain the required accessibility features.72 Consumer/Academic Groups support adopting a Web site notification requirement for both digital apparatus and navigation devices, recognizing that “access is not possible if those who need the access are not aware of its availability.” 73 We agree and therefore adopt a Web site notification requirement for equipment manufacturers subject to Section 204. Just as we require for Section 205 manufacturers, the contact office or person listed on the Web site must be able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features.

    72Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 152.

    73 Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 11.

    17. We disagree with CEA's contention that adopting the definition of “usable” for Section 204 devices obviates the need for any additional notification requirements for digital apparatus.74 Rather, we find that a Web site notification requirement will be minimally burdensome and may enhance manufacturers' efforts to comply with the usability requirement. Specifically, although not required, digital apparatus manufacturers may choose to use the notification portion of their Web site to include additional information about accessibility features.

    74 CEA Comments at 10 (“In fact, there is no need to impose notification requirements on manufacturers of digital apparatus if the Commission adopts the definition of `usable.' . . . Doing so would ensure that information is available to consumers regarding the accessibility features of digital apparatus, without the need for additional notification requirements.”); CEA Reply at 7 (“Because Section 204 applies to all of these devices, relying on the existing definition of `usable' in the Section 204 context will ensure that information is available to consumers regarding the accessibility features of digital apparatus, without the need for specific, and burdensome, labeling or other notification requirements.”).

    18. We decline to impose labeling requirements or other point of sale notifications for navigation devices or digital apparatus at this time, but we emphasize that entities covered by Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA are required to provide information about the accessibility features of devices, including information about how to access closed captioning controls and settings, as part of the information, documentation, and training requirements that we adopt herein. The Further NPRM sought comment regarding what notification, if any, should be required at the point of sale for consumers that wish to purchase accessible Section 205 or Section 204 devices at retail, such as a labeling requirement to identify accessible devices.75 Comments regarding point of sale notifications focused almost exclusively on whether the Commission should adopt a product labeling requirement. Consumer/Academic Groups support a labeling requirement for both navigation devices and digital apparatus that would inform consumers at the point of sale about product accessibility, including a notice on the packaging that “explain[s] how to access the closed captioning control as well as display settings.” 76 Consumer/Academic Groups also contend that manufacturers should be required to provide “step-by-step instructions with pictures explaining how to access the closed captioning features” either inside the packaging or on the packaging.77 CEA, the Entertainment Software Association (“ESA”), and the Telecommunications Industry Association (“TIA”) strongly oppose any labeling requirement for digital apparatus or navigation devices.78 For example, CEA argues that manufacturers should be able to work with retailers, without regulation, to determine how point of sale notifications should work and that manufacturers already have incentives to provide all necessary information to ensure that consumers know how to operate their devices.79

    75Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 151-52.

    76 Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 13.

    77Id.

    78See CEA Comments at 10-11; CEA Reply at 7-8; Reply Comments of the Entertainment Software Association at 5 (“ESA Reply”); Reply Comments of the Telecommunications Industry Association at 2-3 (“TIA Reply”).

    79See CEA Comments at 10-11; CEA Reply at 7-8. In addition, ESA and TIA argue that Consumer/Academic Groups' proposal to include explanations and instructions on the packaging would be difficult to implement and that, in any event, packaging labels are not accessible to those who are blind or visually impaired. ESA Reply at 5; TIA Reply at 2-3. See also CEA Reply at 8. TIA submits that the most logical place for instructions is not a packaging label but the product's manual or help guide. TIA Reply at 3.

    19. We agree with Consumer/Academic Groups that it is important that consumers with disabilities be provided with information about the accessibility features of digital apparatus and navigation devices. The Section 6.3(l) usability and Section 6.11 information and documentation requirements adopted by the Commission here require covered entities to provide consumers with such information. Pursuant to the usability requirements we adopt here, manufacturers subject to Section 204 of the CVAA must provide access to information and documentation on the full functionalities of digital apparatus, including instructions, product information (including accessible feature information), documentation, bills and technical support.80 Further, as part of the information and documentation requirements we adopt here, entities subject to both Section 204 and Section 205 of the CVAA must provide access to information and documentation, including installation guides and product support communications, and, in particular, must provide a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of the product upon request, including, as needed, in alternate formats or alternate modes at no additional charge.81 Thus, covered entities will be required to provide the information about product accessibility features, including information on how to access closed captioning features and display settings, and such information must be provided in accessible formats, but it will not need to be included on a label.82 As industry gains experience with the informational requirements, we may revisit our rules in the future to ensure that consumers are receiving information as intended by the statute.

    80 47 CFR 6.3(l) (emphasis added). We interpret this requirement to mean that, if a manufacturer generally provides instructions or a user manual with its product, such instructions or user manual shall include information and instructions on how to use accessibility features. We also interpret this requirement to mean that, even if a manufacturer does not routinely provide instructions or a user manual with its product, it still must provide product information and instructions on how to use accessibility features in an accessible format upon request to consumers with disabilities.

    81Id. § 6.11(a)(1)-(2) (emphasis added). As noted above, if a consumer with a disability requests an accessible navigation device pursuant to Section 205, this also constitutes a request for a description of the accessibility features of the device and end-user product documentation in accessible formats.

    82 Such formats include picture instructions for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and Braille/audible instructions for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

    20. Consumer/Academic Groups support requiring manufacturers to provide not just Web site notifications about the availability of accessible devices and the contact information for requesting accessible devices, but also Web site information “explaining the accessibility of their devices and how to access important accessibility features such as the closed captioning control and display settings.” 83 As noted above, while the information and documentation requirements that we adopt broadly outline the steps covered entities must take to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to information about accessibility features, covered entities have flexibility to implement these requirements within the guidelines set forth in the rule. Thus, we do not require that such information be posted on Web sites. However, we agree that providing this information on Web sites would be useful for consumers to be able to effectively use a device's accessibility features and therefore encourage covered entities to provide the required information and documentation about accessibility features on their Web sites in a format that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. With respect to both Section 204 and 205 devices, as we state above, we require persons listed as the point of contact for requests for accessible equipment to also be able to provide information about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features.

    83 Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 12.

    21. In addition, Consumer/Academic Groups request a central Web site, similar to the Commission's Accessibility Clearinghouse,84 which would include accessibility information for all digital apparatus and navigation devices.85 The Accessibility Clearinghouse was set up for equipment subject to Sections 255, 716, and 718 of the Act, namely telecommunications equipment, advanced communications services equipment, and Internet browsers on mobile phones, pursuant to a Congressional mandate within the CVAA,86 and we note that Congress did not mandate a similar Web site for equipment subject to Sections 204 and 205. Nevertheless, we find that consumers would benefit from this information being included within the framework of the already established Accessibility Clearinghouse. To date, the Accessibility Clearinghouse largely relies on manufacturers to update their product information on wireless communication technologies.87 A similar commitment by CEA, NCTA, and their memberships that could enable the inclusion and updating of information about accessible digital apparatus and navigation devices within the Accessibility Clearinghouse would be useful to consumers. Therefore, we encourage CEA and NCTA to coordinate with the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (“CGB”) to determine the feasibility of including information about the accessibility of digital apparatus and navigation devices within the current Accessibility Clearinghouse. We recommend that such coordination take place with CGB well before the December 20, 2016 compliance deadline for our digital apparatus and navigation device accessibility requirements.

    84 Established pursuant to Section 717(d) of the Act, the Accessibility Clearinghouse is “a clearinghouse of information on the availability of accessible products and services and accessibility solutions required under sections 255, 617, and 619.” 47 U.S.C. 618(d). The information is made publicly available on the Commission's Web site and includes an annually updated list of products and services with accessibility features. Id. The Accessibility Clearinghouse can be accessed at http://ach.fcc.gov/.

    85See Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 12.

    86See Pub. L. 111-260, sec. 104.

    87See Implementation of Sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act of 1934, as Enacted by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, CG Docket No. 10-213, Biennial Report to Congress as Required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, DA 12-1602, 27 FCC Rcd 12204, para. 91, n. 258 (CGB 2012) (“In 2010, CTIA revamped its accessibility Web site, AccessWireless.org, to better inform consumers with disabilities about the availability of accessible mobile phone options. . . . The Commission ultimately used the information contained on this new site, largely derived from the Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) of the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, to help develop its Accessibility Clearinghouse. For more information about GARI and the Mobile Manufacturers Forum, visit http://MobileAccessibility.info.”).

    2. MVPD Notifications Under Section 205

    22. Just as we require for manufacturers of Section 204 and 205 devices, we require MVPDs to ensure that the contact office or person listed on their Web site is able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. This new requirement is in addition to the two existing notification requirements for MVPDs that the Commission adopted in the Report and Order. First, MVPDs are required to clearly and conspicuously inform consumers about the availability of accessible navigation devices whenever MVPDs provide “information about equipment options in response to a consumer inquiry about service, accessibility, or other issues.” 88 Second, MVPDs must provide notice on their official Web sites about the availability of accessible navigation devices, in a way that is both prominent and accessible to those with disabilities.89 In particular, the Web site notice must prominently display information about accessible navigation devices in a way that makes such information available to all current and potential subscribers, and must list the specific person, office, or entity to which requests for accessible equipment are to be made.90 The Further NPRM inquired as to whether additional notification requirements, such as annual notices to subscribers or required marketing efforts,91 should be imposed and asked for information about the costs and benefits that might be associated with additional types of notification.92

    88Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 134; 47 CFR 79.108(d)(1).

    89Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 134; 47 CFR 79.108(d)(2).

    90Id.

    91See Comments of Montgomery County, Maryland, MB Docket No. 12-108, at 20 (filed July 15, 2013); Reply Comments of the American Foundation for the Blind, MB Docket No. 12-108, at 8 (filed Aug. 7, 2013); Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 148.

    92Report and Order and Further NPRM, paras. 148-49.

    23. MVPD commenters argue that it would be premature to impose additional notification requirements for MVPDs without first observing the efficacy of the notification requirements adopted by the Report and Order. 93 On the other hand, Montgomery County, Maryland (“Montgomery County”) expresses the concern that consumers will not be aware of the availability of accessible navigation devices unless MVPDs promote such availability and urges the Commission to adopt additional notification requirements including periodic announcements about accessible equipment in the program guide.94 Verizon and NCTA contend that additional requirements are unnecessary because market forces will incentivize MVPDs to promote the accessible capabilities of products.95 Although we do not agree that periodic announcements are necessary at this time, we conclude that MVPDs should take additional action to ensure that consumers are aware of the availability of accessible navigation devices. Specifically, we require that the contact office or person listed on an MVPD's Web site must be able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. We believe that this additional obligation, along with the notification requirements adopted in the Report and Order, will ensure that all current and potential subscribers that contact an MVPD looking for information about accessible navigation devices will be provided with information about accessible equipment options.96 Moreover, we believe that the incremental cost, if any, of implementing this requirement is slight and the potential benefit in assisting consumers is great.97 In the event that information is brought to our attention demonstrating that the MVPD notification requirements adopted in the Report and Order and herein have proven insufficient to inform consumers about the availability of accessible equipment, the Commission may revisit this issue.98

    93See Verizon Comments at 4-6; ACA Reply at 6; Reply Comments of CenturyLink at 3 (“CenturyLink Reply”); NCTA Reply at 8-9.

    94 Montgomery County Reply at 34-35. Montgomery County expresses concern that Web site notifications by MVPDs will not be sufficient as they claim that the disability community has a low rate of broadband adoption and usage and Web site information may not be accessible. Id. at 35. We note that our notification rules for MVPDs are not limited to Web site notifications. MVPDs must provide clear and conspicuous information to consumers about the availability of accessible navigation devices whenever MVPDs provide information about equipment options in response to a consumer inquiry about service, accessibility, or other issues. 47 CFR 79.108(d)(1). MVPDs are also required to ensure that the information on their Web site about the availability of accessible devices is provided in a Web site format that is accessible to people with disabilities. Id. § 79.108(d)(2).

    95See Verizon Comments at 5; NCTA Reply at 9. We note that Comcast is conducting outreach on accessible user interfaces, program guides, and menus, and as part of those outreach efforts, Comcast has shown a commercial introducing its talking guide that aired on television during prime time. See Comcast, Explore Emily's Oz, available at http://www.comcast.com/emilysoz; Comcast, Accessibility, Talking Guide + Video Description, available at http://www.comcast.com/accessibility.

    96See Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 134; 47 CFR 79.108(d)(2).

    97 Because the contact person designated by the MVPD is already required to accept requests for accessible equipment, we do not believe it would be a significant added burden for the contact person to also be able to answer questions about the availability of accessible equipment. In addition, it would be a benefit for consumers with disabilities who are looking to acquire accessible equipment to be able to obtain information about accessible equipment options from a single, centralized source.

    98 For the same reasons, we reject Montgomery County's proposal to require that MVPDs report to the Commission their accessibility equipment promotion efforts and the rates for accessible equipment. See Montgomery County Reply at 35.

    3. Program Information for PEG Channels

    24. We decline to adopt a requirement that MVPDs include more detailed program information for public, educational, and governmental (“PEG”) channels in their video programming guides. In the Further NPRM, we sought comment on possible sources of authority for requiring MVPDs to ensure that video programming guides and menus that provide channel and program information include “high level channel and program descriptions and titles, as well as a symbol identifying the programs with accessibility options (captioning and video description).” 99 The Alliance for Communications Democracy (“ACD”) and Montgomery County contend that the Commission has authority to adopt such a requirement pursuant to Section 205 of the CVAA, which requires that “on-screen text menus and guides provided by navigation devices . . . for the display or selection of multichannel video programming [be made] audibly accessible in real-time upon request by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” 100 According to ACD, the Commission can require MVPDs to include certain program information in program guides as part of implementing regulations that construe the terms “on-screen guide” and “audibly accessible in real-time . . . by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” 101 NCTA, DISH/EchoStar, Verizon, CenturyLink, and ACA argue that the Commission does not have authority to impose such a requirement.102

    99Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 144 (citation omitted).

    100See 47 U.S.C. 303(bb)(1); Comments of the Alliance for Communications Democracy at 4-5 (“ACD Comments”); Montgomery County Reply at 13-22.

    101See ACD Comments at 4-5.

    102See NCTA Comments at 2-4; DISH/EchoStar Comments at 7-8; Verizon Comments at 8-10; ACA Reply at 8-9; CenturyLink Reply at 3; NCTA Reply at 2-4.

    25. We find that requiring MVPDs to include particular information in program guides is beyond the scope of Section 205 of the CVAA. In particular, we disagree with ACD's and Montgomery County's argument that the requirement to make on-screen text menus and guides on navigation devices audibly accessible gives the Commission authority to determine whether the substantive information provided in program guides is adequate and to require that particular information be included. As we stated in the Report and Order, while Section 205 of the CVAA requires that on-screen text menus and guides provided by navigation devices for the display or selection of multichannel video programming be made audibly accessible, it does not govern the underlying content in the menus and guides.103 As noted in the Report and Order, we encourage MVPDs to provide more detailed information in their program guides for PEG programs when such information is provided by PEG providers and when it is technically feasible.104

    103Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 75 (“In other words, this section requires that if there is text in a menu or program guide on the screen, then that text must be audibly accessible, but it does not impose requirements with regard to what substantive information must appear in the on-screen text.”) (emphasis in original).

    104Id. at para. 75. We note that there is a separate, pending proceeding with a record that specifically addresses these issues. See Petition for Declaratory Ruling of The Alliance for Community Media, et al., that AT&T's Method of Delivering Public, Educational and Government Access Channels Over Its U-Verse System is Contrary to the Communications Act of 1934, as Amended, and Applicable Commission Rules, MB Docket No. 09-13.

    IV. Order on Reconsideration

    26. In response to Consumer/Academic Groups Petition,105 we reconsider guidance we provided in the Report and Order concerning which activation mechanisms are “reasonably comparable to a button, key or icon” 106 as required under the CVAA 107 and our implementing rules.108 First, we find on reconsideration that closed captioning activation mechanisms that rely solely on voice control will not fulfill the requirement that a closed captioning activation mechanism be reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon. However, as explained more fully below, we do not prohibit the use of voice controls to activate closed captioning as long as there is an alternative closed captioning activation mechanism that is simple and easy to use for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.109 Second, we reaffirm our finding in the Report and Order that captioning and video description activation mechanisms that rely on gesture control will be considered compliant with the requirements of our rules implementing Sections 204 and 205 if the gesture activation mechanism is simple and easy to use.

    105 The Consumer/Academic Groups Petition urges the Commission to “reconsider allowing voice commands and gestures as compliant mechanisms for activating the closed captioning or accessibility features.” Consumer/Academic Groups Petition at 2. Consumer/Academic Groups argue that “providing voice or gesture controls is acceptable only where there is also a way for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to access the accessibility features through a mechanism that is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon.” Reply to Petition for Reconsideration Oppositions of the National Association of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network, Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Inc., Hearing Loss Association of America, California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization, Technology Access Program Gallaudet University, filed Feb. 25, 2014, at 3 (“Consumer/Academic Groups Reply to Oppositions”). CEA, ESA, NCTA, and TIA all filed oppositions to the Consumer/Academic Groups Petition, arguing that the Commission correctly decided that voice and gesture controls are compliant mechanisms reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon for activating closed captioning and video description. See Opposition of the Consumer Electronics Association, filed Feb. 18, 2014 (“CEA Opposition”); Opposition of the Entertainment Software Association, filed Feb. 18, 2014 (“ESA Opposition”); Opposition of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, filed Feb. 18, 2014 (“NCTA Opposition”); Opposition of the Telecommunications Industry Association, filed Feb. 14, 2014 (“TIA Opposition”).

    106Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 81 (“Although we codify the statutory language that requires a mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon to activate certain accessibility features and reject a single step requirement, we believe it is useful to provide guidance to covered entities as to what `reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon' means.”); id. at para. 81 (“To provide some clarity to covered entities, we provide some examples of mechanisms that we consider to be . . . reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon. For example, we believe that compliant mechanisms include, but are not limited to, the following: A dedicated button, key, or icon; voice commands; gestures; and a single step activation from the same location as the volume controls.”).

    107 Section 303(aa)(3) of the Act requires digital apparatus covered by Section 204 of the CVAA to provide “built in access to [] closed captioning and video description features through a mechanism that is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon designated for activating the closed captioning or accessibility features.” 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(3) (emphasis added). Similarly, Section 303(bb)(2) requires “navigation devices with built-in closed captioning capability” covered by Section 205 of the CVAA to provide “access to that capability through a mechanism [that] is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon designated for activating the closed captioning, or accessibility features.” 47 U.S.C. 303(bb)(2) (emphasis added).

    108See 47 CFR 79.109(a)(1)-(2), 79.109(b).

    109Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 81 (“In determining whether an activation mechanism is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon, the Commission will consider the simplicity and ease of use of the mechanism.”).

    A. Activation of Closed Captioning by Voice Control

    27. On reconsideration, we find that closed captioning activation mechanisms that rely solely on voice control will not fulfill the requirement of our rules implementing Sections 204 and 205, which mandate a closed captioning activation mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon.110 The Report and Order stated that, “[i]n determining whether an activation mechanism is reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon, the Commission will consider the simplicity and ease of use of the mechanism.” 111 As the Commission explained, “[w]e believe this approach is consistent with Congress's intent `to ensure ready access to these features by persons with disabilities,' while still giving covered entities the flexibility contemplated by the statute.” 112 Among the examples given by the Commission for compliant activation mechanisms were both voice and gesture activation.113 Specifically, the Commission stated “that compliant mechanisms include, but are not limited to, the following: a dedicated button, key, or icon; voice commands; gestures; and a single step activation from the same location as the volume controls.” 114

    110See 47 CFR 79.109(a)(1), 79.109(b).

    111Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 81.

    112Id. para. 81, citing H.R. Rep. No. 111-563, 111th Cong., 2d Sess. at 31 (2010); S. Rep. No. 111-386, 111th Cong., 2d Sess. at 14 (2010).

    113Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 81.

    114Id.

    28. The Consumer/Academic Groups Petition submits that “many” deaf and hard of hearing people, especially those who communicate using American Sign Language, “do not speak or speak clearly enough to use speech recognition technology.” 115 As a result, Consumer/Academic Groups contend that the use of voice controls to activate closed captioning “will effectively deny millions of deaf and hard of hearing people access to closed captioning and/or other accessibility features.” 116 Upon further review, we agree that voice activation would not be simple and easy to use for many individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and, thus, should not be considered reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon for activating closed captioning. Therefore, the use of voice activation for closed captioning, without an alternative closed captioning activation mechanism that is simple and easy to use for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, does not satisfy the obligation under Section 79.109(a)(1) and (b) of our rules and Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA to provide a mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon.117

    115 Consumer/Academic Groups Petition at 3.

    116Id. at 4.

    117See Consumer/Academic Groups Reply to Oppositions at 3.

    29. While some opposing the Consumer/Academic Groups Petition express concern about the Commission prohibiting the use of voice controls to achieve accessibility,118 we emphasize that this Order does not prohibit use of voice controls to activate closed captioning as long as there is an alternative closed captioning activation mechanism that is simple and easy to use for the many deaf and hard of hearing individuals who cannot use their voices to activate this accessibility feature. NCTA and TIA both submit that voice control is likely to be only one method for activating accessibility features,119 and it is not our intent to prevent manufacturers from offering multiple avenues of accessibility. Rather, we find that solely providing a voice activation mechanism for closed captioning would not fulfill the MVPD's or manufacturer's obligation to provide an activation mechanism “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon” under our rules and Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA.120

    118See CEA Opposition at 4; NCTA Opposition at 7; TIA Opposition at 2-3, 5.

    119See NCTA Opposition at 7; TIA Opposition at 5.

    120 CEA and ESA point out the potential benefits of voice activation for those who are blind or visually impaired. See CEA Opposition at 4; ESA Opposition at 2. We note that the Order does not prohibit the use of simple and easy to use voice controls as the sole mechanism of activating video description.

    B. Activation of Closed Captioning and Video Description by Gesture Control

    30. With respect to gesture control, we decline to reconsider our finding that gesture control that is simple and easy to use will be considered a compliant activation mechanism for closed captioning and video description under Sections 204 and 205.121 The Consumer/Academic Groups Petition argues that gesture control should not be considered a compliant closed captioning activation mechanism, because some deaf people may have mobility disabilities that prevent them from using gestures.122 Consumer/Academic Groups also note that they “are seriously concerned about the ability of blind and visually impaired people to access critical accessibility features through gestures.” 123 In response, CEA points out that the use of a button, key, or icon as an activation mechanism, clearly permissible under Sections 204 and 205, would be difficult for some individuals with disabilities such as “limited manual dexterity, limited reach or strength, or prosthetic devices.” 124 Sections 204 and 205 require that the activation mechanism be “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon,” 125 and we find that the Commission's interpretation of the phrase “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon” in the Report and Order to mean a mechanism that is simple and easy to use was both a reasonable and supportable interpretation of the language used by Congress.126 Furthermore, we find that a gesture control that is simple and easy to use complies with the requirements under Section 204 or 205 to provide an activation mechanism reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon.

    121 Contrary to Petitioners' argument, see Consumer/Academic Groups Petition at 4-5, the parties were on notice that we would consider in this proceeding whether gesture controls satisfy the requirement for activation mechanisms that are “reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon.” The NPRM asked for comment on whether we should require single step activation, and provided examples of gesture activation that we would consider, such as “pressing” or “clicking” a button, key, or icon. See NPRM, para. 43 (seeking comment about single step activation, that is “users would be able to activate closed captioning features on an MVPD-provided navigation device or other digital apparatus immediately in a single step just as a button, key, or icon can be pressed or clicked in a single step”). Indeed, four commenters addressed gesture activation in their comments submitted in response to the NPRM. See Comments of the Consumer Electronics Association at 20 (“Even more significantly, some devices do not include any buttons but instead rely on voice or gesture recognition to activate and deactivate certain features, which for some users may be better accessibility solutions than a designated physical button.”); Comments of DIRECTV, LLC at 9 (“Thus, a user could access this [closed captioning] functionality by simultaneously pressing two specified keys on the remote control. Alternatively, the user could shake a hand-held device or swipe her fingers across a touchscreen device, interact with a device that responds to voice commands, or even interact with a device that detects motion patterns.”); Comments of the Information Technology Industry Council at 7 (“[S]ome devices do not have buttons at all, but rather, rely either on touch interfaces, gestures or voice commands.”); Comments of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association at 14-15 (“[O]perators may eventually deploy devices with gesture recognition that will revolutionize accessibility.”). All comments above were filed July 15, 2013 in MB Docket No. 12-108.

    122 Consumer/Academic Groups Petition at 4.

    123Id.

    124 CEA Opposition at 5.

    125 47 U.S.C. 303(aa)(3), 303(bb)(2).

    126Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 81.

    31. Industry commenters contend that gestures are likely to be one of multiple methods for activating accessibility features,127 and we agree that manufacturers should have the flexibility to offer multiple avenues of accessibility. We encourage covered entities to provide alternatives for the consumer, so that the consumer can choose the disability solution that works best based upon his or her need. While manufacturers have flexibility in their selection of a mechanism that is comparable to a button, key, or icon, we strongly recommend that they consult with consumers with disabilities about the method(s) they select to activate closed captions and video description, to ensure that these achieve Congress's goal of facilitating access to such accessibility features. For example, the Commission previously recognized that some individuals with hearing loss also have other disabilities.128 This is particularly true of older Americans who may have lost, or be in the process of losing, some of their sight or hand/eye coordination. For such persons, some gesture controls may not be “simple and easy to use.” Providing multiple means to access captions and video description will undoubtedly result in reaching a larger portion of the deaf and hard of hearing and blind or visually impaired populations, a goal that the Commission previously has stated is in keeping with Congressional intent.129

    127See NCTA Opposition at 7; TIA Opposition at 5.

    128 For example, the Commission has stated that captions can benefit Americans with hearing disabilities who also have a visual disability. Closed Captioning Requirements for Digital Television Receivers; Closed Captioning and Video Description of Video Programming, Implementation of Section 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Video Programming Accessibility, ET Docket No. 99-254, MM Docket No. 95-176, Report and Order, 65 FR 58467, para. 10 (2000) (“DTV Closed Captioning Order”).

    129See id. at para. 13, in which the Commission, in adopting requirements for captioning display standards, stated that “[o]nly by requiring decoders to respond to these various features can we ensure that closed captioning will be accessible for the greatest number of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing, and thereby achieve Congress' vision that to the fullest extent made possible by technology, people who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to the television medium.”

    V. Procedural Matters A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act

    32. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”), an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) was incorporated in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) in this proceeding. The Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) sought written public comment on the proposals in the FNPRM, including comment on the IRFA. The Commission received no comments on the IRFA. This present Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“FRFA”) conforms to the RFA.

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

    33. Pursuant to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (“CVAA”), the Second Report and Order adopts additional rules requiring the accessibility of user interfaces on digital apparatus and navigation devices used to view video programming for individuals with disabilities. The rules we adopt here will effectuate Congress's goals in enacting Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA by enabling individuals who are blind or visually impaired to more easily access video programming on a range of video devices, and enabling consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing to more easily activate closed captioning on video devices. Specifically, the Second Report and Order adopts rules requiring manufacturers of Section 204 digital apparatus to ensure that both the “appropriate built-in apparatus functions” and the “on-screen text menus or other visual indicators built in to the digital apparatus” to access such functions be “usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” In addition, the Second Report and Order adopts information, documentation, and training requirements comparable to those in Section 6.11 of our rules for entities covered by both Section 204 and Section 205 of the CVAA. Further, the Second Report and Order adopts consumer notification requirements for equipment manufacturers of digital apparatus and navigation devices that will require manufacturers to publicize the availability of accessible devices on manufacturer Web sites that must be accessible to those with disabilities. While multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) are already subject to Web site notification requirements pursuant to the rules the Commission adopted in the Report and Order, the Second Report and Order also requires MVPDs, as well as manufacturers, to ensure that the contact office or person listed on their Web site is able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. The regulations adopted herein further the purpose of the CVAA to “update the communications laws to help ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize communications services and equipment and better access video programming.”

    34. Legal Basis. The authority for the action taken in this rulemaking is contained in the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751, and Sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 716(g) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 617(g).

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

    35. No comments were filed in response to the IRFA.

    36. Pursuant to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the Commission is required to respond to any comments filed by the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and to provide a detailed statement of any change made to the proposed rules as a result of those comments. The Chief Counsel did not file any comments in response to the proposed rules in this proceeding.

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

    37. The RFA directs the Commission to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that will be affected by the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order. 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. Small entities that are directly affected by the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order include manufacturers of digital apparatus and navigation devices and MVPDs.

    38. Cable Television Distribution Services. Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. This category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate 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.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    39. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has also developed its own small business size standards for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide. Industry data shows that there were 1,141 cable companies at the end of June 2012. Of this total, all but 10 incumbent cable companies are small under this size standard. In addition, under the Commission's rate regulation rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers. Current Commission records show 4,945 cable systems nationwide. Of this total, 4,380 cable systems have less than 20,000 subscribers, and 565 systems have 20,000 subscribers or more, based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that most cable systems are small.

    40. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size standard for small cable system operators, which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” There are approximately 56.4 million incumbent cable video subscribers in the United States today. Accordingly, an operator serving fewer than 564,000 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator, if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate. Based on available data, we find that all but 10 incumbent cable operators are small under this size standard. We note that the Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250 million. Although it seems certain that some of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the Communications Act.

    41. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service. DBS service is a nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic “dish” antenna at the subscriber's location. DBS, by exception, is now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small. However, the data we have available as a basis for estimating the number of such small entities were gathered under a superseded SBA small business size standard formerly titled “Cable and Other Program Distribution.” The definition of Cable and Other Program Distribution provided that a small entity is one with $12.5 million or less in annual receipts. Currently, only two entities provide DBS service, which requires a great investment of capital for operation: DIRECTV and DISH Network. Each currently offer subscription services. DIRECTV and DISH Network each report annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small business. Because DBS service requires significant capital, we believe it is unlikely that a small entity as defined by the SBA would have the financial wherewithal to become a DBS service provider.

    42. Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) Systems, also known as Private Cable Operators (PCOs). SMATV systems or PCOs are video distribution facilities that use closed transmission paths without using any public right-of-way. They acquire video programming and distribute it via terrestrial wiring in urban and suburban multiple dwelling units such as apartments and condominiums, and commercial multiple tenant units such as hotels and office buildings. SMATV systems or PCOs are now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small.

    43. Home Satellite Dish (HSD) Service. HSD or the large dish segment of the satellite industry is the original satellite-to-home service offered to consumers, and involves the home reception of signals transmitted by satellites operating generally in the C-band frequency. Unlike DBS, which uses small dishes, HSD antennas are between four and eight feet in diameter and can receive a wide range of unscrambled (free) programming and scrambled programming purchased from program packagers that are licensed to facilitate subscribers' receipt of video programming. Because HSD provides subscription services, HSD falls within the SBA-recognized definition of Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    44. Open Video Services. The open video system (OVS) framework was established in 1996, and is one of four statutorily recognized options for the provision of video programming services by local exchange carriers. The OVS framework provides opportunities for the distribution of video programming other than through cable systems. Because OVS operators provide subscription services, OVS falls within the SBA small business size standard covering cable services, which is Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities. In addition, we note that the Commission has certified some OVS operators, with some now providing service. Broadband service providers (“BSPs”) are currently the only significant holders of OVS certifications or local OVS franchises. The Commission does not have financial or employment information regarding the entities authorized to provide OVS, some of which may not yet be operational. Thus, again, at least some of the OVS operators may qualify as small entities.

    45. Wireless cable systems—Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service. Wireless cable systems use the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) to transmit video programming to subscribers. In connection with the 1996 BRS auction, the Commission established a small business size standard as an entity that had annual average gross revenues of no more than $40 million in the previous three calendar years. The BRS auctions resulted in 67 successful bidders obtaining licensing opportunities for 493 Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). Of the 67 auction winners, 61 met the definition of a small business. BRS also includes licensees of stations authorized prior to the auction. At this time, we estimate that of the 61 small business BRS auction winners, 48 remain small business licensees. In addition to the 48 small businesses that hold BTA authorizations, there are approximately 392 incumbent BRS licensees that are considered small entities. After adding the number of small business auction licensees to the number of incumbent licensees not already counted, we find that there are currently approximately 440 BRS licensees that are defined as small businesses under either the SBA or the Commission's rules. In 2009, the Commission conducted Auction 86, the sale of 78 licenses in the BRS areas. The Commission offered three levels of bidding credits: (i) A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years (small business) received a 15 percent discount on its winning bid; (ii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $3 million and do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years (very small business) received a 25 percent discount on its winning bid; and (iii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $3 million for the preceding three years (entrepreneur) received a 35 percent discount on its winning bid. Auction 86 concluded in 2009 with the sale of 61 licenses. Of the 10 winning bidders, two bidders that claimed small business status won four licenses; one bidder that claimed very small business status won three licenses; and two bidders that claimed entrepreneur status won six licenses.

    46. In addition, the SBA's placement of Cable Television Distribution Services in the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers is applicable to cable-based Educational Broadcasting Services. Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. This category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate 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.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities. In addition to Census data, the Commission's internal records indicate that as of September 2012, there are 2,241 active EBS licenses. The Commission estimates that of these 2,241 licenses, the majority are held by non-profit educational institutions and school districts, which are by statute defined as small businesses.

    47. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. ILECs are included in the SBA's economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small.

    48. Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. We have included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this present RFA analysis. A “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent local exchange carriers are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. We have therefore included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

    49. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. These entities are included in the SBA's economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small.

    50. 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 this category, which is: All such businesses having 750 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 939 establishments that operated for part or all of the entire year. Of those, 912 operated with fewer than 500 employees, and 27 operated with 500 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such establishments can be considered small.

    51. Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing electronic audio and video equipment for home entertainment, motor vehicles, and public address and musical instrument amplification. Examples of products made by these establishments are video cassette recorders, televisions, stereo equipment, speaker systems, household-type video cameras, jukeboxes, and amplifiers for musical instruments and public address systems.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 750 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 492 establishments in this category operated for part or all of the entire year. Of those, 488 operated with fewer than 500 employees, and four operated with 500 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such establishments can be considered small.

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

    52. In this section, we describe the reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements adopted in the Second Report and Order and consider whether small entities are affected disproportionately by these requirements.

    53. Reporting Requirements. The Second Report and Order does not adopt reporting requirements.

    54. Recordkeeping and Other Compliance Requirements. The Second Report and Order adopts certain recordkeeping and other compliance requirements, which are applicable to covered small entities. First, the Second Report and Order requires manufacturers of Section 204 digital apparatus to ensure that both the “appropriate built-in apparatus functions” and “on-screen text menus or other visual indicators built in to the digital apparatus” to access those functions be “usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” Specifically, the Second Report and Order requires require manufacturers of Section 204 digital apparatus to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to information and documentation on the full functionalities of digital apparatus, including instructions, product information (including accessible feature information), documentation, bills, and technical support which are provided to individuals without disabilities.

    55. Second, the Second Report and Order adopts information, documentation, and training requirements consistent with those set forth in Section 6.11 of our rules for entities covered by both Section 204 and Section 205 of the CVAA. These rules require covered entities to ensure access to information and documentation it provides to its customers, if achievable. Such information and documentation includes user guides, bills, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and product support communications, regarding both the product in general and the accessibility features of the product. In addition, the rules require covered entities to include the contact method for obtaining the required information and documentation in general product information, to consider certain accessibility-related topics when developing or modifying training programs, and to take other achievable steps, as necessary.

    56. Third, the Second Report and Order imposes notification requirements for manufacturers of digital apparatus and navigation devices. Digital apparatus manufacturers must provide prominent notice on their official Web sites about the availability of accessible digital apparatus in a Web site format that is accessible to people with disabilities. The notice must publicize the availability of accessible devices and the specific person, office, or entity who can answer consumer questions about which products contain the required accessibility features. Navigation device manufacturers must also provide prominent notice on their official Web site about the availability of accessible navigation devices in a Web site format that is accessible to people with disabilities. For navigation device manufacturers, the notice must publicize the availability of accessible devices and solutions and explain the means for making requests for accessible equipment and the specific person, office, or entity to which such requests are to be made.

    57. Potential for disproportionate impact on small entities. Section 204 of the CVAA requires both “the appropriate built-in apparatus functions” and “on-screen text menus or visual indicators built in to the digital apparatus” to access those functions to be “usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.” The Second Report and Order adopts the definition of “usable” in Section 6.3(l) of the Commission's rules to implement this Section 204 mandate. The definition of “usable” requires that individuals with disabilities have access to information and documentation on the full functionalities of digital apparatus, including instructions, product information (including accessible feature information), documentation, bills, and technical support which are provided to individuals without disabilities. No commenter provided information concerning the costs and administrative burdens associated with this specific compliance requirement. Nevertheless, both industry and consumer commenters supported the Commission's application of the Section 6.3(l) “usable” definition to implement Section 204. Manufacturers must comply with the usability standard only if compliance is “achievable.” Thus, in the event that this compliance requirement disproportionately affects small entities, the Commission will have a way to minimize the impact on such entities.

    58. The Second Report and Order also adopts the information, documentation, and training requirements in Section 6.11 of the Commission's rules for Section 204 digital apparatus and Section 205 navigation devices. Specifically, the rules the Commission adopts require covered entities to ensure access to information and documentation it provides to its customers, if achievable. This includes user guides, bills, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and product support communications, regarding both the product in general and the accessibility features of the product. This requirement also considers achievability, which will allow to minimize the impact on small entities, and still further recognizes the impact on small businesses by requiring “other achievable steps” that should only be taken “as necessary.” In the record of this proceeding, the American Cable Association (“ACA”) expressed concern that the information, documentation, and training requirements “would . . . disproportionately burden smaller cable operators who would have to produce the required accessibility support materials and training without the benefits of scale to help them to spread the costs of such initiatives over a large user base.” As such, ACA requested that small- and medium-sized cable operators receive an extended deadline to come into compliance with any information, documentation, and training requirements imposed on Section 205 entities. The Commission agrees that providing some relief to small- and mid-sized operators is reasonable. The Second Report and Order notes that the Commission in the Report and Order already delayed the time by which mid-sized and smaller MVPD operators and small MVPD systems must comply with the requirements of Section 205 by two years. Therefore, while MVPDs generally must comply with the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order by December 20, 2016, certain mid-sized and smaller MVPD operators and small MVPD systems need not comply until December 20, 2018. This delay afforded to certain mid-sized and smaller MVPD operators and small MVPD systems will provide sufficient time in which to implement the information, documentation, and training requirements adopted in the Second Report and Order. In addition, we note that covered entities, including small entities, may petition for a waiver of these requirements for good cause pursuant to the existing waiver process in Section 1.3 of our rules.

    59. The Second Report and Order also imposes notification requirements for manufacturers of digital apparatus and navigation devices and MVPDs. No commenter provided information concerning the costs and administrative burdens associated with this specific compliance requirement.

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

    60. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 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) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities. The FNPRM invited comment on issues that had the potential to have significant impact on some small entities.

    61. The rules adopted in this Second Report and Order may have a significant economic impact in some cases, and that impact may affect small entities. Although the Commission has considered alternatives where possible, as directed by the RFA, to minimize economic impact on small entities, we emphasize that our action is governed by the congressional mandate contained in Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA.

    62. In formulating the final rules, however, the Commission has considered a number of methods to minimize the economic impact on small entities. With regard to the usability and information, documentation, and training requirements modeled on Sections 6.3(l) and 6.11, the Second Report and Order adopts procedures enabling the Commission to grant exemptions to the rules where a petitioner has shown that compliance is not achievable (i.e., cannot be accomplished with reasonable effort or expense). This process will allow the Commission to address the impact of the rules on individual entities, including smaller entities, on a case-by-case basis and to modify the application of the rules to accommodate individual circumstances, which can reduce the costs of compliance for these entities. We note that two of the four statutory factors that the Commission will consider in determining achievability are particularly relevant to small entities: The nature and cost of the steps needed to meet the requirements, and the technical and economic impact on the entity's operations.

    63. The Second Report and Order also adopts consumer notification requirements for manufacturers of both digital apparatus and navigation devices and MVPDs. Specifically, manufacturers are required to publicize the availability of accessible devices on their Web sites (which must also be accessible for those with disabilities). Both manufacturers and MVPDs must ensure that the contact office or person listed on their Web site is able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. The Commission has not dictated the means by which manufacturers must comply with the requirements. Furthermore, in an attempt to simplify the notification requirements and facilitate small entity compliance, the Commission limits these requirements to Web sites only.

    64. Further, MVPD operators with 400,000 or fewer subscribers as of year-end 2012, and MVPD systems with 20,000 or fewer subscribers that are not affiliated with an operator serving more than 10 percent of all MVPD subscribers as of year-end 2012, were afforded with a two-year delay of the compliance deadline for the requirements adopted pursuant to Section 205 of the CVAA, and this deadline also applies to the rules adopted in the Second Report and Order. The delayed compliance deadline for small MVPDs will help minimize any disproportionate impact of the requirements adopted in the Second Report and Order.

    65. Overall, we believe we have appropriately considered both the interests of individuals with disabilities and the interests of the entities who will be subject to the rules, including those that are smaller entities, consistent with Congress' goal to “update the communications laws to help ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize communications services and equipment and better access video programming.”

    6. Report to Congress

    66. The Commission will send a copy of the Second 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 Second Report and Order, including this FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA. The Second Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the Federal Register.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    67. The Second Report and Order contains new and modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA).130 The requirements will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under Section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public, and other Federal agencies will be invited to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this proceeding. The Commission will publish a separate document in the Federal Register at a later date seeking these comments. In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002 (SBPRA),131 we seek specific comment on how the Commission might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.

    130 The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Pub. L. 104-13, 109 Stat. 163 (1995) (codified in Chapter 35 of title 44 U.S.C.).

    131 The Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002 (SBPRA), Pub. L. 107-198, 116 Stat. 729 (2002) (codified in Chapter 35 of title 44 U.S.C.). See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

    C. Congressional Review Act

    68. The Commission will send a copy of the Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration in MB Docket No. 12-108 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).

    D. Ex Parte Rules

    69. We remind interested parties that this proceeding is treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules.132 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.

    132 47 CFR 1.1200 thorugh 1.1216.

    VI. Ordering Clauses

    70. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751, and the authority found in Sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), 303(u), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 716(g) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), 303(u), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 617(g), this Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration is adopted, effective March 7, 2016 except for 47 CFR 79.107(a)(5), (d), and (e), 79.108(d)(2) and (f), which shall become effective upon announcement in the Federal Register of OMB approval and an effective date of the rules.

    71. It is ordered that, pursuant to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751, and the authority found in Sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), 303(u), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 716(g) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), 303(u), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 617(g), the Commission's rules are hereby amended as set forth herein.

    72. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration in MB Docket No. 12-108, including the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    73. It is further ordered that the Commission shall send a copy of this Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration in MB Docket No. 12-108 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).

    74. It is further ordered that Consumer/Academic Groups Petition for Reconsideration, filed January 20, 2014, is granted in part and denied in part, to the extent provided herein.

    List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 79

    Cable television operators, Communications equipment, Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), Satellite television service providers.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, Office of the Secretary. Final Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends 47 CFR part 79 as follows:

    PART 79—ACCESSIBILITY OF VIDEO PROGRAMMING 1. The authority citation for part 79 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 303, 307, 309, 310, 330, 544a, 613, 617.

    2. Amend § 79.107 by adding paragraphs (a)(5), (d), and (e) to read as follows:
    § 79.107 User interfaces provided by digital apparatus.

    (a)(1) * * *

    (5) As used in this section, the term “usable” shall mean that individuals with disabilities have access to information and documentation on the full functionalities of digital apparatus, including instructions, product information (including accessible feature information), documentation, bills, and technical support which are provided to individuals without disabilities.

    (d)(1) Information, documentation, and training. Manufacturers of digital apparatus shall ensure access to information and documentation it provides to its customers, if achievable. Such information and documentation includes user guides, bills, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and product support communications, regarding both the product in general and the accessibility features of the product. Manufacturers shall take such other achievable steps as necessary including:

    (i) Providing a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of the product upon request, including, as needed, in alternate formats or alternate modes at no additional charge;

    (ii) Providing end-user product documentation in alternate formats or alternate modes upon request at no additional charge; and

    (iii) Ensuring usable customer support and technical support in the call centers and service centers which support their products at no additional charge.

    (2) Manufacturers of digital apparatus shall include in general product information the contact method for obtaining the information required by paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

    (3) In developing, or incorporating existing training programs, manufacturers of digital apparatus shall consider the following topics:

    (i) Accessibility requirements of individuals with disabilities;

    (ii) Means of communicating with individuals with disabilities;

    (iii) Commonly used adaptive technology used with the manufacturer's products;

    (iv) Designing for accessibility; and

    (v) Solutions for accessibility and compatibility.

    (e) Notices. Digital apparatus manufacturers must notify consumers that digital apparatus with the required accessibility features are available to consumers as follows: A digital apparatus manufacturer must provide notice on its official Web site about the availability of accessible digital apparatus. A digital apparatus manufacturer must prominently display information about accessible digital apparatus on its Web site in a way that makes such information available to all consumers. The notice must publicize the availability of accessible devices and the specific person, office or entity who can answer consumer questions about which products contain the required accessibility features. The contact office or person listed on the Web site must be able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. All information required by this section must be provided in a Web site format that is accessible to people with disabilities.

    3. Amend § 79.108 by revising paragraph (d) and adding paragraph (f) to read as follows:
    § 79.108 Video programming guides and menus provided by navigation devices.

    (d)(1) MVPD notices. Covered MVPDs must notify consumers that navigation devices with the required accessibility features are available to consumers who are blind or visually impaired upon request as follows:

    (i) When providing information about equipment options in response to a consumer inquiry about service, accessibility, or other issues, MVPDs must clearly and conspicuously inform consumers about the availability of accessible navigation devices.

    (ii) MVPDs must provide notice on their official Web sites about the availability of accessible navigation devices. MVPDs must prominently display information about accessible navigation devices and separate solutions on their Web sites in a way that makes such information available to all current and potential subscribers. The notice must publicize the availability of accessible devices and separate solutions and explain the means for making requests for accessible equipment and the specific person, office or entity to whom such requests are to be made. The contact office or person listed on the Web site must be able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. All information required by this section must be provided in a Web site format that is accessible to people with disabilities.

    (2) Manufacturer notices. Navigation device manufacturers must notify consumers that navigation devices with the required accessibility features are available to consumers who are blind or visually impaired upon request as follows: A navigation device manufacturer must provide notice on its official Web site about the availability of accessible navigation devices. A navigation device manufacturer must prominently display information about accessible navigation devices and separate solutions on its Web site in a way that makes such information available to all consumers. The notice must publicize the availability of accessible devices and separate solutions and explain the means for making requests for accessible equipment and the specific person, office or entity to whom such requests are to be made. The contact office or person listed on the Web site must be able to answer both general and specific questions about the availability of accessible equipment, including, if necessary, providing information to consumers or directing consumers to a place where they can locate information about how to activate and use accessibility features. All information required by this section must be provided in a Web site format that is accessible to people with disabilities.

    (f)(1) Information, documentation, and training. MVPDs and manufacturers of navigation devices shall ensure access to information and documentation it provides to its customers, if achievable. Such information and documentation includes user guides, bills, installation guides for end-user installable devices, and product support communications, regarding both the product in general and the accessibility features of the product. MVPDs and manufacturers of navigation devices shall take such other achievable steps as necessary including:

    (i) Providing a description of the accessibility and compatibility features of the product upon request, including, as needed, in alternate formats or alternate modes at no additional charge;

    (ii) Providing end-user product documentation in alternate formats or alternate modes upon request at no additional charge; and

    (iii) Ensuring usable customer support and technical support in the call centers and service centers which support their products at no additional charge.

    (2) MVPDs and manufacturers of navigation devices shall include in general product information the contact method for obtaining the information required by paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

    (3) In developing, or incorporating existing training programs, MVPDs and manufacturers of navigation devices shall consider the following topics:

    (i) Accessibility requirements of individuals with disabilities;

    (ii) Means of communicating with individuals with disabilities;

    (iii) Commonly used adaptive technology used with the manufacturer's products;

    (iv) Designing for accessibility; and

    (v) Solutions for accessibility and compatibility.

    (4) If a consumer with a disability requests an accessible navigation device pursuant to Section 205, this also constitutes a request for a description of the accessibility features of the device and end-user product documentation in accessible formats.

    [FR Doc. 2016-00929 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 501 [Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0129] RIN 2127-AL46 Organization and Delegation of Duties AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Final rule.

    SUMMARY:

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT) is updating its regulations governing the organization of NHTSA and delegations of authority from the Administrator to Agency officials, to provide for a reorganization of the Agency's internal structure. These changes will enable NHTSA to achieve its mission more effectively and efficiently.

    DATES:

    This rule is effective February 4, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Russell Krupen, Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-1834.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background

    This final rule amends 49 CFR part 501, the chapter of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that sets forth the organization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and delegations of authority from the NHTSA Administrator to other Agency officials, to reflect a reorganization of the Agency's internal structure, to update out-of-date information, and to improve accuracy and clarity. In addition, this rule amends the succession to the Administrator to conform to the new organizational structure. These changes will enable the Agency to achieve its mission more effectively and efficiently.

    In particular, NHTSA is eliminating the Senior Associate Administrator positions that were created in 2002 (67 FR 44083) from its internal organization and adding the Executive Director and the Chief Financial Officer positions, as well as their functions and responsibilities. Conforming changes to the regulations, including descriptions of the Associate Administrator positions, succession to the Administrator, and delegations of authority, are included. Additional changes have been made to improve formatting and consistency throughout part 501.

    The amendments in this final rule relate solely to changes in the organizational structure and the placement of the delegations of authority for various functions within the agency. This final rule does not impose substantive requirements on the public. It is ministerial in nature and relates only to Agency management, organization, procedure, and practice. Therefore, the Agency has determined that notice and comment are unnecessary and that the rule is exempt from prior notice and comment requirements under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). As these changes will not have a substantive impact on the public, the Agency does not expect to receive significant comments on the substance of the rule. Therefore, the Agency finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to make this rule effective less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

    II. Regulatory Analyses and Notices Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    NHTSA has determined that this final rule is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034). It was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. There are no costs associated with this rule.

    Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

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

    Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments)

    This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13175 (“Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments”). Because this final rule does not significantly or uniquely affect the communities of the Indian tribal governments and does not impose substantial direct compliance costs, the funding and consultation requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply.

    Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required for this rule under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553, the provisions of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply. This rule will not impose any costs on small entities because it is merely organizational in nature and will not have a substantive impact on the public. I hereby certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule contains no information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) does not require a written statement for this final rule because the rule does not include a Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, or the private sector, exceeding the threshold set forth in 2 U.S.C. 1532(a).

    List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 501

    Authority delegations (Government agencies), Organization and functions (Government agencies).

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, NHTSA revises 49 CFR part 501 to read as follows:

    PART 501—ORGANIZATION AND DELEGATION OF POWERS AND DUTIES Sec. 501.1 Purpose. 501.2 General. 501.3 Organization and general responsibilities. 501.4 Succession to Administrator. 501.5 Exercise of authority. 501.6 Secretary's reservations of authority. 501.7 Administrator's reservations of authority. 501.8 Delegations. Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 105 and 322, and delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.81 and 1.95.

    § 501.1 Purpose.

    This part describes the organization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an operating administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation, and provides for the performance of duties imposed on, and the exercise of powers vested in, the Administrator of NHTSA.

    § 501.2 General.

    The responsibilities and authorities delegated to NHTSA and the Administrator are set forth in §§ 1.81, 1.94, and 1.95 of this title.

    § 501.3 Organization and general responsibilities.

    NHTSA consists of a headquarters organization located in Washington, DC, a unified field organization consisting of ten geographic regions with a Regional Office located in each region, the Vehicle Research and Test Center located in East Liberty, Ohio, and the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Test Facility located in San Angelo, Texas. The organization of, and general spheres of responsibility within, NHTSA are as follows:

    (a) Office of the Administrator—(1) Administrator. (i) Represents the Department and is the principal advisor to the Secretary in all matters related to 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 303, 321, 323, 325, 327, 329 and 331; 23 U.S.C. chapter 4, except section 409; 23 U.S.C. 153, 154, 158, 161, 163, 164 and 313 (with respect to matters within the primary responsibility of NHTSA); and such other responsibilities and authorities as are delegated by the Secretary of Transportation (49 CFR 1.94 and 1.95);

    (ii) Establishes NHTSA program policies, objectives, and priorities and directs the development of action plans to accomplish the NHTSA mission;

    (iii) Directs, controls, and evaluates the organization, program activities, performance of NHTSA staff, program and field offices;

    (iv) Approves broad legislative, budgetary, fiscal and program proposals and plans; and

    (v) Takes management actions of major significance, such as those relating to changes in basic organizational structure, appointment of key personnel, allocation of resources, and matters of special political or public interest or sensitivity.

    (2) Deputy Administrator. Assists the Administrator in discharging responsibilities. Directs and coordinates the Administration's management and operational programs, and related policies and procedures at headquarters and in the field.

    (3) Executive Director. As the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator, provides direction on internal management and mission support programs. Provides executive direction over the Associate Administrators, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Information Officer.

    (4) Director, Office of Civil Rights. As the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator on all matters pertaining to civil rights, serves as Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and of Title VI Compliance (Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and related regulations). Assures agency compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other nondiscrimination statutes, regulations, Executive Orders, and policies. Periodically reviews and evaluates the civil rights programs of State Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety Offices to ensure that recipients of NHTSA financial assistance meet applicable Federal civil rights requirements. Monitors the implementation of and compliance with civil rights requirements, investigates complaints of discrimination, conducts compliance reviews, provides technical assistance to recipients of NHTSA financial assistance and stakeholders, and provides assistance to the Office of the Secretary in investigating and adjudicating formal complaints of discrimination.

    (5) Director, Office of Governmental Affairs, Policy & Strategic Planning. As the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator on all intergovernmental matters, including communications with Congress, communicates agency policy and serves as coordinator on legislative affairs. Also, serves as coordinator of agency policy discussions and activities and communicates with other operating administrations and the Office of Secretary on strategic planning efforts.

    (6) Director of Communications. As the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator on external communications and information dissemination, serves as coordinator on public affairs.

    (b) Chief Counsel. As chief legal officer for the Administrator and the Administration, provides general legal services and legal services related to legislative activities; prepares litigation and issues subpoenas; and effects rulemaking actions.

    (c) Associate Administrators, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Information Officer—(1) Associate Administrator for Administration. Administers and conducts NHTSA's personnel management activities; initiates and oversees a comprehensive program of administrative support services to meet agency requirements, including development, maintenance, and operation of NHTSA's manuals, notices, and orders, property management, and the purchase, delivery, and administration of a range of supplies, equipment, and other support services; is responsible for administrative operational expenses and working capital fund operations; serves as the agency's technical expert for all administrative activities; and administers an executive correspondence program and maintains policy files for the Administrator and Deputy Administrator.

    (2) Associate Administrator for Communications and Consumer Information. Represents NHTSA to the general public and others; provides reliable, timely, and accurate traffic safety information to the general public, consumers, partner organizations, and citizens groups through media and public education efforts; and provides scheduling and speechwriting support for the Administrator.

    (3) Associate Administrator for Enforcement. Directs matters related to the enforcement of motor vehicle safety, fuel economy, theft prevention, damageability, consumer information, and odometer laws and regulations; conducts testing, inspection, and investigation necessary for the identification and correction of safety-related defects in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment; and ensures recalls of noncomplying and defective vehicles and motor vehicle equipment are effective and are conducted in accordance with Federal law and regulations.

    (4) Associate Administrator for National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Provides the data, analysis, and evaluation to support determination of the nature, causes, and injury outcomes of motor vehicle traffic crashes, the strategies and interventions that will reduce crashes and their consequences, and the potential impact, costs, and benefits of highway safety programs and regulatory activities; targets the collection and analysis of data and the dissemination of information to identify potential highway safety problems, evaluate expected program and regulatory impact and actual goal achievement, and support data driven decisions; and identifies, advances, and promotes new methodologies, technologies, systems, and procedures that improve the completeness, accuracy, timeliness, and accessibility of data collection, analysis, and evaluation.

    (5) Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery. Directs the management of State and community highway safety programs; administers and coordinates all Regional activities, including activities having a headquarters-regional interface; develops, reviews, implements, and coordinates related programs, policies, and procedures; and coordinates with the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and other Federal agencies on traffic safety programs, as appropriate.

    (6) Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development. Administers traffic safety programs and provides national leadership and technical assistance to States, local communities, national organizations, and other partners in the identification, research, planning, development, demonstration, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of highway safety programs designed to prevent or reduce traffic-related crashes and the resulting deaths, injuries, property damage, and associated costs. Coordinates with the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and other Federal agencies on traffic safety programs, as appropriate.

    (7) Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. Develops and promulgates Federal standards dealing with motor vehicle safety, theft prevention, consumer information, the National Driver Register, and fuel economy, and directs programs relating to bumper standards, safety performance standards, and other regulations for new and used motor vehicles and equipment, including tires. Develops and conducts the New Car Assessment Program.

    (8) Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research. Develops and conducts research, development, test, and evaluation programs and projects necessary to support consumer information programs, guidelines, industry voluntary standards, and Federal motor vehicle regulations; manages the facilities and programs related to these activities; and conducts crash data analyses in defining safety problems.

    (9) Chief Financial Officer. Administers the agency planning and budget activities in coordination with the Department of Transportation, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress; assures the appropriate development of budget requests and the subsequent execution of operating budgets within the agency to meet all programmatic requirements; conducts all necessary accounting transactions to assure full and accurate accountability for all financial resources of the agency; initiates and oversees a comprehensive program of acquisition support for agency buying and supplier requirements, including acquisition planning, purchasing, payments, and administration; facilitates, coordinates, tracks, and monitors all external audits, reviews, and other oversight activities of agency programs, finances, transactions, or activities—working closely with responsible program and operational officials; facilitates and oversees the agency travel program, including the administration and operation of the travel management system, the travel card program, and the provision of travel management advice and guidance; and serves as the agency's technical expert for all financial management activities.

    (10) Chief Information Officer. Administers all NHTSA Information Technology functions and needs to ensure that IT resources are effectively acquired and managed to maximize mission performance and return on IT investments.

    § 501.4 Succession to Administrator.

    (a) The Deputy Administrator is the “first assistant” to the Administrator for purposes of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (5 U.S.C. 3345-3349d) and shall, in the event the Administrator dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office, serve as the Acting Administrator, subject to the limitations established by law.

    (b) In the event both the Administrator and the Deputy Administrator die, resign, and/or are otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of their respective offices, or in the event that both positions are vacant, the following officials, subject to paragraph (c) and in the order indicated, shall serve as Acting Deputy Administrator and shall perform the functions and duties of the Administrator, except for any non-delegable statutory and/or regulatory functions and duties:

    (1) The Chief Counsel;

    (2) The Executive Director;

    (3) Further officials as may be designated in an internal order on succession.

    (c) In order to qualify for the line of succession, officials must be encumbered in their position on a permanent basis.

    § 501.5 Exercise of authority.

    (a) All authorities lawfully vested in and reserved to the Administrator in this title, part, or other NHTSA regulation or directive may be exercised by the Deputy Administrator and, in the absence or disability of both officials, by the Chief Counsel, unless specifically prohibited by statute, regulation, or order.

    (b) In exercising the powers and performing the duties delegated by this part, officers of NHTSA and their delegates are governed by applicable laws, executive orders, regulations, and other directives, and by policies, objectives, plans, standards, procedures, and limitations as may be issued from time to time by or on behalf of the Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator, the Deputy Administrator, the Chief Counsel, and the Executive Director or, with respect to matters under their jurisdiction, by or on behalf of the Associate Administrators, the Regional Administrators, and the Directors of Staff Offices.

    (c) Each officer to whom authority is delegated by this part may redelegate and authorize successive redelegations of that authority subject to any conditions the officer prescribes.

    (d) Each officer to whom authority is delegated will administer and perform the functions described in the officer's respective functional statements.

    § 501.6 Secretary's reservations of authority.

    The authorities reserved to the Secretary of Transportation are set forth in § 1.21 of this title.

    § 501.7 Administrator's reservations of authority.

    The delegations of authority in this part do not extend to the following authority, which is reserved to the Administrator, except when exercised pursuant to §§ 501.4 and 501.5(a):

    (a) The authority under 23 U.S.C. chapter 4 (except section 403) and any uncodified provision of law to apportion authorization amounts and distribute obligation limitations or award grants to States for highway safety programs or other highway safety purposes;

    (b) The authority to issue, amend, or revoke uniform State highway safety guidelines and rules identifying highly effective highway safety programs under 23 U.S.C. 402;

    (c) The authority to fix the rate of compensation for non-government members of agency sponsored committees which are entitled to compensation.

    (d) The authority under 49 U.S.C. chapter 301 to:

    (1) Issue, amend, or revoke final Federal motor vehicle safety standards and regulations;

    (2) Make final decisions concerning alleged safety-related defects and noncompliances with Federal motor vehicle safety standards;

    (3) Grant or renew temporary exemptions from Federal motor vehicle safety standards; and

    (4) Grant or deny appeals from determinations upon a manufacturer's petition for decision of inconsequential defect or noncompliance and exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. chapter 301 in connection with a defect or noncompliance.

    (e) The authority under 49 U.S.C. chapters 303, 321, 323, 325, and 329 (except section 32916(b)) to:

    (1) Issue, amend, or revoke final rules and regulations; and

    (2) Assess civil penalties and approve manufacturer fuel economy credit plans under chapter 329.

    (f) The authority to carry out, in coordination with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator, the authority vested in the Secretary by 49 U.S.C. chapter 311 subchapter III, to promulgate safety standards for commercial motor vehicles and equipment subsequent to initial manufacture when the standards are based upon and similar to a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard promulgated, either simultaneously or previously, under 49 U.S.C. chapter 301.

    § 501.8 Delegations.

    (a) Deputy Administrator. The Deputy Administrator is delegated authority to act for the Administrator, except where specifically limited by law, order, regulation, or instructions of the Administrator. The Deputy Administrator is delegated authority to assist the Administrator in providing executive direction to all organizational elements of NHTSA.

    (b) Executive Director. The Executive Director is delegated line authority for executive direction over the Associate Administrators, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Information Officer.

    (c) Director, Office of Civil Rights. The Director, Office of Civil Rights is delegated authority to:

    (1) Serve as the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity.

    (2) Serve as the compliance coordinator for:

    (i) Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), as amended, and related regulations;

    (ii) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;

    (iii) The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and

    (iv) Other nondiscrimination statutes, regulations, Executive Orders, and policies.

    (3) Investigate complaints of civil rights discrimination, conduct compliance reviews, and provide technical assistance to recipients of NHTSA financial assistance and stakeholders.

    (4) Review and evaluate the civil rights programs of State Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety Offices to ensure that recipients of NHTSA financial assistance meet applicable Federal civil rights requirements.

    (d) Chief Counsel. The Chief Counsel is delegated authority to:

    (1) Exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Administrator with respect to:

    (i) Issuing odometer regulations authorized under 49 U.S.C. chapter 327.

    (ii) Providing technical assistance and granting extensions of time to the states under 49 U.S.C. 32705.

    (iii) Granting or denying petitions for approval of alternate motor vehicle mileage disclosure requirements under 49 U.S.C. 32705.

    (2) Establish the legal sufficiency of all investigations and enforcement actions conducted under the authority of 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 303, 321, 323, 325, 327, 329 and 331; to make an initial penalty demand based on a violations of any of these chapters; and to compromise:

    (i) Any civil penalty imposed under 49 U.S.C. 30165 in an amount of $1,000,000 or less.

    (ii) Any civil penalty or monetary settlement other than those imposed under 49 U.S.C. 30165 in an amount of $100,000 or less.

    (3) Exercise the powers of the Administrator under 49 U.S.C. 30166(c), (g), (h), (i), and (k).

    (4) Issue subpoenas, after notice to the Administrator, for the attendance of witnesses and production of documents pursuant to 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 321, 323, 325, 327, 329 and 331.

    (5) Issue authoritative interpretations of the statutes administered by NHTSA and the regulations issued by the agency.

    (6) Administer 5 U.S.C. 552 (FOIA) and 49 CFR part 7 (Public Availability of Information) in connection with the records of NHTSA.

    (7) Administer the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and 49 CFR part 10 (Maintenance of and Access to Records Pertaining to Individuals) in connection with the records of NHTSA.

    (8) Carry out the functions and exercise the authority vested in the Secretary for 23 U.S.C. 313 (Buy America), with respect to matters within the primary responsibility of NHTSA.

    (e) Associate Administrator for Administration. The Associate Administrator for Administration is delegated authority to administer and conduct NHTSA's personnel management activities; conduct administrative and management services in support of NHTSA missions and programs; and administer an executive correspondence program.

    (f) Associate Administrator for Communications and Consumer Information. The Associate Administrator for Communications and Consumer Information is delegated authority to manage and coordinate market research, planning coordination, development, and promotion of public education campaigns for both paid media and unpaid public services to support program efforts; develop overall agency messaging and communications strategies in support of program initiatives; and develop agency policies on messaging and communications procedures and processes.

    (g) Associate Administrator for Enforcement. The Associate Administrator for Enforcement is delegated authority to administer the NHTSA enforcement program for all laws, standards, and regulations pertinent to vehicle safety, fuel economy, theft prevention, damageability, consumer information, and odometers, authorized under 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 323, 325, 327, 329, and 331; conduct testing, inspection, and investigation necessary for the identification and correction of safety-related defects in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment and noncompliances with Federal motor vehicle safety standards; make initial decisions concerning alleged safety-related defects and noncompliances with Federal motor vehicle safety standards; grant or deny a manufacturer's petition for decision of inconsequential defect or noncompliance and exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. chapter 301 in connection with a defect or noncompliance; issue regulations relating to the importation of motor vehicles under 49 U.S.C. 30141-30147; and grant and deny petitions for import eligibility determinations submitted to NHTSA by motor vehicle manufacturers and registered importers under 49 U.S.C. 30141.

    (h) Associate Administrator for National Center for Statistics and Analysis. The Associate Administrator for National Center for Statistics and Analysis is delegated authority to provide the data, analysis, and evaluation and create and maintain information systems necessary to support the purposes of 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 303, 323, 325, 327, 329, and 331, 23 U.S.C. chapter 4, any uncodified provisions of law related to such issues, and any cross-cutting safety initiatives; to develop, maintain, and operate the National Driver Register and a nationwide clearinghouse of problem drivers; and to support State integrated highway and traffic records safety information systems.

    (i) Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery. The Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery is delegated authority, except for authority reserved to the Administrator, to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Administrator with respect to grants to States for highway safety programs or other State programs under 23 U.S.C. chapter 4 (except section 403) and uncodified provisions of law, including approval and disapproval of State highway safety plans and vouchers, in accordance with the procedural requirements of the Administration. The Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery is also delegated authority over programs with respect to the authority vested by section 210(2) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7544(2)); the authority vested by 49 U.S.C. 20134(a) with respect to laws administered by NHTSA pertaining to highway, traffic, and motor vehicle safety, in coordination with the Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development; the authority vested by 23 U.S.C. 153, 154, 158, 161, 163, and 164, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administrator as appropriate; and the authority vested by 23 U.S.C. 404, in coordination with the Associate Administrator for Communications and Consumer Information.

    (j) Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development. The Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development is delegated authority to develop and conduct research and development programs and projects necessary to support the purposes of 23 U.S.C. chapter 4, any uncodified provisions of law related to that chapter, and cross-cutting safety initiatives; conduct research and development activities described or specifically enumerated in 23 U.S.C. 403; carry out the functions and exercise the authority vested in the Secretary and Administrator under section 10202 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, Public Law 109-59 [42 U.S.C. 300d-4], as amended by section 31108 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, Public Law 112-141, relating to emergency medical services, except for authority reserved to the Secretary under § 1.21 or the Administrator under § 501.7; and exercise the authority vested by 49 U.S.C. 20134(a) with respect to laws administered by NHTSA pertaining to highway, traffic, and motor vehicle safety, in coordination with the Associate Administrator for Regional Operations and Program Delivery.

    (k) Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. The Associate Administrator for Rulemaking is delegated authority, except for authority reserved to the Administrator or delegated to the Chief Counsel, to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Administrator with respect to the setting of motor vehicle safety and theft prevention standards, fuel economy standards, procedural regulations, the National Driver Register, and the development of consumer information and odometer regulations authorized under 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 303, 321, 323, 325, 327, 329, and 331, and any uncodified provisions of law related to such issues. The Associate Administrator for rulemaking is also delegated authority to perform activities that support the development of these regulations and standards; extend comment periods (both self-initiated and in response to a petition or request for extension of time) for noncontroversial rulemakings; make technical amendments or corrections to a final rule; extend the effective date of a noncontroversial final rule; and develop and conduct the New Car Assessment Program.

    (l) Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research. The Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research is delegated authority to develop and conduct research, development, test, and evaluation programs and projects necessary to support the purposes of 49 U.S.C. chapters 301, 323, 325, 327, 329, and 331, any uncodified provisions of law related to such issues, and any cross-cutting safety initiatives.

    (m) Chief Financial Officer. The Chief Financial Officer is delegated authority to direct the NHTSA planning and evaluation system in conjunction with Departmental requirements and planning goals; coordinate the development of the Administrator's plans, budgets, and programs, and analyses of their expected impact; exercise procurement authority with respect to NHTSA requirements; administer NHTSA financial management programs, including systems of funds control and accounts of all financial transactions; and enter into inter- and intra-departmental reimbursable agreements other than with the head of another Department or agency, provided that this authority to enter into such agreements may be redelegated only to Office Directors and Contracting Officers.

    (n) Chief Information Officer. The Chief Information Officer is delegated authority to formulate IT policy, guidance, procedures, security, and best practices; implement an IT capital planning program, an integrated Enterprise Architecture program, and a mission information protection program that ensures privacy, security, and critical infrastructure protection for NHTSA systems and data; and provide for other NHTSA IT functions to support the agency's mission, performance goals, and objectives.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.81 and 1.95.

    Mark R. Rosekind, Administrator.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02101 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
    81 23 Thursday, February 4, 2016 Proposed Rules FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Part 217 and 252 [Regulations Q and YY; Docket No. R-1523] RIN 7100-AE37 Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity, Long-Term Debt, and Clean Holding Company Requirements for Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies and Intermediate Holding Companies of Systemically Important Foreign Banking Organizations; Regulatory Capital Deduction for Investments in Certain Unsecured Debt of Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies AGENCY:

    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board).

    ACTION:

    Proposed rulemaking; extension of comment period.

    SUMMARY:

    On November 30, 2015, the Board published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking inviting public comment on a proposed rule to promote financial stability by improving the resolvability and resiliency of large, interconnected U.S. bank holding companies and the U.S. operations of large, interconnected foreign banking organizations pursuant to section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) and related deduction requirements for all banking organizations subject to the Board's capital rules.

    Due to the range and complexity of the issues addressed in the notice of proposed rulemaking, the Board has determined that an extension of the public comment period until February 19, 2016, is appropriate. This action will allow interested persons additional time to analyze the notice and prepare their comments.

    DATES:

    The comment period for the proposed rule published on November 30, 2015 (80 FR 74925), is extended. Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before February 19, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments by any of the methods identified in the notice of proposed rulemaking.1 Please submit your comments using only one method.

    1See Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity, Long-Term Debt, and Clean Holding Company Requirements for Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies and Intermediate Holding Companies of Systemically Important Foreign Banking Organizations; Regulatory Capital Deduction for Investments in Certain Unsecured Debt of Systemically Important U.S. Bank Holding Companies, 80 FR 74925 (Nov. 30, 2015).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Constance M. Horsley, Assistant Director, (202) 452-5239, Thomas Boemio, Senior Project Manager, (202) 452-2982, Juan C. Climent, Manager, (202) 872-7526, Felton Booker, Senior Supervisory Financial Analyst, (202) 912-4651, Sean Healey, Senior Financial Analyst, (202) 912-4611, or Mark Savignac, Senior Financial Analyst, (202) 475-7606, Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation; or Laurie Schaffer, Associate General Counsel, (202) 452-2272, Benjamin McDonough, Special Counsel, (202) 452-2036, Jay Schwarz, Senior Counsel, (202) 452-2970, Will Giles, Counsel, (202) 452-3351, Mark Buresh, Senior Attorney, (202) 452-5270, or Greg Frischmann, Senior Attorney, (202) 452-2803, Legal Division, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 20th and C Streets NW., Washington, DC 20551. For the hearing impaired only, Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) users may contact (202) 263-4869.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    On November 30, 2015, the Board published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking inviting public comment on a proposed rule to promote financial stability by improving the resolvability and resiliency of large, interconnected U.S. bank holding companies and the U.S. operations of large, interconnected foreign banking organizations pursuant to section 165 of the Dodd-Frank Act and related deduction requirements for all banking organizations subject to the Board's capital rules. Under the proposed rule, a U.S. top-tier bank holding company identified by the Board as a global systemically important banking organization (covered BHC) would be required to maintain outstanding a minimum amount of loss-absorbing instruments, including a minimum amount of unsecured long-term debt, and related buffer. Similarly, the proposed rule would require the top-tier U.S. intermediate holding company of a global systemically important foreign banking organization with $50 billion or more in U.S. non-branch assets (covered IHC) to maintain outstanding a minimum amount of intra-group loss-absorbing instruments, including a minimum amount of unsecured long-term debt, and related buffer. The proposed rule would also impose restrictions on the other liabilities that a covered BHC or covered IHC may have outstanding. Finally, the proposed rule would require state member banks, bank holding companies, and savings and loan holding companies that are subject to the Board's capital rules to apply a regulatory capital deduction treatment to their investments in unsecured debt issued by covered BHCs.

    In recognition of the complexities of the issues involved and the variety of considerations involved in its impact and implementation, the Board requested that commenters respond to numerous questions. The proposed rule stated that the public comment period would close on February 1, 2016.2

    2Id.

    The Board has received a request from the public for an extension of the comment period to allow for additional time for comments related to the provisions of the proposed rule.3 The Board believes that the additional period for comment will facilitate public comment on the questions posed by the Board in the proposed rule. Therefore, the Board is extending the end of the comment period for the proposed rule from February 1, 2016, to February 19, 2016.

    3See Comment letter to the Board from the American Bankers Association et al. (Jan. 25, 2016).

    By order of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, acting through the Secretary of the Board under delegated authority, January 29, 2016. Robert deV. Frierson, Secretary of the Board.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02113 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA-2015-1130; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-008-AD] RIN 2120-AA64 Airworthiness Directives; DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Gliders AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    We propose to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Model DG-1000T gliders equipped with a Solo Kleinmotoren Model 2350 C engine that would revise AD 2015-09-04. This proposed AD results from mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as engine shaft failure and consequent propeller detachment. We are issuing this proposed AD to require actions to address the unsafe condition on these products.

    DATES:

    We must receive comments on this proposed AD by March 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may send comments by any of the following methods:

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

    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 proposed AD, contact Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH, Postfach 600152, 71050 Sindelfingen, Germany; telephone: +49 7031 301-0; fax: +49 7031 301-136; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://aircraft.solo-online.com and DG Flugzeugbau GmbH, Otto Lilienthal Weg 2/Am Flugplatz, 76646 Bruchsal, Germany; telephone: +49 7251 3020-0; fax: +49 7251 3020-200; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.dg-flugzeugbau.de/ index.php?id=1329. You may view this 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.

    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-2015-1130; 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 proposed AD, the regulatory evaluation, any comments received, and other information. The street address for the Docket Office (telephone (800) 647-5527) is in the ADDRESSES section. Comments will be available in the AD docket shortly after receipt.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Jim Rutherford, Aerospace Engineer, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4165; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Comments Invited

    We invite you to send any written relevant data, views, or arguments about this proposed AD. Send your comments to an address listed under the ADDRESSES section. Include “Docket No. FAA-2015-1130; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-008-AD” at the beginning of your comments. We specifically invite comments on the overall regulatory, economic, environmental, and energy aspects of this proposed AD. We will consider all comments received by the closing date and may amend this proposed AD because of those comments.

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

    Discussion

    On April 22, 2015, we issued AD 2015-09-04, Amendment 39-18150 (80 FR 25591, May 5, 2015). That AD required actions intended to address an unsafe condition on DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Model DG-1000T gliders equipped with a Solo Kleinmotoren Model 2350 C engine and was based on mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) originated by an aviation authority of another country.

    Since we issued AD 2015-09-04, Amendment 39-18150 (80 FR 25591, May 5, 2015), new service information has been issued that includes procedures for replacement of excenter axle-pulley assembly and installation of an elastomeric damper element between the propeller and upper pulley. This optional modification will allow resuming engine operation.

    The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Technical Agent for the Member States of the European Community, has issued AD No.: 2015-0052R1, dated November 19, 2015 (referred to after this as “the MCAI”), to correct the above-referenced unsafe condition for the specified products. The MCAI states:

    An occurrence of engine shaft failure and consequent propeller detachment was reported on a Solo 2350 C engine.

    This condition, if not corrected, could lead to additional cases of release of the propeller from the engine, possibly resulting in damage to the sailplane, or injury to persons on the ground.

    To address this unsafe condition, EASA issued Emergency AD 2013-0217-E to prohibit operation of the engine. That AD was later revised to introduce an optional modification, through Solo Kleinmotoren Service Bulletin (SB) 4603-14, to install a modified excenter axle-pulley assembly, allowing to resume operation of the engine.

    Since EASA AD 2013-0217R1 was issued, another occurrence of engine shaft failure and propeller detachment was reported on a Solo 2350 C engine which had been modified in accordance with Solo Kleinmotoren SB 4603-14.

    Consequently, EASA issued Emergency AD 2015-0052-E, which superseded AD 2013-0217R1, to prohibit operation of all Solo 2350 C engines, including those engines which had been modified in accordance with Solo Kleinmotoren SB 4603-14. That AD also required a one-time inspection of the propeller shaft to detect cracks and the reporting of findings.

    Since that AD was issued, Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH developed modification drawing nb. 2031211-V2 available for in service application through Solo SB 4603-17 and DG Flugzeugbau GmbH developed modifications drawing nb. 10 M 067, available for in service application through DG Flugzeugbau Technical Note (TN) 1000/26 which include replacement of excenter axle-pulley assembly and installation of an elastomeric damper element between the propeller and upper pulley.

    This AD is revised to introduce optional modifications to allow resuming operation of an engine.

    You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1130.

    Related Service Information Under 1 CFR 51

    We reviewed Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH Anleitung zur Inspektion (English translation: Inspection Instruction), Nr. 4603-1, Ausgabe (English translation: Dated) March 26, 2015; Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH Technische Mitteilung (English translation: Service Bulletin) Nr. 4603-17, Ausgabe (English translation: Dated) July 15, 2015; and DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Technical note No. 1000/26, dated September 23, 2015, with 10M072 titled Propellermontage nach TM 1000-26 (English translation: Propeller assembly TN 1000-26), dated July 14, 2015. Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH Anleitung zur Inspektion (English translation: Inspection Instruction), Nr. 4603-1, Ausgabe (English translation: Dated) March 26, 2015, describes procedures for inspecting the propeller shaft for cracking and reporting the results to the manufacturer. Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH Techniseche Mitteilung (English translation: Service Bulletin) Nr. 4603-17, Ausgabe (English translation: Dated) July 15, 2015, describes procedures for replacement of the excenter axle-pulley assembly. DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Technical note No. 1000/26, dated September 23, 2015, describes procedures for removing the excenter axle-pulley assembly and sending it to Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH for modification with a new rear bearing, axle, and elastomeric damper element. 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 and Requirements of the Proposed AD

    This product has been approved by the aviation authority of another country, and is approved for operation in the United States. Pursuant to our bilateral agreement with this State of Design Authority, they have notified us of the unsafe condition described in the MCAI and service information referenced above. We are proposing this AD because we evaluated all information and determined the unsafe condition exists and is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design.

    Costs of Compliance

    We estimate that this proposed AD would affect 2 products of U.S. registry. We also estimate that it would take about .5 work-hour per product to comply with the basic operational limitation requirement of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this portion of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $85, or $42.50 per product.

    We also estimate that it would take about 1.5 work-hours per product to comply with the basic axle inspection (remove, inspect, and reinstall) requirement of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this portion of this proposed AD on U.S. operators to be $255, or $127.50 per product.

    We also estimate that it would take about 2 work-hours per product to comply with the optional axle with drive belt pulley unit replacement and engine test run of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour. Required parts would cost about $100 per product.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this optional proposed AD action on U.S. operators to be $540, or $270 per product.

    We also estimate that it would take about .5 work-hour per product to comply with the removal of the operational limitation requirement after doing the optional replacement of this proposed AD. The average labor rate is $85 per work-hour.

    Based on these figures, we estimate the cost of this proposed AD action on U.S. operators to be $85, or $42.50 per product.

    Paperwork Reduction Act

    A federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB control number. The control number for the collection of information required by this AD is 2120-0056. The paperwork cost associated with this AD has been detailed in the Costs of Compliance section of this document and includes time for reviewing instructions, as well as completing and reviewing the collection of information. Therefore, all reporting associated with this AD is mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591. ATTN: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    Authority for This Rulemaking

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

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

    Regulatory Findings

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

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

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 39

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

    The Proposed Amendment

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

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

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

    § 39.13 [Amended]
    2. The FAA amends § 39.13 by removing Amendment 39-18150 (80 FR 25591, May 5, 2015), and adding the following new AD: DG Flugzeugbau GmbH: Docket No. FAA-2015-1130; Directorate Identifier 2015-CE-008-AD. (a) Comments Due Date

    We must receive comments by March 21, 2016.

    (b) Affected ADs

    This AD replaces AD 2015-09-04, Amendment 39-18150 (80 FR 25591, May 5, 2015) (“AD 2015-09-04”).

    (c) Applicability

    This AD applies to DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Model DG-1000T gliders, all serial numbers, that are:

    (1) Equipped with a Solo Kleinmotoren Model 2350 C engine; and

    (2) Certificated in any category.

    (d) Subject

    Air Transport Association of America (ATA) Code 72: Engine.

    (e) Reason

    This AD was prompted by mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the aviation authority of another country to identify and correct an unsafe condition on an aviation product. The MCAI describes the unsafe condition as engine shaft failure with consequent propeller detachment. We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the engine shaft with consequent propeller detachment, which could result in damage to the glider or injury of persons on the ground.

    (f) Actions and Compliance

    Unless already done, do the following actions:

    (1) As of November 25, 2013 (the effective date retained from AD 2013-22-14, Amendment 39-17646 (78 FR 65869, November 4, 2013)), do not operate the engine unless the engine is modified following instructions that are FAA-approved specifically for this AD.

    (2) Modification of an engine following the instructions in Solo Kleinmotoren Service Bulletin 4603-14, dated April 28, 2014, is not an acceptable modification to comply with paragraph (f)(1) of this AD.

    (3) As of May 26, 2015 (the effective date retained from AD 2015-09-04), place a copy of this AD into the Limitations section of the aircraft flight manual (AFM).

    (4) Within the next 30 days after May 26, 2015 (the effective date retained from AD 2015-09-04), do a one-time inspection (magnetic particle or dye penetrant) of the propeller shaft following Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH Anleitung zur Inspektion (English translation: Inspection Instruction), Nr. 4603-1, Ausgabe (English translation: Dated) March 26, 2015.

    Note 1 to paragraph (f)(4) of this AD:

    This service information contains German to English translation. The EASA used the English translation in referencing the document. For enforceability purposes, we will refer to the Solo Kleinmotoren service information as it appears on the document.

    (5) Within the next 30 days after May 26, 2015 (the effective date retained from AD 2015-09-04), report the results of the inspection required in paragraph (f)(4) of this AD to Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH. Include the serial number of the engine and the operational time since change of the axle in your report. You may find contact information for Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH in paragraph (h) of this AD.

    (6) At any time after the effective date of this AD, you may modify the engine following Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH Techniseche Mitteilung (English translation: Service Bulletin) Nr. 4603-17, Ausgabe (English translation: Dated) July 15, 2015; and DG Flugzeugbau GmbH Technical note No. 1000/26, dated September 23, 2015, with 10M072 titled Propellermontage nach TM 1000-26 (English translation: Propeller assembly TN 1000-26), dated July 14, 2015. This modification allows engine operation.

    Note 1 to paragraph (f)(6) of this AD:

    This service information contains German to English translation. The EASA used the English translation in referencing the document. For enforceability purposes, we will refer to the Solo Kleinmotoren service information and the DG Flugzeugbau GmbH as it appears on the document.

    (7) Before further flight after doing the modification allowed in (f)(6) of this AD, remove the AD placed into the Limitations section of the AFM as required in paragraph (f)(3) of this AD.

    (g) Other FAA AD Provisions

    The following provisions also apply to this AD:

    (1) Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs): The Manager, Standards Office, FAA, has the authority to approve AMOCs for this AD, if requested using the procedures found in 14 CFR 39.19. Send information to ATTN: Jim Rutherford, Aerospace Engineer, 901 Locust, Room 301, Kansas City, Missouri 64106; telephone: (816) 329-4165; fax: (816) 329-4090; email: [email protected] Before using any approved AMOC on any airplane to which the AMOC applies, notify your appropriate principal inspector (PI) in the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or lacking a PI, your local FSDO.

    (2) Airworthy Product: For any requirement in this AD to obtain corrective actions from a manufacturer or other source, use these actions if they are FAA-approved. Corrective actions are considered FAA-approved if they are approved by the State of Design Authority (or their delegated agent). You are required to assure the product is airworthy before it is returned to service.

    (3) Reporting Requirements: For any reporting requirement in this AD, a federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information displays a current valid OMB Control Number. The OMB Control Number for this information collection is 2120-0056. Public reporting for this collection of information is estimated to be approximately 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, completing and reviewing the collection of information. All responses to this collection of information are mandatory. Comments concerning the accuracy of this burden and suggestions for reducing the burden should be directed to the FAA at: 800 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20591, Attn: Information Collection Clearance Officer, AES-200.

    (h) Related Information

    Refer to MCAI European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) AD No.: 2015-0052R1, dated November 19, 2015, for related information. You may examine the MCAI on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by searching for and locating Docket No. FAA-2015-1130. For service information related to this AD, contact Solo Kleinmotoren GmbH, Postfach 600152, 71050 Sindelfingen, Germany; telephone: +49 7031 301-0; fax: +49 7031 301-136; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://aircraft.solo-online.com and DG Flugzeugbau GmbH, Otto Lilienthal Weg 2/Am Flugplatz, 76646 Bruchsal, Germany; telephone: +49 7251 3020-0; fax: +49 7251 3020-200; email: [email protected]; Internet: http://www.dg-flugzeugbau.de/index.php?id=1329. You may view this 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.

    Issued in Kansas City, Missouri, on January 28, 2016. Pat Mullen, Acting Manager, Small Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01962 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2016-0835; Airspace Docket No. 16-ASW-1] Proposed Establishment of Class E Airspace; Hollis, OK AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to establish Class E airspace at Hollis, OK. Controlled airspace is necessary to accommodate new Standard Instrument Approach Procedures developed at Hollis Municipal Airport, for the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal 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; telephone (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2016-0835; Docket No.16-ASW-1, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rebecca Shelby, Central Service Center, Operations Support Group, Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone: 817-222-5857.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would establish Class E airspace at Hollis Municipal Airport, Hollis, OK.

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2016-0835/Airspace Docket No. 16-ASW-1.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Central Service Center, Operation Support Group, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

    This document would amend FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    This action proposes to amend Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), Part 71 by establishing Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within an 6-mile radius of Hollis Municipal Airport, Hollis, OK, to accommodate new standard instrument approach procedures. Controlled airspace is needed for the safety and management of IFR operations at the airport.

    Class E airspace areas are published in Section 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Section 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. ASW OK E5 Hollis, OK [New] Hollis Municipal Airport, OK (Lat. 34°42′19″ N., long. 099°54′31″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6-mile radius of Hollis Municipal Airport.

    Issued in Fort Worth, TX, on January 27, 2016. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02034 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-5801; Airspace Docket No. 15-AGL-18] Proposed Establishment of Class E Airspace; Beach, ND AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to establish Class E airspace at Beach, ND. Controlled airspace is necessary to accommodate new Standard Instrument Approach Procedures developed at Beach Airport, for the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this proposal 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; telephone (202) 366-9826. You must identify FAA Docket No. FAA-2015-5801; Docket No.15-AGL-18, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, 29591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rebecca Shelby, Central Service Center, Operations Support Group, Federal Aviation Administration, Southwest Region, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177; telephone: 817-222-5857.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part, A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would establish Class E airspace at Beach Airport, Beach, ND.

    Comments Invited

    Interested parties are invited to participate in this proposed rulemaking by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal. Communications should identify both docket numbers and be submitted in triplicate to the address listed above. Commenters wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this notice must submit with those comments a self-addressed, stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2015-5801/Airspace Docket No. 15-AGL-18.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An informal docket may also be examined during normal business hours at the Central Service Center, Operation Support Group, 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, TX 76177.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRMs should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory Circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents Proposed for Incorporation by Reference

    This document would amend FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is proposing an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), Part 71 by establishing Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within an 9-mile radius of Beach Airport, Beach, ND, to accommodate new standard instrument approach procedures. Controlled airspace is needed for the safety and management of IFR operations at the airport.

    Class E airspace designations are published in Section 6005 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class E airspace designation listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current, is non-controversial and unlikely to result in adverse or negative comments. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a regulatory evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this rule, when promulgated, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal will be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Section 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. AGL ND E5 Beach, ND [New] Beach Airport, ND (Lat. 46°55′31″ N., long. 103°58′55″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 9.0-mile radius of Beach Airport.

    Issued in Fort Worth, TX, on January 26, 2016. Robert W. Beck, Manager, Operations Support Group, ATO Central Service Center.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02025 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 71 [Docket No. FAA-2015-4513; Airspace Docket No. 15-AEA-8] Proposed Amendment of Class D and Class E Airspace; Hagerstown, MD AGENCY:

    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

    SUMMARY:

    This action proposes to amend Class E Airspace Designated as an Extension to a Class D Surface Area by removing the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) part time status for Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, Hagerstown, MD. Also, this action would amend Class D and Class E airspace at Hagerstown, MD by recognizing the name change to Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, and updating the geographic coordinates of the airport. This action would enhance the safety and management of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at the airport.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before March 21, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send comments on this rule to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Bldg. Ground Floor, Rm W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001; Telephone: 1-800-647-5527; Fax: 202-493-2251. You must identify the Docket Number FAA-2015-4513; Airspace Docket No. 15-AEA-8, at the beginning of your comments. You may also submit and review received comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received, and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Docket Office (telephone 1-800-647-5527), is on the ground floor of the building at the above address.

    FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, and subsequent amendments can be viewed online at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/. For further information, you can contact the Airspace Policy Group, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591; telephone: 202-267-8783. The Order is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of FAA Order 7400.9Z at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal-regulations/ibr_locations.html.

    FAA Order 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, is published yearly and effective on September 15.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    John Fornito, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, P.O. Box 20636, Atlanta, Georgia 30320; telephone (404) 305-6364.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules regarding aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. Subtitle I, Section 106 describes the authority of the FAA Administrator. Subtitle VII, Aviation Programs, describes in more detail the scope of the agency's authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part, A, Subpart I, Section 40103. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to assign the use of airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority as it would amend the Class D and E airspace areas at Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, Hagerstown, MD.

    Comments Invited

    Interested persons are invited to comment on this rule by submitting such written data, views, or arguments, as they may desire. Comments that provide the factual basis supporting the views and suggestions presented are particularly helpful in developing reasoned regulatory decisions on the proposal. Comments are specifically invited on the overall regulatory, aeronautical, economic, environmental, and energy-related aspects of the proposal.

    Communications should identify both docket numbers (FAA Docket No. FAA-2015-4513; Airspace Docket No. 15-AEA-8) and be submitted in triplicate to the Docket Management System (see ADDRESSES section for address and phone number). You may also submit comments through the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

    Persons wishing the FAA to acknowledge receipt of their comments on this action must submit with those comments a self-addressed stamped postcard on which the following statement is made: “Comments to Docket No. FAA-2015-4513; Airspace Docket No. 15-AEA-8.” The postcard will be date/time stamped and returned to the commenter.

    All communications received before the specified closing date for comments will be considered before taking action on the proposed rule. The proposal contained in this notice may be changed in light of the comments received. A report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerned with this rulemaking will be filed in the docket.

    Availability of NPRMs

    An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded from and comments submitted through http://www.regulations.gov. Recently published rulemaking documents can also be accessed through the FAA's Web page at http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/airspace_amendments/.

    You may review the public docket containing the proposal, any comments received and any final disposition in person in the Dockets Office (see the ADDRESSES section for address and phone number) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. An informal docket may also be examined between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays at the office of the Eastern Service Center, Federal Aviation Administration, Room 350, 1701 Columbia Avenue, College Park, Georgia 30337.

    Persons interested in being placed on a mailing list for future NPRM's should contact the FAA's Office of Rulemaking, (202) 267-9677, to request a copy of Advisory circular No. 11-2A, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking distribution System, which describes the application procedure.

    Availability and Summary of Documents for Incorporation by Reference

    This document proposes to amend FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015. FAA Order 7400.9Z is publicly available as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. FAA Order 7400.9Z lists Class A, B, C, D, and E airspace areas, air traffic service routes, and reporting points.

    The Proposal

    The FAA is considering an amendment to Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 71 to amend Class E Airspace Designated as an Extension to a Class D Surface Area at Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, Hagerstown, MD, by eliminating the NOTAM information that reads, “This Class E airspace area is effective during the specific dates and times established in advance by Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.” from the regulatory text. This action also would change the airport name and navigation aid from Washington County Regional Airport to Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, and adjust the geographic coordinates of the airport for the Class D and Class E Airspace Areas listed in this proposal.

    Class D and Class E airspace designations are published in Paragraphs 5000, 6002, 6004 and 6005, respectively, of FAA Order 7400.9Z, dated August 6, 2015, and effective September 15, 2015, which is incorporated by reference in 14 CFR 71.1. The Class D and E airspace designations listed in this document will be published subsequently in the Order.

    Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA has determined that this proposed regulation only involves an established body of technical regulations for which frequent and routine amendments are necessary to keep them operationally current. It, therefore: (1) Is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866; (2) is not a “significant rule” under DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979); and (3) does not warrant preparation of a Regulatory Evaluation as the anticipated impact is so minimal. Since this is a routine matter that will only affect air traffic procedures and air navigation, it is certified that this proposed rule, when promulgated, will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities under the criteria of the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

    Environmental Review

    This proposal would be subject to an environmental analysis in accordance with FAA Order 1050.1F, “Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures” prior to any FAA final regulatory action.

    Lists of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71

    Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air).

    The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows:

    PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, B, C, D, AND E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIR TRAFFIC SERVICE ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    49 U.S.C. 106(f),106(g); 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 389.

    § 71.1 [Amended]
    2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of FAA Order 7400.9Z, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated August 6, 2015, effective September 15, 2015, is amended as follows: Paragraph 5000 Class D Airspace. AEA MD D Hagerstown, MD [Amended] Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, MD (Lat. 39°42′31″ N., long. 77°43′35″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface to and including 3,200 feet MSL within a 4.1-mile radius of Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field. This Class D airspace area is effective during the specific dates and times established in advance by Notice to Airmen. The effective date and time will thereafter be continuously published in the Airport/Facility Directory.

    Paragraph 6002 Class E Surface Area Airspace. AEA MD E2 Hagerstown, MD [Amended] Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, MD (Lat. 39°42′31″ N., long.77°43′35″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface to and including 3,200 feet MSL within a 4.1-mile radius of Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field. This Class E2 airspace area is effective during the specific dates and times when the Class D airspace area, as published in the Airport/Facility Directory, is not in effect.

    Paragraph 6004 Class E Airspace Designated as an Extension to a Class D Surface Area. AEA MD E4 Hagerstown, MD [Amended] Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, MD (Lat. 39°42′31″ N., long. 77°43′35″ W.) Hagerstown VOR (Lat. 39°41′52″ N., long. 77°51′21″ W.) Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field ILS Runway 27 Localizer (Lat. 39°42′22″ N., long. 77°44′41″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from the surface within 2.7 miles each side of the Hagerstown VOR 237° radial and 057° radial extending from 7.4 miles southwest of the VOR to 1.8 miles northeast of the VOR and within 2.7 miles each side of the Hagerstown VOR 082° radial extending from the 4.1-mile radius of Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field to the VOR, and within 4 miles each side of the Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field ILS Runway 27 localizer course extending from the localizer to 11.8 miles east of the localizer, excluding that portion within Prohibited Area P-40.

    Paragraph 6005 Class E Airspace Areas Extending Upward From 700 Feet or More Above the Surface of the Earth. AEA MD E5 Hagerstown, MD [Amended] Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field, MD (Lat. 39°42′31″ N., long. 77°43′35″ W.) Hagerstown VOR (Lat. 39°41′52″ N., long. 77°51′21″ W.) St. Thomas VORTAC (Lat. 39°56′00″ N., long. 77°57′03″ W.) Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field ILS Runway 27 Localizer (Lat. 39°42′22″ N., long. 77°44′41″ W.)

    That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 6.6-mile radius of the Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field and within 3.1 miles each side of the Hagerstown VOR 237° radial and 057° radial extending from 9.6 miles southwest of the VOR to 2.7 miles northeast of the VOR and within 4.4 miles each side of the Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A. Henson Field ILS Runway 27 localizer course extending from the localizer to 12.6 miles east of the localizer and within 4.4 miles each side of the St. Thomas VORTAC 141° radial extending from the 6.6-mile radius to the St. Thomas VORTAC, excluding that portion within Prohibited Area P-40.

    Issued in College Park, Georgia, on January 27, 2016. Ryan W. Almasy, Acting Manager, Operations Support Group, Eastern Service Center, Air Traffic Organization.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02023 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910-13-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 35 [Docket No. RM16-5-000] Offer Caps in Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators AGENCY:

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is proposing to revise its regulations to require that each regional transmission organization (RTO) and independent system operator (ISO) cap each resource's incremental energy offer to the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource's verified cost-based incremental energy offer.

    DATES:

    Comments are due April 4, 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 comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Emma Nicholson (Technical Information), Office of Energy Policy and Innovation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8846, [email protected] Pamela Quinlan (Technical Information), Office of Energy Market Regulation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6179, [email protected] Anne Marie Hirschberger (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8387, [email protected] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Table of Contents Paragraph Nos. I. Background 6. A. Offer Caps and Market Power Mitigation in RTOs/ISOs 8. B. Offer Cap Waivers and Tariff Changes 12. C. Comments About Offer Caps 18. 1. Need To Modify the Offer Cap 19. 2. Role of the Offer Cap in Market Power Mitigation 23. 3. Alternative Offer Cap Designs 27. 4. RTO/ISO Seams and the Offer Cap 38. 5. Other Considerations 40. II. Need for Reform and Commission Proposal 42. A. Need for Reform 43. B. Alternative Offer Cap Proposals Discussed in Comments 49. C. Commission Proposal 52. 1. Offer Cap Structure 53. 2. Cost-Based Incremental Energy Offer Verification 56. 3. Resource Neutrality 69. 4. Seams Issues 70. 5. Other Considerations 72. 6. Comments Sought on This Proposal 73. III. Compliance 74. IV. Information Collection Statement 76. V. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification 80. VI. Environmental Analysis 82. VII. Comment Procedures 83. VIII. Document Availability 87. Appendix A:

  • List of Short Names/Acronyms of Commenters
  • 1. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is proposing to revise its regulations to require that each regional transmission organization (RTO) and independent system operator (ISO) cap each resource's incremental energy offer 1 to the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource's verified cost-based incremental energy offer. Under this proposal, verified cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh would be used for purposes of calculating Locational Marginal Prices (LMPs).

    1 The incremental energy offer is the portion of a resource's energy supply offer that varies with the output of the generator.

    2. The Commission preliminarily finds that the offer cap 2 on incremental energy offers (offer cap) may no longer be just and reasonable for several reasons. The offer cap may unjustly prevent a resource from recouping its costs by not permitting that resource to include all of its short-run marginal costs within its energy supply offer (supply offer). The offer cap may result in unjust and unreasonable rates because it can suppress LMPs to a level below the marginal cost of production. Further, because of the offer cap, a resource with short-run marginal costs above that cap may choose not to offer its supply to the RTO/ISO, even though the market may be willing to purchase that supply.3 Finally, when several resources have short-run marginal costs above the offer cap but are unable to reflect those costs within their incremental energy offers due to the offer cap, the RTO/ISO is not able to dispatch the most efficient set of resources because it will not have access to the underlying costs associated with the multiple incremental energy offers above the offer cap.

    2 The offer cap for purposes of this NOPR refers to the $/MWh limit on day-ahead and real-time incremental energy offers, and not any limits or penalty rates that may apply in the capacity or ancillary services markets.

    3 Resources that are subject to must-offer requirements, such as resources with a capacity supply obligation, are required to submit a supply offer to the energy market. Many resources are subject to must-offer requirements in either the day-ahead or real-time markets. The proposed reform would ensure that such a resource has an economic incentive that matches its tariff obligation. It would also provide an economic incentive to those resources that are not subject to a must-offer requirement.

    3. To remedy these potential problems associated with the offer cap, the Commission proposes to require that each RTO/ISO cap each resource's incremental energy offer to the higher of $1,000/MWh or an incremental energy offer based on that resource's short-run marginal cost (cost-based incremental energy offer). Under the proposal, the costs underlying each cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh must be verified before that offer could be used for purposes of calculating LMPs. Under this proposal, the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO, as prescribed in the RTO/ISO tariff and consistent with Order No. 719,4 must verify the costs within a cost-based incremental energy offer.5 The proposed offer cap would be resource neutral, that is, any resource, regardless of fuel-type, would be eligible to submit a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh.

    4Wholesale Competition in Regions with Organized Electric Markets, Order No. 719, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,281, at PP 370-375 (2008), order on reh'g, Order No. 719-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,292 (2009), order on reh'g, Order No. 719-B, 129 FERC ¶ 61,252 (2009). See also 18 CFR 35.28(g)(3)(iii)(B) (2015).

    5 Pursuant to 18 CFR 35.28(g)(3)(iii)(B), either the internal or external market monitor can “provide the inputs required to conduct prospective mitigation . . . including, but not limited to reference levels, identification of system constraints, and cost calculations.” 18 CFR 35.28(g)(3)(iii)(B) (2015). However, prospective mitigation may only be carried out by an internal market monitor if the RTO/ISO has a hybrid Market Monitoring Unit structure. 18 CFR 35.28(g)(3)(iii)(D) (2015).

    4. The Commission proposes to make a generic change to the offer cap applicable to all RTOs/ISOs through a rulemaking to avoid exacerbating seams issues. Seams issues could arise if one RTO/ISO has an offer cap that materially differed from a neighboring RTO/ISO's offer cap. Different offer caps in neighboring RTOs/ISOs could result in flows that depend on the level of the two offer caps as opposed to economics or reliability needs.

    5. The Commission seeks comment on these proposed reforms sixty (60) days after publication of this NOPR in the Federal Register.

    I. Background

    6. On June 19, 2014, the Commission initiated the price formation proceeding.6 In initiating that proceeding, the Commission stated that there may be opportunities for the RTOs/ISOs to improve the energy and ancillary service price formation process. Staff conducted outreach and convened technical workshops on the following four general issues: (1) Use of uplift payments; (2) offer price mitigation and offer caps; (3) scarcity and shortage pricing; and (4) operator actions that affect prices.7 During the fall of 2014, Commission staff convened three technical workshops and Commission staff issued reports on these topics. At the October 28, 2014 technical workshop, Commission staff explored, among other topics, the $1,000/MWh offer cap, including the purpose of the offer cap and the role it plays in market power mitigation.8 While this action proposes to address mitigation relevant to energy offers above $1,000/MWh in RTO/ISO markets, the Commission has also instructed staff to undertake a more comprehensive review of the market power mitigation rules in the RTO/ISO markets.

    6Price Formation in Energy and Ancillary Services Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, Notice, Docket No. AD14-14-000 (June 19, 2014) (Price Formation Notice).

    7Id. at 1, 3-4.

    8See Supplemental Notice of Workshop on Price Formation: Scarcity and Shortage Pricing, Offer Mitigation, and Offer Caps in RTO and ISO Markets, Docket No. AD14-14-000 (Oct. 10, 2014).

    7. Two of the Commission's goals in the price formation proceeding are relevant here. First, clearing prices in the energy and ancillary services markets should ideally “reflect the true marginal cost of production, taking into account all physical system constraints.” 9 Second, LMPs should “ensure that all suppliers have an opportunity to recover their costs.” 10 Establishing LMPs that accurately reflect the marginal cost of production is a central goal of the price formation effort. This goal is important because LMPs are an effective way to communicate information to market participants about the cost of providing the next unit of energy. In the short-run, accurate price signals from LMPs are particularly important during high price periods because they provide a signal to customers to reduce consumption and a signal to suppliers to increase production or to offer new supplies to the market. In the long-run, accurate price signals from LMPs are important because they inform investment decisions. It is also important that RTOs/ISOs give resources the opportunity to recover their costs because failing to do so may discourage resources from participating in RTO/ISO energy markets. Adequate investment in resources and participation of resources in RTO/ISO energy markets are necessary to ensure economic and reliable energy for consumers.

    9 Price Formation Notice at 2.

    10See Price Formation in Energy and Ancillary Servs. Mkts. Operated by Reg'l Transmission Orgs. & Indep. Sys. Operators, 153 FERC ¶ 61,221, at P 2 (2015); see also Price Formation Notice at 2.

    A. Offer Caps and Market Power Mitigation in RTOs/ISOs

    8. Supply offers in day-ahead and real-time energy markets consist of both physical components and financial components. The physical components of a supply offer describe the resource's physical operating parameters, such as its minimum and maximum operating limits in a given day-ahead or real-time interval, and are denominated in MW, MWh, time, or some combination thereof. The financial components of a supply offer are denominated in dollars (e.g., $/start and $/MWh) and represent the costs underlying a resource's offer to supply electricity in a given interval. The key financial components of a supply offer are the start-up cost, no-load cost, and incremental energy offers. A resource includes its costs that vary with output in its incremental energy offer, which typically consists of a supply curve made up of multiple (price, quantity) pairs that indicate the price, expressed in $/MWh, that a resource is willing to accept to produce a given quantity of energy.11

    11 RTOs/ISOs typically restrict incremental energy supply curves to ten price and quantity pairs (i.e., ($/MWh, MW)).

    9. The LMP reflects the marginal cost of serving load at a specific location, given the set of generators that are dispatched and the limitations of the transmission system.12 The LMP is calculated by an RTO/ISO as the sum of three components: An energy charge, a congestion charge, and a charge for transmission losses. The energy and congestion components of the LMP are established based on several factors, including the marginal resource's incremental energy offer, specifically the $/MWh price associated with the MW output of the marginal resource.

    12See Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Division of Energy Market Oversight Office of Enforcement, Energy Primer, at 60 (Nov. 2015), http://www.ferc.gov/market-oversight/guide/energy-primer.pdf.

    10. All six Commission-jurisdictional RTOs/ISOs have imposed a $1,000/MWh cap on incremental energy offers.13 The offer cap remains at $1,000/MWh in all RTOs/ISOs except PJM because, as discussed further below, the Commission recently approved PJM's proposal to raise the offer cap on cost-based offers in PJM to $2,000/MWh.14 In each RTO/ISO, a resource's incremental energy offer is subject not only to the offer cap, but also to market power mitigation provisions.15 The Market Monitoring Unit for each RTO/ISO currently oversees, and in some cases implements, the market power mitigation provisions. In general, when a resource's incremental energy offer is mitigated, that offer is replaced with an estimate of a competitive offer or an estimate of that resource's short-run marginal cost.16 In most instances, once mitigated, a resource's offer is eligible to set LMP.17 Mechanically, the RTOs/ISOs have adopted mitigation rules that either develop a proxy for a competitive offer or explicitly estimate short-run marginal cost. Because we expect that a competitive offer will closely track a resource's short-run marginal cost, both methods for mitigating offers should arrive at roughly the same result. The Market Monitoring Units in CAISO, MISO, ISO-NE., and NYISO typically mitigate the resource's incremental energy offer to the proxy of a competitive offer that is calculated by the Market Monitoring Unit.18 However, these RTOs/ISOs also have provisions whereby the Market Monitoring Unit, often after consultation with the resource itself, can estimate the resource's short-run marginal cost, which will form the basis of that resource's mitigated incremental energy offer. In PJM and SPP, resource owners develop cost-based incremental energy offers consistent with the requirements of these RTOs' tariffs and business practice manuals and those cost-based offers are subject to review by the Market Monitoring Unit.19

    13See, e.g., California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO), eTariff, 39.6.1.1 (11.0.0); ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE), Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff, Market Rule 1, III.1.10.1A(d)(ix), III,1.10.IA(c)(iv), III.2.6(b)(i), and III.A.15.1(b) (27.0.0); Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO), FERC Electric Tariff, 39.2.5 (35.0.0), 39.2.5A (34.0.0), 39.2.5B (34.0.0), 40.2.5 (35.0.0), 40.2.6 (35.0.0) and 40.2.7 (33.0.0); New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (NYISO), NYISO Tariffs, NYISO Markets and Services Tariff, 21.4 and 21.5.1 (7.0.0); PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM), Intra-PJM Tariffs, OATT, Tariff Operating Agreement, Attachment K, Appendix, 1.10.1A(d) (24.0.0); Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP), OATT, Sixth Revised Volume No. 1, Attachment AE, Section 4.1.1 (2.0.0).

    14PJM Interconnection L.L.C., 153 FERC ¶ 61,289, at P 25 (2015) (PJM 2015/16 Offer Cap Order). The tariff provisions related to the offer cap do not have a sunset date.

    15See 18 CFR 35.28(g)(3)(iii)(B)-(D) (2015).

    16 The RTOs/ISOs use different terms for a mitigated offer. ISO-NE., MISO, and NYISO mitigate supply offers to a “Reference Level.” See ISO-NE., Transmission Markets and Services Tariff, Market Rule 1, III.A.7.2; MISO FERC Electric Tariff, 64.1.4 (30.0.0); NYISO, NYISO Tariffs, NYISO Markets and Services Tariff, 23.3.1.4 (11.0.0). CAISO mitigates supply offers to “Default Energy Bids.” See CAISO, eTariff, 39.7.1 (11.0.0). PJM mitigates supply offers to a “cost-based offer.” See PJM Operating Agreement, Schedule 1, 1.10.1A (24.0.0) and 6.4.1 (7.0.0). SPP mitigates supply offers to a “Mitigated Energy Bid.” See SPP OATT, Sixth Revised Volume No. 1, Attachment AF, 3.2 (7.0.0). For purposes of this NOPR, the offers RTOs/ISOs use for purposes of mitigation will be referred to as “cost-based offers.”

    17 There are exceptions to this eligibility, for instance, when a resource is committed outside of the market clearing process.

    18See supra n.16.

    19 PJM resources develop cost-based offers pursuant to PJM Manual 15: Cost Development Guidelines. SPP resources develop Mitigated Energy Bids pursuant to SPP's Mitigated Offer Guidelines in the SPP Market Protocols.

    11. While the offer cap restricts incremental energy offers, the offer cap does not limit LMPs to the level of the offer cap (be it $1,000/MWh or $2,000/MWh) because the congestion and loss components of the LMP can cause the LMP to exceed the offer cap. Scarcity pricing and emergency purchases can also cause LMPs to exceed the offer cap even though incremental energy offers are limited by the offer cap.

    B. Offer Cap Waivers and Tariff Changes

    12. The $1,000/MWh offer cap dates back to 1999 when PJM first launched its market.20 According to PJM's market monitor, PJM's offer cap was then set to a level that stakeholders considered “beyond the possible pale” of a resource's short-run marginal cost.21 PJM states that its $1,000/MWh offer cap was never intended to limit incremental energy offers below a resource's marginal cost to produce energy.22

    20See Docket Nos. OA97-261-000 and ER97-1082-000 (Apr. 1, 1997); Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection, 81 FERC ¶ 61,257 (1997).

    21 Scarcity and Shortage Pricing, Offer Mitigation and Offer Caps Workshop, Docket No. AD14-14-000, Tr. 209:18-22 (Oct. 28, 2014).

    22 PJM Comments at 2. All comments cited herein were submitted in Docket No. AD14-14-000 on or about March 6, 2015.

    13. Extreme weather during the winter of 2013/14, dubbed the “Polar Vortex,” caused PJM and NYISO to request tariff waivers associated with the $1,000/MWh offer cap. During the Polar Vortex, various weather-related conditions led to a significant increase in the price of natural gas.23 Natural gas prices at two key pricing points in PJM rose above $120 per million British Thermal Units (MMBtu), which could have caused some PJM resources with must-offer requirements to operate at a loss because their short-run marginal costs were above the $1,000/MWh offer cap.24

    23See, e.g., FERC Staff, Commission and Industry Actions Relevant to Winter 2013-14 Weather Events (Oct. 16, 2014), https://www.ferc.gov/media/news-releases/2014/2014-4/10-16-14-A-4-presentation.pdf.

    24PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., 146 FERC ¶ 61,041, at P 2, order on reh'g, 149 FERC ¶ 61,059 (2014). For example, a natural gas resource with a heat rate of 8,350 Btu/kWh could have short-run marginal fuel costs above $1,000/MWh if the natural gas price exceeds $120/MMBtu.

    14. In response, on January 23, 2014, PJM filed concurrently two tariff waiver requests related to its offer cap. In its first request, which the Commission granted for the January 24-February 10, 2014 period, PJM requested that certain resources with cost-based offers above $1,000/MWh receive uplift payments to recoup those costs.25 In its second request, which the Commission granted for the February 11-March 31, 2014 period, PJM requested that certain resources be allowed to submit cost-based offers in excess of $1,000/MWh and cost-based offers were used for purposes of calculating LMPs.26

    25Id. P 1.

    26PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., 146 FERC ¶ 61,078, at PP 3-4 (2014).

    15. Similarly, high natural gas prices in New York prompted NYISO to file a waiver request related to its offer cap.27 Natural gas prices at the Transco Zone 6 NY hub in New York rose above $120/MMBtu in January 2014. In response, NYISO requested that resources be permitted to recover any unrecovered costs above $1,000/MWh through uplift payments. The Commission granted NYISO's requested waiver for the January 22-February 28, 2014 period.28

    27N.Y. Indep. Sys. Operator, Inc., 146 FERC ¶ 61,061, at PP 2-4 (2014).

    28Id. P 24.

    16. In the following winter of 2014/15, citing concerns about the potential for a repeat of the high natural gas prices experienced during the Polar Vortex, PJM and MISO submitted fillings to allow recovery of costs above $1,000/MWh during the winter months. Both PJM 29 and MISO 30 expressed concerns that the $1,000/MWh offer cap could prevent a resource from recouping its short-run marginal costs. The Commission accepted tariff provisions that temporarily raised PJM's offer cap on cost-based offers to $1,800/MWh during the January 16-March 31, 2015 period.31 The Commission granted a waiver that permitted resources in MISO to include incremental energy costs in excess of $1,000/MWh in the no-load component of their supply offers during the December 20, 2014-April 30, 2015 period.32 When accepting PJM's proposal and granting MISO's waiver request, the Commission reasoned that market conditions during the previous 2013/14 winter demonstrated that the $1,000/MWh offer cap could prevent resources from submitting incremental energy offers that reflect their marginal costs and could therefore force resources to offer to sell electricity below cost.33 Tariff provisions related to the offer cap in both MISO and PJM reverted back to their original form in spring 2015.

    29PJM Interconnection L.L.C., 150 FERC ¶ 61,020, at P 5 (2015) (PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order).

    30Midcontinent Indep. Sys. Operator, Inc., 150 FERC ¶ 61,083, at P 3 (2015) (MISO 2014/15 Offer Cap Order).

    31 PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,020.

    32 MISO 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,083.

    33See PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,020 at P 34; MISO 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,083 at P 17.

    17. For the winter of 2015/16, PJM 34 and MISO 35 again filed requests to modify their respective offer caps. The Commission accepted tariff revisions in PJM that would raise the offer cap on cost-based offers to $2,000/MWh for purposes of calculating LMPs going forward.36 In accepting the changes, the Commission reasoned that PJM's proposal would send transparent market signals, promote efficient resource selection, and address the risks caused by high natural gas prices while protecting consumers by requiring cost verification of incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh.37 The Commission granted MISO's request to waive provisions related to the offer cap for the January 1, 2016-April 30, 2016 period. The MISO waiver for the winter of 2015/16 was virtually identical to the waiver for the winter of 2014/15 and allowed MISO resources to include incremental energy costs in excess of $1,000/MWh in the no-load component of their offers.38

    34 PJM, Proposed Tariff Revisions, Docket No. ER16-76-000 (filed Oct. 14, 2015).

    35 MISO, Request for Waiver, Docket No. ER16-248-000 (filed Nov. 2, 2015).

    36 PJM 2015/16 Offer Cap Order, 153 FERC ¶ 61,289 at P 25. The tariff provisions related to the offer cap do not have a sunset date.

    37Id. PP 25-26. Resources can submit cost-based offers above $2,000/MWh and PJM will use such offers for merit order dispatch, but incremental energy offers used for purposes of calculating LMP are capped at $2,000/MWh.

    38Midcontinent Indep. Sys. Operator, Inc., 154 FERC ¶ 61,006 (2015) (MISO 2015/16 Offer Cap Order).

    C. Comments About Offer Caps

    18. In its January 2015 notice inviting post-technical workshop comments in the price formation proceeding, the Commission asked specific questions about the $1,000/MWh offer cap and asked stakeholders to comment on various alternative offer cap designs.39 Comments about the $1,000/MWh offer cap focus on the need to modify the offer cap, the role that the offer cap plays in market power mitigation, alternative offer cap designs, potential seams issues, and other considerations.

    39Price Formation in Energy and Ancillary Services Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, Notice Inviting Post-Technical Workshop Comments, Docket No. AD14-14-000, at 2-3 (Jan. 16, 2015). A list of commenters and the abbreviated names the Commission will use for them in this document appears in Appendix A.

    1. Need To Modify the Offer Cap

    19. Commenters differ about the need to raise or remove the $1,000/MWh offer cap. Several commenters argue that the $1,000/MWh offer cap should be raised or removed entirely, given recent occurrences of high natural gas prices. Some commenters cite the recent offer cap waiver orders as evidence that the current offer cap is not just and reasonable.40 Several commenters reference the Polar Vortex in the winter of 2013/14, when resources experienced marginal production costs in excess of $1,000/MWh, as evidence that the current offer cap is inappropriate.41 For example, OMS states that it is appropriate to consider an upward revision or removal of the offer cap to ensure supply adequacy during extreme events such as those that occurred during the winter of 2013/14.42

    40 ANGA Comments at 2; Brookfield Comments at 7; EPSA Comments at 24; Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing Comments at 11-12; Exelon Comments at 10-11; PJM Comments at 2-3; PJM Power Providers Comments at 2-4; SPP Comments at 1; Western Power Trading Forum Comments at 5-6.

    41 EPSA Comments at 21-24; Exelon Comments at 10-12; OMS Comments at 2; PJM Comments at 2-3; PJM Power Providers Comments at 2.

    42 OMS Comments at 2.

    20. Several commenters also assert that the offer cap distorts price signals and creates market inefficiencies.43 Commenters state that the offer cap artificially suppresses clearing prices.44 Some commenters believe that the offer cap restricts market participants from receiving appropriate compensation for costs incurred legitimately.45

    43 PJM Utilities Coalition Comments at 3-4; Western Power Trading Forum Comments at 5.

    44 Direct Energy Comments at 2; EPSA Comments at 21.

    45 ANGA Comments at 2-3; Xcel Comments at 2.

    21. Several commenters stress that the offer cap should be high enough to ensure that resources can reflect their actual costs in supply offers.46 EPSA maintains that the offer cap was never intended to suppress marginal cost bidding.47 MISO states that the offer cap should be modified to ensure that all resources are able to recover at least the costs they incur to produce energy.48 MISO and PJM contend that an offer cap that prevents resource cost recovery can increase the likelihood that resources will be unavailable to system operators.49 SPP and Western Power Trading Forum state that raising the offer cap might reduce out-of-market operator actions and uplift.50

    46 ANGA Comments at 2; Brookfield Comments at 7; Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing Comments at 11-12; ISO-NE Comments at 5; IRC Comments at 2-3; MISO Comments at 4; PJM Comments at 2; PJM Power Providers Group Comments at 2-4; Potomac Economics Comments at 3; Powerex Comments at 29-30; PSEG Companies Comments at 5-6; Western Power Trading Forum Comments at 5-6.

    47 EPSA Comments at 21-22.

    48 MISO Comments at 4.

    49Id.; PJM Comments at 2.

    50 SPP Comments at 1; Western Power Trading Forum Comments at 5-6.

    22. Some commenters oppose modifying the $1,000/MWh offer cap.51 CAISO, ISO-NE, and NYISO assert that, because resource marginal costs are well below $1,000/MWh, there is no evidence that the $1,000/MWh offer cap should be raised in their respective markets.52 CAISO opposes any effort to increase the offer cap until sufficient benefits are identified.53 NCPA, PG&E, and SCE state that the current offer cap ensures just and reasonable rates and mitigates market power in CAISO.54 NCPA and SCE state that the offer cap is sufficient in CAISO because generators there have never experienced costs above $1,000/MWh.55 SCE adds that the marginal cost of the least efficient CAISO resource at the highest natural gas price seen in the region is only $390/MWh.56 APPA and NRECA assert that there is insufficient justification to remove offer caps nationwide.57

    51 APPA and NRECA Comments at 30; CAISO Comments at 3; ELCON Comments at 6.

    52 CAISO Comments at 3; ISO-NE Comments at 3 & n.2; NYISO Comments at 4.

    53 CAISO Comments at 3.

    54 NCPA Comments at 2; PG&E Comments at 3; SCE Comments at 3; see also California State Water Project Comments at 2; New York Transmission Owners Comments at 2.

    55 NCPA Comments at 2-3; SCE Comments at 2.

    56 SCE Comments at 2. According to SCE, the $390/MWh figure assumes a heat rate of 17,000 Btu/kWh, slightly higher than the least efficient unit in CAISO, and a natural gas price of $23/MMBtu.

    57 APPA and NRECA Comments at 32.

    2. Role of the Offer Cap in Market Power Mitigation

    23. At the October 28, 2014 price formation technical workshop, several market monitors discussed the backstop role that the $1,000/MWh offer cap plays in market power mitigation. NYISO's internal market monitor stated that the offer cap provided a “backstop” assurance to protect consumers in the event that NYISO's market mitigation measures fail.58 Similarly, ISO-NE's internal market monitor stated that the offer cap is a device that limits the potential damage to consumers or the market in the event that market power mitigation measures are unsuccessful.59 CAISO's internal market monitor stated that the offer cap primarily functions as a “damage control cap” but also noted that the offer cap affects the penalty prices of constraints in CAISO's market software.60 Potomac Economics, which serves as an external market monitor for MISO, ISO-NE., and NYISO, stated that the offer cap is too high to address general market power concerns, but explained that the offer cap addresses gaming strategies that market participants may engage in to collect undue uplift payments.61

    58 Scarcity and Shortage Pricing, Offer Mitigation and Offer Caps Workshop, Docket No. AD14-14-000, Tr. 205:6-15 (Oct. 28, 2014).

    59Id. at 206:24-207:7.

    60Id. at 210:14-23.

    61Id. at 211:25-212:14.

    24. In response to the Commission's request for comments on price formation topics, several commenters suggest that the offer cap's purpose has been supplanted by improvements in market monitoring and mitigation and the Commission's enforcement activity.62 Wisconsin Electric asserts that the offer cap is irrelevant because RTO/ISO market monitors have effective mitigation measures in place and can refer suspected manipulation to the Commission's Office of Enforcement.63 Direct Energy states that an offer cap is not necessary when resources cannot exercise market power because competition will discipline offers.64 GDF SUEZ argues that offer caps are the least efficient method of protection against uncompetitive offers because offer caps are indifferent to the specifics of a supply offer and do not reflect potentially changed circumstances since the offer cap level was established over ten years ago.65

    62 ANGA Comments at 2-3; Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing Comments at 11; EPSA Comments at 22-23; Exelon Comments at 11-12; Wisconsin Electric Comments at 2-3; Xcel Comments at 2.

    63 Wisconsin Electric Comments at 2.

    64 Direct Energy Comments at 2.

    65 GDF SUEZ Comments at 3.

    25. Several other commenters assert that the offer cap is a backstop measure to protect consumers against the exercise of market power during tight system conditions.66 Other commenters emphasize the importance of strengthening market monitoring and mitigation provisions if offer caps are eliminated or increased.67 ISO-NE asserts that while the offer cap has become less important with market power mitigation, the offer cap still serves as a “fail-safe” mechanism to protect consumers in the unlikely event that the market is not competitive and market power mitigation fails to assure competitive supply offers.68 OMS warns that any effort to raise or remove the offer cap must be based on the Commission's confidence not only in the ability of RTO/ISO market power mitigation provisions to prevent generator market power abuses, but also in whether the prices of input costs were developed in a competitive market.69

    66 ISO-NE Comments at 4; MISO Comments at 5-6; New York Transmission Owners Comments at 2-3; NYISO Comments at 3; TAPS Comments at 10-11; California State Water Project Comments at 2-3.

    67 Direct Energy Comments at 2; MISO Comments at 9; NCPA Comments at 3; New York Transmission Owners Comments at 4; Wisconsin Electric Comments at 2-3.

    68 ISO-NE Comments at 4.

    69 OMS Comments at 2.

    26. Potomac Economics maintains that the offer cap is necessary to keep resources from exploiting any previously unknown flaws in market rules.70 Some commenters assert that due to load's inelastic demand for electricity, offer caps are necessary to protect consumers from excessive prices and to maintain confidence that rate structures are fair and nondiscriminatory.71 TAPS states that on normal days when there are no generators with marginal costs “anywhere close to” $1,000/MWh, there are still 3,000 to 4,000 MW offered at the offer cap.72 TAPS suggests that weakening the offer cap is particularly dangerous because energy markets cannot be halted, so if widespread abuse occurs, after-the-fact resettlements incur massive costs and diversion of resources.73 APPA and NRECA assert that the offer cap should only be increased if RTOs/ISOs can guarantee that all offers are cost-based in order to guarantee appropriate prices and prevent the need to re-run markets after-the-fact.74

    70 Potomac Economics Comments at 3-4.

    71 ELCON Comments at 6; TAPS Comments at 10-11.

    72 TAPS Comments at 12-13 (citing Scarcity and Shortage Pricing, Offer Mitigation and Offer Caps Workshop, Docket No. AD14-14-000, Tr. 217:17-21 (Oct. 28, 2014)).

    73 TAPS Comments at 11 (citing Written Statement of Patrick T. Connors on Behalf of WPPI Energy and the Transmission Access Policy Study Group Regarding Impacts of Offer Caps and Market Power Mitigation, at 5 (Dec. 3, 2014)).

    74 APPA and NRECA Comments at 31-32.

    3. Alternative Offer Cap Designs

    27. In its January 2015 notice inviting post-technical workshop comments in the price formation proceeding, the Commission sought comment on potential alternative offer cap designs, including (1) maintaining the $1,000/MWh offer cap and compensating resources for incremental energy costs above the $1,000/MWh offer cap through uplift; (2) adopting a floating offer cap that changes with natural gas prices; (3) raising the offer cap to a higher fixed level; and (4) allowing resources to submit cost-based offers above $1,000/MWh and allowing verified cost-based offers above $1,000/MWh to set LMP.

    a. Maintain Current Offer Cap With Uplift

    28. Some commenters assert that infrequent events where production costs exceed $1,000/MWh can be addressed effectively through uplift payments without raising the offer cap or otherwise including such costs in the LMP.75 APPA and NRECA state they support generator recovery of legitimate and verified costs but assert that such costs should not necessarily be included in LMP.76 APPA and NRECA add that uplift will ensure cost recovery without risking market power abuse and what APPA and NRECA say would be the attendant increased unjust and unreasonable rates.77

    75Id. at 29-31; California State Water Project Comments at 2-3; New York Transmission Owners Comments at 2-3.

    76 APPA and NRECA Comments at 31.

    77Id. at 31.

    29. APPA and NRECA assert that the market clearing process does not allow sufficient time to verify whether incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh are in fact cost-based; thus, these commenters argue, such cost verification should occur after-the-fact, with costs in excess of the offer cap recovered through uplift.78 SCE and PG&E state that CAISO has tools to accommodate the rare instances when the $1,000/MWh offer cap is insufficient to recover a resource's costs.79

    78Id. at 31-32.

    79 PG&E Comments at 3-4; SCE Comments at 3.

    b. Floating Offer Cap

    30. Several commenters support a floating offer cap that changes with generator input costs, such as the price of natural gas. Calpine asserts that offer caps should be flexible and responsive to changes in natural gas prices,80 and recommends that the Commission encourage each RTO/ISO to implement a floating offer cap.81 Powerex suggests that the offer cap could equal the higher of $1,000/MWh or some multiple of a pre-defined regional natural gas index.82 SPP states that a seasonal fixed offer cap might be appropriate.83 Similarly, OMS maintains that the offer cap need not be constant throughout the year if resource costs vary throughout the year.84

    80 Calpine Comments at 4-6.

    81Id. at 21.

    82 Powerex Comments at 30.

    83 SPP Comments at 1.

    84 OMS Comments at 3.

    31. ISO-NE and MISO, however, argue that a floating offer cap would be difficult to implement.85 ISO-NE opposes basing the offer cap on an index that attempts to track fuel prices, arguing that doing so would be complex and difficult to implement because intra-day natural gas indices are opaque and day-ahead natural gas indices, while arguably less opaque, can become “stale” during the operating day.86 MISO argues that although it may consider a floating offer cap in the longer term, a transition to such an offer cap would likely require substantial system changes.87 ISO-NE asserts that if the Commission is concerned that a fixed offer cap lacks flexibility, the Commission should revisit the offer cap over time as the markets for the major fuels used in power generation continue to evolve.88

    85 ISO-NE Comments at 4-6; MISO Comments at 5-7.

    86 ISO-NE Comments at 6.

    87 MISO Comments at 5-6.

    88 ISO-NE Comments at 6-7.

    c. Higher Fixed Offer Cap

    32. Some commenters support raising the offer cap to a higher level. ANGA states that, at a minimum, the offer cap should be increased significantly to reduce unnecessary market distortions.89 Exelon argues that the current $1,000/MWh cap on market-based offers in PJM should be eliminated, but maintains that, if the offer cap remains in place, it should be raised to account for the highest reasonably expected offer, and that cost-based offers should be allowed to exceed the market-based offer cap.90

    89 ANGA Comments at 3.

    90 Exelon Comments at 12.

    33. If the Commission chooses to raise the offer cap, ISO-NE urges using a simple numerical value rather than a more complicated formula.91 ISO-NE is neutral on raising the offer cap but suggests that any changes to the offer cap level be made in a straightforward manner so that participants know with certainty what the offer cap will be when they make advance fuel-supply arrangements.92 MISO does not oppose raising the offer cap but favors a fixed offer cap to a floating offer cap in the short term.93 MISO states that a fixed offer cap simplifies the process of implementing related market mechanisms such as scarcity or shortage pricing, ancillary services, and transmission demand curves and notes that MISO's current market software systems were designed based upon a fixed offer cap.94

    91 ISO-NE Comments at 6.

    92Id. at 3-4.

    93 MISO Comments at 4-5.

    94Id. at 5.

    34. TAPS asserts that permanently increasing the offer cap to allow incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh “day-in and day-out” would sacrifice the benefits of the current offer cap as a “backstop” protection against market power abuse to address “extreme circumstances” that rarely, if ever, occur.95 APPA and NRECA argue that it is not necessary to increase the offer cap broadly because APPA and NRECA say there is no evidence that the $1,000/MWh offer cap is persistently flawed.96 APPA and NRECA add that resources' incremental energy offers only exceeded $1,000/MWh in PJM on “just a few days in one month of one year.” 97

    95 TAPS Comments at 13.

    96 APPA and NRECA Comments at 30-31.

    97Id. at 30-31.

    d. Permitting Cost-Based Incremental Energy Offers Above $1,000/MWh

    35. Some commenters argue that cost-based incremental energy offers should not be capped.98 PJM states that cost-based offers should not be subject to offer caps because offer caps impose arbitrary limits.99 PJM suggests that one approach may be to set a market-based offer cap on an annual basis at some percentage above the highest cost-based incremental energy offer from previous time periods.100 PJM Power Providers and PSEG Companies assert that cost-based offers should not be capped and should be eligible to set the LMP.101 APPA and NRECA state that if the Commission wishes to revise the offer cap, it should limit any increase in the offer cap to periods when production costs exceed $1,000/MWh and ensure that any changes to the offer cap are accompanied by assurances that protect consumers against market power abuse.102 Although TAPS does not support increasing the $1,000/MWh offer cap, TAPS similarly states that if the Commission wants to take temporary or seasonal action, the Commission should at the very least require that any incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh be verified by the market monitor to be cost-justified.103

    98 Direct Energy Comments at 2; Exelon Comments at 12; PJM Comments at 3; PJM Power Providers Comments at 3-4; PSEG Companies Comments at 5.

    99 PJM Comments at 2-3.

    100Id. at 4.

    101 PJM Power Providers Comments at 4; PSEG Companies Comments at 6.

    102 APPA and NRECA Comments at 30-32.

    103 TAPS Comments at 13-14.

    36. APPA and NRECA, CAISO and NCPA, however, argue that cost-based incremental offers must be verified before the market clears in order to avoid potentially disruptive after-the-fact corrections to clearing prices, and these commenters raise concerns that it is not feasible to do so.104 CAISO does not believe there is a firm basis to verify the natural gas price included in supply offers because market participants might not purchase natural gas before submitting offers and because natural gas quotes might not be available. CAISO also states that natural gas prices and quotes may be subject to manipulation, thereby making fuel cost verification difficult.105 CAISO requests that if the Commission directs RTOs/ISOs to pay resources uplift for fuel costs above the offer cap, then only incremental fuel costs associated with the incremental energy offer be reimbursable. In contrast, CAISO states that costs such as natural gas pooling, imbalance penalties, or risk premiums should be recovered through capacity payments.106

    104 APPA and NRECA Comments at 32; CAISO Comments at 6-7, NCPA Comments at 2.

    105 CAISO Comments at 4-6.

    106Id. at 6.

    37. TAPS contends that advance review and verification of cost-based incremental offers should be possible for most generators.107 Direct Energy states that RTOs/ISOs have sufficient time to verify natural gas costs in the day-ahead and real-time markets and suggests that LMPs can be “flagged” and revised after-the-fact should the RTOs/ISOs have any concerns.108

    107 TAPS Comments at 14-15.

    108 Direct Energy Comments at 3-4.

    4. RTO/ISO Seams and the Offer Cap

    38. Most commenters state that offer caps should be the same for each RTO/ISO, to minimize potential seams issues.109 IRC, PJM, and PSEG Companies assert that transmission congestion and other market-to-market coordination will be disrupted if offer caps differ across markets.110 ISO-NE and NYISO contend that different offer caps in neighboring markets could create perverse interchange flows resulting from the level of the offer caps instead of based on economic merit or reliability needs.111 NYISO states that materially different offer caps between regions that depend on the same natural gas supply could require out-of-market operator actions to avoid reliability issues when natural gas prices are high.112 MISO maintains that consistent offer caps across RTOs/ISOs will also establish consistent shortage pricing between neighboring RTOs/ISOs.113

    109 Brookfield Comments at 8; Calpine Comments at 5; EEI Comments at 9; EPSA Comments at 21; Exelon Comments at 13-14; IRC Comments at 2; ISO-NE Comments at 6-7; MISO Comments at 8; New York Transmission Owners Comments at 3-4; NYISO Comments at 4; PJM Comments at 4; PJM Power Providers Comments at 5-6; PJM Utilities Coalition Comments at 6; PSEG Companies Comments at 6-7; Potomac Economics Comments at 5; Western Power Trading Forum Comments at 6; Wisconsin Electric Comments at 4.

    110 IRC Comments at 2; PJM Comments at 4; PSEG Companies Comments at 6-7.

    111 ISO-NE Comments at 7; NYISO Comments at 5.

    112 NYISO Comments at 4-5.

    113 MISO Comments at 8.

    39. In contrast, APPA and NRECA and NCPA state that offer cap levels should be set according to the needs of each individual RTO/ISO.114 APPA and NRECA assert that the Commission should only consider raising the offer cap on a region-by-region basis where the evidence demonstrates a need for a higher offer cap.115 Direct Energy and PJM Utilities Coalition, respectively, state that different offer caps may be appropriate if the RTOs/ISOs use the same methodology to determine the offer caps or where the different offer cap levels represent true differences in cost.116

    114 APPA and NRECA Comments at 29-30; NCPA Comments at 3.

    115 APPA and NRECA Comments at 32.

    116 Direct Energy Comments at 4; PJM Utilities Coalition Comments at 6.

    5. Other Considerations

    40. CAISO and MISO note that the offer cap level impacts other market parameters that affect LMPs, such as penalty prices associated with violating thermal or operating constraints that are contained in the RTO/ISO software used to calculate LMPs. SCE explains that when CAISO relaxes a transmission constraint, it uses the offer cap to set the congestion price.117 CAISO states it would have to increase constraint penalty prices, currently set to levels above the offer cap, to ensure that the market operators would dispatch economic offers prior to relaxing transmission constraints.118 MISO notes that some market parameters may be intrinsically tied to the maximum LMP in the energy market, including transmission constraint demand curves, emergency or scarcity pricing regimes, and some pricing of ancillary services.119

    117 SCE Comments at 2.

    118 CAISO Comments at 5.

    119 MISO Comments at 5.

    41. IRC and New York Transmission Owners state that changing the offer cap could affect natural gas markets.120 New York Transmission Owners argue that allowing higher offers to set the LMP might increase the price generators will pay for spot natural gas beyond competitive levels since there is no mitigation procedure to test whether resources paid too much for natural gas.121 IRC states that the Commission should focus on ensuring transparency and flexibility in natural gas markets to assist RTOs/ISOs with gas price verification and to ameliorate natural gas price spikes.122

    120 IRC Comments at 3; New York Transmission Owners Comments at 5.

    121 New York Transmission Owners Comments at 5.

    122 IRC Comments at 3.

    II. Need for Reform and Commission Proposal

    42. In the following section, the Commission first explains the need to reform the current offer caps. The Commission next summarizes the alternative proposals that the Commission considered but declined to adopt. Finally, the Commission describes its proposal and the three requirements that underlie it.

    A. Need for Reform

    43. As stated above, five of the six Commission-jurisdictional RTOs/ISOs currently have a $1,000/MWh offer cap.123 As noted previously, PJM currently has a $2,000/MWh offer cap on cost-based incremental energy offers used for purposes of calculating LMPs.124 When the Commission first accepted these offer caps, the Commission did so, in many instances, as temporary measures until larger market reforms were implemented.125 The offer caps have persisted, and are now viewed as a component of the market power mitigation measures adopted by RTOs/ISOs.126 The Commission has reviewed the offer caps and preliminarily finds that the offer caps currently in effect in all RTOs/ISOs are unjust and unreasonable for several reasons.

    123See supra P 10.

    124See supra P 17.

    125See, e.g., Midwest Indep. Transmission Sys. Operator, Inc., 108 FERC ¶ 61,163, at PP 380-381, order on reh'g, 109 FERC ¶ 61,157 (2004), order on clarification, 111 FERC ¶ 61,367 (2005); N.Y. Indep. Sys. Operator, Inc., 97 FERC ¶ 61,095, at 61,496-97 (2001); ISO New England, Inc., 97 FERC ¶ 61,090, at 61,471.

    126See supra PP 23-26.

    44. First, the offer cap can prevent a resource from recouping its short-run marginal costs. With the current $1,000/MWh offer cap, a resource whose short-run marginal cost exceeds $1,000/MWh may operate at a loss. For example, in January 2014, resources in PJM faced high natural gas prices that caused their short-run marginal costs to exceed the $1,000/MWh offer cap in place at the time.127 Similarly, MISO states that high natural gas prices in January and March 2014 caused some MISO resources to experience costs in excess of the $1,000/MWh offer cap.128

    127 PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,020 at P 2.

    128 MISO 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,083 at P 2.

    45. Second, the offer cap can impair price formation because it can result in LMPs that are suppressed below the marginal cost of production. An LMP that is less than the marginal cost of production may not be just and reasonable because it sends an inaccurate signal to load about the actual cost of producing the electricity, and to resources about the value of the next increment of supply. For example, if the marginal resource at a given location has a $1,100/MWh short-run marginal cost but faces a $1,000/MWh cap, that resource's incremental energy offer will be constrained to $1,000/MWh, and as a result, the energy component of LMP will be $100/MWh below the marginal cost of production. In a properly functioning market, the LMP should accurately reflect the costs of serving load and both customers and resources will be aware of that cost through an accurate and transparent price signal.

    46. Third, the offer cap may discourage resources from offering their supply to the RTO/ISO when their short-run marginal costs exceed the offer cap, even though market participants may be willing to purchase that supply. For example, a resource may not be subject to a must-offer requirement, and thus be under no obligation to offer its supply to the energy market and therefore simply decide not to offer its supply to the market if its short-run marginal cost exceeds the offer cap. Both PJM and MISO state that an offer cap that prevents cost recovery can reduce the likelihood that resources with short-run marginal costs above the cap will offer their supply to the RTO/ISO.129

    129 MISO Comments at 4; PJM Comments at 2.

    47. Fourth and finally, if several resources have short-run marginal costs above $1,000/MWh, the $1,000/MWh offer cap requires those resources to submit incremental energy offers equal to $1,000/MWh, even if the resources face different costs. Under this scenario, the $1,000/MWh offer cap will prevent the RTO/ISO from observing the cost differences among these resources and the RTO/ISO will not be able to select the most efficient resources because the resources with costs above $1,000/MWh were not able to submit incremental energy offers consistent with their short-run marginal cost. For these reasons, the Commission preliminarily finds that the current offer caps result in rates that are unjust and unreasonable. In addition, these reasons illustrate that the current offer caps may not achieve the price formation goals discussed above.

    48. The Commission considered several alternatives to achieve the price formation goals. On balance, the Commission has preliminarily determined that the alternative that best achieves the price formation goals is to retain the existing $1,000/MWh offer cap except in circumstances when a resource has verifiable short-run marginal costs in excess of $1,000/MWh. The discussion at the technical workshop and subsequent comments received suggest that the $1,000/MWh offer cap is appropriate in most circumstances and serves as an appropriate backstop to the existing market power mitigation rules. However, recent experience also suggests that some resources may face short-run marginal costs greater than $1,000/MWh and, in such infrequent circumstances, the $1,000/MWh offer cap inappropriately limits those resources' incremental energy offers and the resulting LMP. To the extent incremental energy offers can be verified, we believe a generic reform to allow offers and LMPs to exceed $1,000/MWh will enhance market efficiency and mitigate the potential for seams issues.

    B. Alternative Offer Cap Proposals Discussed in Comments

    49. This section briefly discusses why the Commission has not proposed the other alternative offer cap designs. The Commission is not proposing the alternative that uses uplift payments to compensate resources with costs above the offer cap because, while uplift payments may ensure that a resource recoups its costs, such a proposal would not ensure that LMPs accurately reflect the marginal cost of production—a key goal of the price formation effort.130

    130Price Formation in Energy and Ancillary Services Markets Operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, Notice Inviting Post-Technical Workshop Comments, Docket No. AD14-14-000, at 2 (Jan. 16, 2015).

    50. The Commission is not proposing a floating offer cap that would change with natural gas prices. This alternative proposal would be unduly preferential to natural gas-fueled resources and discriminatory towards resources that do not use natural gas as fuel because such a cap would only vary with the cost inputs of resources that use natural gas as fuel. As such, this alternative proposal could prevent a resource that does not use natural gas as a fuel to generate electricity from submitting a legitimate cost-based incremental energy offer if that offer is above the natural gas-based floating cap. Although natural gas fueled resources are currently the most likely resources to have short-run marginal costs above $1,000/MWh, this may not always be the case. Furthermore, setting the offer cap for all resources based on the price of natural gas would allow non-natural gas resources to submit offers above $1,000/MWh and below the natural-gas based offer cap with no cost basis for doing so, thereby potentially allowing them to exercise market power when natural gas prices rise but when these resources' costs do not similarly rise.

    51. Finally, the Commission is not proposing to raise the offer cap to a higher fixed level. A higher fixed offer cap could still limit a resource's incremental energy offer below its short-run marginal cost and potentially suppress LMPs if that resource's costs rose above the fixed offer cap. Additionally, like the floating offer cap, a higher fixed offer cap could raise market power concerns.

    C. Commission Proposal

    52. To remedy any potentially unjust and unreasonable rates, the Commission proposes, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA),131 to revise its regulations to require that each RTO/ISO cap a resource's incremental energy offer used for purposes of setting LMPs to the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource's verified cost-based incremental energy offer. Under the proposal, consistent with Order No. 719 132 and as prescribed in the RTO/ISO tariffs, the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO would verify the costs within such a cost-based incremental energy offer before that offer could be used to calculate LMPs. The proposed offer cap would apply to incremental energy offers in both the day-ahead and real-time energy markets. Under the proposal, each RTO/ISO must comply with the following three requirements: an offer cap structure, cost-based incremental energy offer verification, and resource neutrality, discussed in detail below. The Commission would not prescribe the precise manner in which the RTO/ISO must comply with the requirements in implementing the proposal. Each requirement, as established in the proposed regulations, is discussed in turn below.

    131 16 U.S.C. 824e(b).

    132Wholesale Competition in Regions with Organized Electric Markets, Order No. 719, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,281, at PP 370-375 (2008), order on reh'g, Order No. 719-A, FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 31,292 (2009), order on reh'g, Order No. 719-B, 129 FERC ¶ 61,252 (2009).

    1. Offer Cap Structure

    53. The first proposed requirement is as follows:

    A resource's incremental energy offer used for purposes of calculating Locational Marginal Prices in energy markets must be capped at the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource's cost-based incremental energy offer.

    This requirement would ensure that a resource is given the opportunity to recoup its short-run marginal costs during intervals when those costs exceed $1,000/MWh because the resource could include such costs within its cost-based incremental energy offer. Additionally, this requirement would ensure that LMPs are no longer suppressed by the offer cap when marginal production costs exceed $1,000/MWh. This requirement would permit RTOs/ISOs to accept cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh and use those offers in the market clearing process that calculates LMPs, but only when such offers are cost-based. Accordingly, all incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh would be subject to market power mitigation and the attendant requirement that the offer be equal to the short-run marginal cost of the associated resource. Incremental energy offers at or below $1,000/MWh will continue to be subject to existing market power mitigation provisions.

    54. The Commission preliminarily finds that it is necessary to permit resources to submit cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh, because as PJM and MISO indicated in recent filings, the $1,000/MWh offer cap appears to have limited some resources' incremental energy offers to a level below their short-run marginal cost during intervals with high natural gas prices.133 In addition, allowing all resources to offer consistent with short-run marginal cost will enhance an RTO/ISO's ability to dispatch the lowest cost resources, particularly when multiple resources have short-run marginal cost greater than $1,000/MWh. Furthermore, allowing a resource to submit a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh would help ensure that resources with short-run marginal costs above $1,000/MWh have an incentive to offer electricity into the market during high price periods, when their electricity may be needed. Allowing LMPs to reflect a given RTO/ISO's marginal cost of production could result in more economic power flows across seams because electricity would flow to where it is most valued.

    133 PJM 2015/16 Offer Cap Order, 153 FERC ¶ 61,289, at PP 2-3 (2015); MISO, Transmittal at 4, Docket No. ER16-248-000 (filed Nov. 2, 2015); MISO 2015/16 Offer Cap Order, 154 FERC ¶ 61,006.

    55. The Commission, however, does not propose to eliminate the $1,000/MWh offer cap entirely because the $1,000/MWh functions as a backstop for existing market power mitigation rules. Several market monitors at the Scarcity and Shortage Pricing, Offer Mitigation and Offer Caps Workshop held on October 28, 2014,134 as well as many commenters 135 noted this function of the offer cap. For example, ISO-NE states that the $1,000/MWh offer cap still serves as a “fail-safe” mechanism to protect consumers in the unlikely event that the market is not competitive and market power mitigation fails to assure competitive supply offers.136 Additionally, ISO-NE, NYISO, and CAISO indicate that the $1,000/MWh offer cap is currently above the short-run marginal cost of resources in those RTOs/ISOs (i.e., the offer cap does not currently force a resource to submit an incremental energy offer below its short-run marginal cost).137 Under this proposal, verified cost-based incremental energy offers are not capped. The Commission recently approved tariff revisions in PJM that required all incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh to be cost-based and also placed a $2,000/MWh hard cap on cost-based incremental energy offers used for purposes of calculating LMPs.138 The Commission seeks comment on whether such a hard cap should be included in any final rule in this proceeding and, if so, whether the hard cap should equal $2,000/MWh or another value.

    134 Scarcity and Shortage Pricing, Offer Mitigation and Offer Price Caps Workshop, Docket No. AD14-14-000, Tr. 205:11-19, 206:24-207:7, 210:14-211:8, 212:12-213:3 (Oct. 28, 2015).

    135See supra PP 25-26.

    136 ISO-NE Comments at 4.

    137 CAISO Comments at 3; ISO-NE Comments at 3; NYISO Comments at 4.

    138See supra n.36.

    2. Cost-Based Incremental Energy Offer Verification

    56. The second proposed requirement is as follows:

    The costs underlying a resource's cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh must be verified before that offer can be used for purposes of calculating Locational Marginal Prices. If a resource submits an incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh and the costs underlying that offer cannot be verified before the market clearing process begins, that resource's incremental energy offer in excess of $1,000/MWh may not be used to calculate Locational Marginal Prices. In such circumstances a resource would be eligible for a make-whole payment if that resource clears the energy market and the resource's costs are verified after-the-fact.

    This requirement would ensure that the proposal results in LMPs that reflect the marginal cost of production during intervals when the marginal resource's short-run marginal cost exceeds $1,000/MWh.

    57. The Commission preliminarily finds that verification of the costs underlying cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh is warranted to reduce the potential exercise of market power. Without such verification, a resource may be able to submit an offer above $1,000/MWh not because its costs exceed $1,000/MWh, but rather because it recognizes that its energy is necessary to serve load and that it does not face competition from other resources. Using such an uncompetitive offer to calculate LMPs could result in unjust and unreasonable rates.

    58. Under the proposal, the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO would be required to verify that each cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh is in fact cost-based. The Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO would verify that a resource's cost-based offer is an accurate reflection of that resource's short-run marginal cost. The Commission notes that for purposes of mitigation, the RTO/ISO tariffs use different terminology to describe the market power mitigation process, short-run marginal costs, and mitigated offers.139 The Market Monitoring Units in some RTOs/ISOs currently have processes whereby the Market Monitoring Unit or the market participant itself can derive cost-based incremental energy offers that are specific to a given resource.140 Additionally, ISO-NE and NYISO currently have processes in place where a resource can contact, before the close of the day-ahead or real-time markets, the Market Monitoring Unit to update the resource's cost-based incremental energy offer (e.g., due to a change in fuel prices).141 These updates are subject to verification by the Market Monitoring Unit.

    139See supra n.16.

    140Id.

    141 ISO-NE, Markets and Services Tariff, Market Rule 1, III.A.3.1 (43.0.0); NYISO, NYISO Tariffs, NYISO Markets and Services Tariff, 23.3.1.4.6.7 (11.0.0). Resources in SPP may also contact the Market Monitoring Unit during the operating day and request a mitigation exception pursuant to SPP, OATT, Sixth Revised Volume No. 1, Attachment AF, 3.8 (7.0.0). Additionally, in MISO resources may consult with the Market Monitoring Unit to change reference levels as soon as practicable. MISO, FERC Electric Tariff, 64.1.4.h (30.0.0).

    59. Under the proposal, the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO must verify the costs within a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh before that offer is used for purposes of calculating LMPs. The Commission seeks comment regarding the Market Monitoring Unit's or the RTO/ISO's ability to timely verify the costs within incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh prior to the day-ahead or real-time market clearing process, including whether the verification of physical offer components is also necessary. The Commission seeks comment on whether the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO may need additional information to ensure that all short-run marginal cost components that are difficult to quantify, such as certain opportunity costs, are accurately reflected in a resource's cost-based incremental energy offer. For example, cost-based offers in PJM include a ten percent adder, which may account for such cost components. To the extent that RTOs/ISOs currently include an adder above cost in cost-based incremental energy offers, is such an adder appropriate for incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh? The Commission also seeks comment on whether the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO may need additional information or new authority to require revisions or corrections to cost-based incremental energy offers to ensure that a cost-based incremental energy offer is an accurate reflection of a resource's short-run marginal cost.

    60. Under this proposal, each RTO/ISO would be required to include in its tariff a process by which the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO verifies the costs included in cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh. To create such a verification process, the Commission expects that the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO would build on its existing mitigation processes for calculating or updating cost-based incremental energy offers. The Commission notes that the nature of before-the-fact and after-the-fact cost verification processes often differ. The Commission expects that a market participant that seeks to submit a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh must provide appropriate documentation to the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO. The Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO should then have a before-the-fact verification process that would allow for timely cost verification such that an offer submitted in a reasonable period of time could be used for purposes of calculating LMPs. As noted already, the Commission emphasizes that this before-the-fact verification should build upon existing procedures.

    61. Currently, RTOs/ISOs use different processes to develop and update offers for mitigation purposes. Under this proposal, the Commission would not require RTOs/ISOs to adopt the same approach to implement the cost-based incremental energy offer verification requirement.

    62. RTOs/ISOs also differ in how they define the components of cost-based incremental energy offers for purposes of mitigation.142 Each RTO/ISO has tariff provisions that set out the elements of a resource's short-run marginal cost for purposes of mitigation.143 The Commission expects each RTO/ISO to use the elements set forth in its tariff provisions for purposes of determining a resource's cost-based incremental energy offer. Thus, the Commission is not proposing to define the elements of a short-run marginal cost as part of this proceeding.

    142 For example, CAISO and PJM mitigate resources to cost-based offers that include a ten percent adder, while the standard cost-based offers in MISO, ISO-NE, and NYISO do not include an adder above cost.

    143See supra n.16

    63. Given that the verification process for cost-based incremental energy offers is intended to build on an RTO/ISO's existing mitigation processes, as proposed, external RTO/ISO resources (i.e., imports) would not be eligible to submit cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh because RTO/ISO processes to develop cost-based incremental energy offers for mitigation purposes typically apply to internal resources alone. However, the Commission would consider RTO/ISO proposals to develop cost-based incremental energy offers for external transactions in their respective compliance filings for any final rule in this proceeding.144 The Commission seeks comments on whether the offer cap proposal should apply to imports and whether a cost verification process for import transactions is feasible.

    144 Any proposal to develop cost-based incremental energy offers for external transactions could address external resources generically or address certain scheduling practices (e.g., dynamic or pseudo tie schedules).

    64. The Commission preliminarily finds that, as financial instruments, virtual transactions have no short-run marginal production costs and, thus, could not provide a cost-basis for a virtual transaction above $1,000/MWh. Accordingly, virtual transactions in RTOs/ISOs which currently limit virtual transaction bid/offer caps to existing incremental energy offer caps, could not exceed $1,000/MWh under the proposal.145 The Commission seeks comment on whether prohibiting virtual transactions above $1,000/MWh could limit hedging opportunities, present opportunities for manipulation or gaming, create market inefficiencies, or have other undesirable consequences. Additionally, the Commission seeks comment on alternatives which would allow virtual increment offers and decrement bids to be submitted and cleared at prices above $1,000/MWh.146

    145 To the extent they currently exist, this proposal would not affect existing RTO/ISO tariff provisions that permit virtual transactions to exceed $1,000/MWh.

    146 The Commission found it just and reasonable for virtual increment offers and decrement bids in PJM to clear up to $2,700/MWh, equal to the newly established energy and reserve market aggregate price cap. PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., 139 FERC ¶ 61,057, at PP 123-143 (2012).

    65. The cost-based incremental energy offer verification requirement also ensures that a resource with short-run marginal costs above $1,000/MWh recoups its costs in the event that the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO cannot verify that resource's costs prior to the market clearing process. The Commission emphasizes that RTOs/ISOs would be expected to adopt a verification process that allows timely submitted and appropriately documented cost-based incremental energy offers to be used to calculate LMPs; compensating resources through make-whole payments should be treated only as a backstop. Under this proposal, the RTO/ISO would adopt a procedure to include the offer, modified as discussed below, in its market clearing process. Accordingly, if such an offer clears the energy market, that resource may be entitled to a make-whole payment if the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO can verify after-the-fact that the resource's short-run marginal cost was above $1,000/MWh. The basis of the make-whole payment would be the difference between a given resource's energy market revenues and that resource's total offer costs, including the cost-based incremental energy offer.147

    147 Under this proposal, any make-whole payments associated with such an after-the-fact cost verification would not be duplicative or overcompensate a resource for the costs included in its energy supply offer.

    66. The Commission's proposal would permit regional variation in the process for treating incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh that the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO cannot verify prior to the start of the market clearing process. For example, the RTO/ISO could have procedures to change the incremental energy offer to $1,000/MWh and to mitigate that offer further to a level below $1,000/MWh pursuant to other applicable market power mitigation provisions. The Commission continues to find that regional variation is acceptable here because incremental energy offers are currently subject to the existing RTO/ISO mitigation procedures that vary across RTOs/ISOs to appropriately account for regional differences. Further, RTO/ISO mitigation procedures only affect resources within the RTO/ISO. However, as discussed below, the offer cap also affects inter-regional trading such that generic action is required to avoid exacerbating seams.

    67. Existing Commission regulations, as described below, already create a framework that ensures cost-based incremental energy offers submitted as part of a supply offer are based on legitimate costs.148 In existing mitigation processes, a resource must submit accurate cost information to the market monitor. In submitting a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh, a resource that misrepresents its costs would be in violation of the Commission's regulations requiring accurate statements. Section 35.41(b) of the Commission's regulations requires market participants to provide “accurate and factual information and not submit false or misleading information, or omit material information, in any communication with the Commission, Commission-approved market monitors . . . [or] Commission-approved independent system operators.” 149 Additionally, a resource that intentionally misrepresents its costs could violate the Commission's Anti-Manipulation Rule. That rule prohibits a market participant from intentionally making “any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit[ting] to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.” 150 Thus, any resource that misrepresents its costs may be in violation of the Commission's regulations, even if its offer does not clear the day-ahead or real-time energy market.

    148 Several RTOs/ISOs also rely on procedures to temporarily strip resources of the opportunity to make fuel price related adjustments to their reference levels in the event after-the-fact verification processes fail to confirm the need for the reference level update. See ISO-NE., Transmission Markets and Services Tariff, Market Rule 1, III.A.3.4(c) (43.0.0); NYISO, NYISO Tariffs, NYISO Markets and Services Tariff, 23.3.1.4.6.8 (11.0.0).

    149 18 CFR 35.41(b) (2015).

    150 18 CFR 1c.2(a)(2) (2015).

    68. Some commenters express concern that verification of cost-based incremental energy offers prior to the market clearing process may require RTOs/ISOs to re-run the market if the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO initially accepts a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh and subsequently determines through an after-the-fact review that the offer that established the LMP was not in fact cost-based.151 The Commission preliminarily finds that the verification requirement in this proposal addresses this concern because cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh should result in LMPs that are appropriate because they will accurately reflect the marginal cost of production. Accordingly, such LMPs will not require recalculation after-the-fact.

    151 CAISO Comments at 6-7.

    3. Resource Neutrality

    69. The third proposed requirement is as follows:

    All resources, regardless of type, are eligible to submit cost-based incremental energy offers in excess of $1,000/MWh.

    This requirement would ensure that the eligibility to submit cost-based incremental energy offers in excess of $1,000/MWh would not be applied in an unduly discriminatory or unduly preferential manner. During the Polar Vortex, natural gas prices reached levels that caused the short-run marginal cost of natural gas-fueled resources that purchased gas on the natural gas spot market to exceed $1,000/MWh. However, limiting the opportunity to submit cost-based incremental energy offers in excess of $1,000/MWh to a particular resource type, such as natural-gas fueled resources, would be unduly preferential to those resources.152 Even though natural gas resources are currently most likely to have cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh, market conditions may change causing other resource types to have short-run marginal costs above $1,000/MWh. Accordingly, the Commission proposes that all resource types be eligible to submit a cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh. The resource neutrality requirement is consistent with prior Commission orders related to the offer cap in PJM and MISO.153

    152 PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,020 at P 39.

    153See MISO 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,083 at P 16; PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,020 at P 39; PJM 2015/16 Offer Cap Order, 153 FERC ¶ 61,289; MISO 2015/16 Offer Cap Order, 154 FERC ¶ 61,006.

    4. Seams Issues

    70. The Commission proposes to make a generic change to the offer cap applicable to all RTOs/ISOs through a rulemaking to avoid exacerbating seams issues. Seams issues could arise if one RTO/ISO has an offer cap that materially differed from a neighboring RTO/ISO's offer cap. For example, NYISO states that offer caps that are materially different in neighboring RTOs/ISOs that rely on the same natural gas market could require out-of-market operator actions to avoid reliability concerns.154 ISO-NE and NYISO also note that different offer caps in neighboring RTOs/ISOs could result in flows that depend on the level of the two offer caps as opposed to economics or reliability needs.155 The Commission also has indicated in prior orders approving temporary waivers or tariff changes related to MISO and PJM's respective offer caps that the Commission would address seams issues related to the offer cap beyond the winter of 2014/15 in the price formation proceeding.156 Therefore, this proposal would revise the market rules in all RTOs/ISOs in a similar manner to ensure that market prices accurately reflect the marginal cost of production.

    154 NYISO Comments at 4-5.

    155 ISO-NE Comments at 7; NYISO Comments at 5.

    156See PJM 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,020 at P 42; MISO 2014/15 Offer Cap Order, 150 FERC ¶ 61,083 at P 19.

    71. Some commenters have expressed concern that different offer caps in neighboring markets could create seams issues. The Commission acknowledges that the instant proposal could result in neighboring markets having different effective offer caps in a given interval because the marginal cost of production in one RTO/ISO may differ from other neighboring markets due to different resources with different short-run marginal costs being on the margin. Nonetheless, the Commission believes these differences will not adversely affect seams because these differences would be driven by actual costs and not by offer caps artificially suppressing LMPs. Therefore, the associated differences in LMPs will encourage efficient interchange transactions. The Commission seeks comment on this preliminary finding and other seams issues related to this proposal.

    5. Other Considerations

    72. In several RTO/ISOs, factors affecting LMPs and other market outcomes depend on the offer cap. For example, CAISO's shortage pricing and penalty factors that apply when transmission constraints are relaxed are based on the $1,000/MWh offer cap.157 Such relationships may have to be revised because they may require that the value of the offer cap be known prior to the market clearing process. Under this proposal, the ultimate value of the offer cap may not be known in advance in periods when marginal production costs exceed $1,000/MWh. Accordingly, given this proposal, RTOs/ISOs may wish to revise certain market features that relate to or are affected by the offer cap. RTOs/ISOs and their stakeholders may also wish to consider additional tariff revisions, such as changes to scarcity or shortage pricing, raising or removing caps on price-sensitive demand bids, and other means by which load can express its willingness to pay for electricity. Although they are not required to do so, the Commission would consider other market design changes, such as changes to scarcity or shortage pricing or other penalty prices, associated with adopting this proposal in the compliance filing.

    157 CAISO Comments at 8.

    6. Comments Sought on This Proposal

    73. The Commission seeks comment on its proposal as described herein. Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on the following items: (1) Whether a hard cap on cost-based incremental energy offers used for purposes of calculating LMPs should be included in any final rule in this proceeding and, if so, whether the hard cap should equal $2,000/MWh or another value; (2) the ability to timely verify the costs within incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh prior to the day-ahead or real-time market clearing process, including whether the verification of physical offer components is also necessary; (3) whether the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO may need additional information to ensure that all short-run marginal cost components that are difficult to quantify, such as certain opportunity costs, are accurately reflected in a resource's cost-based incremental energy offer and to the extent that RTOs/ISOs currently include an adder above cost in cost-based incremental energy offers, whether such an adder is appropriate for incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh; (4) whether the Market Monitoring Unit or RTO/ISO may need additional information or new authority to require revisions or corrections to a cost-based incremental energy offer to ensure that a resource's cost-based incremental energy offer is an accurate reflection of that resource's short-run marginal cost; (5) whether the proposal should apply to imports and whether a cost verification process for import transactions is feasible; (6) whether excluding virtual transactions above $1,000/MWh could limit hedging opportunities, present opportunities for manipulation or gaming, create market inefficiencies, or have other undesirable consequences, and whether alternatives exist which would allow virtual increment offers and decrement bids to be submitted and cleared at prices above $1,000/MWh; and (7) the impact the proposal would have on seams. Comments must be submitted within sixty (60) days of publication of this NOPR in the Federal Register.

    III. Compliance

    74. The Commission proposes to require that each RTO/ISO submit a compliance filing no later than four months from the effective date of the final rule in this proceeding to demonstrate that it meets the proposed requirements set forth in the final rule. The Commission will accept RTO/ISO proposals that satisfy the three requirements described above and notes that proposals may vary regionally based on the existing RTO/ISO tariff provisions that are used to develop cost-based incremental energy offers and to implement market power mitigation provisions that are to be used as a basis for implementing this proposal. As noted previously, the Commission is also willing to consider proposed revisions to other market design features that may require revision in light of this proposal, such as changes to scarcity or shortage pricing or other market parameters.

    75. To the extent that any RTO/ISO believes that it already complies with the reforms adopted in a final rule in this proceeding, the RTO/ISO would be required to demonstrate, in the compliance filing, how it complies.

    IV. Information Collection Statement

    76. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) 158 requires each federal agency to seek and obtain Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval before undertaking a collection of information directed to ten or more persons or contained in a rule of general applicability. OMB's regulations,159 in turn, require approval of certain information collection requirements imposed by agency rules. Upon approval of a collection(s) of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents subject to the filing requirements of a rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to these collection(s) of information unless the collection(s) of information display a valid OMB control number.

    158 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.

    159 5 CFR 1320 (2015).

    77. The reforms proposed in this NOPR would amend the Commission's regulations to improve the operation of organized wholesale electric power markets operated by RTOs/ISOs. The Commission proposes to require that each RTO/ISO cap a resource's incremental energy offer used for purposes of calculating LMPs in energy markets to the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource's cost-based incremental energy offer, as verified by the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO. The reforms proposed in this NOPR would require one-time filings of tariffs with the Commission and potential software upgrades to implement the reforms proposed in this NOPR. The Commission anticipates the reforms proposed in this NOPR, once implemented, would not significantly change currently existing burdens on an ongoing basis. With regard to those RTOs/ISOs that believe that they already comply with the reforms proposed in this NOPR, they could demonstrate their compliance in the compliance filing required four months after the effective date of the final rule in this proceeding. The Commission will submit the proposed reporting requirements to OMB for its review and approval under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act.160

    160 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).

    78. While the Commission expects the adoption of the reforms proposed in this NOPR to provide significant benefits, the Commission understands implementation can be a complex endeavor. The Commission solicits comments on the accuracy of provided burden and cost estimates and any suggested methods for minimizing the respondents' burdens, including the use of automated information techniques. Specifically, the Commission seeks detailed comments on the potential cost and time necessary to implement aspects of the reforms proposed in this NOPR, including (1) software and business processes changes, including market power mitigation; (2) increased time spent validating cost-based incremental energy offers; and (3) processes for RTOs/ISOs to vet proposed changes amongst their stakeholders.

    Burden Estimate and Information Collection Costs: The Commission believes that the burden estimates below are representative of the average burden on respondents, including necessary communications with stakeholders. The estimated burden and cost for the requirements contained in this NOPR follow.161

    161 The RTOs and ISOs (CAISO, ISO-NE., MISO, NYISO, PJM, and SPP) are required to comply with the reforms proposed in this NOPR.

    Software or Hardware Upgrades May Not Be Required [FERC-516, as modified by NOPR in Docket RM16-5-000] Number of
  • respondents
  • Annual
  • number of
  • responses per
  • respondent
  • Total number of responses Average burden (hours) & cost per response Total annual burden hours & total annual cost Cost per
  • respondent
  • ($)
  • (1) (2) (1) × (2) = (3) (4) (3) × (4) = (5) (5) ÷ (1) One-Time Tariff Filings (Year 1) 6 1 6 500 hrs.; $36,000 163 3,000 hrs.; $216,000 $36,000

    The Commission notes that these cost estimates below do not include costs for software or hardware or for increased time spent validating cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh.162

    162 The Commission expects that the validation of cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh would be an infrequent occurrence. To the extent that the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO spends time validating these offers, the Commission estimates such time to be de minimis.

    163 The estimated hourly cost (salary plus benefits) provided in this section are based on the salary figures for May 2014 posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Utilities sector (available at http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm#13-0000) and scaled to reflect benefits using the relative importance of employer costs in employee compensation from March 2015 (available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm). The hourly estimates for salary plus benefits are:

    • Legal (code 23-0000), $129.87

    • Computer and mathematical (code 15-0000), $58.25

    • Information systems manager (code 11-3021), $94.55

    • IT security analyst (code 15-1122), $63.55

    • Auditing and accounting (code 13-2011), $51.11

    • Information and record clerk (code 43-4199), $37.50

    • Electrical Engineer (code 17-2071), $66.45

    • Economist (code 19-3011), $73.04

    • Management (code 11-0000), $78.04

    The average hourly cost (salary plus benefits), weighting all of these skill sets evenly, is $72.48. The Commission rounds it to $72 per hour.

    Cost to Comply: The Commission has projected the total cost of compliance, all within four months of a Final Rule plus initial implementation, to be $216,000. After Year 1, the reforms proposed in this NOPR, once implemented, would not significantly change existing burdens on an ongoing basis.

    The Commission notes that these estimates do not include costs for software or hardware. Software or hardware upgrades may not be required.

    Title: FERC-516, Electric Rate Schedules and Tariff Filings.

    Action: Proposed revisions to an information collection.

    OMB Control No. 1902-0096.

    Respondents for this Rulemaking: RTOs/ISOs.

    Frequency of Information: One-time during.

    Necessity of Information: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposes this rule to improve competitive wholesale electric markets in the RTO/ISO regions.

    Internal Review: The Commission has reviewed the proposed changes and has determined that such changes are necessary. These requirements conform to the Commission's need for efficient information collection, communication, and management within the energy industry. The Commission has specific, objective support for the burden estimates associated with the information collection requirements.

    79. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: Ellen Brown, Office of the Executive Director], email: [email protected], Phone: (202) 502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873. Comments concerning the collection of information and the associated burden estimate(s), may also be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, phone: (202) 395-0710, fax (202) 395-7285]. Due to security concerns, comments should be sent electronically to the following email address: [email protected] Comments submitted to OMB should include FERC-516 and OMB Control No. 1902-0096.

    V. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    80. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) 164 generally requires a description and analysis of rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA does not mandate any particular outcome in a rulemaking. It only requires consideration of alternatives that are less burdensome to small entities and an agency explanation of why alternatives were rejected.

    164 5 U.S.C. 601-12.

    81. This rule would apply to six RTOs/ISOs (all of which are transmission organizations). The average estimated annual cost to each of the RTOs/ISOs is $36,000, all in Year 1. This one-time cost of filing and implementing these changes is not significant.165 Additionally, the RTOs/ISOs are not small entities, as defined by the RFA.166 This is because the relevant threshold between small and large entities is 500 employees and the Commission understands that each RTO/ISO has more than 500 employees. Furthermore, because of their pivotal roles in wholesale electric power markets in their regions, none of the RTOs/ISOs meet the last criterion of the two-part RFA definition a small entity: “not dominant in its field of operation.” As a result, the Commission certifies that the reforms proposed in this NOPR would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Commission does not expect other entities to incur compliance costs as a result of the reforms proposed in this NOPR, but seeks detailed comments on whether other entities, such as load-serving entities, would incur costs as a result of the reforms proposed in this NOPR.

    165 This estimate does not include costs for software or increased time spent validating cost-based incremental energy offers, for which the Commission requests comment. As stated above, the Commission expects that the validation of cost-based incremental energy offers above $1,000/MWh would be an infrequent occurrence. To the extent that the Market Monitoring Unit or the RTO/ISO spends time validating these offers, the Commission expects such time to be de minimis.

    166 The RFA definition of “small entity” refers to the definition provided in the Small Business Act, which defines a “small business concern” as a business that is independently owned and operated and that is not dominant in its field of operation. The Small Business Administrations' regulations at 13 CFR 121.201 define the threshold for a small Electric Bulk Power Transmission and Control entity (NAICS code 221121) to be 500 employees. See 5 U.S.C. 601(3), citing to Section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 632.

    VI. Environmental Analysis

    82. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.167 The Commission concludes that neither an Environmental Assessment nor an Environmental Impact Statement is required for this NOPR under section 380.4(a)(15) of the Commission's regulations, which provides a categorical exemption for approval of actions under sections 205 and 206 of the FPA relating to the filing of schedules containing all rates and charges for the transmission or sale of electric energy subject to the Commission's jurisdiction, plus the classification, practices, contracts and regulations that affect rates, charges, classifications, and services.168

    167Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1989, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47,897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,783 (1987).

    168 18 CFR 380.4(a)(15) (2015).

    VII. Comment Procedures

    83. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due April 4, 2016. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM16-5-000, and must include the commenter's name, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address.

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

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

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

    VIII. Document Availability

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 35

    Electric power rates, Electric utilities, Non-discriminatory open access transmission tariffs.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Issued: January 21, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend part 35, chapter I, title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

    PART 35—FILING OF RATE SCHEDULES AND TARIFFS 1. The authority citation for part 35 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 791a-825r, 2601-2645; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.

    2. Amend § 35.28 by adding paragraph (g)(9) to read as follows:
    § 35.28 Non-discriminatory open access transmission tariff.

    (g) * * *

    (9) Incremental energy offer caps. A resource's incremental energy offer used for purposes of calculating Locational Marginal Prices in energy markets must be capped at the higher of $1,000/MWh or that resource's cost-based incremental energy offer. The costs underlying a resource's cost-based incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh must be verified before that offer can be used for purposes of calculating Locational Marginal Prices. If a resource submits an incremental energy offer above $1,000/MWh and the costs underlying that offer cannot be verified before the market clearing process begins, that resource's incremental energy offer in excess of $1,000/MWh may not be used to calculate Locational Marginal Prices. In such circumstances a resource would be eligible for a make-whole payment if that resource clears the energy market and the resource's costs are verified after-the-fact. All resources, regardless of type, are eligible to submit cost-based incremental energy offers in excess of $1,000/MWh.

    The following appendix will not appear in the Code of Federal Regulations.

    Appendix A: List of Short Names/Acronyms of Commenters Short name/acronym Commenter APPA and NRECA American Public Power Association and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. ANGA America's Natural Gas Alliance. Brookfield Brookfield Renewable Energy Marketing LP. California State Water Project California Department of Water Resources State Water Project. CAISO California Independent System Operator Corporation. Calpine Calpine Corporation. Direct Energy Direct Energy Business Marketing, LLC, Direct Energy Business, LLC and affiliated companies. EEI Edison Electric Institute. EPSA Electric Power Supply Association. ELCON Electricity Consumers Resource Council. Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing, LLC. Exelon Exelon Corporation. GDF SUEZ GDF SUEZ North America, Inc. ISO-NE ISO New England, Inc. IRC ISO/RTO Council. MISO Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. NYISO New York Independent System Operator, Inc. New York Transmission Owners New York Transmission Owners (Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., Power Supply of Long Island, New York Power Authority, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation d/b/a National Grid, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation). NCPA Northern California Power Agency. OMS Organization of MISO States. PG&E Pacific Gas and Electric Company. PJM PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. PJM Power Providers PJM Power Providers Group. PJM Utilities Coalition PJM Utilities Coalition (American Electric Power Service Corporation, the Dayton Power and Light Company, FirstEnergy Service Company, Buckeye Power, Inc., and East Kentucky Power Cooperative). Potomac Economics Potomac Economics, Ltd. Powerex Powerex Corp. PSEG Companies PSEG Companies (Public Service Electric and Gas Company, PSEG Power LLC and PSEG Energy Resources & Trade LLC). SCE Southern California Edison Company. SPP Southwest Power Pool, Inc. TAPS Transmission Access Policy Study Group. Western Power Trading Forum Western Power Trading Forum. Wisconsin Electric Wisconsin Electric Power Company. Xcel Xcel Energy Services Inc.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01813 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Internal Revenue Service 26 CFR Part 1 [REG-100861-15] RIN 1545-BM56 Allocation of Creditable Foreign Taxes AGENCY:

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking by cross-reference to temporary regulations.

    SUMMARY:

    In the Rules and Regulations section in this issue of the Federal Register, the IRS is issuing temporary regulations that provide guidance relating to the allocation by a partnership of foreign income taxes. Those temporary regulations are necessary to improve the operation of an existing safe harbor rule that is used for determining whether allocations of creditable foreign tax expenditures are deemed to be in accordance with the partners' interests in the partnership. The text of those temporary regulations published in this issue of the Federal Register also serves as the text of these proposed regulations.

    DATES:

    Comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by May 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send submissions to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-100861-15), Room 5205, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-100861-15), Courier's desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20224, or sent electronically, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-100861-15).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Concerning the regulations, Suzanne M. Walsh, (202) 317-4908; concerning submissions of comments, Oluwafunmilayo Taylor, (202) 317-5179 (not toll-free numbers).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background and Explanation of Provisions

    Temporary regulations in the Rules and Regulations section of this issue of the Federal Register contain amendments to the Income Tax Regulations (26 CFR part 1) which provide guidance relating to the allocation by a partnership of foreign income taxes. The text of those regulations also serves as the text of these proposed regulations. The preamble to the temporary regulations explains the temporary regulations and these proposed regulations. The regulations affect partnerships and their partners.

    Special Analyses

    Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It has also been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because the regulations do not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f), these regulations have been submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

    Comments and Requests for Public Hearing

    Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, consideration will be given to any comments that are submitted timely to the IRS as prescribed in this preamble under ADDRESSES. The Treasury Department and the IRS request comments on all aspects of the proposed rules. All comments will be available at www.regulations.gov or upon request. A public hearing will be scheduled if requested in writing by any person that timely submits comments. If a public hearing is scheduled, notice of the date, time, and place for the public hearing will be published in the Federal Register.

    Drafting Information

    The principal author of these regulations is Suzanne M. Walsh of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (International). However, other personnel from the IRS and the Treasury Department participated in their development.

    List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

    Income taxes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is proposed to be amended as follows:

    PART 1—INCOME TAXES Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in part as follows: Authority:

    26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

    Par. 2. Section 1.704-1 is amended as follows: 1. In paragraph (b)(0): i. Add an entry for § 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1). ii. Revise the entries for (b)(4)(viii)(c)(1) through (4) and (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1). 2. Revise paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(b)(1), (b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B), (b)(4)(viii)(a)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(1), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) and (iii), (b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) and (4), (b)(4)(viii)(d)(1), and Example 25 of paragraph (b)(5). 3. Add Examples 36 and 37 to paragraph (b)(5).

    The revisions read as follows:

    § 1.704-1 Partner's distributive share.

    (b) * * *

    (0) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(0) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(0) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (1) * * *

    (ii) * * *

    (b) Rules relating to foreign tax expenditures. (1) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(1) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (3) * * *

    (B) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(1)(ii)(b)(3)(B) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (4) * * *

    (viii) * * *

    (a) * * *

    (1) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(a)(1) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (c) Income to which CFTEs relate. (1) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(1) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(1) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (2) * * *

    (ii) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(ii) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (iii) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(2)(iii) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (3) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(3) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (4) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(c)(4) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (d) Allocation and apportionment of CFTEs to CFTE categories. (1) [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(4)(viii)(d)(1) published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    (5) * * *

    Example 25. [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(5) Example 24 is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 25 published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    Example 36.

    [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(5) Example 36 is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 36 published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    Example 37.

    [The text of the proposed amendments to § 1.704-1(b)(5) Example 37 is the same as the text of § 1.704-1T(b)(5) Example 37 published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]

    John Dalrymple, Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01948 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4830-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 100 [Docket Number USCG-2015-1108] RIN 1625-AA08 Special Local Regulation, Daytona Beach Grand Prix of the Seas; Atlantic Ocean, Daytona Beach, FL AGENCY:

    Coast Guard, DHS.

    ACTION:

    Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:

    The Coast Guard proposes to establish a special local regulation on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean east of Daytona Beach, Florida during the Daytona Beach Grand Prix of the Seas, a series of high-speed personal watercraft boat races. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of life on the navigable waters surrounding the event. This special local regulation will be enforced daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from April 22 through April 24, 2016. This proposed rulemaking would prohibit persons and vessels from being in the regulated area unless authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Jacksonville or a designated representative. We invite your comments on this proposed rulemaking.

    DATES:

    Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2015-1108 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 Allan Storm, Sector Jacksonville, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone (904) 564-7563, email [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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

    On December 7, 2015, Powerboat P1-USA, LLC notified the Coast Guard that it will be conducting a series of high speed boat races in the Atlantic Ocean, offshore from Daytona Beach, FL from April 22 through 24, 2016. The COTP Jacksonville has determined that the potential hazards associated with the high speed boat races necessitate the establishment of a special local regulation.

    The purpose of this rulemaking is to ensure the safety of life on the navigable waters of the United States by prohibiting all vessels and persons not participating in the event from entering the regulated area. The Coast Guard proposes this rulemaking under authority in 33 U.S.C. 1233.

    III. Discussion of Proposed Rule

    The COTP proposes to establish a special local regulation for the Daytona Beach Grand Prix of the Seas, a series of high-speed personal watercraft boat races. The regulated area includes the waters of the Atlantic Ocean offshore from Daytona Beach, Florida and will be enforced daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., from April 22 through April 24, 2016. Approximately 90 high-speed personal watercraft are anticipated to participate in the races. The regulated area would encompass an approximated offshore area that is 1,350 yards wide that extends from 600 yards south of the Daytona Beach pier to 1,900 yards north of the pier. No vessel or person would be permitted to enter the regulated area without obtaining permission from the COTP or a designated representative. 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.

    The Coast Guard has determined that this NPRM is not a significant regulatory action for the following reasons: (1) the special local regulation would be enforced for a total of only 27 hours over the course of three days; (2) although persons and vessels would not be able to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area without authorization from the COTP Jacksonville or a designated representative, they would be able to operate in the surrounding area during the enforcement period; (3) persons and vessels would still be able to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated if authorized by the COTP Jacksonville or a designated representative; and (4) the Coast Guard would provide advance notification of the special local regulation to the local maritime community via Broadcast Notice to Mariners or by on-scene designated representative.

    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.

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

    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 a special local regulation that would prohibit persons and vessels from transiting through a 2,500 yard by 1,350 yard regulated area during a three day racing event lasting nine hours daily. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph 34(h) of Figure 2-1 of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist and Categorical Exclusion Determination are available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule.

    G. Protest Activities

    The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels.

    V. Public Participation and Request for Comments

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

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

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

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

    List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 100

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

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

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

    33 U.S.C. 1233.

    2. Add § 100.35T07-1108 to read as follows:
    § 100.35T07-1108 Special Local Regulation, Daytona Beach Grand Prix of the Seas; Atlantic Ocean, Daytona Beach, FL.

    (a) Regulated Area. The following regulated area is a special local regulation located offshore from Daytona Beach, FL. All waters of the Atlantic Ocean encompassed within the following points: Starting at Point 1 in position 29°14.580′ N., 081°00.820′ W., thence northeast to Point 2 in position 29°14.783′ N., 081°00.101′ W., thence southeast to Point 3 in position 29°13.646′ N., 081°59.549′ W., thence southwest to Point 4 in position 29°13.434′ N., 081°00.224′ W., thence northwest back to origin. These coordinates are based on North American Datum 1983.

    (b) Definition. The term “designated representative” means Coast Guard Patrol Commanders, including Coast Guard coxswains, petty officers, and other officers operating Coast Guard vessels, and Federal, state, and local officers designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port (COTP) Jacksonville in the enforcement of the regulated area.

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

    (2) Persons and vessels desiring to enter, transit through, anchor in, or remain within the regulated area may contact the COTP Jacksonville by telephone at 904-564-7511, or a designated representative via VHF-FM radio on channel 16 to request authorization. If authorization is granted, all persons and vessels receiving such authorization must comply with the instructions of the COTP Jacksonville or designated representative.

    (3) The Coast Guard will provide notice of the regulated area through Broadcast Notice to Mariners via VHF-FM channel 16 or by on-scene designated representatives.

    (d) Enforcement Period. This section will be enforced daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April 22 through April 24, 2016.

    Dated: January 25, 2016. J.F. Dixon, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Jacksonville.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02097 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110-04-P
    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter II [Docket ID ED-2015-OESE-0130] Negotiated Rulemaking Committee; Negotiator Nominations and Schedule of Committee Meetings AGENCY:

    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education.

    ACTION:

    Intent to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee.

    SUMMARY:

    We announce our intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee prior to publishing proposed regulations to implement part A of title I, Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The negotiating committee will include representatives of constituencies that are significantly affected by the topics proposed for negotiations, including Federal, State, and local education administrators, tribal leadership, parents and students, including historically underrepresented students, teachers, principals, other school leaders (including charter school leaders), paraprofessionals, members of State and local boards of education, the civil rights community, including representatives of students with disabilities, English learners, and other historically underserved students, and the business community. We request nominations for individual negotiators who represent key stakeholder constituencies for the issues to be negotiated to serve on the committee, and we set a schedule for committee meetings.

    DATES:

    We must receive your nominations for negotiators to serve on the committee on or before February 25, 2016. The dates, times, and locations of the committee meetings are set out in the Schedule for Negotiations section in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice.

    ADDRESSES:

    Submit your nominations for negotiators to James Butler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3W246, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone (202) 260-9737 or by email: [email protected]

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    James Butler, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 3W246, Washington, DC 20202. Telephone (202) 260-9737 or by email: [email protected]

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf or a text telephone, call the Federal Relay Service, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On December 10, 2015, the President signed into law the ESSA, amending the ESEA. Among other things, the ESSA reauthorizes, for a four-year period, programs under title I of the ESEA, which are designed to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.

    On December 22, 2015, we published a request for information and notice of meetings (RFI) in the Federal Register (80 FR 79528), seeking advice and recommendations on regulatory issues under title I of the ESEA, and providing notice of regional meetings at which stakeholders were able to provide such advice and recommendations. Those meetings were held on January 11, 2016, in Washington, DC, and on January 19, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. The Department will post transcripts from the hearings on its Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/index.html as soon as they are available.

    In response to the RFI, the Department received written comments from more than 370 individuals and organizations. Those written comments may be viewed through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Instructions for finding comments are available on the site under “How to Use Regulations.gov” in the Help section. Individuals can enter docket ID ED-2015-OESE-0130 in the search box to locate the appropriate docket.

    Regulatory Issues: After considering the advice and recommendations provided at the regional meetings and through written comments, we have decided to establish a negotiating committee to:

    (1) Prepare proposed regulations that would update existing assessment regulations to reflect changes to section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA, including:

    (i) Locally selected nationally recognized high school assessments, under section 1111(b)(2)(H);

    (ii) The exception for advanced mathematics assessments in 8th grade, under section 1111(b)(2)(C);

    (iii) Inclusion of students with disabilities in academic assessments, including alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, subject to a cap of 1.0% of students assessed for a subject;

    (iv) Inclusion of English learners in academic assessments and English language proficiency assessments; and

    (v) Computer-adaptive assessments.

    (2) Prepare proposed regulations related to the requirement under section 1118(b) of the ESEA that title I, part A funds be used to supplement, and not supplant, non-Federal funds, specifically:

    (i) Regarding the methodology a local educational agency uses to allocate State and local funds to each title I school to ensure compliance with the supplement not supplant requirement; and

    (ii) The timeline for compliance.

    These topics are tentative. Topics may be added or removed as the process continues.

    Selection of Negotiators: We intend to select negotiators for the committee who represent the interests that may be significantly affected by the topics proposed for negotiation. In so doing, we will comply with the requirement in section 1601(b)(3)(B) of the ESEA, that negotiators be selected from among individuals or groups that provided advice and recommendations in response to the RFI (e.g., if a member of an organization provided a response to the RFI, then another member of that organization can be nominated and selected for the committee), including representation from all geographic regions of the United States, in such numbers as will provide an equitable balance between representatives of parents and students and representatives of educators and education officials. In addition, we will select negotiators who will contribute to the diversity and expertise of the negotiating committee. Our goal is to establish a committee that will allow significantly affected parties to be represented while keeping the committee small enough to ensure meaningful participation by all members.

    We intend to select at least one negotiator for each constituency represented on the committee. For any constituency that is represented by only one negotiator, we will also select an alternate. In cases of constituencies for which an alternate is selected, the primary negotiator will participate for the purpose of determining consensus; the alternate negotiator will participate for the purpose of determining consensus only in the absence of the primary negotiator. All members, including any alternates, may speak during the negotiations.

    Individuals who are not selected as members of the committee will be able to attend the committee meetings (which will be open to the public—see below).

    Constituencies: The Department plans to seat as negotiators one or more individuals representing these constituencies:

    • State administrators and State boards of education;

    • Local administrators and local boards of education;

    • Tribal leadership;

    • Parents and students, including historically underserved students;

    • Teachers;

    • Principals;

    • Other school leaders, including charter school leaders;

    • Paraprofessionals;

    • The civil rights community, including representatives of students with disabilities, English learners, and other historically underserved students;

    • The business community; and

    • Federal administrators.

    The goal of the committee is to develop proposed regulations that reflect a final consensus of the committee. An individual selected as a negotiator will be expected to represent the interests of his or her constituency and participate in the negotiations in a manner consistent with the goal of developing proposed regulations on which the committee will reach consensus. If consensus is reached, the negotiator and, if applicable, his or her employer organization, is bound by the consensus and may not submit a negative comment through the public comment process on the resulting proposed regulations. The Department will not consider any such negative comments.

    Nominations: Nominations should include:

    • The name of the nominee and the constituency the nominee represents.

    • Evidence of the nominee's expertise or experience in the topics proposed for negotiations.

    • Evidence of support from individuals or groups within the constituency that the nominee will represent.

    • The nominee's commitment that he or she is available to attend all negotiation sessions and will actively participate in good faith in the development of the proposed regulations.

    • The nominee's contact information, including address, phone number, and email address.

    Nominees will be notified of whether they have been selected as negotiators as soon as the Department's review process is completed.

    Schedule for Negotiations: The committee will meet for two sessions on the following dates:

    • Session 1: March 21-March 23, 2016 • Session 2: April 6-April 8, 2016

    In addition, an optional third session may be scheduled for April 18-April 19, 2016, if the committee determines that a third session would enable the committee to complete its work of developing proposed regulations that reflect a final consensus of the committee. Sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    The committee meetings will be held at the U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20202.

    The meetings are open to the public.

    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    The site of the meetings for the negotiated rulemaking process is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you need an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting (e.g., interpreting service, assistive listening device, or materials in alternative format), notify the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT in advance of the scheduled meeting date. We will make every effort to meet any request we receive.

    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System at: www.thefederalregister.org/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.

    You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department.

    Dated: February 1, 2016. John B. King, Jr., Acting Secretary of Education.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02224 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
    FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 47 CFR Part 79 [MB Docket No. 12-108; FCC 15-156] Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus AGENCY:

    Federal Communications Commission.

    ACTION:

    Proposed rule.

    SUMMARY:

    In this document, the Commission seeks comment on a proposal to adopt rules that would require manufacturers and MVPDs to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning.

    DATES:

    Comments are due on or before February 24, 2016; reply comments are due on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments, identified by MB Docket No. 12-108, by any of the following methods:

    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

    Mail: U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to the FCC Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. 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.

    Hand or Messenger Delivery: All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the FCC Secretary must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th Street SW., Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554.

    People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC 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 “PROCEDURAL MATTERS” heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Maria Mullarkey, [email protected], of the Media Bureau, Policy Division, (202) 418-2120. For additional information concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act information collection requirements contained in this document, contact Cathy Williams at (202) 418-2918 or send an email to [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    This is a summary of the Commission's Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second Further NPRM), FCC 15-156, adopted on November 18, 2015, and released on November 20, 2015. For background, see the summary of the Second Report and Order accompanying the Second Further NPRM published in this issue of the Federal Register. The full text of this document is available electronically via the FCC's Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) Web site at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/ or via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) Web site at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Documents will be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. This document is also available for public inspection and copying during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW., CY-A257, Washington, DC 20554. Alternative formats are available for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), by sending an email to [email protected] or calling the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice), (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

    I. Introduction

    1. In this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Second Further NPRM”), we seek comment on a proposal to adopt rules that would require manufacturers and MVPDs to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning.

    II. Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    2. In this Second Further NPRM, we seek comment on a proposal to adopt rules that would require manufacturers and MVPDs to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning and we seek comment on the Commission's authority to adopt such rules under the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 (“TDCA”).1 In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“Further NPRM”), we inquired whether Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA provide the Commission with authority to adopt such a requirement.2 Upon further review of the issue, we continue to believe that there are important public interest considerations in favor of ensuring that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning, and we seek comment on whether the TDCA provides authority to adopt regulations that would facilitate such access because it mandates that the Commission take steps to ensure that closed captioning service continues to be available to consumers.3

    1 Pub. L. 101-431, 104 Stat. 960 (1990) (codified at 47 U.S.C. 303(u), 330(b)).

    2Accessibility of User Interfaces, and Video Programming Guides and Menus; Accessible Emergency Information, and Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, MB Docket Nos. 12-108, 12-107, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 78 FR 77210, 78 FR 77074, para. 140 (2013) (“Report and Order and Further NPRM”). In response to the Further NPRM, we received comments on the issue of our authority under Sections 204 and 205, which we are continuing to evaluate.

    3See S. Rep. 101-393, 1990 USCCAN 1438 (explaining that the TDCA “charges the [FCC] with ensuring that closed-captioning services are available to the public as new technologies are developed”).

    3. The TDCA requires generally that television receivers and other apparatus 4 contain circuitry to decode and display closed captioning 5 and directs that our “rules shall provide performance and display standards for such built-in decoder circuitry or capability designed to display closed captioned video programming.” 6 In 2000, the Commission adopted technical standards for the display of closed captions on digital television receivers “to ensure that closed-captioning service continues to be available to consumers” following the transition to digital service.7 In particular, the Commission adopted with some modifications Section 9 of EIA-708, an industry standard addressing closed captioning for digital television, which supports user options that enable caption display to be customized for a particular viewer by allowing the viewer to change the appearance of the captions to suit his or her needs.8 As we noted in the Further NPRM, 9 when the Commission adopted the technical standards, it explained that the “capability to alter fonts, sizes, colors, backgrounds and more, can enable a greater number of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing to take advantage of closed captioning.” 10 Notably, the Commission concluded that “[o]nly by requiring decoders to respond to these various [display] features can we ensure that closed captioning will be accessible for the greatest number of persons who are deaf and hard of hearing, and thereby achieve Congress' vision that to the fullest extent made possible by technology, people who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to the television medium.” 11

    4See 47 U.S.C. 303(u)(1) (requiring that “apparatus designed to receive or play back video programming transmitted simultaneously with sound” contain circuitry to decode and display closed captioning).

    5See id. 303(u)(1)(A).

    6See id. 330(b).

    7See id. 303(u) (as amended by Section 203 of the CVAA), 330(b); Closed Captioning Requirements for Digital Television Receivers; Closed Captioning and Video Description of Video Programming, Implementation of Section 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Video Programming Accessibility, ET Docket No. 99-254, MM Docket No. 95-176, Report and Order, 65 FR 58467 (2000) (“DTV Closed Captioning Order”).

    8DTV Closed Captioning Order, para. 7.

    9Report and Order and Further NPRM, para. 141.

    10DTV Closed Captioning Order, para. 10. After pointing out that Congress noted that captioning will benefit “older Americans who have some loss of hearing,” id. at para. 11 (quoting TDCA, sec. 2(4)), the Commission found that the benefits of being able to alter closed captions extend to older Americans who may have some hearing loss along with a visual disability. Id.

    11Id. at para. 13. See also Public Law 101-431, sec. 2(1).

    4. We seek comment on whether the TDCA gives the Commission authority to adopt further implementing regulations to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning. Specifically, the TDCA, as codified in Section 330(b) of the Act, provides that “[a]s new video technology is developed, the Commission shall take such action as the Commission determines appropriate to ensure that closed-captioning service continues to be available to consumers.” 12 In enacting the TDCA, Congress stated that “to the fullest extent made possible by technology,” persons who are deaf and hard of hearing “should have equal access to the television medium.” 13 We believe that adopting rules requiring that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning will “ensure that closed-captioning service continues to be available to consumers” and, in particular, that enabling viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing to set caption display features, such as colors, fonts, sizes, and backgrounds, will ensure that such individuals can benefit fully from digital television technologies.14 We seek comment on this analysis.

    12 Public Law 101-431, sec. 4; 47 U.S.C. 330(b).

    13 Public Law 101-431, sec. 2(1).

    14See id. at sec. 4; 47 U.S.C. 330(b).

    5. Although the rules implemented in 2000 were intended to provide consumers with the benefits of customization for closed captioning, the record indicates that these features remain inaccessible to many viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing because they are difficult to locate and use. As discussed in the Further NPRM, Consumer/Academic Groups reference the “long and frustrating history of the difficulties in accessing closed captioning features on apparatus and navigation devices,” and describe the “[m]ost infamously difficult” example, in which a cable box must first be turned off in order to access the captioning mechanisms through a special menu feature.15 Consumer/Academic Groups explain that “it is critically important that the display settings are easily accessible and easily adjustable without difficulty everywhere,” including restaurants and other public places.16 We believe that public interest considerations weigh in favor of adopting requirements to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning, and we believe that such requirements will fulfill our statutory mandate under Section 330(b) of the Act to ensure that closed captioning service continues to be available to consumers and effectuate Congress's intent that individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing have equal access to video programming to the fullest extent made possible by technology.17 We seek comment on this proposal, on the costs and benefits of these requirements, and on the impact of the proposed rules on small entities.

    15See Comments of the National Association of the Deaf et al., MB Docket No. 12-108, at 8 (July 15, 2013). See also Letter from Andrew S. Phillips, Policy Counsel, NAD, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, MB Docket No. 12-108, at 3 (Sept. 11, 2013) (noting that “[t]o this day, many people who are deaf or hard of hearing continue to have difficulties accessing closed captioning controls on MVPD-provided products,” and that consumers must “navigate complex menu settings in order to find the closed captioning control or configuration settings”); Comments of the National Association of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network, Association of Late-Deafened Adults, Inc., Hearing Loss Association of America, California Coalition of Agencies Serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization, and Telecommunication-RERC at 8-9, 11 (“Consumer/Academic Groups Comments”).

    16 Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 9. Consumer/Academic Groups emphasize that “[t]he CVAA applies to all devices that we access at home, in public establishments, schools, workplaces, and everywhere, not just those devices in our possession and familiar to us.” Id.

    17See 47 U.S.C. 330(b); H.R. Rep. No. 111-563, 111th Cong., 2d Sess. at 19 (2010); S. Rep. No. 111-386, 111th Cong., 2d Sess. at 1 (2010). See also Public Law 101-431, sec. 2(1).

    6. Further, we seek comment on how we would implement a requirement that consumers be able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning. Consumer/Academic Groups contend that access to closed captioning display features should not be lower than the first level of a menu,18 arguing that if users are unable to locate closed captioning display settings that are buried in multiple levels of a menu, “then they are unlikely to be able to alter the font, sizes, and/or backgrounds to fit their particular needs” and “captions will remain at hard-to-read levels—such as with fonts that are too small or with poor contrast, frustrating each individual's ability to access programming in a way that best suits their needs.” 19 Should we require that inclusion of closed captioning display settings must be no lower than the first level of a menu? Would this approach provide industry with flexibility to develop other innovative ways for users to access and locate closed captioning display settings? We seek comment on alternative ways to implement this requirement.

    18 To provide an example of what it means to activate closed captioning in the “first level of a menu,” Consumer/Academic Groups in comments responding to the NPRM cited “the web-based YouTube video player,” explaining that “[t]o access the captioning settings on the YouTube player, the user first clicks the `CC' button at the bottom of the screen, then clicks `Settings . . . ,' and then a box appears which allows users to adjust the closed captioning settings.” Comments of the National Association of the Deaf et al., MB Docket No. 12-108, at 11 (July 15, 2013).

    19 Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 9.

    7. We also seek comment on steps industry already is taking or planning to take to facilitate access to user display settings for closed captioning. We note that, in response to questions regarding the state of industry readiness in complying with the requirements adopted in the Report and Order, CEA queried its members and reported that “TV manufacturers intend to make caption display settings accessible via mechanisms reasonably comparable to a button, key, or icon through several methods including a button on the remote or access through the first level of a menu,” and that “manufacturers are making efforts to streamline access to the ANSI/CEA-708 attributes.” 20 We seek input on whether there is a need to adopt regulations given current plans of industry with regard to facilitating access to user display settings for closed captioning.

    20 Letter from Julie M. Kearney, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, CEA, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, MB Docket No. 12-108, at 2 (Mar. 3, 2015).

    8. We believe that a requirement that consumers be able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning should apply to apparatus covered by Section 303(u)(1) of the Act (i.e., apparatus designed to receive or play back video programming transmitted simultaneously with sound, if such apparatus is manufactured in the United States or imported for use in the United States and uses a picture screen of any size),21 as interpreted consistently with our precedent in the IP Closed Captioning Order. 22 We seek comment on this analysis. We also seek comment on whether the exceptions relating to technical feasibility and achievability in Section 303(u) of the Act should apply in this context.23 In addition, we seek comment on which entities should be responsible for compliance. Should both manufacturers and MVPDs be obligated to facilitate the ability of consumers to locate and control closed captioning display settings? For example, where closed captioning display settings are accessed through the television or set-top box, would the manufacturer of such device be solely responsible for ensuring that the display settings are readily accessible? Or would MVPDs also have responsibility with respect to ensuring their customers are able to readily access closed captioning display settings?

    21 47 U.S.C. 303(u)(1).

    22See Closed Captioning of Internet Protocol-Delivered Video Programming: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, MB Docket No. 11-154, Report and Order, 77 FR 46632, paras. 93-96 (2012) (“IP Closed Captioning Order”). Under this interpretation, apparatus exempt from the requirement to be equipped with built-in closed caption decoder circuitry or capability designed to display closed-captioned video programming (e.g., display-only video monitors, and apparatus primarily designed for purposes other than receiving or playing back video programming) would not be subject to the requirements proposed herein. See id. at paras. 106-08. See also Closed Captioning of Internet Protocol-Delivered Video Programming: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, MB Docket No. 11-154, Order on Reconsideration and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 78 FR 39691, 78 FR 39619, paras. 5-15 (2013).

    23 47 U.S.C. 303(u), 303(u)(2); IP Closed Captioning Order, paras. 97-98, 104-05.

    9. Finally, if the Commission adopts rules, what time frame would be appropriate for requiring covered entities to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning? In particular, we seek comment on Consumer/Academic Groups' request that the compliance deadline for readily accessible closed captioning display settings be the same as the December 20, 2016 deadline for the closed captioning activation mechanism adopted pursuant to Sections 204 and 205 of the CVAA.24 We ask commenters to justify any deadline they propose by explaining what must be done by that deadline to comply with the proposed requirement.

    24See Consumer/Academic Groups Comments at 10-11.

    III. Procedural Matters A. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act

    10. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (“RFA”),25 the Commission has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (“IRFA”) concerning the possible economic impact on small entities by the policies and rules proposed in the Second Further 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 as specified in the Second Further NPRM. The Commission will send a copy of the Second Further NPRM, including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (“SBA”).26 In addition, the Second Further NPRM and this IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.27

    25See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601-612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (“SBREFA”), Public Law 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).

    26See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).

    27See id.

    1. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rule Changes

    11. In the Second Further NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on a proposal to adopt rules that would require manufacturers and multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning and seeks comment on the Commission's authority to adopt such rules under the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 (“TDCA”). The TDCA, as codified in Section 330(b) of the Act, provides that “[a]s new video technology is developed, the Commission shall take such action as the Commission determines appropriate to ensure that closed-captioning service continues to be available to consumers.” In enacting the TDCA, Congress stated that “to the fullest extent made possible by technology,” persons who are deaf and hard of hearing “should have equal access to the television medium.” Although the rules implemented in 2000 were intended to provide consumers with the benefits of customization for closed captioning (i.e., the ability to alter fonts, sizes, colors, backgrounds and more), the record indicates that these features remain inaccessible to many viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing because they are difficult to locate and use. The proposed rules requiring that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning will “ensure that closed-captioning service continues to be available to consumers” and, in particular, that the benefits of being able to alter colors, fonts, and sizes offered by digital captioning technology fully accrue to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

    2. Legal Basis

    12. The proposed action is authorized pursuant to the Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990, Public Law 101-431, 104 Stat. 960, and the authority contained in Sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(u), and 330(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(u), 330(b).

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

    13. The RFA directs the Commission to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that will be affected by the rules proposed in the Second Further NPRM. 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. Small entities that are directly affected by the rules proposed in the Second Further NPRM include manufacturers of apparatus covered by Section 303(u)(1) of the Act (i.e., apparatus designed to receive or play back video programming transmitted simultaneously with sound, if such apparatus is manufactured in the United States or imported for use in the United States and uses a picture screen of any size) and MVPDs.

    14. Cable Television Distribution Services. Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. This category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate 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.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    15. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has also developed its own small business size standards for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission's rules, a “small cable company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide. Industry data shows that there were 1,141 cable companies at the end of June 2012. Of this total, all but 10 incumbent cable companies are small under this size standard. In addition, under the Commission's rate regulation rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers. Current Commission records show 4,945 cable systems nationwide. Of this total, 4,380 cable systems have less than 20,000 subscribers, and 565 systems have 20,000 subscribers or more, based on the same records. Thus, under this standard, we estimate that most cable systems are small.

    16. Cable System Operators (Telecom Act Standard). The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size standard for small cable system operators, which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate, serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.” There are approximately 56.4 million incumbent cable video subscribers in the United States today. Accordingly, an operator serving fewer than 564,000 subscribers shall be deemed a small operator, if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates, do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate. Based on available data, we find that all but 10 incumbent cable operators are small under this size standard. We note that the Commission neither requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250 million. Although it seems certain that some of these cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose gross annual revenues exceed $250,000,000, we are unable at this time to estimate with greater precision the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small cable operators under the definition in the Communications Act.

    17. Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) Service. DBS service is a nationally distributed subscription service that delivers video and audio programming via satellite to a small parabolic “dish” antenna at the subscriber's location. DBS, by exception, is now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small. However, the data we have available as a basis for estimating the number of such small entities were gathered under a superseded SBA small business size standard formerly titled “Cable and Other Program Distribution.” The definition of Cable and Other Program Distribution provided that a small entity is one with $12.5 million or less in annual receipts. Currently, only two entities provide DBS service, which requires a great investment of capital for operation: DIRECTV and DISH Network. Each currently offer subscription services. DIRECTV and DISH Network each report annual revenues that are in excess of the threshold for a small business. Because DBS service requires significant capital, we believe it is unlikely that a small entity as defined by the SBA would have the financial wherewithal to become a DBS service provider.

    18. Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) Systems, also known as Private Cable Operators (PCOs). SMATV systems or PCOs are video distribution facilities that use closed transmission paths without using any public right-of-way. They acquire video programming and distribute it via terrestrial wiring in urban and suburban multiple dwelling units such as apartments and condominiums, and commercial multiple tenant units such as hotels and office buildings. SMATV systems or PCOs are now included in the SBA's broad economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small.

    19. Home Satellite Dish (HSD) Service. HSD or the large dish segment of the satellite industry is the original satellite-to-home service offered to consumers, and involves the home reception of signals transmitted by satellites operating generally in the C-band frequency. Unlike DBS, which uses small dishes, HSD antennas are between four and eight feet in diameter and can receive a wide range of unscrambled (free) programming and scrambled programming purchased from program packagers that are licensed to facilitate subscribers' receipt of video programming. Because HSD provides subscription services, HSD falls within the SBA-recognized definition of Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities.

    20. Open Video Services. The open video system (OVS) framework was established in 1996, and is one of four statutorily recognized options for the provision of video programming services by local exchange carriers. The OVS framework provides opportunities for the distribution of video programming other than through cable systems. Because OVS operators provide subscription services, OVS falls within the SBA small business size standard covering cable services, which is Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities. In addition, we note that the Commission has certified some OVS operators, with some now providing service. Broadband service providers (“BSPs”) are currently the only significant holders of OVS certifications or local OVS franchises. The Commission does not have financial or employment information regarding the entities authorized to provide OVS, some of which may not yet be operational. Thus, again, at least some of the OVS operators may qualify as small entities.

    21. Wireless cable systems—Broadband Radio Service and Educational Broadband Service. Wireless cable systems use the Broadband Radio Service (BRS) and Educational Broadband Service (EBS) to transmit video programming to subscribers. In connection with the 1996 BRS auction, the Commission established a small business size standard as an entity that had annual average gross revenues of no more than $40 million in the previous three calendar years. The BRS auctions resulted in 67 successful bidders obtaining licensing opportunities for 493 Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). Of the 67 auction winners, 61 met the definition of a small business. BRS also includes licensees of stations authorized prior to the auction. At this time, we estimate that of the 61 small business BRS auction winners, 48 remain small business licensees. In addition to the 48 small businesses that hold BTA authorizations, there are approximately 392 incumbent BRS licensees that are considered small entities. After adding the number of small business auction licensees to the number of incumbent licensees not already counted, we find that there are currently approximately 440 BRS licensees that are defined as small businesses under either the SBA or the Commission's rules. In 2009, the Commission conducted Auction 86, the sale of 78 licenses in the BRS areas. The Commission offered three levels of bidding credits: (i) A bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years (small business) received a 15 percent discount on its winning bid; (ii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that exceed $3 million and do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years (very small business) received a 25 percent discount on its winning bid; and (iii) a bidder with attributed average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $3 million for the preceding three years (entrepreneur) received a 35 percent discount on its winning bid. Auction 86 concluded in 2009 with the sale of 61 licenses. Of the 10 winning bidders, two bidders that claimed small business status won four licenses; one bidder that claimed very small business status won three licenses; and two bidders that claimed entrepreneur status won six licenses.

    22. In addition, the SBA's placement of Cable Television Distribution Services in the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers is applicable to cable-based Educational Broadcasting Services. Since 2007, these services have been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers, which was developed for small wireline businesses. This category is defined as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network facilities that they operate 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. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, we estimate that the majority of businesses can be considered small entities. In addition to Census data, the Commission's internal records indicate that as of September 2012, there are 2,241 active EBS licenses. The Commission estimates that of these 2,241 licenses, the majority are held by non-profit educational institutions and school districts, which are by statute defined as small businesses.

    23. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs). Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services. ILECs are included in the SBA's economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small.

    24. Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. We have included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this present RFA analysis. A “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not dominant in its field of operation.” The SBA's Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent local exchange carriers are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. We have therefore included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.

    25. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service providers. These entities are included in the SBA's economic census category, Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 31,996 establishments that operated that year. Of this total, 30,178 establishments had fewer than 100 employees, and 1,818 establishments had 100 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such businesses can be considered small.

    26. 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 this category, which is: All such businesses having 750 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 939 establishments that operated for part or all of the entire year. Of those, 912 operated with fewer than 500 employees, and 27 operated with 500 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such establishments can be considered small.

    27. Audio and Video Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: “This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing electronic audio and video equipment for home entertainment, motor vehicles, and public address and musical instrument amplification. Examples of products made by these establishments are video cassette recorders, televisions, stereo equipment, speaker systems, household-type video cameras, jukeboxes, and amplifiers for musical instruments and public address systems.” The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this category, which is: All such businesses having 750 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007 shows that there were 492 establishments in this category operated for part or all of the entire year. Of those, 488 operated with fewer than 500 employees, and four operated with 500 or more employees. Therefore, under this size standard, the majority of such establishments can be considered small.

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

    28. In the Second Further NPRM, the Commission seeks comment on a proposal to adopt rules that would require manufacturers and MVPDs to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning and seeks comment on the Commission's authority to adopt such rules under the TDCA. In this section, we describe the reporting, recordkeeping, and other compliance requirements proposed in the Second Further NPRM and consider whether small entities are affected disproportionately by any such requirements.

    29. Reporting Requirements. The Second Further NPRM does not propose to adopt reporting requirements.

    30. Recordkeeping Requirements. If the rules proposed in the Second Further NPRM were adopted, certain recordkeeping requirements would be applicable to covered small entities. The Second Further NPRM asks whether we should apply the exceptions relating to technical feasibility and achievability in Section 303(u) of the Act consistent with our precedent in the IP Closed Captioning Order. These provisions would require covered entities to make a filing and, thus, to make and keep records of the filing.

    31. Other Compliance Requirements. The Second Further NPRM proposes other compliance requirements that would be applicable to covered small entities. In particular, the Second Further NPRM seeks comment on whether the TDCA gives the Commission authority to adopt further implementing regulations to ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning. The Second Further NPRM seeks comment on how the Commission would implement a requirement that consumers be able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning and, in particular, whether to require that inclusion of closed captioning display settings must be no lower than the first level of a menu.

    32. We do not have specific information quantifying the costs and administrative burdens associated with the rules proposed in the Second Further NPRM because it has not yet been determined how covered entities will implement a requirement that consumers be able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning. Thus, we cannot precisely estimate the impact of the rules proposed in the Second Further NPRM on small entities. We note that CEA has reported that some industry members are already planning to take steps to facilitate access to user display settings for closed captioning and thus, the burden for some covered entities may be minimal. Further, we explore whether entities subject to the proposed rules need not comply with the requirements if they are able to demonstrate to the Commission that compliance is not achievable. While the economic impact of the rules on small entities is not quantifiable at this time, the proposed rules, if adopted, could affect small companies to a greater extent than large companies. As a result, the Commission below considers alternatives that have the potential to minimize the economic effect of its proposed rules on small entities.

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

    33. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant 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 and reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.

    34. The rules proposed in the Second Further NPRM, if adopted, could have a significant economic impact on small entities. As discussed below, Section 303(u) of the Act contains provisions that allow the Commission to tailor its rules, as necessary, to small entities for whom compliance with such rules is economically burdensome, and we inquire in the Second Further NPRM whether these exceptions should apply. Notably, we ask whether an entity (including a small entity) should avoid compliance with a requirement to ensure that users can readily access closed captioning display settings if it is able to demonstrate to the Commission that such compliance is not “achievable” (i.e., cannot be accomplished with reasonable effort or expense) or is not “technically feasible.” These procedures will allow the Commission to address the impact of the rules on individual entities, including smaller entities, on a case-by-case basis, and to modify application of its rules to accommodate individual circumstances, thereby potentially reducing the costs of compliance for such entities. We note that two of the four statutory factors that the Commission must consider in assessing achievability are particularly relevant to small entities: (i) The nature and cost of the steps needed to meet the requirements, and (ii) the technical and economic impact on the entity's operations. Thus, a small entity may be able to avoid compliance in cases where it can demonstrate that compliance is not achievable.

    35. Further, the Commission seeks comment on how alternative ways to implement a requirement that consumers be able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning, as well as on the costs and benefits of such a requirement and the impact of the proposed rules on small entities. These considerations will allow the Commission to address alternatives that can potentially minimize the burden and costs of compliance for covered entities, including smaller entities.

    36. Based on these considerations, we believe that, in proposing additional rules in the Second Further NPRM, we have appropriately considered both the interests of individuals with disabilities and the interests of the entities who will be subject to the rules, including those that are smaller entities, consistent with Congress's intent that “to the fullest extent made possible by technology,” persons who are deaf and hard of hearing “should have equal access to the television medium.”

    6. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the Proposed Rule

    37. None.

    B. Paperwork Reduction Act

    38. The Second Further NPRM may result in new or revised information collection requirements. If the Commission adopts any new or revised information collection requirement, the Commission will publish a notice in the Federal Register inviting the public to comment on the requirement, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). 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 it might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.”

    C. Ex Parte Rules

    39. We remind interested parties that this proceeding is treated as a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules.28 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.

    28 47 CFR 1.1200 et seq.

    D. Filing Requirements

    40. Pursuant to Sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules,29 interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. All comments are to reference MB Docket No. 12-108 and may be filed using: (1) The Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) or (2) by filing paper copies.30

    29See 47 CFR 1.415, 1419.

    30See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, GC Docket No. 97-113, Report and Order, 63 FR 24121 (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 Street 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.

    41. 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).

    42. Availability of Documents. Comments and reply comments will be publically available online via ECFS.31 These documents will also be available for public inspection during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Information Center, which is located in Room CY-A257 at FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554. The Reference Information Center is open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    31 Documents will generally be available electronically in ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat.

    IV. Ordering Clauses

    43. Accordingly, it is ordered that, pursuant to the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Public Law 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751, and the authority found in Sections 4(i), 4(j), 303(r), 303(u), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 716(g) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 154(i), 154(j), 303(r), 303(u), 303(aa), 303(bb), and 617(g), this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is adopted.

    44. It is further ordered that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, shall send a copy of this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in MB Docket No. 12-108, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

    List of Subject in 47 CFR 79

    Cable television operators, Communications equipment, Multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), Satellite television service providers.

    Federal Communications Commission. Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary. Office of the Secretary. Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR part 79 as follows:

    PART 79—ACCESSIBILITY OF VIDEO PROGRAMMING 1. The authority for part 79 continues to read as follows: Authority:

    47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 303, 307, 309, 310, 330, 544a, 613, and 617.

    2. Amend § 79.103 by adding paragraph (e) to read as follows:
    § 79.103 Closed caption decoder requirements for apparatus.

    (e) Access to closed captioning display settings. Apparatus subject to this section must ensure that consumers are able to readily access user display settings for closed captioning, if technically feasible, except that apparatus that use a picture screen of less than 13 inches in size must comply with this requirement only if doing so is achievable as defined in this section.

    [FR Doc. 2016-00930 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648-BF18 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Amendments to the Reef Fish, Spiny Lobster, Queen Conch, and Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates Fishery Management Plans of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice of availability; request for comments.

    SUMMARY:

    The Caribbean Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 7 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) (Reef Fish FMP), Amendment 6 to the FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of Puerto Rico and the USVI (Spiny Lobster FMP), Amendment 5 to the FMP for the Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates of Puerto Rico and the USVI (Coral FMP), and Amendment 4 to the FMP for the Queen Conch Resources of Puerto Rico and the USVI (Queen Conch FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. In combination, these amendments represent the Application of Accountability Measures (AM) Amendment (AM Application Amendment). The AM Application Amendment would resolve an existing inconsistency between language in the four Council FMPs and the regulations implementing application of AMs in the U.S. Caribbean exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The purpose of the AM Application Amendment is to ensure the regulations governing AMs in the Caribbean EEZ are consistent with their authorizing FMPs.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received on or before April 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments on the AM Application Amendment, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0124” 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-2015-0124, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to María del Mar López, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

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

    Electronic copies of the AM Application Amendment, which includes an environmental assessment, a Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, and a regulatory impact review may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/caribbean/index.html.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    María del Mar López, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any FMP or FMP amendment to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving a plan or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the plan or amendment is available for review and comment.

    The FMPs being revised by the AM Application Amendment were prepared by the Council and implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

    Background

    The final rule implementing Amendment 2 to the Queen Conch FMP and Amendment 5 to the Reef Fish FMP (2010 Caribbean ACL Amendment) established annual catch limits (ACLs) and AMs for species and species groups that at the time were classified as undergoing overfishing (i.e., parrotfish, snapper, grouper, and queen conch) (76 FR 82404, December 30, 2011). The final rule implementing Amendment 3 to the Queen Conch FMP, Amendment 6 to the Reef Fish FMP, Amendment 5 to the Spiny Lobster FMP, and Amendment 3 to the Coral FMP, established ACLs and AMs for the remaining Council-managed species and species groups which were not undergoing overfishing at the time or for which the overfishing status was unknown (e.g., grunts, squirrelfish, jacks) (76 FR 82414, December 30, 2011). As described at § 622.12(a) for reef fish, spiny lobster, and corals and § 622.491(b) for queen conch, the current AMs in the Caribbean EEZ require NMFS to shorten the length of the fishing season for a species/species group in the year following a determination that the applicable 3-year landings average exceeded the respective ACL. The extent to which fishing seasons are shortened equates to the number of days necessary to remove the overage in pounds and to therefore constrain landings to the ACL. Pursuant to the regulations at §§ 622.12(a) and 622.491(b), any such AM-based closures remain in effect only during the particular fishing year in which they are implemented. However, the AM closure language in the four authorizing FMPs states that any AM-based closure will remain in effect until modified by the Council, thereby carrying these AM-based closures over from year to year unless or until the closures are revised by subsequent Council action.

    This inconsistent language between the FMPs and the implementing regulations may create confusion to fishers and the public about whether an AM-based closure for a specific species/species group will continue in subsequent years if an AM is triggered. The AM Application Amendment would correct the inconsistency between the authorizing FMPs and the regulatory language at §§ 622.12(a) and 622.491(b) by revising the text within the four FMPs describing how AMs are applied to be consistent with the language in the regulations. Specifically, the phrase in the four authorizing FMPs that states “The needed changes will remain in effect until modified by the Council,” which describes the duration of AMs, would be removed from the four FMPs. The result of this proposed change would be that under both the authorizing FMPs and AM-based closure regulatory language, an AM closure would only apply for the fishing year in which it was implemented. This approach is consistent with the intent of the Council and implementing regulations used by NMFS to apply AMs in the Caribbean EEZ. The current process used by NMFS and the Council to apply AMs in the Caribbean EEZ would not change as a result of this proposed amendment, thus this action would have no additional direct or indirect economic, social, or biological/ecological effects.

    A proposed rule that would implement the measures outlined in the AM Application Amendment has been drafted. In accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, NMFS is evaluating the AM Application Amendment and the proposed rule to determine whether it is consistent with the FMPs, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. If that determination is affirmative, NMFS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register for public review and comment.

    Consideration of Public Comments

    The Council has submitted the AM Application Amendment for Secretarial review, approval, and implementation. Comments received by April 4, 2016, will be considered by NMFS in its decision to approve, disapprove, or partially approve the AM Application Amendment. Comments received after that date will not be considered by NMFS in this decision. All relevant comments received by NMFS on the amendment or the proposed rule during their respective comment periods will be addressed in the final rule.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02092 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 [Docket No. 151217999-6045-01] RIN 0648-BF66 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Dolphin and Wahoo Resources of the Atlantic; Commercial Dolphin Fishery of the Atlantic; Control Date AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Advanced notice of proposed rulemaking; consideration of a control date.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the establishment of a control date of June 30, 2015, that the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) may use if it decides to create restrictions limiting participation in the dolphin commercial sector of the dolphin and wahoo fishery in the Atlantic exclusive economic zone. Anyone entering the sector after the control date will not be assured of future access should a management regime that limits participation in the sector be prepared and implemented. This announcement is intended, in part, to promote awareness of the potential eligibility criteria for future access so as to discourage speculative entry into the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector while the Council and NMFS consider whether and how access to the sector should be controlled. NMFS invites comments on the establishment of this control date.

    DATES:

    Written comments must be received by March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    You may submit comments identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2016-0001” by either of the following methods:

    Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0001, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

    Mail: Submit written comments to Mary Janine Vara, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

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

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mary Janine Vara, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The dolphin and wahoo fishery in the Atlantic is managed under the fishery management plan (FMP) for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery off the Atlantic States. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) through regulations at 50 CFR part 622.

    The Council voted at the September 2015 meeting to establish a control date of June 30, 2015, for the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector of the dolphin and wahoo fishery. The control date enables the Council to inform current and potential participants that it is considering creating restrictions limiting participation in the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector.

    This notice informs current and potential participants in the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector within the dolphin and wahoo fishery that after June 30, 2015, they may not be ensured participation under future management of the fishery. If the Council decides to prepare an amendment to the FMP to restrict participation in the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector in relation to this control date, an analysis of specific biological, economic, and social effects will be prepared at that time.

    Publication of the control date in the Federal Register informs participants of the Council's considerations, and gives notice to anyone entering the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector after the control date that they would not be assured of future access to the sector should management changes be implemented that would restrict participation. Implementation of any such changes would require preparation of an amendment to the FMP and publication of a notice of availability and proposed rule in the Federal Register with public comment periods, and, if approved by the Secretary of Commerce, issuance of a final rule.

    Fishermen are not guaranteed future participation in a fishery or sector regardless of their entry date or intensity of participation in the fishery or sector before or after the control date under consideration. The Council subsequently may choose a different control date or they may choose a management regime without using a control date. The Council also may choose to take no further action to control entry or access to the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector, in which case the control date may be rescinded.

    This notification also gives the public notice that interested participants should locate and preserve records that substantiate and verify their participation in the Atlantic dolphin commercial sector of the dolphin and wahoo fishery.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02093 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    81 23 Thursday, February 4, 2016 Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Gallatin County Resource Advisory Committee AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Gallatin County Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet in Bozeman, MT. The committee is authorized under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and operates in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The purpose of the committee is to improve collaborative relationships and to provide advice and recommendations to the Forest Service concerning projects and funding consistent with Title II of the Act. Additional RAC information, including the meeting agenda and the meeting summary/minutes can be found at the following Web site: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/custergallatin/workingtogether/?cid=stelprdb5304491.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held March 10 from 12:30-5:30 p.m.

    All RAC meetings are subject to cancellation. For status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

    ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Bozeman Public Library, Small Community Room, 626 E Main St., Bozeman, MT 59715.

    Written comments may be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisors Office, 10 E Babcock, Bozeman, MT 59105. Please call ahead to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan, Public Affairs Specialist and RAC Coordinator by phone at 406-587-6735 or via email at [email protected]

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is:

    1. Review and recommend 2016 project proposals to Designated Federal Official.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should request in writing by February 19 to be scheduled on the agenda. Anyone who would like to bring related matters to the attention of the committee may file written statements with the committee staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and requests for time for oral comments must be sent to Attn: Mariah Leuschen, RAC Coordinator, 10 E Babcock, Bozeman, MT 59105 or by email to [email protected] or via facsimile to 406-587-6758.

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Mary C. Erickson, Custer Gallatin Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02103 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Information Collection: Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations Ride-Along Program AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice; request for comment.

    SUMMARY:

    In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Forest Service is seeking comments from all interested individuals and organizations on the extension of the information collection, Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations Ride-Along Program.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received in writing on or before April 4, 2016 to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments concerning this notice should be addressed to the Director of Law Enforcement and Investigations, USDA Forest Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mail stop 1140, Washington, DC 20250-1140.

    Comments also may be submitted via facsimile to 703-605-4690, or by email to Ken Pearson at [email protected]

    The public may inspect comments received at USDA Forest Service Washington Office, Yates Building, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC; during normal business hours. Visitors must call ahead to 703-605-4690 to facilitate entry to the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Ken Pearson, Assistant Director for Law Enforcement & Liaison, 703-605-4690.

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title: Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations Ride-Along Program.

    OMB Number: 0596-0170.

    Expiration Date of Approval: April 30, 2016.

    Type of Request: Extension.

    Abstract: This information collection is necessary for Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations (LEI) personnel to authorize a rider who applies to participate in the Ride-Along Program. The information collection also provides additional protection for LEI personnel who allow authorized riders to accompany them in boats, cars, trucks, or other vehicles. The purpose of this program is for citizens to learn about and observe Forest Service LEI tasks and activities. The program is intended to enhance Forest Service law enforcement community relationships, improve the quality of Forest Service customer service, and provide LEI personnel a recruitment tool. A rider shall complete two forms in order to participate.

    Form FS-5300-33 asks for the participant's name, address, social security number, driver's license number, work address, location of the Ride-Along, and the reason for the Ride-Along. Law enforcement officers use form FS-5300-33 to conduct a minimum background check before authorizing a person to ride along.

    Form FS-5300-34 is signed by riders to exempt law enforcement officers and the Forest Service from damage, loss, or injury liability incurred during the rider's participation in the program. If the information is not collected, riders will be denied permission to ride along with Forest Service law enforcement personnel.

    Estimate of Annual Burden FS-5300-33: 4 minutes. FS-5300-34: 4 minutes. Total: 8 minutes. Type of Respondents: Citizens who want to learn about and observe Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigation (LEI) tasks and activities. Estimated Annual Number of Respondents: 130. Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 17 hours.

    Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

    All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the information collection submission for Office of Management and Budget approval.

    Dated: January 15, 2016. Mary Wagner, Associate Chief, Forest Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02144 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (Council) will meet in Washington, DC. The Council is authorized under Section 9 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, as amended by Title XII, Section 1219 of Public Law 101-624 (the Act) (16 U.S.C. 2105g) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. App. II). Additional information concerning the Council, can be found by visiting the Council's Web site at: http://www.fs.fed.us/ucf/nucfac.shtml.

    DATES:

    The meeting will be held on the following dates and times:

    • Tuesday, March 15, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST

    • Wednesday, March 16, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST

    or until Council business is completed. All meetings are subject to cancellation. For an updated status of meeting prior to attendance, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. ADDRESSES:

    The meeting will be held at the Forest Service Headquarters, Sidney Yates Building, Pinchote Conference Room, Second Floor, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024. Written comments concerning this meeting should be submitted as described under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. All comments, including names and addresses, when provided, are placed in the record and available for public inspection and copying. The public may inspect comments received at the USDA Forest Service, Sidney Yates Building, Room 3SC-01C, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024. Please call ahead at 202-205-7829 to facilitate entry into the building.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Nancy Stremple, Executive Staff, National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, Sidney Yates Building, Room 3SC-01C, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024, by telephone at 202-205-7829, or by email at [email protected], or by cell phone at 202-309-9873, or via facsimile at 202-690-5792. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The purpose of the meeting is to:

    1. Introduce new members;

    2. Finalize the 2016 Work Plan;

    3. Update status of the 2017 grant categories;

    4. Listen to local constituents urban forestry concerns;

    5. Present the 10-year action plan (2016-2026) to leadership;

    6. Receive Forest Service budget and program updates; and

    7. Initiate the 2016 Accomplishments/Recommendations report.

    The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include time for people to make oral statements of three minutes or less. Individuals wishing to make an oral statement should submit a request in writing by February 3, 2016, to be scheduled on the agenda. Council discussion is limited to Forest Service staff and Council members, however anyone who would like to bring urban and community forestry matters to the attention of the Council may file written statements with the Council's staff before or after the meeting. Written comments and time requests for oral comments must be sent to Nancy Stemple, Executive Staff, National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, Sidney Yates Building, Room 3SC-01C, 201 14th Street SW., Washington, DC 20024, or by email at [email protected]

    Meeting Accommodations: If you are a person requiring reasonable accommodation, please make requests in advance for sign language interpreting, assistive listening devices or other reasonable accommodation for access to the facility or proceedings by contacting the person listed in the section titled FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. All reasonable accommodation requests are managed on a case by case basis.

    Dated: January 21, 2016. Steven W. Koehn, Director, Cooperative Forestry.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02143 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Madison Ranger District, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest; Montana; South Gravelly Allotment Management Plan AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement.

    SUMMARY:

    The nature of the South Gravelly Allotment Management Plan project proposes updating of four domestic livestock grazing management plans located on the southern end of the Gravelly Mountains, Beaverhead and Madison Counties, Montana.

    DATES:

    Comments concerning the scope of the analysis must be received by March 7, 2016. The draft environmental impact statement is expected June of 2016 and the final environmental impact statement is expected January of 2017.

    ADDRESSES:

    Send written comments to Dale Olson, District Ranger, Madison Ranger District, 5 Forest Service Road, Ennis, MT 59729. Comments may also be sent via email to [email protected] or via facsimile to 406-682-4233. For all forms of comment, make sure to include your name, physical address, phone number, and a subject title of South Gravelly AMP.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale Olson, District Ranger, Madison Ranger District, 5 Forest Service Road, Ennis, MT 59729. Phone: 406-682-4253.

    Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose and Need for Action

    This action is being undertaken to review grazing practices and infrastructure on four domestic livestock grazing allotments (Eureka Basin, Pole Creek, Southwest Corner, Robb Creek) to ensure compliance with the applicable Beaverhead-Deerlodge Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) direction. This action is needed because there is new direction in the Forest Plan for livestock grazing, site specific suitability, and site specific Allowable Use Levels (AUL's) need to be validated. Additionally this action is needed to meet the Rescissions Act schedule for updating allotment plans.

    Proposed Action

    The authorizing official proposes to: Maintain current authorized livestock type and numbers, season of use and infrastructure on the allotments. Cattle grazing is authorized between July 1 and October 15 for a total of 9363 AUMs. Domestic livestock grazing would continue following current allowable use levels. Specifically, for upland forage no more than 55 percent use; for riparian areas no more than 30 percent streambank disturbance or maintain no less than four inches of greenline stubble height measured by stream reach. Reaching any one allowable use parameter requires movement of livestock from the area, pasture or the allotment. There would be no changes or additions in grazing management or infrastructure. Monitoring of compliance with AULs and long term vegetation monitoring would continue. Allotment management plans for the four allotments would be updated to incorporate the AULs and management prescriptions.

    Possible Alternatives

    No Grazing Alternative. Under this alternative domestic livestock grazing permits on the four allotments would be discontinued with a minimum of two years notice (36 CFR 222.4(a)(1)) to permittees. No new term grazing permits for domestic livestock grazing would be issued. All internal fences and water developments would be removed.

    Responsible Official

    The Madison District Ranger will be the responsible official.

    Nature of Decision To Be Made

    The decision to be made is whether to implement the proposed action, another alternative, or a combination of the alternatives.

    Scoping Process

    This notice of intent initiates the scoping process, which guides the development of the environmental impact statement. A scoping letter and maps will be mailed to interested publics, Tribes, and federal, state, and local governments.

    It is important that reviewers provide their comments at such times and in such manner that they are useful to the agency's preparation of the environmental impact statement. Therefore, comments should be provided prior to the close of the comment period and should clearly articulate the reviewer's concerns and contentions.

    Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this proposed action.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Dale Olson, Madison District Ranger.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02107 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411-15-P
    DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Forest Service Assessment Report of Ecological, Economic and Social Conditions, Trends and Sustainability for the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Carbon, Carter, Gallatin, Madison, Meagher, Park, Powder River, Rosebud, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Counties, Montana, and Harding County, South Dakota AGENCY:

    Forest Service, USDA.

    ACTION:

    Notice of initiating the assessment phase of the forest plan revision for the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

    SUMMARY:

    The Custer Gallatin National Forest, located in southern Montana and northwest South Dakota, is initiating the first phase of the forest planning process pursuant to the 2012 National Forest System Land Management Planning rule (36 CFR part 219). This process will result in a revised forest land management plan (Forest Plan) which describes the strategic direction for management of forest resources on the Custer Gallatin National Forest for the next ten to fifteen years. The planning process encompasses three-stages: assessment, plan revision, and monitoring. The first stage of the planning process involves assessing ecological, social, and economic conditions of the planning area, which is documented in an assessment report.

    The Forest is inviting the public to contribute in the development of the Assessment. The Forest will be hosting public forums near the end of February into early March 2016 with a second set of meetings forthcoming in June 2016. We will invite the public to share information relevant to the assessment including existing information, current trends, and local knowledge. Public engagement opportunities associated with the development of the Assessment will be announced on the Web site cited below.

    DATES:

    From January 2016 through August 2016, the public is invited to participate in the development of the Assessment. The draft assessment report for the Custer Gallatin National Forest is being initiated and is expected to be available in August 2016 on the Forest Web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/land/custergallatin/landmanagement.

    Following completion of the assessment, the Forest will initiate procedures pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to prepare and evaluate a revised forest plan.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written correspondence can be sent to Custer Gallatin National Forest, P.O. Box 130, Bozeman, MT 59771, or sent via email to [email protected] All correspondence, including names and addresses when provided, are placed in the record and are available for public inspection and copying.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Virginia Kelly, Forest Plan Revision Team Leader at 406-587-6704. Individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time), Monday through Friday.

    More information on the planning process can also be found on the Custer Gallatin National Forest Planning Web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/land/custergallatin/landmanagement.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 requires that every National Forest System (NFS) unit develop a land management plan (LMP). On April 9, 2012, the Forest Service finalized its land management planning rule (2012 Planning Rule, 36 CFR part 291), which describes requirements for the planning process and the content of the land management plans. Forest plans describe the strategic direction for management of forest resources for ten to fifteen years, and are adaptive and amendable as conditions change over time. Pursuant to the 2012 Forest Planning Rule (36 CFR part 219), the planning process encompasses three-stages: assessment, plan revision, and monitoring. The first stage of the planning process involves assessing social, economic, and ecological conditions of the planning area, which is documented in an assessment report. This notice announces the start of the initial stage of the planning process, which is the development of the assessment report.

    The second stage, formal plan revision, involves the development of our Forest Plan in conjunction with the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement under the NEPA. Once the plan revision is completed, it will be subject to the objection procedures of 36 CFR part 219, subpart B, before it can be approved. The third stage of the planning process is the monitoring and evaluation of the revised plan, which is ongoing over the life of the revised plan.

    The assessment rapidly evaluates existing information about relevant ecological, economic, cultural and social conditions, trends, and sustainability and their relationship to land management plans within the context of the broader landscape. This information builds a common understanding prior to entering formal plan revision. The development of the assessment will include public engagement.

    With this notice, the Custer Gallatin National Forest invites other governments, non-governmental parties, and the public to contribute in assessment development. The intent of public engagement during development of the assessment is to identify as much relevant information as possible to inform the upcoming plan revision process. We encourage contributors to share material about existing conditions, trends, and perceptions of social, economic, and ecological systems relevant to the planning process. The assessment also supports the development of relationships with key stakeholders that will be used throughout the plan revision process

    As public meetings, other opportunities for public engagement, and public review and comment opportunities are identified to assist with the development of the forest plan revision, public announcements will be made, notifications will be posted on the Forest's Web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/custergallatin/ and information will be sent out to the Forest's mailing list. If anyone is interested in being on the Forest's mailing list to receive these notifications, please contact Virginia Kelly at the address identified above, or by sending an email [email protected]

    Responsible Official

    The responsible official for the revision of the land management plan for the Custer Gallatin National Forest is Mary Erickson, Forest Supervisor, Custer Gallatin National Forest.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Mary Erickson, Forest Supervisor.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02104 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410-11-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Office of the Secretary Estimates of the Voting Age Population for 2015 AGENCY:

    Office of the Secretary, Commerce.

    ACTION:

    General Notice Announcing Population Estimates.

    SUMMARY:

    This notice announces the voting age population estimates as of July 1, 2015, for each state and the District of Columbia. We are providing this notice in accordance with the 1976 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act, Title 52, United States Code, Section 30116(e).

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Karen Humes, Chief, Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau, Room HQ-5H174, Washington, DC 20233, at 301-763-2071.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Under the requirements of the 1976 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act, Title 52, United States Code, Section 30116(e), I hereby give notice that the estimates of the voting age population for July 1, 2015, for each state and the District of Columbia are as shown in the following table.

    Estimates of the Population of Voting Age for Each State and the District of Columbia: July 1, 2015 Area Population 18 and over Area Population 18 and over United States 247,773,709 Alabama 3,755,483 Missouri 4,692,196 Alaska 552,166 Montana 806,529 Arizona 5,205,215 Nebraska 1,425,853 Arkansas 2,272,904 Nevada 2,221,681 California 30,023,902 New Hampshire 1,066,610 Colorado 4,199,509 New Jersey 6,959,192 Connecticut 2,826,827 New Mexico 1,588,201 Delaware 741,548 New York 15,584,974 District of Columbia 554,121 North Carolina 7,752,234 Florida 16,166,143 North Dakota 583,001 Georgia 7,710,688 Ohio 8,984,946 Hawaii 1,120,770 Oklahoma 2,950,017 Idaho 1,222,093 Oregon 3,166,121 Illinois 9,901,322 Pennsylvania 10,112,229 Indiana 5,040,224 Rhode Island 845,254 Iowa 2,395,103 South Carolina 3,804,558 Kansas 2,192,084 South Dakota 647,145 Kentucky 3,413,425 Tennessee 5,102,688 Louisiana 3,555,911 Texas 20,257,343 Maine 1,072,948 Utah 2,083,423 Maryland 4,658,175 Vermont 506,119 Massachusetts 5,407,335 Virginia 6,512,571 Michigan 7,715,272 Washington 5,558,509 Minnesota 4,205,207 West Virginia 1,464,532 Mississippi 2,265,485 Wisconsin 4,476,711 Wyoming 447,212 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Vintage 2015 Population Estimates.

    I have certified these estimates for the Federal Election Commission.

    Dated: January 21, 2016. Penny Pritzker, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02019 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-07-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-957] Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Final Results of Expedited First Sunset Review of the Countervailing Duty Order AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) finds that revocation of the countervailing duty (CVD) order on seamless carbon and alloy steel standard, line and pressure pipe (seamless pipe) from the People's Republic of China (PRC) would likely lead to the continuation or recurrence of a countervailable subsidy at the levels indicated in the Final Results of Review section of this notice.

    DATES:

    Effective date: February 4, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Peter Zukowski, Office I, AD/CVD Operations, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-0189.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On October 1, 2015, the Department initiated the first sunset review of the CVD Order1 on seamless pipe from the PRC pursuant to section 751(c) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).2 TMK IPSCO, United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) and Vallourec Star, L.P. (Vallourec) (collectively, the petitioners) filed timely notices of intent to participate on October 13, 2015, and October 15, 2015, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.218(d)(1).3 Each of these companies claimed interested party status under section 771(9)(C) of the Act, as U.S. producers of the domestic like product.

    1See Certain Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line, and Pressure Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Amended Final Affirmative Countervailing Duty Determination and Countervailing Duty Order, 75 FR 69050 (November 10, 2010) (CVD Order).

    2See Initiation of Five-Year “Sunset” Reviews, 80 FR 59133 (October 1, 2015).

    3See Letters to the Department, “Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line and Pressure Pipe from China, First Sunset Review,” dated October 13, 2015 (filed by TMK IPSCO and Vallourec) and “Notice of Intent to Participate in First Five-Year Review of the Countervailing Duty Order on Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line and Pressure Pipe from the People's Republic of China,” dated October 14, 2015 (filed by US Steel).

    The Department received an adequate substantive response collectively from the domestic industry within the 30-day deadline specified in 19 CFR 351.218(d)(3)(i).4 The Department did not receive a substantive response from the Government of the PRC or any respondent interested party to the proceeding. Because the Department received no response from the respondent interested parties, the Department conducted an expedited review of this CVD order, pursuant to section 751(c)(3)(B) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(e)(l)(ii)(B)(2) and (C)(2).

    4See Letter to the Department, “Seamless Carbon and Alloy Steel Standard, Line and Pressure Pipe from China, First Sunset Review: Substantive Response to Notice of Initiation,” dated November 2, 2015.

    Scope of the Order

    The scope of this order consists of certain seamless carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipes and redraw hollows, less than or equal to 16 inches (406.4 mm) in outside diameter, regardless of wall-thickness, manufacturing process (e.g., hot-finished or cold-drawn), end finish (e.g., plain end, beveled end, upset end, threaded, or threaded and coupled), or surface finish (e.g., bare, lacquered or coated). Redraw hollows are any unfinished carbon or alloy steel (other than stainless steel) pipe or “hollow profiles” suitable for cold finishing operations, such as cold drawing, to meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”) or American Petroleum Institute (“API”) specifications referenced below, or comparable specifications. Specifically included within the scope are seamless carbon and alloy steel (other than stainless steel) standard, line, and pressure pipes produced to the ASTM A-53, ASTM A-106, ASTM A-333, ASTM A-334, ASTM A-589, ASTM A-795, ASTM A-1024, and the API 5L specifications, or comparable specifications, and meeting the physical parameters described above, regardless of application, with the exception of the exclusion discussed below.

    Specifically excluded from the scope of the order are: (1) All pipes meeting aerospace, hydraulic, and bearing tubing specifications; (2) all pipes meeting the chemical requirements of ASTM A-335, whether finished or unfinished; and (3) unattached couplings. Also excluded from the scope of the order are all mechanical, boiler, condenser and heat exchange tubing, except when such products conform to the dimensional requirements, i.e., outside diameter and wall thickness of ASTM A-53, ASTM A-106 or API 5L specifications.

    The merchandise covered by the order is currently classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”) under item numbers: 7304.19.1020, 7304.19.1030, 7304.19.1045, 7304.19.1060, 7304.19.5020, 7304.19.5050, 7304.31.6050, 7304.39.0016, 7304.39.0020, 7304.39.0024, 7304.39.0028, 7304.39.0032, 7304.39.0036, 7304.39.0040, 7304.39.0044, 7304.39.0048, 7304.39.0052, 7304.39.0056, 7304.39.0062, 7304.39.0068, 7304.39.0072, 7304.51.5005, 7304.51.5060, 7304.59.6000, 7304.59.8010, 7304.59.8015, 7304.59.8020, 7304.59.8025, 7304.59.8030, 7304.59.8035, 7304.59.8040, 7304.59.8045, 7304.59.8050, 7304.59.8055, 7304.59.8060, 7304.59.8065, and 7304.59.8070. Although the HTSUS subheadings are provided for convenience and customs purposes, our written description of the merchandise subject to this scope is dispositive.

    Analysis of Comments Received

    All issues raised in this review are addressed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum, which is dated concurrently with this notice. The issues discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum include the likelihood of continuation or recurrence of a countervailable subsidy and the net countervailable subsidy likely to prevail if the CVD Order were revoked. Parties can find a complete discussion of all issues raised in this expedited sunset review and the corresponding recommendations in this public memorandum, which is on file electronically via the Enforcement and Compliance Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http://access.trade.gov and to all parties in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024 of the main Department of Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly on the Internet at http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html. The signed Issues and Decision Memorandum and the electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content.

    Final Results of Review

    Pursuant to sections 752(b)(1) and (3) of the Act, we determine that revocation of the CVD Order on seamless pipe from the PRC would be likely to lead to continuation or recurrence of a net countervailable subsidy at the rates listed below:

    Manufacturers/Producers/Exporters Net countervailable subsidy
  • (percent)
  • Tianjin Pipe (Group) Corp., Tianjin Pipe Iron Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Tianguan Yuantong Pipe Product Co., Ltd., Tianjin Pipe International Economic and Trading Co., Ltd., TPCO Charging Development Co., Ltd 13.66 Hengyang Steel Tube Group Int'l Trading, Inc., Hengyang Valin Steel Tube Co., Ltd., Hengyang Valin MPM Tube Co., Ltd., Xigang Seamless Steel Tube Co., Ltd., Wuxi Seamless Special Pipe Co., Ltd., Wuxi Resources Steel Making Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Xigang Group Co., Ltd., Hunan Valin Xiangtan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd., Wuxi Sifang Steel Tube Co., Ltd., Hunan Valin Steel Co., Ltd., Hunan Valin Iron & Steel Group Co., Ltd 56.67 All Others 35.17
    Notification Regarding Administrative Protective Order

    This notice serves as the only reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305. Timely notification of return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    The Department is issuing and publishing these final results and this notice in accordance with sections 751(c), 752(b), and 777(i)(1) of the Act.

    Dated: January 28, 2016. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02147 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [A-533-843] Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Final Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce.

    SUMMARY:

    On October 7, 2015, the Department of Commerce (the Department) published the Preliminary Results of the administrative review of the antidumping duty order on certain lined paper products (CLPP) from India in accordance with section 751(a)(1)(B) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (the Act).1 The period of review (POR) is September 1, 2013, through August 31, 2014. This review covers two mandatory respondents, Kokuyo Riddhi Paper Products Private Limited 2 (Kokuyo Riddhi) and SAB International (SAB), and one respondent not individually examined, Navneet Publications (India) Ltd./Navneet Education Limited (Navneet).3 We invited interested parties to comment on the Preliminary Results. We received no comments or hearing requests from any interested parties. Therefore, we have made no changes for the final results. The final weighted-average dumping margins for Kokuyo Riddhi, SAB and Navneet are listed below in the section titled “Final Results of the Review.”

    1See Certain Lined Paper Products from India: Notice of Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014, 80 FR 60628 (October 7, 2015) (Preliminary Results), and accompanying Memorandum to Paul Piquado, Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, from Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations, titled “Certain Lined Paper from India: Decision Memorandum for the Preliminary Results of the Antidumping Duty Administrative Review; 2013-2014,” dated September 30, 2015 (Preliminary Decision Memorandum). The Preliminary Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at: http://enforcement.trade.gov/frn/index.html.

    2 The Department has determined that Kokuyo Riddhi Paper Products Private Limited (Kokuyo Riddhi) is the successor-in-interest to Riddhi Enterprises. See Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Notice of Final Results of Antidumping Duty Changed Circumstances Review, 80 FR 18373 (April 6, 2015) (Final Results of CCR—Kokuyo Riddhi), and the accompanying Issues and Decision Memorandum. Accordingly, we refer to Kokuyo Riddhi and Riddhi Enterprises as Kokuyo Riddhi in this review.

    3 The Department has determined that Navneet Education Limited (Navneet Education) is the successor-in-interest to Navneet Publications (India) Ltd. See Certain Lined Paper Products From India: Final Results of Changed Circumstances Review, 79 FR 35726 (June 24, 2014).

    DATES:

    Effective Date: February 4, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Cindy Robinson or George McMahon, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone (202) 482-3797 or (202) 482-1167, respectively.

    Background

    On October 7, 2015, the Department published the Preliminary Results. In accordance with 19 CFR 351.309(c)(1)(ii), we invited interested parties to comment on our Preliminary Results. We received no comments or requests for a hearing from any party. The Department conducted this administrative review in accordance with section 751(a)(2) of the Act.

    Scope of the Order

    The scope of this order includes certain lined paper products, typically school supplies (for purposes of this scope definition, the actual use of or labeling these products as school supplies or non-school supplies is not a defining characteristic) composed of or including paper that incorporates straight horizontal and/or vertical lines on ten or more paper sheets (there shall be no minimum page requirement for looseleaf filler paper) including but not limited to such products as single- and multi-subject notebooks, composition books, wireless notebooks, looseleaf or glued filler paper, graph paper, and laboratory notebooks, and with the smaller dimension of the paper measuring 6 inches to 15 inches (inclusive) and the larger dimension of the paper measuring 83/4 inches to 15 inches (inclusive). Page dimensions are measured size (not advertised, stated, or “tear-out” size), and are measured as they appear in the product (i.e., stitched and folded pages in a notebook are measured by the size of the page as it appears in the notebook page, not the size of the unfolded paper). However, for measurement purposes, pages with tapered or rounded edges shall be measured at their longest and widest points. Subject lined paper products may be loose, packaged or bound using any binding method (other than case bound through the inclusion of binders board, a spine strip, and cover wrap). Subject merchandise may or may not contain any combination of a front cover, a rear cover, and/or backing of any composition, regardless of the inclusion of images or graphics on the cover, backing, or paper. Subject merchandise is within the scope of this order whether or not the lined paper and/or cover are hole punched, drilled, perforated, and/or reinforced. Subject merchandise may contain accessory or informational items including but not limited to pockets, tabs, dividers, closure devices, index cards, stencils, protractors, writing implements, reference materials such as mathematical tables, or printed items such as sticker sheets or miniature calendars, if such items are physically incorporated, included with, or attached to the product, cover and/or backing thereto.

    Specifically excluded from the scope of this order are:

    • Unlined copy machine paper;

    • writing pads with a backing (including but not limited to products commonly known as “tablets,” “note pads,” “legal pads,” and “quadrille pads”), provided that they do not have a front cover (whether permanent or removable). This exclusion does not apply to such writing pads if they consist of hole-punched or drilled filler paper;

    • three-ring or multiple-ring binders, or notebook organizers incorporating such a ring binder provided that they do not include subject paper;

    • index cards;

    • printed books and other books that are case bound through the inclusion of binders board, a spine strip, and cover wrap;

    • newspapers;

    • pictures and photographs;

    • desk and wall calendars and organizers (including but not limited to such products generally known as “office planners,” “time books,” and “appointment books”);

    • telephone logs;

    • address books;

    • columnar pads & tablets, with or without covers, primarily suited for the recording of written numerical business data;

    • lined business or office forms, including but not limited to: pre-printed business forms, lined invoice pads and paper, mailing and address labels, manifests, and shipping log books;

    • lined continuous computer paper;

    • boxed or packaged writing stationary (including but not limited to products commonly known as “fine business paper,” “parchment paper”, and “letterhead”), whether or not containing a lined header or decorative lines;

    • Stenographic pads (“steno pads”), Gregg ruled (“Gregg ruling” consists of a single- or double-margin vertical ruling line down the center of the page. For a six-inch by nine-inch stenographic pad, the ruling would be located approximately three inches from the left of the book), measuring 6 inches by 9 inches.

    Also excluded from the scope of this order are the following trademarked products:

    • Fly TM lined paper products: A notebook, notebook organizer, loose or glued note paper, with papers that are printed with infrared reflective inks and readable only by a Fly TM pen-top computer. The product must bear the valid trademark Fly TM (products found to be bearing an invalidly licensed or used trademark are not excluded from the scope).

    • Zwipes TM: A notebook or notebook organizer made with a blended polyolefin writing surface as the cover and pocket surfaces of the notebook, suitable for writing using a specially-developed permanent marker and erase system (known as a Zwipes TM pen). This system allows the marker portion to mark the writing surface with a permanent ink. The eraser portion of the marker dispenses a solvent capable of solubilizing the permanent ink allowing the ink to be removed. The product must bear the valid trademark Zwipes TM (products found to be bearing an invalidly licensed or used trademark are not excluded from the scope).

    • FiveStar®Advance TM: A notebook or notebook organizer bound by a continuous spiral, or helical, wire and with plastic front and rear covers made of a blended polyolefin plastic material joined by 300 denier polyester, coated on the backside with PVC (poly vinyl chloride) coating, and extending the entire length of the spiral or helical wire. The polyolefin plastic covers are of specific thickness; front cover is 0.019 inches (within normal manufacturing tolerances) and rear cover is 0.028 inches (within normal manufacturing tolerances). Integral with the stitching that attaches the polyester spine covering, is captured both ends of a 1” wide elastic fabric band. This band is located 23/8″ from the top of the front plastic cover and provides pen or pencil storage. Both ends of the spiral wire are cut and then bent backwards to overlap with the previous coil but specifically outside the coil diameter but inside the polyester covering. During construction, the polyester covering is sewn to the front and rear covers face to face (outside to outside) so that when the book is closed, the stitching is concealed from the outside. Both free ends (the ends not sewn to the cover and back) are stitched with a turned edge construction. The flexible polyester material forms a covering over the spiral wire to protect it and provide a comfortable grip on the product. The product must bear the valid trademarks FiveStar®Advance TM (products found to be bearing an invalidly licensed or used trademark are not excluded from the scope).

    • FiveStar Flex TM: A notebook, a notebook organizer, or binder with plastic polyolefin front and rear covers joined by 300 denier polyester spine cover extending the entire length of the spine and bound by a 3-ring plastic fixture. The polyolefin plastic covers are of a specific thickness; front cover is 0.019 inches (within normal manufacturing tolerances) and rear cover is 0.028 inches (within normal manufacturing tolerances). During construction, the polyester covering is sewn to the front cover face to face (outside to outside) so that when the book is closed, the stitching is concealed from the outside. During construction, the polyester cover is sewn to the back cover with the outside of the polyester spine cover to the inside back cover. Both free ends (the ends not sewn to the cover and back) are stitched with a turned edge construction. Each ring within the fixture is comprised of a flexible strap portion that snaps into a stationary post which forms a closed binding ring. The ring fixture is riveted with six metal rivets and sewn to the back plastic cover and is specifically positioned on the outside back cover. The product must bear the valid trademark FiveStar Flex TM (products found to be bearing an invalidly licensed or used trademark are not excluded from the scope).

    Merchandise subject to this order is typically imported under headings 4811.90.9035, 4811.90.9080, 4820.30.0040, 4810.22.5044, 4811.90.9050, 4811.90.9090, 4820.10.2010, 4820.10.2020, 4820.10.2030, 4820.10.2040, 4820.10.2050, 4820.10.2060, and 4820.10.4000 of the HTSUS. The HTSUS headings are provided for convenience and customs purposes; however, the written description of the scope is dispositive.

    Final Results of the Review

    As noted above, the Department received no comments concerning the Preliminary Results. As there are no changes from, or comments upon, the Preliminary Results, the Department finds that there is no reason to modify its analysis and calculations. Accordingly, no decision memorandum accompanies this Federal Register notice. For further details of the issues addressed in this proceeding, see the Preliminary Results and the accompanying Preliminary Decision Memorandum.

    The final weighted-average dumping margins for the POR are as follows:

    Producer/Exporter Weighted-
  • average
  • dumping
  • margin
  • (percent)
  • Kokuyo Riddhi Paper Products Private Limited (formerly known as Riddhi Enterprises) 11.77 Navneet Publications (India) Ltd./Navneet Education Limited 4 11.77 SAB International 0.00

    4 The margin for Navneet is the calculated weighted-average margin of Kokuyo Riddhi, the sole mandatory respondent receiving a margin that is above de minimis in these final results. For further discussion, see the Preliminary Decision Memorandum at the “Margin for Company Not Selected for Individual Examination” section.

    Assessment Rates

    The Department shall determine and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shall assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries in this review, in accordance with section 751(a)(2)(C) of the Act.5 For any individually examined respondents whose weighted-average dumping margin is above de minimis, we calculated importer-specific ad valorem duty assessment rates based on the ratio of the total amount of dumping calculated for the importer's examined sales to the total entered value of those same sales in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(b)(1). Upon issuance of the final results of this administrative review, if any importer-specific assessment rates calculated in the final results are above de minimis (i.e., at or above 0.5 percent), the Department will issue instructions directly to CBP to assess antidumping duties on appropriate entries.

    5 In these final results, the Department applied the assessment rate calculation method adopted in Antidumping Proceedings: Calculation of the Weighted-Average Dumping Margin and Assessment Rate in Certain Antidumping Proceedings: Final Modification, 77 FR 8101 (February 14, 2012).

    In accordance with the Department's “automatic assessment” practice,6 for entries of subject merchandise during the POR produced by the respondent for which it did not know its merchandise was destined for the United States, we will instruct CBP to liquidate unreviewed entries at the all-others rate if there is no rate for the intermediate company(ies) involved in the transaction. For a full discussion of this practice, see the Automatic Assessment Clarification. We intend to issue instructions to CBP 15 days after publication of the final results of this review.

    6See Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Proceedings: Assessment of Antidumping Duties, 68 FR 23954 (May 6, 2003) (Automatic Assessment Clarification).

    Cash Deposit Requirements

    The following cash deposit requirements will be effective upon publication of the notice of final results of administrative review for all shipments of subject merchandise entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after the publication date of the final results of this administrative review, as provided by section 751(a)(2) of the Act: (1) The cash deposit rate for Kokuyo Riddhi, SAB and Navneet will be the rate established in the final results of this administrative review; (2) for merchandise exported by manufacturers or exporters not covered in this administrative review but covered in a prior segment of the proceeding, the cash deposit rate will continue to be the company specific rate published for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding; (3) if the exporter is not a firm covered in this review, a prior review, or the original investigation, but the manufacturer is, the cash deposit rate will be the rate established for the most recently completed segment of this proceeding for the manufacturer of the subject merchandise; and (4) the cash deposit rate for all other manufacturers or exporters will continue to be 3.91 percent, the all-others rate established in the original antidumping duty investigation.7 These cash deposit requirements, when imposed, shall remain in effect until further notice.

    7See Notice of Amended Final Determination of Sales at Less Than Fair Value: Certain Lined Paper Products from the People's Republic of China; Notice of Antidumping Duty Orders: Certain Lined Paper Products from India, Indonesia and the People's Republic of China; and Notice of Countervailing Duty Orders: Certain Lined Paper Products from India and Indonesia, 71 FR 56949 (September 28, 2006) (CLPP Order).

    Notification to Importers

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping and/or countervailing duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during the POR. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department's presumption that reimbursement of antidumping and/or countervailing duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties.

    Administrative Protective Order

    This notice also serves as a reminder to parties subject to administrative protective orders (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3), which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and the terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    We are issuing and publishing this notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.213(h).

    Dated: January 28, 2016. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02150 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration [C-570-911] Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From the People's Republic of China: Rescission of Countervailing Duty Administrative Review; 2014 AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, Department of Commerce

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of Commerce (the Department) is rescinding the administrative review of the countervailing duty order on circular welded carbon quality steel pipe (CWP) from the People's Republic of China (PRC) for the period of review January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.

    DATES:

    Effective Date: February 4, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dana Mermelstein or Toby Vandall, AD/CVD Operations, Office I, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482-1391 and (202) 482-1664, respectively.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background

    On July 1, 2015, the Department published the Notice of Opportunity to request an administrative review of the countervailing duty order on CWP from the PRC for the period of review January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.1 On July 24, 2015, Wheatland Tube Company (the petitioner) submitted a request for an administrative review of the countervailing duty order on CWP from the PRC for 19 companies.2 No other party requested an administrative review. On September 2, 2015, the Department published the notice of initiation of an administrative review of the order for the period of review January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2014.3 On December 1, 2015, the petitioner withdrew its request for review of all 19 companies.4

    1See Antidumping or Countervailing Duty Order, Finding, or Suspended Investigation; Opportunity To Request Administrative Review, 80 FR 37583 (July 1, 2015) (Notice of Opportunity).

    2See letter from the petitioner, “Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From The People's Republic Of China: Request For Administrative Review,” (July 24, 2015).

    3See Initiation of Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Administrative Reviews, 80 FR 53106 (September 2, 2015) (Initiation Notice).

    4See letter from the petitioner, “Circular Welded Carbon Quality Steel Pipe From The People's Republic Of China: Withdrawal of Request For Administrative Review,” (December 1, 2015).

    Rescission of Review

    Pursuant to 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), the Department will rescind an administrative review, in whole or in part, if the party or parties that requested a review withdraws the request within 90 days of the publication date of the notice of initiation of the requested review. As noted above, the petitioner withdrew its request for an administrative review within 90 days of the publication date of the Initiation Notice. No other parties requested an administrative review of the order. Therefore, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.213(d)(1), we are rescinding this review in its entirety.

    Assessment

    The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess countervailing duties on all appropriate entries of CWP from the PRC. Countervailing duties shall be assessed at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated countervailing duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions to CBP 15 days after the date of publication of this notice of rescission of administrative review.

    Notifications

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of countervailing duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the presumption that reimbursement of countervailing duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled countervailing duties.

    This notice also serves as a final reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under an APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305(a)(3). Timely written notification of the return or destruction of APO materials, or conversion to judicial protective order, is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a sanctionable violation.

    This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4).

    Dated: February 1, 2016. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Operations.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02151 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Quarterly Update to Annual Listing of Foreign Government Subsidies on Articles of Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of Duty AGENCY:

    Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration Department of Commerce.

    DATES:

    Effective date: February 4, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Stephanie Moore, AD/CVD Operations, Office III, Enforcement and Compliance, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20230, telephone: (202) 482-3692.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Section 702 of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (as amended) (the Act) requires the Department of Commerce (the Department) to determine, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, whether any foreign government is providing a subsidy with respect to any article of cheese subject to an in-quota rate of duty, as defined in section 702(h) of the Act, and to publish quarterly updates to the type and amount of those subsidies. We hereby provide the Department's quarterly update of subsidies on articles of cheese that were imported during the periods July 1, 2015, through September 30, 2015.

    The Department has developed, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, information on subsidies, as defined in section 702(h) of the Act, being provided either directly or indirectly by foreign governments on articles of cheese subject to an in-quota rate of duty. The appendix to this notice lists the country, the subsidy program or programs, and the gross and net amounts of each subsidy for which information is currently available. The Department will incorporate additional programs which are found to constitute subsidies, and additional information on the subsidy programs listed, as the information is developed.

    The Department encourages any person having information on foreign government subsidy programs which benefit articles of cheese subject to an in-quota rate of duty to submit such information in writing to the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance, U.S. Department of Commerce, 14th Street and Constitution Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20230.

    This determination and notice are in accordance with section 702(a) of the Act.

    Dated: January 28, 2016. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. Appendix—Subsidy Programs on Cheese Subject to an In-Quota Rate of Duty Country Program(s) Gross 1
  • subsidy
  • ($/lb)
  • Net 2
  • subsidy
  • ($/lb)
  • 28 European Union Member States 3 European Union Restitution Payments 0.00 0.00 Canada Export Assistance on Certain Types of Cheese 0.45 0.45 Norway Indirect (Milk) Subsidy 0.00 0.00 Consumer Subsidy 0.00 0.00 Total 0.00 0.00 Switzerland Deficiency Payments 0.00 0.00 1 Defined in 19 U.S.C. 1677(5). 2 Defined in 19 U.S.C. 1677(6). 3 The 28 member states of the European Union are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02149 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-DS-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XE417 Marine Mammals; File No. 19225 AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; receipt of application.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given that James D. Darling, Whale Trust, P.O. Box 384, Tofino, BC V0R2Z0 Canada, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and other cetacean and pinniped species.

    DATES:

    Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before March 7, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The application and related documents are available for review by selecting “Records Open for Public Comment” from the “Features” box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 19225 from the list of available applications.

    These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427-8401; fax (301) 713-0376.

    Written comments on this application should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713-0376, or by email to [email protected] Please include the File No. in the subject line of the email comment.

    Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Rosa L. González or Carrie Hubard, (301) 427-8401.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR 222-226).

    The applicant proposes to address a variety of questions regarding social organization, behavior, and communication of humpback whales using passive acoustic monitoring, active playbacks, suction cup and dart tagging, biopsy sampling, underwater photography/videography, photo ID and photogrammetry during aerial and vessel surveys. Research would occur off Hawaii (primarily off west Maui), and Alaska. Incidental harassment is requested for the following non-target species: North Pacific right whales (Eubalaena japonica); false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens); Dall's porpoises (Phocoenoides dalli); spinner (Stenella longirostris), pantropical spotted (S. attenuata), and bottlenose dolphins (Turisiops truncatus); killer whales (Orcinus orca); Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi); harbor seals (Phoca vitulina); and Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). The permit is requested for 5 years.

    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement.

    Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of the application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Perry F. Gayaldo, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02059 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; Public Meetings AGENCY:

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

    ACTION:

    Notice; public hearings and webinar.

    SUMMARY:

    The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold nine public hearings and one webinar to solicit public comments on Coastal Migratory Pelagics (CMP) Amendment 26—Changes in Allocations, Stock Boundaries and Sale Provisions for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King Mackerel; and a Framework Action to Modify Commercial Gear Requirements for Yellowtail Snapper (in Key West and Sarasota, FL only).

    DATES:

    The public hearings will be held February 22-March 3, 2016. The meetings will begin at 6 p.m. and will conclude no later than 9 p.m. For specific dates and times, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. Written public comments must be received on or before 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    The public documents can be obtained by contacting the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, Tampa, FL 33607; (813) 348-1630 or on their Web site at www.gulfcouncil.org.

    Meeting addresses: The public hearings will be held in Destin, Sarasota and Key West, FL; Corpus Christi and Texas City, TX; Pascagoula, MS; Orange Beach, AL; Kenner, LA; and one webinar. For specific locations, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

    Public comments: Comments may be submitted online through the Council's public portal by visiting www.gulfcouncil.org and clicking on “CONTACT US”.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Douglas Gregory, Executive Director, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council; telephone: (813) 348-1630.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The agenda for the following nine hearings and one webinar are as follows: Council staff will brief the public on CMP Amendment 26—Changes in Allocations, Stock Boundaries and Sale Provisions for Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Migratory Groups of King Mackerel; and a Framework Action to Modify Commercial Gear Requirements for Yellowtail Snapper (in Key West and Sarasota, FL only). Staff will then open the meeting for questions and public comments. The schedule is as follows:

    Locations, Schedules, and Agendas

    Monday, February 22, 2016; Amendment 26—Hilton Garden Inn, 6717 S. Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412; telephone: (361) 991-8200; and Amendment 26—Hilton Garden Inn, 2703 Denny Avenue, Pascagoula, MS 39567; telephone: (228) 762-7182.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016; Amendment 26—Holiday Inn Express & Suites, 2440 Gulf Freeway, Texas City, TX 77591; telephone: (409) 986-6700; Amendment 26—Hilton Garden Inn, 23092 Perdido Beach Boulevard, Orange Beach, AL 36561; telephone: (251) 974-1600.

    Wednesday, February 24, 2016; Amendment 26—Hilton New Orleans Airport, 901 Airline Drive, Kenner, LA 70062; telephone: (504) 469-5000; Amendment 26—Destin Community Center, 101 Stahlman Ave, Destin, FL 32541; telephone: (850) 654-5184.

    Monday, February 29, 2016, Amendment 26—Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Avenue, Key West, FL 33040; telephone: (305) 292-4431.

    Tuesday, March 1, 2016, Framework Action Yellowtail—Harvey Government Center, 1200 Truman Avenue, Key West, FL 33040; telephone: (305) 292-4431.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2016, Amendment 26 and Framework Action—Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch, 6231 Lake Osprey Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240; telephone: (941) 782-4400.

    Thursday, March 3, 2016, Amendment 26—Webinar—6 p.m. EST at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6934876394687175681. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    Special Accommodations

    These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Kathy Pereira (see ADDRESSES), at least 5 working days prior to the meeting date.

    Authority:

    16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: February 1, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02110 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510-22-P
    BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION Compliance Bulletin—The FCRA's Requirement That Furnishers Establish and Implement Reasonable Written Policies and Procedures Regarding the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to All Consumer Reporting Agencies AGENCY:

    Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

    ACTION:

    Compliance bulletin.

    SUMMARY:

    This document highlights existing obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for furnishers of consumer information to consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to establish and implement reasonable written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information furnished to all CRAs. In recent reviews of the furnishing practices of financial institutions, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) found that some financial institutions are not compliant with their obligations with regard to furnishing to specialty CRAs, including the furnishing of deposit account information. An institution's relevant policies and procedures must encompass the institution's furnishing to all types of CRAs.

    The CFPB will continue to monitor furnishers' compliance with these obligations to ensure they meet their accuracy and integrity obligations for any information that they furnish.

    DATES:

    The Bureau released this Compliance Bulletin on its Web site on February 3, 2016.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Anthony Rodriguez, Attorney, 202-435-9726; or Laurie Sellick, Attorney, 202-435-7262, Office of Supervision Policy.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Compliance Bulletin

    The CFPB issues this bulletin to emphasize the obligation of furnishers 1 under Regulation V to establish and implement reasonable written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information relating to consumers that they furnish to CRAs. This obligation, which has been required under Regulation V since July 2010,2 applies to furnishing to all CRAs, including furnishing to specialty CRAs, such as the furnishing of deposit account information to CRAs. Furnishers must have policies and procedures that meet this requirement with respect to all CRAs to which they furnish.

    1 12 CFR 1022.41(c).

    2See 74 FR 31484 (July 1, 2009). Although promulgated in July 2009, the rule provided furnishers one year's notice of this obligation before the rule became effective on July 1, 2010.

    The supervisory experience of the Bureau suggests that some financial institutions are not compliant with their obligations under Regulation V with regard to furnishing to specialty CRAs. Furnishers' establishment and implementation of reasonable policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information are essential components of a fair and accurate credit reporting system. Such policies and procedures protect against the furnishing of inaccurate information that could potentially cause adverse consequences for consumers when included in a credit report, such as being denied a loan at a more favorable interest rate or being unable to open a transaction account.

    While furnisher obligations under Regulation V are the focus of this bulletin, the CFPB recognizes that both furnishers and CRAs have independent obligations under the FCRA related to the accuracy of information and to the investigation of consumer disputes. The CFPB expects both furnishers and CRAs to comply with their respective duties.

    Furnishers must establish and implement reasonable written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information relating to consumers that they furnish to CRAs.3 These policies and procedures must be appropriate to the nature, size, complexity, and scope of each furnisher's activities.4 When creating these policies and procedures, furnishers must consider the factors listed in the “Interagency Guidelines Concerning the Accuracy and Integrity of Information Furnished to Consumer Reporting Agencies” and incorporate those guidelines that are appropriate.5 Additionally, each furnisher must periodically review and update its policies and procedures to ensure their continued effectiveness.6

    3 15 U.S.C. 1681s-2(e); 12 CFR 1022.42(a).

    4 12 CFR 1022.42(a).

    5 12 CFR 1022.42(b). The guidelines are codified in Appendix E to Regulation V, 12 CFR part 1022.

    6 12 CFR 1022.42(c).

    These policies and procedures must encompass the institution's furnishing to all types of CRAs. For example, if an institution furnishes both credit information to nationwide CRAs and deposit account information to nationwide specialty CRAs, that institution must consider the appropriate approach to each type of furnishing in its policies and procedures in order to comply with Regulation V.7 The type, frequency, and nature of the information furnished to CRAs can vary significantly. There also may be significant differences in the reporting formats and codes used to furnish to these agencies. An institution's obligation to have “reasonable written policies and procedures” applies to all types of information relating to consumers furnished to each of the CRAs to which it furnishes.

    7 See 12 CFR part 1022, Appendix E, § I(a).

    The CFPB will continue to monitor furnishers' compliance with the Regulation V requirement to establish and implement reasonable written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of all furnished information. Furnishers must ensure that they have such policies and procedures in place with respect to all information furnished. If the CFPB determines that a furnisher has engaged in any acts or practices that violate Regulation V or other federal consumer financial laws and regulations, it will take appropriate supervisory and enforcement actions to address violations and seek all appropriate remedial measures, including redress to consumers.

    II. Regulatory Requirements

    This Compliance Bulletin summarizes existing requirements under the law and findings made in the course of exercising the Bureau's supervisory and enforcement authority, and is a non-binding general statement of policy articulating considerations relevant to the Bureau's exercise of its supervisory and enforcement authority. It is therefore exempt from notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b). Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not require an initial or final regulatory flexibility analysis. 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604(a). The Bureau has determined that this Compliance Bulletin does not impose any new or revise any existing recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirements on covered entities or members of the public that would be collections of information requiring OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

    Dated: January 27, 2016. Richard Cordray, Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01987 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810-25-P
    CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meetings Time and Date:

    Wednesday February 10, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

    Place:

    Room 837-C, Enter on the Fourth Floor, Bethesda Towers, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland.

    Status:

    Commission Meeting—Open to the Public.

    Matter to be Considered:

    Briefing Matter: Fiscal Year 2016 Operating Plan.

    A live webcast of the Meeting can be viewed at www.cpsc.gov/live.

    Contact Person for More Information:

    Todd A. Stevenson, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, (301) 504-7923.

    Dated: February 2, 2016. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretariat.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02227 Filed 2-2-16; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6355-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Notice of Intent To Grant a Partially Exclusive License; Optio Labs, Inc. AGENCY:

    National Security Agency, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice.

    SUMMARY:

    The National Security Agency hereby gives notice of its intent to grant Optio Labs, Inc. a revocable, non-assignable, partially exclusive, license to practice the following Government-Owned invention as described and claimed in United States Patent Number (USPN),7,904,278 B2, Method and Systems for Program Execution Integrity Measurement; and USPN, 8,326,579, Method and Systems for Program Execution Integrity Measurement.

    DATES:

    Anyone wishing to object to the grant of this license has until February 19, 2016 to file written objections including evidence and argument that establish that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7.

    ADDRESSES:

    Written objections are to be filed with the National Security Agency Technology Transfer Program, 9800 Savage Road, Suite 6843, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6843.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Linda L. Burger, Director, Technology Transfer Program, 9800 Savage Road, Suite 6843, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6843, telephone (443) 634-3518.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The prospective partially exclusive license will comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. The patent rights in these inventions have been assigned to the United States Government as represented by the National Security Agency.

    Dated: February 1, 2016. Aaron Siegel, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02105 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001-06-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Board on Coastal Engineering Research Meeting AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of advisory committee meeting.

    SUMMARY:

    The Department of the Army is publishing this notice to announce the following Federal advisory committee meeting of the Board on Coastal Engineering Research. This meeting is open to the public.

    DATES:

    The Board on Coastal Engineering Research will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3, 2016, and reconvene from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on March 4, 2016.

    ADDRESSES:

    All sessions will be held in the Governor's Hall, Governor Calvert House, Historic Inns of Annapolis, 58 State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401. All sessions are open to the public. For more information about the Board, please visit http://chl.erdc.usace.army.mil/cerb.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Colonel Bryan S. Green, Designated Federal Officer (DFO), U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Waterways Experiment Station, 3909 Halls Ferry Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199, phone 601-634-2513, or [email protected]

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    The meeting is being held under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972 (5 U.S.C., Appendix, as amended), the Government in the Sunshine Act of 1976 (5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended), and 41 CFR 102-3.150. The Board on Coastal Engineering Research provides broad policy guidance and reviews plans for the conduct of research and the development of research projects in consonance with the needs of the coastal engineering field and the objectives of the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers.

    Purpose of the Meeting: The meeting is an Executive Session to review past action items, status reports, research and development (R&D) strategic directions, and coastal engineering research in the United States.

    Agenda: On Thursday morning, March 3, 2016, action items to be discussed will be: (1) Continue Investment in “Systems” R&D; (2) Link R&D with Challenging Projects; (3) Share Data and Tools with Stakeholders; (4) Enhance Collaboration across the Coastal Community; (5) Update, Vision for Coastal Engineering R&D; and (6) Board Governance and Engagement Guidance. There will be an optional field trip Thursday afternoon, to tour the U.S. Naval Academy Engineering Department. Following the tour, the meeting reconvenes at the Historic Inns of Annapolis to discuss the Report on the Coastal Working Group Annual Meeting with the Focus on R&D Needs, an Update on Coastal Guidance Documents, a presentation and discussion on the Coastal R&D University Collaboration.

    On Friday morning, March 4, 2016, the Board will reconvene to discuss NOAA/USACE Coastal Collaboration, Research from the Dune Management Challenges on Developed Coasts Meeting, and an Update and Discussion on the August 2016 Meeting in Puerto Rico.

    Meeting Accessibility: Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552b, as amended, and 41 CFR 102-3.140 through 102-3.165, and subject to the availability of space, the meeting is open to the public. Because seating capacity is limited, advance registration is encouraged. Registration can be accomplished as set forth below.

    Registration: Individuals who wish to attend the meeting of the Board are encouraged to register with the DFO by email, the preferred method of contact, no later than February 26, using the electronic mail contact information found in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The communication should include the registrant's full name, title, affiliation or employer, email address, and daytime phone number. If applicable, include written comments or statements with the registration email.

    Written Comments and Statements: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.015(j) and 102-3.140 and section 10(a)(3) of the FACA, the public or interested organizations may submit written comments or statements to the Board, in response to the stated agenda of the open meeting or in regard to the Board's mission in general. Written comments or statements should be submitted to Colonel Bryan S. Green, DFO, via electronic mail, the preferred mode of submission, is the address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Each page of the comment or statement must include the author's name, title or affiliation, address, and daytime phone number. The DFO will review all submitted written comments or statements and provide them to members of the Board for their consideration. Written comments or statements being submitted in response to the agenda set forth in this notice must be received by the DFO at least five business days prior to the meeting to be considered by the Board. The DFO will review all timely submitted written comments or statements with the Board Chairperson and ensure the comments are provided to all members of the Board before the meeting. Written comments or statements received after this date may not be provided to the Board until its next meeting.

    Verbal Comments: Pursuant to 41 CFR 102-3.140d, the Board is not obligated to allow a member of the public to speak or otherwise address the Board during the meeting. Members of the public will be permitted to make verbal comments during the Board meeting only at the time and in the manner described below. If a member of the public is interested in making a verbal comment at the open meeting, that individual must submit a request, with a brief statement of the subject matter to be addressed by the comment, at least five business days in advance to the Board's DFO, via electronic mail, the preferred mode of submission, at the address listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. The DFO will log each request, in the order received, and in consultation with the Board Chair, determine whether the subject matter of each comment is relevant to the Board's mission and/or the topics to be addressed in this public meeting. A 30-minute period near the end of the meeting will be available for verbal public comments. Members of the public who have requested to make a verbal comment, and whose comments have been deemed relevant under the process described above, will be allotted no more than five minutes during this period, and will be invited to speak in the order in which their requests were received by the DFO.

    Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01974 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Nanushuk Project; Located 7.5 Miles Northeast of Nuiqsut, Alaska AGENCY:

    Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

    ACTION:

    Notice of intent.

    SUMMARY:

    The Alaska District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) intends to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to identify and analyze the potential impacts associated with the development of the Alpine C and Nanushuk reservoirs, including construction and operation of the proposed project. The Corps will be evaluating a permit application for work under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The EIS will be used to support the permit decision in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

    ADDRESSES:

    Please send written comments to Ms. Janet Post, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division CEPOA-RD, P.O. Box 6898, JBER, AK 99506-0898; by email: [email protected], or by Web site www.NanushukEIS.com.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Questions about the proposed action and the EIS can be answered by: Ms. Janet Post, Regulatory Division, by telephone: (907) 753-2831 or toll free from within Alaska: (800) 478-2712, by fax: (907) 753-5567, by email: [email protected], or by mail: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division CEPOA-RD, P.O. Box 6898, JBER, AK 99506-0898. To be added to the project mailing list and for additional information, please visit the following Web site: www.NanushukEIS.com.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Proposed Action: The permit applicant, Repsol E&P USA, Inc. (Repsol), is proposing to develop the Alpine C and Nanushuk reservoirs, located approximately 52 miles west of Deadhorse, 7.5 miles northeast of Nuiqsut, and 1 mile southeast of the East Channel of the Colville River, in the State of Alaska. Up to 76 production and injection wells would be drilled from three drill sites (Drill Sites (DS) 1-3). Construction would include the Nanushuk Pad, comprised of DS1 and a central processing facility (CPF); two additional drill sites (DS2 and DS3); and an operations center pad. A tie-in pad would be constructed adjacent to the existing Kuparuk CPF2 facility. The operations center pad would include infrastructure to support operations and drilling, such as camps, office, warehouse, maintenance building, cold storage, potable water tanks, wastewater and water treatment plant, temporary waste storage area, communication structures, diesel-fired back-up power generators, and a helicopter landing pad. Tie-in pad infrastructure would include a pig launcher and receiver, a metering skid, pipe rack, laydown area, and a communications tower. One time screeding would be required at Oliktok Point Dock to support sealift module delivery.

    The Project would include 11.1 miles of gravel infield roads, comprised of a 4.0-mile DS2 road and a 7.1 mile DS3 road, to provide all-season ground transport between the Nanushuk Pad and DS2 and DS3. And a 13.8-mile gravel access road to provide all-season ground transport between the Nanushuk Pad and the existing road network at Kuparuk DS2M.

    The applicant would produce multiphase product from the three drill sites and transport it to the Nanushuk Pad via multiphase pipelines for processing. Water separated from the oil would be transported back to the drill sites via water injection pipelines to be reinjected back into the subsurface formation to help maintain pressure and enhance oil production. Separated gas would be used for power generation at the CPF, and the remainder would be transported back to the drill sites via gas lift pipelines for gas lift. Excess gas, if any, would be injected into a dedicated injection well at DS2. Sales-quality oil processed at the Nanushuk Pad would be transported to the tie-in pad at the Kuparuk CPF2 via the Nanushuk Pipeline.

    Reasonable Alternatives: A reasonable range of alternatives will be identified and evaluated through scoping and the alternatives development process.

    Scoping: The scoping period is anticipated to begin in February and end in March 2016.

    (1) Public involvement: The Corps invites full public participation to promote open communication on the issues to be addressed in preparation of the EIS regarding the proposed action. All Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies, and other interested persons or organizations, are urged to participate in the NEPA scoping process. Scoping meetings will be conducted to inform interested parties of the proposed project, receive public input on the development of proposed alternatives to be reviewed in the EIS, and to identify significant issues to be analyzed.

    (2) Scoping meetings: The Corps plans to hold scoping meetings in Barrow, Nuiqsut, Anchorage, and Fairbanks. Public notices will be placed in local newspapers and other public places, and will be communicated directly with the smaller communities, once dates are confirmed.

    (3) Information about these meetings and meeting dates will be published locally, posted at the project Web site, and available by contacting the Corps as previously described. A description of the proposed project will be posted on the project Web site prior to these meetings to help the public focus their scoping comments.

    (4) The Corps will serve as the lead Federal agency in the preparation of the EIS. Agencies that are being invited to act as Cooperating Agencies include the following:

    a. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency b. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service c. State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, Office of Project Management and Permitting d. North Slope Borough e. Native Village of Nuiqsut

    (5) The EIS will analyze the potential social, economic, physical, and biological impacts to the affected areas. Numerous issues will be analyzed in depth in the EIS. These issues include, but are not limited to, the following: The construction and operation of the facilities and their effect upon the community of Nuiqsut; subsistence; cultural resources; air quality; socioeconomics; alternatives; secondary and cumulative impacts; threatened and endangered species including critical habitat; hydrology and wetlands; and fish and wildlife.

    (6) Other Environmental Review and Consultation Requirements: Other environmental review and consultation requirements include Executive Order 13175 Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, Executive Order 12898 Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultation.

    (7) Land and Resource Ownership: Kuukpik Corporation owns the surface estate of lands at the drill sites and lands traversed by the infield roads and infield pipelines, and portions of the access road and Nanushuk Pipeline. The State of Alaska, through the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR), manages the majority of surface lands traversed by the Nanushuk Pipeline and access road. The Project will access subsurface mineral resources that are shared by the State of Alaska and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC).

    Estimated Date Draft EIS Available to Public: It is anticipated that the Draft EIS will be available in spring 2017 for public review.

    Dated: January 26, 2016. Michael Salyer, Chief, North Branch, Regulatory Division, Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01973 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3720-58-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY [OE Docket No. PP-371] Notice of Public Hearings for the Draft Northern Pass Transmission Line Project Environmental Impact Statement (DOE/EIS-0463) AGENCY:

    U.S. Department of Energy.

    ACTION:

    Notice of public hearings.

    SUMMARY:

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces public hearings to receive comments on the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts of DOE's proposed Federal action of issuing a Presidential permit to Northern Pass LLC (the Applicant) to construct, operate, maintain, and connect a new electric transmission line across the U.S./Canada border in northern New Hampshire.

    The U.S. Forest Service—White Mountain National Forest (USFS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—New England District (USACE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—Region 1 (EPA), and the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (NHOEP) are cooperating agencies in the preparation of the EIS.

    The New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) was established by the New Hampshire legislature for the review, approval, monitoring and enforcement of compliance in the planning, siting, construction and operation of energy facilities in the State of New Hampshire.

    On October 19, 2015, Northern Pass Transmission, LLC and Public Service Company of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource Energy (collectively Applicant), filed an Application for a Certificate of Site and Facility (Application) seeking the issuance of a Certificate of Site and Facility approving the siting, construction, and operation of a 192-mile transmission line and associated facilities with a capacity rating of up to 1,090 MW from the Canadian border in Pittsburg in Coos County to Deerfield in Rockingham County (Project). New Hampshire law, R.S.A. Section 162-H:10(I-c), requires that within 90 days after acceptance of an application for a certificate, that the New Hampshire Site Evaluation Committee shall hold at least one public hearing in each county where the proposed facility will be located.

    DATES:

    The public review period to receive comments on the Draft EIS closes on April 4, 2016, see the Public Participation section for more information about submitting comments.

    DOE and the cooperating agencies and the New Hampshire SEC will conduct joint public hearings to receive oral and written comments concerning the project on March 7 and March 10, 2016. DOE and the cooperating agencies will conduct public hearings to receive oral and written comments on the Draft EIS at the following locations commencing at the times identified:

    Colebrook: Monday March 7, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Colebrook Elementary School, Gymnasium, Colebrook, NH Waterville Valley: Wednesday March 9, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Waterville Valley Conference and Event Center, Waterville Room, Waterville Valley, NH 03215 Concord: Thursday March 10, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Grappone Conference Center, Granite Ballroom, 70 Constitution Avenue, Concord, NH 03301 Whitefield: Friday March 11, 2016, 5:00 p.m., Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa, Presidential Room, 101 Mountain View Road, Whitefield, NH 03598 ADDRESSES:

    Requests to pre-register to provide oral comments at a public hearing should be addressed to the Northern Pass EIS Team at this email address: [email protected]

    Comments on the Draft EIS can be submitted verbally during public hearings or in writing to Mr. Brian Mills at: Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585; via email to [email protected]; by facsimile to (202) 586-8008; or through the project Web site at http://www.northernpasseis.us/.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Mr. Brian Mills at the addresses above, or at 202-586-8267.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Participation

    Comments: DOE invites interested Members of Congress, state and local governments, other Federal agencies, American Indian tribal governments, organizations, and members of the public to provide comments on the Draft EIS.

    The public comment period on the Draft EIS started on July 31, 2015, with the publication in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of its Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS.

    The public review period to receive comments on the Draft EIS closes on April 4, 2016. Please mark envelopes and electronic mail subject lines as “NP Draft EIS Comments.” Written comments should be submitted by April 4, 2016. Written and oral comments will be given equal weight and all comments received or postmarked by that date will be considered by DOE in preparing the Final EIS. Comments submitted (e.g., postmarked) after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

    Public Hearings: When requesting to pre-register to provide oral comments at a public hearing (see the DATES section for times and locations), please include your full name and email address, and specify the location you request to speak at. Please state in the subject line, “NP Draft EIS Public Hearing Speaker Request.” Please submit your request by, February 25, 2016; requests received by that date will be given priority in the speaking order. However, requests to speak may also be made at the hearing. The speaking order will be as follows: (1) Elected Officials; (2) Pre-registered speakers (order determined on a first-come, first-served basis); (3) Speakers registering at the meeting. Pre-registered speakers who have requested to speak at a specific time will be accommodated as possible.

    Availability of the Draft EIS

    The documents are available online at http://www.northernpasseis.us/. Copies of the Draft EIS are also available at a number of public libraries and town halls (a list of locations is found here: http://media.northernpasseis.us/media/DraftEIS_Hard_Copy_Locations.pdf).

    Printed copies of the documents may be obtained by contacting Mr. Mills at the above address.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 29, 2016. Meghan Conklin, Deputy Assistant Secretary, National Electricity Delivery, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02111 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket Nos. CP14-517-000; CP14-518-000; PF13-14-000] Golden Pass Products, LLC; Golden Pass Pipeline, LLC; Revised Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review of the Golden Pass Liquefied Natural Gas Export Project

    This notice identifies the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) staff's revised schedule for the completion of the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Golden Pass Products, LLC and Golden Pass Pipeline, LLC's Golden Pass Liquefied Natural Gas Export Project. The previous notice of schedule, issued on June 26, 2015, identified March 4, 2016 as the issuance date.

    Schedule for Environmental Review Issuance of Notice of Availability of the final EIS July 29, 2016 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline October 27, 2016

    If a schedule change becomes necessary, additional notice will be provided so that the relevant agencies are kept informed of the Project's progress.

    Additional Information

    In order to receive notification of the issuance of the final EIS and to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription. Go to www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02075 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. EL00-95-288] San Diego Gas & Electric Company v. Sellers of Energy and Ancillary Services Into Markets Operated by the California Independent System Operator Corporation and the California Power Exchanges; Notice of Compliance Filing

    Take notice that on January 29, 2016, MPS Merchant Services, Inc. submitted its Compliance Filing to Order on Rehearing of Opinion No. 536.1

    1San Diego Gas & Elec. Co. v. Sellers of Energy & Ancillary Servs., 153 FERC ¶ 61,144 (2015) (“Order on Rehearing”), denying rehearing of San Diego Gas & Elec. Co. v. Sellers of Energy & Ancillary Servs., Opinion No. 536, 149 FERC ¶ 61,116 (2014) (“Opinion No. 536”).

    Any person desiring to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211, 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the comment date. On or before the comment date, it is not necessary to serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant.

    The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the “eFiling” link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.

    This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the “eLibrary” link and is available for review in the Commission's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an “eSubscription” link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email [email protected], or call (866) 208-3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502-8659.

    Comment Date: 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 9, 2016.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02072 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP15-517-000] Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP; Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment for the Proposed Coastal Bend Header Project

    The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for the Coastal Bend Header Project, proposed by Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP (Gulf South) in the above-referenced docket. Gulf South requests authorization to construct and operate certain natural gas pipeline facilities in various counties in Texas to expand the capacity of its pipeline system to 1.42 billion cubic feet per day to provide firm transportation service to the Freeport LNG Development, L.P. (Freeport LNG) terminal located on Quintana Island near Freeport, Texas.

    The EA assesses the potential environmental effects of the construction and operation of the Coastal Bend Header Project in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The FERC staff concludes that approval of the proposed project, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.

    The proposed Project includes the following facilities in Texas:

    • Install approximately 66-miles of new 36-inch-diameter pipeline lateral from Wharton County, Texas to the existing Freeport Liquefied Natural Gas Stratton Ridge meter site in Brazoria County;

    • construct one new gas-fired 83,597 horsepower (hp) Wilson Compressor Station in Wharton County;

    • construct one new electric motor-driven 26,400-hp Brazos Compressor Station in Fort Bend County;

    • construct one new electric motor-driven 10,700-hp North Houston Compressor Station in Harris County;

    • install piping modifications at the existing Goodrich Compressor Station in Polk County to allow for bi-directional flow; and

    • install additional gas-fired 15,748-hp compressor unit and modifications at the former Magasco Compressor Station in Sabine County to allow for bi-directional flow.

    The FERC staff mailed copies of the EA to federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American tribes; potentially affected landowners and other interested individuals and groups; libraries in the project area; and parties to this proceeding. In addition, the EA is available for public viewing on the FERC's Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. A limited number of copies of the EA are available for distribution and public inspection at: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8371.

    Any person wishing to comment on the EA may do so. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. The more specific your comments, the more useful they will be. To ensure that the Commission has the opportunity to consider your comments prior to making its decision on this project, it is important that we receive your comments in Washington, DC on or before February 29, 2016.

    For your convenience, there are three methods you can use to file your comments with the Commission. In all instances, please reference the project docket number (CP15-517-000) with your submission. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at 202-502-8258 or [email protected]

    (1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature located 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 also file your comments electronically 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.” You must select the type of filing you are making. If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing”; or

    (3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

    Any person seeking to become a party to the proceeding must file a motion to intervene pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedures (18 CFR 385.214).1 Only intervenors have the right to seek rehearing of the Commission's decision. The Commission grants affected landowners and others with environmental concerns intervenor status upon showing good cause by stating that they have a clear and direct interest in this proceeding which no other party can adequately represent. Simply filing environmental comments will not give you intervenor status, but you do not need intervenor status to have your comments considered.

    1 See the previous discussion on the methods for filing comments.

    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 (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., CP15-517). 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 that 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.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02076 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Notice of Commission Staff Attendance

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) hereby gives notice that members of the Commission's staff may attend the following meetings related to the transmission planning activities of the New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    The New York Independent System Operator, Inc. Business Issues Committee Meeting February 10, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (EST)

    The above-referenced meeting will be via Web conference and teleconference.

    The above-referenced meeting is open to stakeholders.

    Further information may be found at: http://www.nyiso.com/public/markets_operations/committees/meeting_materials/index.jsp?com=bic.

    The New York Independent System Operator, Inc. Operating Committee Meeting February 12, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (EST)

    The above-referenced meeting will be via Web conference and teleconference.

    The above-referenced meeting is open to stakeholders.

    Further information may be found at: http://www.nyiso.com/public/markets_operations/committees/meeting_materials/index.jsp?com=oc.

    The New York Independent System Operator, Inc. Management Committee Meeting February 24, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (EST)

    The above-referenced meeting will be via Web conference and teleconference.

    The above-referenced meeting is open to stakeholders.

    Further information may be found at: http://www.nyiso.com/public/markets_operations/committees/meeting_materials/index.jsp?com=mc.

    The discussions at the meeting described above may address matters at issue in the following proceedings:

    New York Independent System Operator, Inc., Docket No. ER13-102.

    New York Independent System Operator, Inc., Docket No. ER15-2059.

    New York Independent System Operator, Inc., Docket No. ER16-120.

    New York Transco, LLC, Docket No. ER15-572.

    For more information, contact James Eason, Office of Energy Market Regulation, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at (202) 502-8622 or [email protected]

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02077 Filed 2-3-16; 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: ER12-161-015; ER12-2068-011; ER15-1471-006; ER12-645-017; ER10-2460-011; ER10-2461-011; ER12-2159-007; ER12-682-012; ER10-2463-011; ER15-1672-005; ER11-2201-015; ER10-2464-009; ER10-1821-012; ER13-1139-014; ER13-1585-008; ER12-2205-008; ER10-2465-007; ER11-2657-008; ER14-25-012; ER13-17-009; ER14-2630-007; ER12-919-006; ER12-1311-011; ER10-2466-012; ER11-4029-011.

    Applicants: Bishop Hill Energy LLC, Blue Sky East, LLC, Blue Sky West, LLC, California Ridge Wind Energy LLC, Canandaigua Power Partners, LLC, Canandaigua Power Partners II, LLC, Canadian Hills Wind, LLC, Erie Wind, LLC, Evergreen Wind Power, LLC, Evergreen Wind Power II, LLC, Evergreen Wind Power III, LLC, First Wind Energy Marketing, LLC, Goshen Phase II LLC, Imperial Valley Solar 1, LLC, Longfellow Wind, LLC, Meadow Creek Project Company LLC, Milford Wind Corridor Phase I, LLC, Milford Wind Corridor Phase II, LLC, Prairie Breeze Wind Energy LLC, Niagara Wind Power, LLC, Regulus Solar, LLC Rockland Wind Farm LLC, Stetson Holdings, LLC, Stetson Wind II, LLC, Vermont Wind, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of Bishop Hill Energy, LLC, et al.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5361.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER12-569-011; ER15-1925-004; ER15-2676-003; ER13-712-012; ER10-1849-010; ER11-2037-010; ER12-2227-010; ER10-1887-010; ER10-1920-012; ER10-1928-012; ER10-1952-010; ER10-1961-010; ER12-1228-012; ER14-2707-007; ER12-895-010; ER10-2720-012; ER11-4428-012; ER12-1880-011; ER15-58-005; ER14-2710-007; ER15-30-005; ER14-2708-008; ER14-2709-007; ER13-2474-006; ER11-4462-016; ER10-1971-025.

    Applicants: Blackwell Wind, LLC, Breckinridge Wind Project, LLC, Cedar Bluff Wind, LLC, Cimarron Wind Energy, LLC, Elk City Wind, LLC, Elk City II Wind, LLC, Ensign Wind, LLC FPL Energy Cowboy Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Oklahoma Wind, LLC, FPL Energy Sooner Wind, LLC, Gray County Wind Energy, LLC, High Majestic Wind Energy Center, LLC, High Majestic Wind II, LLC, Mammoth Plains Wind Project, LLC, Minco Wind Interconnection Services, LLC, Minco Wind, LLC, Minco Wind II, LLC, Minco Wind III, LLC, Palo Duro Wind Interconnection Services, LLC, Palo Duro Wind Energy, LLC, Seiling Wind Interconnection Services, LLC, Seiling Wind, LLC, Seiling Wind II, LLC, Steele Flats Wind Project, LLC, NEPM II, LLC, NextEra Energy Power Marketing, LLC.

    Description: Notification of Non-material Change in Status of the NextEra Companies.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5362.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-197-001.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: 2016-01-29_MISO TOs Att O ADIT Compliance Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5271.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-826-000.

    Applicants: Florida Power & Light Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: FPL and LCEC Amended and Restated Resource Recovery Facility Intercon Agreement to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5238.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-827-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, Metropolitan Edison Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: American Transmission Systems, Inc.et al. Filing of New and Revised Service A to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5272.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-828-000.

    Applicants: CID Solar, LLC.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance Filing—Change Category 2 Seller in SW Region to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5307.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-829-000.

    Applicants: Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Bylaws Section 8.4 Revisions Regarding Monthly Assessments to be effective 3/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5353.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    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: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02074 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Project No. 14683-000] Mr. Adam R. Rousselle, II; Notice of Preliminary Permit Application Accepted for Filing and Soliciting Comments, Motions To Intervene, and Competing Applications

    On June 17, 2015, Mr. Adam R. Rousselle, II, filed an application for a preliminary permit, pursuant to section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), proposing to study the feasibility of the Blue Marsh Dam Water Power Project (project) to be located on Tulpehocken Creek, in Lower Heidelberg Township and Bern Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the permit term. A preliminary permit does not authorize the permit holder to perform any land-disturbing activities or otherwise enter upon lands or waters owned by others without the owners' express permission.

    The project would consist of the following: (1) A proposed 6-foot-diameter penstock; (2) a proposed powerhouse containing two generating units having a total installed capacity of 2,500 kilowatts; (3) a tailrace returning flow to Tulpehocken Creek; (4) a proposed 0.9-mile-long, 12.47-kilovolt transmission line interconnecting with the Pennsylvania Power Company system; and (5) appurtenant facilities. The proposed project would have an average annual generation of about 9,943,000 kilowatt-hours, which would be sold to a local utility.

    Applicant Contact: Mr. Adam R. Rousselle, II, 104 Autumn Trace Drive, New Hope, PA 18938; phone: (215) 485-1708.

    FERC Contact: Tim Looney; phone: (202) 502-6096.

    Deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications (without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications: 60 days from the issuance of this notice.1 Competing applications and notices of intent must meet the requirements of 18 CFR 4.36.

    1 The Commission is issuing a second notice for this project because some municipalities may not have been notified by the first notice issued on September 9, 2015.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments, motions to intervene, notices of intent, and competing applications using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number P-14683-000.

    More information about this project, including a copy of the application, can be viewed or printed on the “eLibrary” link of the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number (P-14683) in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, contact FERC Online Support.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02078 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Combined Notice of Filings #1

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric corporate filings:

    Docket Numbers: EC16-65-000.

    Applicants: UIL Holdings Corporation.

    Description: Application for Authority under Section 203 for internal corporate reorganization of UIL Holdings Corporation.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5346.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric rate filings:

    Docket Numbers: ER10-3232-004; ER14-2871-007; ER16-182-002; ER10-3244-009; ER10-3251-007; ER14-2382-007; ER15-621-006; ER15-622-006; ER15-463-006; ER16-72-002; ER15-110-006; ER13-1586-008; ER10-1992-014.

    Applicants: Wheelabrator Shasta Energy Company Inc., Cameron Ridge, LLC, Cameron Ridge II, LLC, Coso Geothermal Power Holdings, LLC, Oak Creek Wind Power, LLC,ON Wind Energy LLC, Pacific Crest Power, LLC, Ridgetop Energy, LLC, San Gorgonio Westwinds II, LLC, San Gorgonio Westwinds II—Windustries, LLC, Terra-Gen Energy Services, LLC, TGP Energy Management, LLC, Victory Garden Phase IV, LLC.

    Description: Supplement to December 31, 2015 Triennial Market Power Analysis of the ECP MBR Sellers.

    Filed Date: 1/27/16.

    Accession Number: 20160127-5595.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/29/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER10-2633-023; ER10-2570-023; ER10-2717-023; ER10-3140-022; ER13-55-013.

    Applicants: Birchwood Power Partners, L.P., Shady Hills Power Company, L.L.C., EFS Parlin Holdings, LLC, Inland Empire Energy Center, LLC, Homer City Generation, L.P.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of the GE Companies.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5333.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER12-1308-007.

    Applicants: Palouse Wind, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Change in Status of Palouse Wind, LLC.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5337.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-1656-008.

    Applicants: CSOLAR IV West, LLC.

    Description: Notification of Change in Status of CSOLAR IV West, LLC.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5351.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER14-2140-005; ER14-2141-005; ER15-632-003; ER15-634-003; ER14-2466-004; ER14-2465-004; ER14-2939-002; ER15-1952-002; ER15-2728-003.

    Applicants: Mulberry Farm, LLC, Selmer Farm, LLC, CID Solar, LLC, Cottonwood Solar, LLC, RE Camelot LLC, RE Columbia Two LLC, Imperial Valley Solar Company (IVSC) 2, LLC, Pavant Solar LLC, Maricopa West Solar PV, LLC.

    Description: Notice of Non-Material Change in Status of the Dominion Companies.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5359.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER15-485-001.

    Applicants: New York Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: Compliance filing: Compliance establish effective date—Transmission Shortage Costs to be effective 2/11/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5150.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-804-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: GIA and Distribution Service Agmt for San Gabriel Cogeneration Project to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5249.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-805-000.

    Applicants: Thunder Spirit Wind, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Cancellation of MBR Tariff to be effective 1/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5250.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-806-000.

    Applicants: Nassau Energy, LLC.

    Description: Baseline eTariff Filing: Application for Market-Based Rate Authorization to be effective 3/27/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5253.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-807-000.

    Applicants: Peetz Logan Interconnect, LLC.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Peetz Logan Interconnect, LLC OATT to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5259.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-808-000.

    Applicants: Southern California Edison Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: GIA and Distribution Service Agmt Wind Stream Operations, LLC to be effective 1/24/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5027.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-809-000.

    Applicants: Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Quarterly Filing of City and County of San Francisco's WDT SA 275 for Q4 2015 to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5028.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-810-000.

    Applicants: MidAmerican Energy Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: First Revised Interconnection Agreement—Waverly to be effective 1/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5051.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-811-000.

    Applicants: Consumers Energy Company.

    Description: Notice of Cancellation Service Agreement No. 8 of Consumers Energy Company.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5358.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-812-000.

    Applicants: Public Service Company of New Mexico.

    Description: Tariff Cancellation: Notice of Cancellation of Transmission Service Agreement to be effective 12/15/2015.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5085.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-813-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amended ISA No. 4012, Queue No. W1-003/Z1-100/AA1-025 et al to be effective 4/28/2015.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5094.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-814-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisions to OATT and OA RE Removing 10% Adder for Offers Greater than $2,000 to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5145.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-815-000.

    Applicants: Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 2016-01-29 Ramp True-up Filing to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5156.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-816-000.

    Applicants: NSTAR Electric Company.

    Description: Notice of Termination of Service Agreement No. 68 under Schedule 21-NSTAR of the ISO New England OATT filed by NSTAR Electric Company.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5190.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-817-000.

    Applicants: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: 4th Quarter 2015 Update to OA/RAA Member Lists to be effective 12/31/2015.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5193.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-818-000.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc., New England Power Pool Participants Committee.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Negawatt Membership Termination Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5197.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-819-000.

    Applicants: ISO New England Inc., New England Power Pool Participants Committee.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Revisons to Attachment K Related to Timing of Regional System Plan Report to be effective 3/29/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5210.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-820-000.

    Applicants: New England Power Pool Participants Committee, ISO New England Inc.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: NAPP Membership Termination Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5212.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-821-000.

    Applicants: Alabama Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: AMEA NITSA Rollover Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5213.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-822-000.

    Applicants: Alabama Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: SMEPA NITSA and NOA Amendment Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5217.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-823-000.

    Applicants: Alabama Power Company.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: SEPA Network Agreement Revision No. 4 Filing to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5219.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-824-000.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Progress, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Amendment to NCEMC NITSA SA No. 134 to be effective 1/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5221.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Docket Numbers: ER16-825-000.

    Applicants: Duke Energy Indiana, LLC.

    Description: § 205(d) Rate Filing: Name Change Filing to be effective 4/1/2016.

    Filed Date: 1/29/16.

    Accession Number: 20160129-5223.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/19/16.

    Take notice that the Commission received the following electric securities filings:

    Docket Numbers: ES16-22-000.

    Applicants: International Transmission Company.

    Description: Application pursuant to Section 204 of the Federal Power Act of International Transmission Company for authorization to issue debt securities.

    Filed Date: 1/28/16.

    Accession Number: 20160128-5350.

    Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 2/18/16.

    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: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02073 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. DI16-1-000] Mark Henson; Notice of Declaration of Intention and Soliciting Comments, Protests, and Motions To Intervene

    Take notice that the following application has been filed with the Commission and is available for public inspection:

    a. Application Type: Declaration of Intention.

    b. Docket No: DI16-1-000.

    c. Date Filed: December 18, 2015, and supplemented on January 11, 2016 and January 27, 2016.

    d. Applicant: Mark Henson.

    e. Name of Project: Henson Micro Hydroelectric Project.

    f. Location: The proposed Henson Micro Hydroelectric Project would be located on the West Branch of Onondaga Creek, near the town of Onondaga, in Onondaga County, New York.

    g. Filed Pursuant to: Section 23(b)(1) of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 817(b) (2012).

    h. Applicant Contact: Mark Henson, 4061 Cedarvale Road, Syracuse, NY 13215; telephone: (315) 378-3173; email: [email protected].

    i. FERC Contact: Any questions on this notice should be addressed to Jennifer Polardino, (202) 502-6437, or email: [email protected].

    j. Deadline for filing comments, protests, and motions to intervene is: 30 days from the issuance date of this notice by the Commission.

    The Commission strongly encourages electronic filing. Please file comments, protests, and motions to intervene using the Commission's eFiling system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. Commenters can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters, without prior registration, using the eComment system at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. You must include your name and contact information at the end of your comments. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at [email protected], (866) 208-3676 (toll free), or (202) 502-8659 (TTY). In lieu of electronic filing, please send a paper copy to: Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The first page of any filing should include docket number DI16-1-000.

    k. Description of Project: The proposed Henson Micro Hydroelectric Project would consist of: (1) An existing 14-foot-high reinforced concrete dam that was rebuilt in 2002 and a small impoundment behind the dam; (2) a 20-inch-diameter, 85-foot-long penstock with a bell mouth intake, extending from the dam to the powerhouse; (3) a new 8-foot-wide by 8-foot-long powerhouse containing one generating unit having a total capacity of 10 kilowatts rated at 16 feet of net head located downstream from the dam; (4) a new 14-foot-long tailrace connecting the powerhouse with the West Branch of Onondaga Creek; (5) trash racks; (6) a new buried 500-foot-long, 220/240-volt AC transmission line; and (7) appurtenant facilities.

    When a Declaration of Intention is filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Power Act requires the Commission to investigate and determine if the project would affect the interests of interstate or foreign commerce. The Commission also determines whether or not the project: (1) Would be located on a navigable waterway; (2) would occupy public lands or reservations of the United States; (3) would utilize surplus water or water power from a government dam; or (4) would be located on a non-navigable stream over which Congress has Commerce Clause jurisdiction and would be constructed or enlarged after 1935.

    l. Locations of the Application: This filing may be viewed on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. You may also register online at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp to be notified via email of new filings and issuances related to this or other pending projects. For assistance, call 1-866-208-3676 or email [email protected], for TTY, call (202) 502-8659. A copy is also available for inspection and reproduction at the address in item (h) above and in the Commission's Public Reference Room located at 888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371.

    m. Individuals desiring to be included on the Commission's mailing list should so indicate by writing to the Secretary of the Commission.

    n. Comments, Protests, or Motions to Intervene: Anyone may submit comments, a protest, or a motion to intervene in accordance with the requirements of Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 CFR 385.210, .211, .214. In determining the appropriate action to take, the Commission will consider all protests or other comments filed, but only those who file a motion to intervene in accordance with the Commission's Rules may become a party to the proceeding. Any comments, protests, or motions to intervene must be received on or before the specified comment date for the particular application.

    o. Filing and Service of Responsive Documents: All filings must bear in all capital letters the title “COMMENTS”, “PROTESTS”, and “MOTIONS TO INTERVENE”, as applicable, and the Docket Number of the particular application to which the filing refers. A copy of any Motion to Intervene must also be served upon each representative of the Applicant specified in the particular application.

    p. Agency Comments: Federal, state, and local agencies are invited to file comments on the described application. A copy of the application may be obtained by agencies directly from the Applicant. If an agency does not file comments within the time specified for filing comments, it will be presumed to have no comments. One copy of an agency's comments must also be sent to the Applicant's representatives.

    Dated: January 29, 2016. Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr., Deputy Secretary.
    [FR Doc. 2016-02071 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717-01-P
    EXPORT-IMPORT BANK [Public Notice 2015-6017] Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request AGENCY:

    Export-Import Bank of the United States.

    ACTION:

    New Submission for OMB review and comments request.

    Form Title: EIB 15-04 Exporter's Certificate for Co-Financed Loan, Guarantee & MT Insurance Programs.

    SUMMARY:

    The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal Agencies to comment on the proposed information collection, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

    EXIM Bank's borrowers, financial institution policy holders and guaranteed lenders provide this form to U.S. exporters, who certify to the eligibility of their exports for EXIM Bank support. For direct loans and loan guarantees, the completed form is required to be submitted at time of disbursement and held by either the guaranteed lender or EXIM Bank. For MT insurance, the completed forms are held by the financial institution, only to be submitted to EXIM Bank in the event of a claim filing.

    EXIM Bank uses the referenced form to obtain information from exporters regarding the export transaction and content sourcing. These details are necessary to determine the value and legitimacy of EXIM Bank financing support and claims submitted. It also provides the financial institutions a check on the export transaction's eligibility at the time it is fulfilling a financing request.

    The information collection tool can be reviewed at: http://www.exim.gov/sites/default/files/pub/pending/eib15-04.pdf.

    DATES:

    Comments must be received on or before April 4, 2016 to be assured of consideration.

    ADDRESSES:

    Comments may be submitted electronically on WWW.REGULATIONS.GOV or by mail to Michele Kuester, Export-Import Bank, 811 Vermont Ave NW., Washington, DC 20571.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Title and Form Number: EIB 15-04 Exporter's Certificate for Co-Financed Loan, Guarantee & MT Insurance Programs.

    OMB Number: 3048-00XX.

    Type of Review: Regular.

    Need and Use: The information collected will allow EXIM Bank to determine compliance and content for co-financed transaction requests submitted to the Export-Import Bank under its insurance, guarantee, and direct loan programs.

    Affected Public: This form affects entities involved in the export of U.S. goods and services.

    Annual Number of Respondents: 30.

    Estimated Time per Respondent: 30 minutes.

    Annual Burden Hours: 15 hours.

    Frequency of Reporting of Use: As required.

    Government Expenses:

    Reviewing time per year: 0.5 hours.

    Average Wages per Hour: $42.50.

    Average Cost per Year: (time*wages) $21.25.

    Benefits and Overhead: 20%.

    Total Government Cost: $25.5.

    Bonita Jones-McNeil, Agency Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
    [FR Doc. 2016-01988 Filed 2-3-16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6690-01-P
    FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION Farm Credit Administration Board; Sunshine Act; Regular Meeting AGENCY:

    Farm Credit Administration.

    SUMMARY:

    Notice is hereby given, pursuant to the Government in the Sunshine Act, of the regular meeting of the Farm Credit Administration Board (Board).

    DATES:

    The regular meeting of the Board will be held at the offices of the Farm Credit Administration in McLean, Virginia, on February 11, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. until such time as the Board concludes its business.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

    Dale L. Aultman, Secretary to the Farm Credit Administration Board, (703) 883-4009, TTY (703) 883-4056.

    ADDRESSES:

    Farm Credit Administration, 1501 Farm Credit Drive, McLean, Virginia 22102-5090. Submit attendance requests via email to [email protected] See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for further information about attendance requests.

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    Parts of this meeting of the Board will be open to the public (limited space available), and parts will be closed to the public. Please send an email to